SHIFT Work: Rethinking Your Free Consultation
Offering your VIPs (Very Interested Prospects) a free consultation is one of the best ways to convert leads into loyal clients.
Rationally, this makes sense: the more people we talk to and give them a sample of what it’s like to work with us, the more we’ll find clients that we really want to work with. And many of us do find some great opportunities – but we also miss some because we stumble through the offer phase of the consultation.
When I first started offering business coaching, I used to get so excited about new prospect signing up for a free consultation. I worked really hard to give them a sample of what it was like to work with me. I was energetic, passionate, and helpful. And I was confident in coaching them: they would leave the session inspired and ready to take on the world with the practical action steps we came up with during the call. At the end of our time, which often ran over the scheduled time, I would be excited, they would be excited and we worked our way towards the parting goodbye, it would dawn on me that I never made them an offer. Or if I did remember to extend an offer to work together, it felt awkward to “pitch” them about my coaching programs after such a warm and friendly chat.
The result: Lots of free consultations and inspired conversations, but not many conversions to new clients.
Moment of Brilliance: My inability to grow my client base had nothing to do with my services and everything to do with my marketing intention and my resistance to ask for the business.
Is this where you are stuck? One of the ways I help my clients go from bright to brilliant is by helping them SHIFT from resistance to results.
Here are a few foundational truths that I use to help them set better marketing intentions for their free consultation:
- You have the right to earn a living from the work that you do.
- You cannot earn a living as an entrepreneur if you cannot grow your client base.
- Growing your client base means that you will have to ASK people to be clients.
- The best context for inviting people to become clients is a free consultation.
Once you can agree to those truths, it’s time to SHIFT your thinking about your free consultation.
#1: Your free consultation is not for people seeking freebies- it’s for people looking to hire someone, your VIPs.
#2: Your ideal VIPs expect you to make an offer. They are prospects, not freeloaders.
#3: Understand that people getting offended by your offer is about them not you or the value you place on your work. They:
- Don’t know how to say no – so they don’t like to be put into a situation where they might have to. Being decisive and learning to say no is something mature and profitable solopreneurs know how to do. It’s not personal. If you have a problem saying no, I guarantee that you are resisting situations where you may hear no.
- Are not real investors, they only want what is cheap or free. People that are unwilling to invest in themselves are not ideal clients because they will doubt their investment and line up their actions to prove that it wasn’t worth it, like not doing the work and constantly coming up with excuses for why your advice won’t work for them.
- They are not ready to buy…yet. Sometimes people are gathering information so they can plan or budget for the help and support they need. Sometimes they need more “courting.” This is where having a system in place to nurture leads is invaluable. Follow up and follow up consistently.
Serious leads sign up for your free consultations with an understanding that they are approaching a business. Why wouldn’t they expect you to make an offer and invite them to work with you – if it’s a good fit? And that’s what the consultation is all about: would both of you benefit from working together.
What are you doing?
Are you trying to build a practice by getting something for nothing? You reap what you sow: If you are not investing in your business, you will attract people that are not willing to invest in theirs. When you shift, so will your practice.
If you are interested in working with a coach that can help you move from resistance to results, schedule a complimentary SHIFT session. In my free consultation, we’ll talk about where you are, where you want to be and determine if I’m the right person to help you get there.