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A Small Adjustment That’ll Save You Time & Boost Results

It’s so easy to think in either/or terms … black and white.  But sometimes there are ways to get a little creative and find a way forward that splits the difference.  What am I talking about?  Something this longtime business coach has recently figured out for herself.

I often hear service-based business owners say they don’t offer prospective clients a complimentary consultation.  “I’m not going to give away my services for free!”  

I get that.

And, I’d like to give both newer professionals and seasoned professionals some perspective on this.  This applies to you whether you’re a coach or any other service-based professional who’s selling the results and benefits of your service.  (It’s not so focused on those of you who are product-based.)

If you’re a service-based professional, it’s likely your services, even if you present them via a “package price,” come in at a minimum of a $100 an hour … likely much more than that.  And my personal philosophy is that if a prospective client is going to spend hundreds of dollars a month with me, I want them to have a real opportunity to talk to me in some depth, so they make the best possible decision about engaging my services.

For you newer professionals, I recommend you ALWAYS offer the complimentary consultation, because that’s what allows your prospective client to get to know you, trust you, fully understand the benefits the service will provide them, and make a truly informed decision.

People do business with people they know and trust.  How can you know and trust someone if you’ve never interacted with them, especially if they don’t have an established reputation?

And here’s the underlying, even bigger, reason why you want to do thisYou need the experience of having these conversations. You learn … by listening to what a prospect wants and needs, adapting to all the different personalities that come your way, and becoming more confident and comfortable articulating how you can help.  That only comes with practice.  Do 100 complimentary conversations with a hundred different personality styles and see how good you get at business development!

For those of you with a full or nearly full practice, who might understandably balk at offering complimentary consultations to one and all, I’d like to offer an alternative I’ve recently implemented myself.  You still offer a complimentary consultation, but there’s a twist.

You ask your prospects to complete an application if they want to be considered for this opportunity.  

This’ll help you differentiate between those who are seriously considering your services and those who are interested simply because it’s free!  

Let me give you an example.

I have a recurring opportunity to speak to a particular group of folks in my target market.  Typically, 50% or more of attendees sign up for a comp. session, which requires me to do anywhere from 25-30 comp. sessions, which, in turn, take roughly 30-35 hours of my time to complete.

And, the last time I spoke to this group, the “conversion rate” from prospect to actual client wasn’t as high as I would typically get.  That left me wondering if people were simply responding to the “free” invitation.

So, I created a short application for them to fill out.

I’ve done this twice and here are the results.

In both cases, more than 20 folks requested an application, but only 5 or 6 people actually completed it!

And of those 5 or 6 applicants, I generated 3 new clients each time.  That’s a whole lot less work than doing 25-30 one-hour complimentary sessions each time!

I learned who really had skin in the game … who was really committed to going the extra mile.  That’s who my ideal client is … someone committed and serious about doing the work!

And I discerned their level of commitment simply by having them undertake that small extra step of completing a simple application.

It’s a small ask that reveals so much about your prospects’ intentions.  Psychology at work.

So, if you’re new to business, do every complimentary session you can and gain the experience.

And if you’re practice is nearly full and you can be more discerning, why not try this approach?

You still get to offer the people who’ve attended your events … or otherwise shown interest … solid follow-up value, but now, you’re concentrating your time and effort on the folks who are truly serious about moving forward!

Even if they don’t choose to hire you, you know they weren’t casual tire-kickers.

The result?  You’re more efficient and more impactful.

And who doesn’t want that?

Best Wishes,

 

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