Why Clients Dropout From Courses (And How To Avoid The Dropout Curse): Episode 93

Three Month Vacation:Online Business Podcast

There are three core reasons clients drop out of your course

In an interview with Tim Ferris, marketer, Seth Godin says that 97% clients drop out from his online courses. And under good conditions, 80% drop out. Yet there’s are three core reasons why clients drop out and unless you tackle those issues, it’s impossible to stop the dropout rate from spiralling. At Psychotactics, our dropout rate is a measly 10%. Which means that 90% of the clients finish the course.

How is that possible? How come there’s such a massive difference? This episode shows you what you can do to achieve far superior goals than many, if not most trainers online.


In this episode Sean talks about

Part 1: The power of energy management
Part 2: Why the Safe Zone is important
Part 3: Why you need group filtration and how to design it

Right click here and ‘save as’ to download this episode to your computer.

The Dropout Factor

97% of client drop out in most online courses.
80% of clients drop out from my courses.
– Seth Godin

The responsibility of the learning depends on the teacher.
– Michel Thomas

When you think about dropouts, you almost always think about the student.

Yet, the responsibility lies with the teacher. It’s this seismic shift that rattles most trainers because in their mind it’s clear that they’ve done the best they could. Despite their best efforts, students still drop out. So why does this dropout occur? And what could you do as a teacher to avoid this dropout?

There are three core areas which cause a dropout

1) Energy management
2) Safe zone (or the lack of it)
3) Group filtration and design

Dropout Factor 1: Let’s start with energy management

Back when I was about 12, my uncle gave me a Nintendo video game called Snoopy Tennis. The game was pretty simple. Snoopy, the dog, had to bat off the tennis balls being hit at him by Charlie Brown. Charlie Brown had this languid, easy-going serve that was easy to handle.

And then Lucy would show up and hit the tennis balls at high speed.

If you survived the Lucy barrage, she’d go away, and it would be back to the nice and easy Charlie Brown serves.

So what’s Snoopy Tennis got to do with energy management?

Energy management involves designing your training module. Does it just have modules that jostle each other for prominence or is it designed like Snoopy Tennis? A training module that has Snoopy Tennis in mind will have modules that are easy, slightly difficult and then screamingly tough. But you can’t sustain the screamingly tough part for too long. You have to go back to easy once again.

If you don’t, you get dropouts

When the going gets too hard for too long, your clients are going to have an enormous amount of energy depletion. Handling Lucy in that video game is fine for a while, but if the intensity isn’t reduced, the client gets tired.

Tiredness, not your course, is the biggest reason for dropouts.

Once the fuel needle goes consistently down to zero, dropouts are guaranteed. To avoid this situation from ever occurring, you’ve got to sit down and design your course.

But design is often not enough because you’ve also got to consider flexibility in your agenda

Take for example the Article Writing Course that’s in progress right now. The entire course has been designed to be like a Snoopy Tennis game. From Week 1 to Week 4 there’s a gentle progression.

Week 5 is a bit of a jolt. After spending the first four weeks building up topics, outlining and working on the start of their article, the writers now have to turn out a chunky part of the complete article.

Almost immediately the “truancy” rate spikes

The writers are frozen because the jump is so great. And yet there are times when you can’t help but bring on Lucy into the game. In the past, I’d make sure Lucy stayed on for a long time, and it would cause an enormous amount of exhaustion.

Exhaustion is one thing, but I noticed that if I reduced the intensity shortly after, the work would get better. So once the intensity is turned on, you keep it on, but then you get Charlie back into the mix. Which means that one week will involve writing 3-4 articles, but the following week will slide down to just two.

What you’re working on all the time as a teacher is managing energy

You’re making sure you keep designing and re-designing the assignments, so that it’s not too easy, or too challenging. And that you have to keep your teaching agenda flexible if you see a considerable spike in “truancy.”

This energy management doesn’t apply solely to online courses or training

It applies to workshops as well. If you get to a Psychotactics workshop, you’ll find we have lots of breaks. There are a ton of tea breaks, group breaks, walking assignment breaks. All of them are designed to lower the Lucy factor and let the brain absorb what it’s just learned.

