What to Do When a Client Wants to Terminate an Agreement

This week's question from my portal “The Neagle Code: Directions
for Life”
comes from Brianna.

Neagle                 Code Question

Hi David,

I recently received an email from a really great client letting me know that she no longer wants to receive my services. She has 4 months left in her program, and I have no idea what’s happened as she’s received great information from me, and it’s increasing her income. I’m not sure how to respond to her email. Do you have any suggestions?

Neagle                                               Code Answer

Hi Brianna,

Thanks for the question!

My number one rule of thumb in situations like this is to never respond via email.

I recommend you pick up the phone and reach out to your client.

First, it’s imperative that you find out what’s caused her to request to be released.

Do not make assumptions.

It could be that she’s had a family emergency or it could be that something has triggered her into fear, worry and doubt.

You’ll never know if you don’t call her, and if you don’t know, you can’t help her.

Approach the conversation in a way that let’s her know that you truly care about what she’s experiencing and ask questions that get to the bottom of what’s really going on.

From there you can decide together what is the best course of action.

In my experience, those phone calls are very powerful and usually end up in the client feeling better and sticking with the program with a renewed sense of possibility.

Just Believe,®
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  1. I have a follow up question for you David. What if you call them and you talk it through, and they still decide that knee operation, or their mother moving in, or their husband divorcing them is a good reason to break their contract with you? Do you just let them out of the contract and stop charging them? Or do you hold to the original agreement? Thanks for your insight.

    • This happens quite often Julia, and it really should be handled on a case-by-case basis. That said, it should not be lost that the original agreement is a biding contract that both of you entered into and signed off on. You can postpone for a brief time if you deem it necessary, but it’s a slippery slope to start letting clients back out every time the dog runs away or the washing machine breaks down. Pick up the phone, make contact with the client who is requesting to back out, and get the full story before doing anything else. That way you are working with all the facts. Most of the time this reaching out will help them see that they are obliged to complete what they set out to in the first place. Great question and thank you for asking it.

  2. Hi David
    It’s been ages, and I still read your stuff and LOVE it.
    Wanted to say that this happened to me with a client who misinterpreted something and got angry. And as you know, often that anger is triggered by fear or anxiety, blaming the coach for it, or outside things.

    I did what you suggest here, I picked up the phone and immediately called her. We had a very deep, helpful conversation which solidified our relationship even more … a greater trust was built in that one phone call.

    It’s scary to face this too and worth the phone call.

    Thanks again for all you do, David.

    • Great to hear from you Joan, and thanks for the post. It can be scary to face something like this the first time, but it gets easier since you know you are coming from a place of giving rather than getting. You cannot hide and hope that the problem will magically go away; most likely it will intensify. Being honest and talking them off the ledge is the best way to show you are there for them, even when they are triggered.