In a service-based business like coaching there’s a continual need to find new clients.

And while client turnover is natural, wouldn’t it be great if you could reduce the number of new clients you need to attract while still meeting your business objectives?

One simple way to accomplish this is by increasing the length of time that clients stay with you.

For example, let’s say your ideal full coaching practice is 15 individual coaching clients.

If the typical client coaches with you for 3 months, you need to attract 60 new clients each year to achieve your full practice goal. That seems like a lot, doesn’t it?

Extend the average duration by just one month and that number drops to 45.

Get your average coaching relationship up to 6 months and you need 30 new clients.

Work with clients for 3/4 of the year and now you only need to attract 2 new clients each month to maintain a full practice. Doesn’t that sound a lot better than needing to find 60 new clients?

So, what are the secrets to increasing client retention?

You can start by packaging your coaching services as a multi-month program. For example a 3 month, 6 month or year long coaching program.

An even better way is to add so much value that the last thing your clients want to do is stop working with you.

While there are many ways to add value – from remembering special occasions and sending cards to checking in via email and forwarding resources – the very best way is to discover the particular needs and desires of each individual client so you can be of service in a way that is most valuable to him or her.

Here are some examples from my coaching practice to give you some ideas:

  • One of my clients does a lot of public speaking so I email her the day before an event to wish her luck and the day after to find out how it went. This literally takes me 5 minutes and provides huge value to her. Even though she’s a solopreneur, she definitely doesn’t feel like she’s going at it all alone.
  • I have a client who is working on a new website and I’ve been providing feedback on the overall strategy, design, copy, etc. When something comes up where a dialogue is most useful I call her instead of waiting to address it in our next scheduled coaching session. She has thanked me profusely for my responsiveness as it has enabled her to move this daunting project along at breakneck speed.
  • One of my clients typically uses our coaching sessions for brainstorming, strategizing and planning. As he talks a mile a minute I scribble notes and then type them up and send them to him after our session. The very first time I did this he said that one session alone was worth the monthly coaching fee. I’ve continued to work with him in this way ever since. He’s been a client for more than 2 years… and has doubled his income during that time as well!

Ready to increase your client retention?

Make a list of your current clients and for each one identify:

  • How you can add more value to that client in a way s/he will appreciate most.
  • What would make your coaching feel truly indispensible to that client.
  • At least one specific action you can take for each client to provide relevant value.

Maximizing client retention is a skill that gets fine-tuned over time. Adding enough of the right value is a great place to focus. And if you’re not sure how you can best be of service to a particular client, ask!