We also have a scavenger hunt and depending on the type of workshop, we may have a day-long break. For instance, for the New Zealand workshop in Queenstown, we have a four-day workshop, but we work for two days, then go off to eat, drink and be merry. It’s only then that we return to our work.

All these breaks may seem frivolous to the untrained mind

Why bother with breaks when you have so much content to cover? It’s because of how your brain functions. As you spend time thinking and learning, your brain starts to accumulate a ton of waste product. The more waste product you have, the harder it is to function. You’re now in Lucy mode all the time. But the moment you get a break, the brain is back in Charlie mode and absorbing the information.

This brings us to the end of the first reason why we have dropouts

It’s a lack of course design.
A lack of the trainer to watch what’s happening and to mindlessly plough ahead.
When trainers blame the student, they’re going against the Michel Thomas principle: The responsibility of the learning depends on the teacher.

And energy management is just one of the issues. The second issue is the safe zone—or rather the lack of it.

P.S. We have about 2-3 clients drop out from every course. To me, that’s high. That’s a whole 10-12%. I take responsibility for that.

Dropout Factor 2: The Safe Zone (Or The Lack of It)

Ask a seven-year-old to learn Photoshop, and they’ll happily play along.
Ask an adult to do the same and they hesitate.

So what’s changed between the adult and the seven-year-old?

The answer is time. A seven-year-old has little or responsibility and therefore endless time. If they get the instructions wrong, they can keep at the learning until they get it right—if they get it right. Adults don’t have such luxury at their disposal.

And so we learn to fear mistakes

As we grow up, we realise that mistakes not only rattle us but cost us an enormous amount of time and energy. Having to learn new skills seem essential, but all of it is at the expense of precious time and energy. Which causes every zone we enter,  to theoretically,  become an unsafe zone.

Step into a new forum, that’s unsafe

Learn a new software; that’s unsafe too.
Any new venture of any kind is paradoxically exciting and frustrating at the same time.

Which is why you have to create a safe zone

The first step towards safety is understanding that everything is intimidating—especially when you’re learning a skill. If you’re just a passive learner in a course, there’s no need to apply anything you’ve learned. The moment you have to apply the skill, intimidation is all pervasive.

And the only way—yes the only way—to reduce intimidation is to break down everything into smaller bits.

Let’s take the cartooning course, for example

Even in a seemingly fun-filled course like cartooning (that’s the DaVinci cartooning course), you have almost instant intimidation. There’s nothing to look over and learn, but there are intimidation factors aplenty.

The first week isn’t about learning to draw cartoons

Instead, a student gets to know their groups, is guided on how to post in the forum and is given instructions on how to link their cartoons to the forum. The entire week is about settling in and getting comfortable. Then, once the course begins, no one goes about drawing Donald Duck. Instead, you have a series of tiny increments that start with drawing circly circles.

For many, a cartooning course is far more intimidating than any other course

Think of how you feel when you draw something. You feel like you’re a seven-year-old again. Your artwork seems almost Neanderthal—and yet the goal is to become a highly accomplished cartoonist by the end of the course. And hundreds of students have done just that. They’ve done the course, and gone from Cave painting to polished artworks.

A lot of this progress is achieved through precise instructions, but the biggest factor of all is the creation of the safe zone.

The way to go about the creation of the safe zone is to ask yourself three questions:

1) Is the course being conducted with tiny increments or big jumps? How do you know?
2) Do the clients have time to settle in before the class as well as during the course?
3) Is there a constant feedback mechanism in place?

And there’s a benchmark to know if your course is safe

Do clients come back to do another course, another training? At Psychotactics, most—yes, most—end up doing two and three courses. Some do as many as five online courses as well as attend live workshops. At the point of writing this article, we’ve announced a live workshop in New Zealand. With no sales page, no real details about the course, six clients have already paid for the workshop.

Why would they make such a seemingly irrational move?

Why sign up for workshops with no sales pages, attend so many back to back workshops, do so many online courses? There are many cheaper courses both online and offline. So, why bother?

A big chunk of the answer lies in the safe zone

Unless a client feels safe, they’re unlikely to learn. And your job as a trainer is to create that safe zone through tiny increments, through getting clients to settle in and most importantly to allow them to reach out to you.

