Let’s say you sell 3-month coaching packages that include two meetings with you every month.
Let’s say one of your clients — we’ll call him Bob — just decided he’s spending all of January on a beach in Greece and would prefer not to take calls, even with you, his beloved coach.
At the end of your session this week, Bob mentions his upcoming trip.
You are delighted for him.
Then he asks if you can do two extra sessions in December instead of meeting in January.
You do not like this idea.
December is already a very busy month.
You do not want to add “extra sessions with Bob” to your already swollen to-do list.
Luckily, you have thought ahead about this.
You do not have to get annoyed at Bob.
You do not have to collapse and agree to something that will have you feel resentful.
You do not have to stammer or look unkind.
All you have to do is say, “Ah, ok Bob. Here’s how this works.”
Then you fill in the details of The Policy.
For example, you say, “Here’s how this works. You’re paying me for two meetings a month. It’s up to you to arrange your schedule to use them.
“If you’re not able to, with 30 days notice we can put your contract on pause for a month, one time per year, or you can forfeit the meetings. Up to you. How would you like to handle it?”
Ideally, Bob has already agreed to The Policy as part of a contract he signed with you during his onboarding.
But even if not, “Here’s how this works” is still the beginning of communicating something official.
It’s the beginning of clear, kind limits.
It’s the intro to The Policy.
Much like “The Paper Says” trick for pricing (this may be one of my most popular emails ever), “Here’s how this works” is a magic phrase for depersonalizing boundaries.
I was on the receiving end of something like this a few days ago, and it was great.
See, I thought I might have to reschedule a therapy appointment because my BFF seemed like she was heading into labor and I’m on call to be part of the birth. (EEEK!)
So I texted the therapist and told her the situation.
“Wow, how exciting,” she wrote back. “Here’s how this works:* If you cancel with less than 24 hours notice, I need to charge you for the full appointment whether you can make it or not.”
*Ok technically she did not say “here’s how this works,” but the energy was the same, it was totally implied.
Luckily, the baby held off (we’re still waiting!) and I was able to make the appointment.
I felt impressed and at ease with her clean, simple boundaries.
And on we went.
So: How does “it work” around your business?
Are there any policies it would help to write down somewhere? (I bet there are.)
Would you be willing to take 3 minutes right now and at least list them out?
(If you are and do, I’d love to hear ‘em).
PS – My next email is gonna be coming in hot on Black Friday, and I WILL be telling you about some relevant deals. The one I’m most excited about is the Scalable Coach Method from some of my favorite marketing teachers, Funnel Gorgeous. It’s a class about the ins and outs of using Voxer to serve WAY more clients than most coaches normally can — and with better service, too. I joined the beta round and was super excited about the tools and mindset shifts. They don’t even have a sales page up at the moment, but if you want a preview, here’s one of the emails they sent about it when they first launched. I’ll tell you how to buy next week.
PPS – Also: the Business Made Simple University online courses will be on sale. These include some really good content about marketing and other business fundamentals. You can start a free trial right now to see if you like it, then I’ll send you the code for the sale next week!
This post was originally sent as an email to the Magic Words of the Week newsletter list. Every week, I share reflections on a word, quote, or phrase I think will help you thrive in your life’s work.