Ready for some real-talk about your courses and whether or not it’s OK if your students complete them or not?

There’s been some discussion in a Facebook Group I’m in for B-School Alumni as of late about this subject with general consensus being that you can’t control whether your students finish your course and that it’s OK if they don’t.

Some of the comments I read were…

“People are lazy…”

“People get busy…”

“It is what it is…”

“Shiny object syndrome…”

That, and that sometimes someone only needs part of the course in order to get value out of it (to further confirm that it’s all good if they don’t finish). 

Both of those things are true to an extent. 

  1. You’ll most likely never get a 100% completion rate for your course.
  2. Your course can still be valuable if not completed.

But being okay with this reality is NOT OK!

Accepting this reality is absolutely the wrong MINDSET you should have if you’re a course creator.

Instead, you have to be obsessed with getting your students through your course and taking the responsibility to help them achieve the outcomes they want (why they signed up in the first place). 

It then becomes your burden to accept whatever non-completion rate you end up with.

And NOT put that burden and responsibility on your students. It’s your job.

Why am I so passionate about this?

When potential clients and/or coaching students come to me and are complacent about this, it tells me two things:

# 1 – That they are chasing the money rather than their student’s success. 

In my mind as a course creator, I have a moral obligation to prioritize my student’s success over my own. I want the people I work with to also feel this same sense of obligation. So if I can’t quickly address and trigger a mindset change, game over. We’re not going to be a good fit.

# 2 – It tells me that they don’t care about ascending their students to their next offer, which ironically both contradicts #1 but also confirms #1 by how short-sighted they are about their business. 

Because here’s a fact: The only way to build a thriving course business with longevity is to have multiple product offers and to be successful ascending students from one offer to the next (and increasing the lifetime value of each student)

Let me explain.

I don’t have any stats for this, but I can tell you from lots and lots of experience that if someone buys a course and doesn’t finish it, the likelihood of them buying another program or product from you goes WAY DOWN.

And then the opposite is equally as true. If someone completes a course (even if it wasn’t an overwhelming success for them), they are MUCH MORE LIKELY to buy another offer you make to them.

Look, I know it can be emotionally draining to worry about whether your students are actually logging in and doing the work needed to complete your program. Especially when it feels like you’ve done everything you can do.

But let me tell you this (also from experience). There is always something more you can do to increase your course completion rates.

Let me share a few quick wins.

  1. I guarantee that if you can make this mindset shift with me, you’ll see an increase in your rates. It’ll just happen.
  2. Create and/or optimize an amazing onboarding experience
  3. Do a better job at addressing breaking down false beliefs and rebuilding better ones
  4. Future pace throughout your course
  5. Make sure you can fulfill on the expectations your students have with your program
  6. Don’t make your training too overwhelming or too watered down 
  7. Facilitate transformation at every corner. Build in wins quickly and throughout the program. 
  8. Open loop your training so that there’s excitement to keep going
  9. Make it an experience not to miss

If a course is designed well and attracts the right audience with the right expectations set, even a lazy person will complete it. They’ll be compelled to because of the experience of it. An extraordinary course can even design it in such a way to get that lazy person to take action on what they learn. 

There are some courses out there that do that, but they are exceedingly rare.

Lastly, I want to address the points made about B-School. In the threads I was a part of, many people referenced B-School as an example (of a course they never finished, but got value from) as justification that it’s then okay if students of an online course don’t necessarily finish.

B-School is simply an outlier on this point, and no one should be comparing their experience in B-School or their course to B-School.

B-School is a behemoth of a program with way more thousands of participants than most of us even hope for. This creates a variety of variables that make it impossible to compare.

I hope that this post is helpful to some of you, and I hope that it helps you increase the completion rates on your courses, which will increase your business success overall!

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or feedback!