When they reach out to you through a feedback mechanism, and you make changes, they know they’re being listened to. They know they’re not just a cog in the wheel, but an integral part of the course.

The fear goes down

The safety goes up.
Now there’s less of a reason to drop out, isn’t there?

And yet the dropout factor looms large

So what keeps the client coming back? The answer lies in the power of the group and how you as a trainer filter the group. What’s this filtration all about?

Dropout Factor 3: Group Filtration and Design

Back in 2010, we conducted a workshop around Washington D.C and we did something we’d never done before.

We decided not to have any filters when letting clients sign up for the event.
How wrong could things go, we thought to ourselves?

As you can guess, things went terribly wrong

Only one person at the event hadn’t read The Brain Audit. That one person happened to cause an enormous amount of confusion, not only during the workshop proceedings but also in the group. And it was all because we didn’t do our usually “pedantic” system of filtration. When you don’t filter the group, you create a wild card, and that can disrupt the entire learning experience.

Which is why you need group filtration

When you put specific barriers in place, the group members have to qualify themselves to be part of the group. This changes the parameters considerably. In most of the courses and workshops at Psychotactics, all you have to do is read The Brain Audit. Even so, it’s a barrier and attracts people who are united in purpose. It seems bizarre that just a book should make such a difference, but a book often expresses more than just information. It can express your philosophy, method and attracts clients who have a similar ethical standard.

However, group filtration doesn’t stop there

Whether you’re looking at live onsite workshops or online courses, people aren’t thrown willy nilly into a group. Every group is segregated by:

– Existing members alongside non-members
– A balance of women and men
– Those who we know well vs. those we don’t know as well.

In every situation the groups are chosen, which is why there’s so much activity in every group

Groups only work together if they feel safe, enjoy each other’s company and then it seems like a party, rather than intense work. In such a case, dropout rates plunge. Clients show up every day, several times a day, helping and spurring each other on.

At the end of Week 5, a group of 25 clients generated an average of 1200 posts a week. Of course, I’ve contributed to at least half of those posts, but even so, it’s quite an achievement in group dynamics, don’t you think?

The size of the group also matters

The group size is ideally between 5-7 members. If you have fewer and just a couple of clients from that group dropout, the entire group can go into a spiral. If you have more than 7, it’s hard to keep up with what everyone’s up to, and the group soon loses the tight-knit feeling.

That feeling of knowing each other well is what causes the group to edge forward together as they take on the tiny increments. And when faced with a tough assignment, they all hunker down and boost each other’s spirits. Leaders emerge within every group, as is the case anywhere, but these leaders are kind and helpful.

Why would you want to drop out of such a group?

Your goal isn’t to be part of the group. You don’t even know how the group is put together, and yet when you discover the group dynamic working for you, you realise that it’s the group that will get you to your destination. When someone has helped you, your human nature kicks in and you want to give that help back in any way possible.

As a teacher, your job is to filter the group

Your job is to design the group.
And most of all, it’s to get the group to know each other very, very well. The more they interact with each other, the more they bond and the further they’ll go. Not surprisingly, the drop out almost ceases to exist.

You’ll still get dropouts

But if you look closely at the those that dropout, you’ll see a very clear pattern. They didn’t stay around long enough to bond with the group. In our courses, at least, the maximum number of dropouts (online) occur within the first or second week.

If the members haven’t show up consistently within the first two weeks, they’re the most likely to drop out. Which is why, as a trainer, working on the group is almost as important as energy management and creating the safe zone. These three elements become so vital that to ignore any one of these three is like begging for trouble.

This brings us to our summary:

– Design your training with energy in mind. Let clients have a mix of Charlie Brown weeks before giving them Lucy weeks. And always go back to Charlie Brown.

– The safe zone is critical to avoiding dropouts. Tiny increments, feedback loops, getting client to settle in are all very crucial. You know you’ve created a safe zone when you get lots and lots of questions; when clients e-mail you as well as ask questions on the forum; when they bring up issues that might be even slightly confrontational.

That’s when you realise you’ve created a safe space. Your final benchmark is the repeat client. If they come back repeatedly, that is the one factor that tells you you’ve made them a lot safer than your competition.

