When Soulmate Clients Turn BadSep 19, 2023
We're going to be talking about when soulmate clients turn bad. If you haven't already heard about my soulmate clients, I highly suggest that you watch some of my other videos or hop into some of my other workshops where I really discuss soulmate clients in depth. Recently I had a coaching client.
If you haven't already taken my price increase masterclass, it's a six week class where you learn how to understand how to price your business. Not just picking numbers out of thin air, but you understand the fundamentals of your business, where you're going, where you've been, and how to get there by using pricing.
One of my students took the Price Increase Masterclass, and part of that was kind of figuring out where there's some holes in your business.
She had a few clients that she'd had for a long time. We're talking probably over 10 years that were at her old shop rate. Back when she had a grooming salon and she was grooming at a grooming salon, these people were about $50 or $60. When she went mobile, those clients were still at $60.
One had two dogs. They had the Shihtzu, the Shihpoo, and that dog was $60 and they ended up getting a second dog and she only charged them $40 for the bath.
The other client just had a Shichon and that was $60.
I thought this was a great example of when you have a soulmate, when they go bad, but also the comparison of two very, very similar clients and how they can react to you.
In this instance, we had two people. Let's call one Nancy and one Lisa.
Nancy is a woman probably in her late forties, early fifties. She has one child and she's got two dogs. She has a Shihpoo, you know, let's call him Bentley and a second dog who's like a Chihuahua mix thing and let's call him Monty.
With Nancy, she has these two dogs, they're done every four weeks, and they're in the same exact city. They're actually less than two miles away from Lisa.
Now Lisa has two children and she has a Shihtzu Bichon mix, so let's call him Nico. This dog is a little bit different, you know that he's got a little bit more hair and things like that than the other dog, but pretty similar. Again, they live really close.
What had to happen there is that her prices for a small dog where mobile, was about $120 to $160. Those two dogs would probably be in the $120-$140 range. They were getting a really deep discount, especially the lady with the two dogs. She had gotten the second dog after she knew she was getting a discount at the time when she got the second dog their prices mobile were about a $100 per dog, and their bath prices were between $60 and $80. She already knew she was getting a deep, deep discount. Then she got a second dog and then she was getting a second discount.
Then the other woman knew that she was getting a discount.
What ended up happening was they decided to call the client, give them the information, say, “Hey, we need to increase your prices.” One client was called. (I don't want to name names. I want to protect anonymity.) The student didn't really feel comfortable or confident calling the client. She actually hired a virtual assistant who is confident and is an excellent VA that I've used for other things.
The VA called and said, “Hello, I'm Suzy Q (not literally Suzy Q, but you know that's the name I use.) I'm the new office manager. I'm handling things on the back end. I'm taking things off of Sally's plate because she’s restructuring the business.”
They had already knew that she was going to be doing some restructuring of the business. They were like, “Oh my God, that's awesome. She definitely needs to hire people. She's so overwhelmed. She's got a lot on her plate. I'm so glad you're here.”
Super, super supportive until the client was informed.
“Hey, just so you're aware, your next appointment we will need you to go to the minimum pricing. You're going to go from $60 and $40 to at least $120.”
They were also going to give them a discount on the bath dog. I don't remember how much it was, but it wasn't, it wasn't like $100. It was something, definitely more. But she was still getting a discount. Then they said that when she came to that appointment, that they would talk and make a plan together in order to figure out what was best for both of them. I thought that was kind of generous, but totally supported my student and their decision on how they were going to handle that.
Everything went really well on the call. Then she got a text message on her software from the client, Nancy. Nancy was pissed because she had, she said, “Well, I, I think this is an outrageous price. I think this is unreasonable. You should just keep my price there. How dare you do this to me? My dogs need a grooming.” She was very upset.
Of course, this is what everyone is afraid of when they're doing a price increase, is this kind of rejection - flipping out, upset. It makes sense why we want to avoid that.
I encouraged my student to give that client a call. I said, “Listen, if your VA calls, it's going to piss them off because they feel like your VA is screwing them over. Just give them a quick phone call. Reiterate the situation, set your boundary and see what happens.
Well when the student called the client, the client did hear a reason and was just upset, and they weren't upset at anything in particular other than they were not getting their way. Now before this phone call, before this price increase, if I had asked my student,”Is this person your soulmate client?” they would've said, “Absolutely.” But then as we do some digging, she's not actually a soulmate client.
We're going to talk about that in a little bit, but I want to talk about the same exact situation with another client.
This other client only has one dog, but they also have two kids. Neither one of them was any better off. They both made about the same amount of money. In fact, the person with the two dogs drives a Lexus where the other person drives a Honda. Not always a telltale sign of their personal financial situation, but it's not like people in poverty.
The second client was really appreciative. Lisa even mentioned to the VA, “I knew I was getting a discount all along. I totally understand that she needs to bring me up. Is there anything we can do scheduling-wise to help the transition? Because I've got to reshuffle things for Christmas and New Year's because just from a financial standpoint, adding an extra $60 to $70 a month for Christmas in January might be a little tough for us.
They said, “Absolutely, let's help you figure this out and then we can go on a four week schedule again starting in February.”
So you had two different, extraordinarily different, well, frankly, just the reactions. You had one person who's like, “How can you do this to me?” The other person being like, “Yeah, I knew I was getting a discount and I knew it couldn't last forever.” That's a very mature way of handling these things, versus someone completely flipping out.
That said, if you had asked the student before this price increase who their soulmate client was, they would tell you it's a woman with kids or kids that are about ready to leave. She's probably in her mid forties to late fifties. She generally has a small breed of dog, you know, Shichon, Shitzu, poodle, whatever, and she makes X amount of money, so generally between $75,000 and $150,000, or her household does. Her dog is her baby. Her dog is the most precious thing to her. Then she would talk about demographics, like where she would live and things like that, geolocation.
That said, this person on paper would be her soulmate client. These two clients are very identical. I think that's what shocked her was they were very, very identical clients. The difference was in just a little bit. Ironically the student and both of these women all have the same autoimmune issue. I think that's where they had all really bonded.
What was interesting is the first client, let's call her Nancy, things started to come undone once we started to talk. So I said, “Okay, so tell me about the services you're getting for her dog.” She said, “Well, her dog has allergies, so she's got a medicated shampoo, he gets clean feet, she shaves his face, he's not very good for his shaving his face, but he's not bad.” She's listing all these add-ons. The other dog needs to either be shaved because he sheds and the mom's allergic to it, or she does like a really, really good deshed.
She's spending an average of three hours at that place. I said, “Well, why are you spending so much time there? It's a long time for one haircut and one bath and blow dry.” It's because the client wanted to talk. The client might ask her to do things that she doesn't normally do, things like, not quite latchkey, but basically bring the dogs in when she's done, basically come back for the money later, or she would leave the money.
I said, “Okay, well, does she tip really well?” When she opened mobile, I want to say her baths were like $60 or $70, and her haircuts were $100. This woman from the beginning should have been paying $160/$170, and she was only paying $60. This woman's been getting a $60 to $70 discount for years recently. I mean, she's getting over $120 discount minimally. That said, I asked “Did she at least try to make it up in the tip?” This woman only tipped her like $10, like she was saving $100 at one point. I said that’s a red flag.
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