“More Clients!”-The Siren Song

What would you do if 100 clients tried to join your practice today?

Like most entrepreneurs, I once believed the myth that I could solve all of my business problems if I just had more clients.

I found a mentor and asked him, “How do I get more clients to join my gym?”

He said, “You don’t.”

He went on: “You’re not ready to add more clients.”

He was right. The new people who found my gym on their own usually didn’t join. And those who did join didn’t stay long. There were many reasons:

  1. The gym atmosphere turned off the people who could afford my service.
  2. I was really bad at signing them up.
  3. If they did sign up, I didn’t onboard them properly.
  4. If they were still around a month later, they wanted to downgrade from coaching to gym access only.

My business turned off the people who should have been my bedrock. I churned through my warmest leads and didn’t close my best prospects. I wasn’t ready for more clients.

I took the mentor’s lesson and named my first blog “DontBuyAds” so that I’d remember it forever.

A few months later, I’d rebuilt our offering. I’d structured a prescriptive process to guide people to the best solution. I structured a two-week onboarding process to guide new clients into our recurring membership. I set up quarterly check-ins with each of them to make sure they stayed on track.

I thought I was ready to grow. So I signed up for a “get 30 new clients in 30 days!” Facebook marketing program.

But I’d forgotten something: my sales and onboarding process was totally reliant on me.
Only I knew how to sign someone up. Only I knew how to process a payment. Only I knew how to deliver our “onramp” program. And only I knew how to transition the new clients into our recurring membership.

So when the Facebook ads actually started to work, it seemed like a dream come true…for about 48 hours. Then it became my nightmare.

I had sales appointments booked for 6 hours every day. Then I had one-on-one appointments booked for 10 hours every day while I tried to pump people into our classes. Of course, these were haphazard and delivered at a C+ level because I quickly became exhausted.

I put my existing clients on hold while I struggled to capture as many new clients as possible.

And in the end, most of the new clients quit…and a few of my existing, great clients quit too–because I was neglecting them. They thought the ‘new kids’ were more important than they were.

We all see ads guaranteeing 100 new leads or 30 new clients in 30 days. Whether you’re a fitness coach or a business coach or anything in between, it’s really tempting to jump on these offers. What’s to lose, right?

Unfortunately, there’s a lot to lose when you introduce a new client to your service before your operations are dialled in:

You lose the new client.

You lose their spouse as a future client.

You lose their friends–because people talk.

Your close rate drops, because the next batch of leads won’t be as warm and friendly.

Your cost per client acquisition goes up, because you’ve burned through your high-affinity prospects.

You lose your sleep. You lose your confidence. And you can even lose your business: most coaches don’t fail because they can’t get clients. They fail because they can’t KEEP clients. And they can’t keep clients because their operations can’t handle them.

It’s hard to resist the siren song of “get 100 more clients fast!

But consider this: if 10 new clients walked through your door this morning – 10am on a Saturday – could you greet them, sign them up and onboard them just as well as you would with one new client?

You don’t want 100 new clients–or even 10–all at once. And if you think you *need* them, then that’s a flag that you’re probably not ready to keep them.

Tomorrow, I’ll explain why we cap the clients we’re willing to take in every business I own.

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