– Finally, it’s the group that matters. A teacher can only do so much. The group feels a great warmth towards their members, but only if the members are equally kind and helpful. If you notice a group member not interacting with the group, there’s a very high chance of that member dropping out. And you, as the teacher have to design and filter the group so that they’re a good mix.

The dropout rate on Internet based sites is phenomenally high

It’s as high as 97% in some cases.

But Michel Thomas (if he were alive) would say something quite different.

He’d say: The responsibility of the learning is with the teacher.
And he’d be right.

When you take the responsibility on yourself, you stop blaming the student and redesign your teaching in a way that suits them, not yourself. And that’s when you have almost no drop out rate!

P.S. Read or listen to—How To Avoid Blindspots In Your Business: The Rip Van Winkle Effect

Next Steps

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How To Avoid Painful Clients (And Find Amazing Ones Instead): Episode 94

Three Month Vacation:Online Business Podcast

There seem to be two sets of clients: really painful ones and amazing

It’s the painful ones that seem to drain an enormous amount of energy and time. They’re the ones that you constantly have to battle with. But how do you know in advance how to avoid these clients? There are red flags in place.

In this episode you’ll learn  how at Psychotactics (for the most part) we avoid painful clients.

In this episode Sean talks about

Part 1: Why and how to add  barriers
Part 2: How to filter through testimonials
Part 3: How to spot ‘Red Flags’

Right click here and ‘save as’ to download this episode to your computer.

How We Avoid Energy-Sapping Clients at Psychotactics

Which ants have more offspring?

The ants that forage more and hence have more food supplies?
Or the ants that are do less foraging and hence have less food?

Incredible as it may seem it’s the ants that restrain their foraging that fare better

Biological studies have almost always believed that species that have the greatest food supply tend to do better. A Stanford study by Deborah M. Gordon demonstrates how harvester ants experience greater success when they’re picky.

This picky, picky, picky habit applies quite neatly to client acquisition

When you first start out in business, it seems like a good idea to go out and forage for new clients all the time. Over time, you’ll learn that there are good clients and energy-sapping clients. And that by appealing to everyone you may get success, but at Psychotactics, we’ve found that seemingly counterintuitive behaviour seems to work a lot better.

That instead of trying to increase our reach, we’ve narrowed it down

In the ant world, success is measured by a greater number of offspring. In our world at Psychotactics, success is measured by the amount of control we have over our lives. The ability to work with the clients we want, earn a profit that’s sizeable, yet within a pre-defined limit.

Most importantly, it has allowed us to take three months off and travel the world on vacation. In a world that’s increasingly driving itself crazy, we live with an island mentality. And a significant part of this success lies in the fact that we have great clients. But no one just has great clients. You have to pick great clients.

So how do we pick our clients?

Over the past 16 years, we’ve used three core methods. And these methods have worked amazingly well for us. They are:

– Adding barriers
– Filtering through testimonials.
– Red flags

Part 1—Barriers: The First Step To Avoid Energy-Sapping Clients at Psychotactics

Let’s say you tried to buy the copywriting course off our site.
You randomly go to the sales page, plop down a couple of thousand of dollars and then wait for your download.

The download might never show up.

Instead there’d be a back check on your record

Yup, just like an employer does a check on your past before hiring you, a check is done on your history with Psychotactics as well. Have you been a subscriber? For how long? Have you bought The Brain Audit yet? When did you do that? Have you bought other smaller products? If the answer is no, it’s likely that you’ll get your couple of thousand dollars right back in your bank account.

So why is the case?

It’s a barrier in place. And we have rules. And the rules are simple. You need to have subscribed. You need to have read The Brain Audit. Without jumping over those barriers, you’re not truly qualified to be part of our system. So yes, we may check if you’ve bought and consumed the products with another email address, but if the answer is no, then the money goes bouncing right back to your account.

I remember an event in Chicago quite clearly

I’d just spoken at the System Seminar. I’d just given a presentation, and a member of the audience approached me to buy our info-products course. Was he a subscriber? Did he have The Brain Audit?

Would he buy The Brain Audit? His said he wasn’t planning to buy The Brain Audit. He just wanted the info-products course. And he was willing to spend his couple of thousand dollars if I just swiped his credit card.

