How to Stop Wasting Time with Free Consultations

Every business owner is familiar with the “free consultation” model—and there are best practices to increase your conversion from prospect to client.

Do it right, and you will acquire a client who will recommend and refer you, and remain loyal to you—and grateful—for life.

Otherwise, you could end up with clients walking away at the end of your free session, never to return.

Let’s look at six common scenarios that can happen if you create your free consultations, free strategy sessions, or in a worst-case scenario—when more than one of the following sales-enders occur.

1. You did too complete a consulting or coaching job.  

Believe it or not, some of these sales mistakes occur because your prospect walks away happy!   They don’t need your services for another six months since they got everything needed during the complimentary consultation  And do you know what happens during those six months? Yes. They forget you and moves on.

2. You generously overstep your own boundaries.

(Nurturers — watch out for this!)  This can happen when you are so caught up with helping your prospect, you allow the discovery session to run longer than the promised time. This is like nectar to needy clients who aren’t quite ready for actual coaching—and will leave your ideal clients with the impression that you are unprofessional and don’t respect your own time. Either way, you’ll end up with the wrong client.

3. You were too generic in your targeting.

Let’s use a hypothetical example: They signed up thinking they were getting a business coach, and your lifestyle focus didn’t touch the branding issues consuming them at this moment.

4. You didn’t let him know what to expect.

Many people, in all good faith, sign up for a free consulting or coaching session not realizing that they are expected to invest financially with you if they liked the session. These people are simply looking for immediate help.

In which case, the pressure to sign up for a coaching package at the end of the discovery session leaves them either surprised and embarrassed, or surprised and resentful.

Either way, your prospect leaves feeling let down. They won’t be back.

5. You hedged or avoided all mention of fees.

…till the very end of the call. Many business owners don’t mention fees until they are actually closing the sale; either because they assume their prospects has the smarts to check out their website and look at packages available ahead of time or because talking about fees is “uncomfortable”.

If talking about fees seems uncomfortable on your landing page or at the beginning of the session, it’s going to feel twenty times more uncomfortable when you spring a costly decision on your prospect at the end.

6. You didn’t make your prospect work for the complimentary session.

Many successful coaches take one extra step when prequalifying or disqualifying prospects. They ask their prospect to provide details about what they want from the session, what their issue is, and why they think they might be a good fit with that coach or consultant.

You can do this either by providing a form, or by asking your prospect to email you—sort of a “write me a mini-essay” instruction.

Yes, this may put some people off—but if it does, chances are they really weren’t ready for services anyway. When you let them just book your time without working for the privilege, more often than not it turns into a session that leads nowhere.

These are just some of the pitfalls you can plummet into if you don’t follow a finely-tuned client attraction system.

That is why it’s important to pre-qualify takers for your free strategy sessions. Tailor these sessions—and your marketing—to attract people who:

  • Need your precise area of expertise—and approach
  • Understand the nature of consulting or coaching
  • Are ready and able to invest financially in your consulting or coaching
Free Sales Consultations Mistakes

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