Sometimes one conversation changes everything. When a prospect told me that they had signed an exclusivity agreement with their executive coach, I felt very uncomfortable. Why did their coach feel the need to handcuff clients like that? Didn’t the coach’s results keep clients?
And then I wondered if I should consider having a clause like that. Had clients left me to work with other coaches? In five years, I don’t know of one. So, no, I probably don’t need a clause like that.
And then I had a series of other conversations with prospective clients who told me about writing B I G checks to their coaches, and not getting one inquiry or lead from all that investment.
It made my heart hurt.
Professionals in career transition need to spend their money wisely. And I’ll confess that I did think about how nice it would be to have them write those big checks to me 🙂
And one prospect bought a course that he said was good, but didn’t have the day-to-day accountability that he needed. Fair enough.
Taking all the risk.
So, I looked back at my track record over the past five years of working full time with professionals in career transition. There were four people who I wasn’t able to place in five years. Everyone else landed great jobs! Hmmm.
I decided to completely change by business model. I decided to take all the risk and work on contingency.
I have a true partnership with my clients now, and they appreciate it. If they don’t get a successful result, I don’t get a big check. Simple as that.
This new arrangement is working better than I ever could have hoped. Clients are thrilled with it, and my revenue has increased dramatically.
Generating results and a big bonus.
How does it work? Clients pay me a flat retainer of $100/month for as long as it takes to find their dream job. (If there is no client investment, there is no client commitment. And I deserve a nice bottle of wine a week.)
Upon success, they pay me a bonus of five percent (5%) of their first-year gross salary.
I take all the risk – but given my track record, it doesn’t FEEL that risky. My practice is pretty full. And I get to work with select professionals at the deep level I love, giving them my full attention and commitment.
Betting on success.
Time will tell if this was a brilliant or stupid strategy.
But if you are looking to hire an executive coach or outplacement service, I would urge you to ask if they would work on contingency. Their answer might tell you a lot.
Catherine Morgan is a career transition expert through her own company, Point A to Point B Transitions Inc. She is also a highly respected speaker who talks on topics related to career transition, productivity, and small business. Catherine doesn’t take herself seriously, but she takes her subject matter very seriously.