You can tell how this story goes, right?

To this day, customers can’t understand why we’d walk away from thousands of dollars over a measly subscription and a copy of The Brain Audit. But think about it for a second. Would you marry someone who you’d never had a first date with? Would you even consider marrying them without engaging with them at least a couple of times?

And if you’re not the marrying kind, it doesn’t matter. We still understand the concept of testing the waters, putting up the barriers just to see how the other person reacts.

At Psychotactics, we know how the other person reacts

The greater the barriers the client has to climb, the more they stick around. The more they stick around, the more we get to know each other and help each other move forward. And that is why we have a 3% or less refund rate on bigger products. It’s because the client has qualified themselves repeatedly.

It’s not like there’s a zero-refund rate. Sometimes, despite all the due diligence between the client and us, there’s still a mismatch of the product. A client may expect the product to do one thing, and it may do another. That’s fine in our books. We know the client has gone through the steps and one rainy day doesn’t make a monsoon.

The opposite is true as well

The refund rate climbs to about 98% if the client is not a subscriber. Yes, read that again. A whopping 98% of those who easy come, also easy go. If the client hasn’t subscribed or bought The Brain Audit, they still can’t buy our bigger products.

They can buy the smaller, specific products like Website components or ‘Black Belt Presentations’, and they do. The moment we see that order come through with no history of client/Psychotactics interaction, we can be almost sure that a refund will follow.

It gets worse…

Some of those folk won’t just ask for a refund. They simply ask for a chargeback. It means we get a black mark against our name (Too many chargebacks and your merchant account can be closed down). Plus there’s a $20 penalty that we have to pay. That’s not nice at all, is it?

This punk, whoever he is (and it’s usually a “he”) is running rampant picking up stuff only to refund it or ask for a chargeback. Even if the person simply asks for a refund, that’s another 10 minutes of your life down the drain as you go through the process of refunding the amount and responding to the “customer”.

So why not put the barrier in place for the smaller products as well?

Remember that you’re running a small business. And so are we. Some things can be monitored and others can’t. A stream of small products go out of the door every single day, but less so with the bigger products.

So while we push hard for clients to have a relationship, some of them are just walk in with every intention of sneaking away in the morning. Everything can’t be monitored, but as the products and services get bigger, the barriers can indeed be put in place.

Having barriers in place is a good thing

The moment someone puts a few thousand dollars in your bank account, you feel pretty entitled to it. And some folks have put in $10,000 into our account (when we used to do the Protégé sessions) and yes, you feel entitled to that as well. But don’t cozy up to the dollars just yet. You need to do the background check. Find out if the person is a good match. Do your due diligence.

A little due diligence goes a long way

Clients that jump over the barriers stick around for years to come. You don’t have to be like all those marketers out there chasing endlessly after new clients. Instead, you can have a group of clients that trust you and will be more than happy to buy your products or services in future. And yes, there will be the occasional refund, but nothing very dramatic. And that’s what barriers will do for your business.

Yes, it’s scary

Yes, it’s necessary.
Do the background check. Put up the barriers. It makes good business sense. But barriers are only one way to avoid energy-sapping clients. Most trouble shows up well in advance, and we just ignore the red flags.

So how do you learn to work with red flags? Let’s find out in this second part.

Part 2—Red Flags: How We Avoid Energy-Sapping Clients at Psychotactics

Do you know where the word “vaccination” comes from?

It’s derived from the Latin word for “cow” (which is “vacca”). And there’s a strong connection between cows and viruses. For 3000 years, smallpox was wantonly killing people. In the 18th century alone, over 400,000 people died of smallpox.

But in 1796, a British doctor named Edward Jenner noticed that dairymaid got cow pox

Cowpox was a less dangerous virus but still related to smallpox. Once they contracted cowpox, the dairymaids were completely immune to smallpox.

So Jenner injected a young boy with the cowpox virus and then later inoculated him with smallpox.

And the boy didn’t get sick because the body has an immune system. And that immune system was able to figure out the virus with the lowly cowpox. When smallpox came knocking, the body had the red flags in place. It was able to identify and destroy the virus before it was able to do any more damage.

