Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Art of the Free Consultation Call

Want to know the top “tried and true” method of landing your dream coaching client? It’s simple. Offer a free consultation.

Here’s why. Very rarely will someone hire you as a coach – especially if your services are priced on the higher end – without first getting on the phone with you. And that goes both ways. You should not agree to work with a new client without first getting to know her better.
The reason this is so important is because your prospective client wants a chance to get a feel for you and to ask you any questions they may have. It also gives you a chance to do the same thing, and to get a feel for her, her personality, what she’s looking for in a coach. You’ll also know if she’s really serious about making changes, or if she’s just a wannabe with no real ambition.

An average consult call is about 20 minutes. Set a timer if you have to so you don't get stuck on the phone longer than necessary. Twenty minutes is ample time to let you (and your prospective client) feel things out and make a decision as to whether or not you're a good fit to work together.
Another reason a free consultation call is a good idea for your coaching business is because if someone is on the fence about hiring you, you can land the sale during these 20 minutes. You'll be able to answer her questions and show your expertise in that little amount of time on the phone.

Here are a few questions you should be asking a prospective client during a free consultation call:

  • What is your biggest challenge?
  • What would it mean for you if you were able to find a solution for this challenge?
  • How do you think a coach can help you better achieve your goals?
  • Have you worked with a coach before, and what was the outcome?
These are just a few ideas of things you should ask a potential client. And maybe these are things you don't even ask on the phone, but in a pre-consultation call questionnaire (if you have something like this set up).

Of course there are also cons to offering free consultation calls. There are those people out there that are what's known as freebie seekers - they take and take and take all the free information they can get but never turn around and invest any money. In fact, these people normally have absolutely no intention of ever spending any money with you. Another con is the fact that you're giving away 20 to 30 minutes of your time. It may not seem like much but a 20-30 minute chunk of time here, and another chunk of time there can add up pretty quickly. 
Does this mean you shouldn't offer free consultation calls? No, because they can be very useful. You just need to ensure that you're not attracting all those freebie seekers with no intention of hiring you. One way to help nip this in the bud is to have a questionnaire that gets filled out before you even schedule a consult time. Find out some basic information first - how long they've been in business, how much money they make, etc. This will weed out the freebie seekers and those that can't afford you saving you from wasting both your time and their time with a free consult call. 

To sum it up, the main objective of a free consult call when you set one up is for both your prospective client and you to feel each other out and see if working together is a good fit or not.

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