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Pandemic Math: Things To Do Now, That Will Lead to More Coaching Income Later

BY Patrick Smith

If you've got nothing but time to brainstorm how you're going to build your coaching business, you're going to want to read this....

So you’re stuck in your house and you’re remotely coaching. You’ve managed to retain the majority of your athletes, but you still have some who are waffling or even starting to take longer and longer to respond to text and emails. How do you respond in these trying times to retain those athletes and maybe even come out stronger?

This is where the key metric Lifetime Athlete Value (LAV) can provide some perspective as you stare down the potential loss of clients and revenue.

What is LAV?

Lifetime Athlete Value is the average amount of gross revenue and marketing value an athlete will provide to a coach. The first part is easy to calculate. Take your total earned as a coach and divide it by your total number of athletes, or contracts if you do groups under single invoices. That number is the average amount that each athlete has paid you over the course of contracting with you. 

For example, say you have been a coach for three-to-five years, served 20 athletes, and your total receivables from coaching have been ~$200,000 over that whole period. Your LAV is that $200k/20 athletes resulting in $10,000 per athlete. Stated in another way, on average, once you contract with an athlete, your history suggests that you will end up being paid $10,000 from that athlete over the time you work with them.

The second part is harder to calculate, but if you are tracking which athletes come to you from other client recommendations, you can actually pull those athletes (gained from athlete referrals that converted to contracts) from the original math. If we take our original example and know that 10 of those 20 athletes you worked with came through referral, your LAV is actually $200k/(20 athletes-10 converted referrals) which results in LAV=$20,000. That means that each athlete you contract from traditional advertising efforts results in 20 grand over the time of their contract and any contracts that come from working with them.

The World is Going Crazy, Why am I Getting a Math Lesson?

This big picture perspective assessment is going to help you make choices guided by more than the issue that is punching you in the face right now. And by that, I mean, take a deep breath (or ten) and practice a willingness to take a short term hit for a long term gain. That is, open the dialogue with your athletes on the fence about a short term reduction in your billing rate. If you give up $300-$500 in billing revenue from each athlete in order to keep them with you, you retain the lions share of that LAV and you don’t have to spend a bunch of effort and money to find new athletes when you lose this one. 

And this actually applies to all your athletes. Ever been ghosted by an athlete during contract renewal that you thought was a total lock? Yeah. Me too. It sucks. But it goes to show that not all athletes communicate distress or dissatisfaction. And right now it is a sure bet that they are experiencing heightened levels of distress and likely dissatisfaction too. Just like you.

So get ahead of the issue. Open the dialogue and make the offer to reduce or eliminate your service fee for a short period of time. By offering before they ask, you win big. Maybe it costs you a little, but I would bet hard money that you will win your contract renewal long before it comes up by doing this. And an athlete that is happily surprised by their coach is that much more likely to refer their friends. See where the win opportunities are here?

Final Note

This period of time has turned life upside down for nearly everyone. It is entirely within expectations that coaches and athletes are feeling anxious about anything and everything. Anxious feelings make it easy to withdraw and push away others. When you notice those feelings, take a breath and take a moment to stand in the shoes of whomever you are interacting with or thinking about. Ask yourself what kind of action on your part will they see as proof you are working toward a valued outcome (even if that requires discomfort).

Now is the time where we can live up to our values or sink to our base defenses. Give yourself and those around you a chance to amaze you. Hopefully, the LAV tool helps you do just that.

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About Patrick Smith

Patrick Smith is a Training Peaks Level 2 Coach licensed through USA Cycling. He offers consultations, fully customized training plans, and prewritten training plans you can purchase through the TrainingPeaks plans store. You can learn more at his TrainingPeaks coaching page, his website, or by reaching out.