At Psychotactics we’ve learned to look for red flags when dealing with clients

-Not showing up on time
-Not doing what they said they’d do
-Not returning calls or emails
-Clients that want quick results or to bypass the usual barriers.

These are all red flags for us at Psychotactics

And sometimes you get caught unaware by a situation. Just like an unknown virus that may attack your system, it’s possible for clients to make seemingly mundane requests. Like the one that a client made at one of our workshops.

“Can I bring my teenage daughter along to the workshop?” he asked.

He promised she wouldn’t be a problem, and since he was going to be in the workshop for three days, he asked if she could sit at the back of the room. She wasn’t going to participate, just quietly sit and watch the presentation.

Can you see a problem in that request?

Well, neither could we. That seemingly simple request caused an enormous amount of grief. Instead of simply sticking to the back of the room, she went along with her father for the group sessions and began to participate. Not only was the group unhappy with the introduction of the daughter, but the father started to get aggressive. He’d defend whatever the girl said, much to the frustration of the group.

Most red flags are consistent in a business

You’ve experienced the issues before, and you can see the problem approaching at a great distance, yet sometimes we lower our guard and let the virus in. And this creates great havoc and sucks up a lot of energy.

I had to tell the client that his daughter could no longer sit in the workshop or participate in any way. This got him all upset and both he and his daughter left. Now, if a client asks for exceptions, we walk through what can go wrong and make a decision accordingly.

However, the least energy-sapping plan of action is to have everything down on paper

You need to let the client know what they can do, and what they can’t do. Writing down what they can’t do allows you to anticipate the issues before they pop up. It’s like a form of cow pox injected into the system, so that if a problem should arise, you’re ready with your paperwork. Incredible as it may sound, the moment something is down on paper, clients tend to play along.

When we choose clients, we make sure we put barriers in their way, but paying attention to the red flags makes sure that once we avoid disruptive clients. However, these are only two of the methods to getting good clients. The third one does all the grunt work without us lifting a finger. Incredibly, this system of choosing clients comes from the usage of testimonials.


That doesn’t make sense. How is a testimonial a filtration system? You’ll be surprised at what a photo and text can do. Let’s find out in this third part where we take a deep dive into testimonials.

Part 3—Testimonials: How We Avoid Energy-Sapping Clients at Psychotactics

If you ever had the need to go to a dating site, you wouldn’t start reading the information, would you?

You’d first look at the photos

We instinctively look at photos because we recognise ourselves in the photos. A photo tends to reflect who you are. And you get a live demonstration of this phenomenon when you go to a marketing site where they have exaggerated promises. They may promise you’ll make a lot of money, or get results quickly.

But don’t read the information, just gaze at the photos

You’ll find to your amazement that you don’t like the look of many of the people in the testimonials. You don’t know those people, yet there’s something about them that sets off tiny alarm bells.

Yet, there are others who want a quick result. They want to become millionaires overnight. They are desperate, and unlike you, they find the photos very appealing.

Photos send out a powerful message to potential clients

If you put photos of clients that are reliable, ethical, clients that you like and want to work with in future, that’s what you’ll get.

Which is why we have photos of people that we like, clients that we’ve worked with, clients that we’ve gone out with, clients that we would love to have all the time.

And what’s the result of this photo strategy?

If you’re a client or have been on our courses, membership site or workshops, you know what’s coming next. The clients on our courses are easily the most helpful and the kindest people you’re likely to find on any course. Clients often ask: “How do you get such great people in your courses?” What kind of filtration system do you have in place?”

The answer lies in the photographs

In the past, we’ve made the mistake of putting a photo of a client who didn’t meet with our picky nature.

Almost immediately, we’d get other painful clients. If you’d like to try this experiment for yourself, put photos of painful clients on your site and you’ll start to attract similarly migraine-inducing clients.

If you put in the photos of clients you like to work with, you’ll attract great clients too. It’s a simple filtration system, and it works amazingly well.

But photos alone will not do the job

You will also need testimonials that read like an experience. When you look at the testimonials of our membership site at 5000bc, you’ll see they don’t just say “wow”. They read as if someone were talking to you. When it comes to more expensive products or services, the testimonials are sometimes 500-1500 words long. And the entire testimonial is about the user experience.

A testimonial that says, “that was the hardest course in my life” gets attention

But it also attracts the right kind of audience. It drives away those wimpy people who don’t want to put in the effort and think that business is just some magic trick. It drives those people to the “gurus” of the Internet.

When those “get rich quick” crowd clear, what we have are kind, friendly, hard working people. People who have similar goals, similar ethics, and behaviour. And most of all, we at Psychotactics have no trouble. We get to do the things we love. Clients admire that we work hard and that we take our three months off as well. They cheer us on because that’s their goal as well.

And that’s pretty much how the Psychotactics strategy for getting great clients.

Time to summarise, eh?


We started with barriers

Barriers may seem counter-productive and yet they’re a filtration system. The biggest reason why you have to wait to join 5000bc, or pay to be on a waiting list or can’t do a workshop until you’ve read The Brain Audit, is because we’ve put a barrier in place.

And the bigger the price of the product or service, the bigger the wall. If clients don’t get over that barrier, they’re not serious about succeeding. That speed bump drives out the “quick and easy” crowd and leaves us with clients that appreciate steady progress and hard work.

The red flags that show up are the next factor to consider

When you’re in business, you get taken aback by client requests. And at first, you want to make the client happy. But you’ll find some situations are consistent red flags. It’s not like we don’t ignore the red flags.

We do, and when we do, we pay the price. But by and large, when a red flag goes up, we pull up our rules and regulations and stick firmly what’s written on paper. Putting down what we will do and won’t do enables us to predict the future a bit.

So yes, we get out that paper and write down what we will not do. Putting down our red flags on paper, ensures we get clients that stick to our guidelines and not spoiled brats who want to make their own rules.

Finally it’s the role of testimonials

Testimonials have many aspects to them, but the main aspects are the photos and the experience. We pick and choose photos of clients who we adore. We put their testimonials on our site, and not surprisingly we get similar clients (Note: If your photo is not on our website, it’s not because we don’t adore you. It’s just a space issue).

We also don’t just put testimonials, but put in experiences instead.

An experience is a before and after scenario. And it may go on for a few sentences but often for over 1000 words. And this again filters out clients. Those who are in a hurry don’t read the experiences and just leave in the hope of amazing riches. And we’re happy to see them leave because our goal is to create clients who value not just information, but skill.

It’s the skill of writing, of creating your sales page—it’s these skills that matter in business. There’s no easy way and when our clients describe the effort they need to put in, it drives away those who want shortcuts.

Ants that succeed forage less often

We at Psychotactics have grown our list very slowly over the years. We’ve done almost no affiliate-sales, no advertising, don’t have Google AdWords and joint ventures. And yet, we’ve had a lifestyle that most others only dream off. We take weekends off; we take three months off, and we have clients that keep coming back to do our courses, workshops and buy products and services.

Like the ants we’re picky

Which is why we’ve had a blast. Over the past few years, we’ve had lunches, dinners and had wine and beer, individually, with over 1000 clients. We’ve gone on vacations with clients too. They’ve been invited to our home and in turn have made us comfortable in theirs.

Being picky has its rewards.
You get the cream of the crop. And you get to lead a satisfying life on your own terms.

What else could you want?

Next Step: Read or listen toThe Meaning Of Life? Or A Life of Meaning? How To Solve This Eternal Problem


P.S. Do you sometimes wonder if planning books are written just for the ‘organised’ people?

So year after year you sit down and create a list of things you want to achieve. Then suddenly it’s April, and you’ve not really moved ahead as you’d expected.And hey, this phenomenon isn’t new. It’s not like you’re not trying to achieve stuff, but something always seems to derail your goals. How do you stop it from happening yet again?
Find out if Chaos Planning is for you.

Next Steps

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Oh and before I go—Can I ask you a small favour?

Would you be kind enough to leave a review. Your review, rating (and subscription) are most appreciated. They help the rating of the show and I read every single review. And if  you have any feedback, you also want to write to me at sean@psychotactics.com. Anything you’d like to see or listen to anything you don’t like, just write to me at sean@psychotactics.com. I actually implement the feedback.

You can do this from your phone or your computer. Here’s a graphic, if you need any help.


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