Conducting free coaching or strategy sessions is one of the most popular and powerful ways to book new clients.
Why? Because the best way for a prospect to see the value in what you do is to experience it firsthand.
You know that you're a great coach. You've got so much to offer. So why do your free sessions always leave you feeling disappointed and deflated?
The truth of the matter is that if you're not converting your free calls into clients, you're leaving money on the table and leaving your potential clients at a disadvantage. If you have the solution to their problem, it's your responsibility to help them.
The good news? It's not your strategy that's failing. If you're already booking free calls, half the battle is over. Now it's simply a matter of optimizing your process and performance.
It's not your strategy that's failing. It's a matter of optimizing your process and performance.
Process Issue: You don't have the proper boundaries in place.
While free sessions are a valuable way to generate leads, it's vitally important that you have boundaries in place to ensure you're not wasting your time or the client's time. The simple truth of the matter is that not everyone is ready or able to embark on the work that you're inviting them to.
If anyone can book a call with you without any prior vetting, your calendar is going to fill up with potential clients who are not a good fit for you or your work. This can only lead to burnout and frustration. You'll wonder why nothing seems to be working. You'll blame your messaging, branding, the bad haircut you got last week- anything but the real problem.
The Solution: Have an application process for your free sessions.
So many coaches bristle at the idea of having an application for their free calls and discovery calls. The inescapable fact is that you only have so many hours in a week. If you're going to serve your clients (and your business) powerfully, you need to make sure you're spending that time with potential clients that are a great fit for your coaching.
Having an application process accomplishes several things at once. First, it screens applicants, ensuring that you only speak to the most qualified and motivated leads. Second, it helps you gather information about your client's current situation and their goals. This saves valuable time during the call. Without an application, you spend half the call trying to get a clear picture of where they are and what they need.
By gathering that information in your application, you can skip the pretense and dive right into helping them solve their biggest problems. Remember- serving your client powerfully is what this free call is all about.
Lastly, by having an application for your calls, you immediately position yourself as an authority. When your availability is wide open, you subconsciously give off the impression that you're either desperate or don't have many clients (or both.) You want your clients to see you as an in-demand coach that they'd love to work with, not the newcomer who isn't very successful yet.
In short, having an application process saves you time, makes your sessions more powerful, and increases your conversion rate.
Process & Performance Issue: You're leaving your calls open ended.
When you go into a call without having any structure or possible outcomes in place, your leave your clients feeling uneasy. When there's no clear resolution to the call, the client doesn't know what comes next.
Are you going to try to email them and get the sale? Do they need to book another call? Should they ask about your offerings? Are you going to talk about pricing? When they don't know what to expect, they won't know what action to take or even what questions to ask. When you leave a client feeling this way, you can guarantee that you won't be hearing from them again.
Remember- you're the coach. It's your job to set expectations and guide the client through the call. Leaving things open ended confuses your clients (and costs you sales.)
The Solution: Set expectations at the beginning of the call.
When I conduct a free session, I let clients know how I structure my calls early on. It puts them at ease and gives our time together a framework. One of the things I'll often tell a client (on a free session) is that there are 3 possibilities at the end of the call.
Possibility 1: Our work is complete and we don't feel like there's anything left to explore. This might be an instance where the client or myself simply feels like this isn't a good fit or feels like there isn't anything else we need to work on. In cases like this, there's no reason to discuss working together. I end the call and thank the client for their time and energy.
Possibility 2: The session is a success and we'd like to explore what it might look like to work together. When this happens, I confirm that moving forward is a "hell yes" for both the client and myself. I'll usually schedule a separate call (a sales call or 'discovery call') to walk the client through our options, address any objections, and enroll them in the program that is the best fit.
Possibility 3: We have a great session but don't feel like we know enough yet to make a decision about working together. Sometimes on a free call, you start to feel like you're on the verge of tapping into something really powerful just as the session time is up. In cases like this, I usually offer the client a second free session so that we can get to the bottom of whatever issue we are exploring. From there, we will be in a better space to decide if we'd like to explore working together.
By setting the agenda and presenting the possible outcomes of the call, you put your client at ease so that you can get about the work of serving them. You'll never have to worry "Are they going to ask about working with me?" or "Are they going to email me and ask to book a coaching package?". You (and the client) will know exactly what the next steps are.
Performance Issue: You're focusing on strategy instead of going deeper.
Anyone can teach strategy. But that's not why your clients come to you. If information alone could solve the problem, everyone would be a millionaire.
Your clients already know the strategy. They've attended all the webinars and seen all the same material that you have. They're coming to you because it wasn't enough.
No matter how much information they've collected, they can still get sidelined by fear, doubt, and uncertainty. Just like you. That's why you're here.
The Solution: Grow your skill-set as a coach so that you can create breakthroughs for your clients..
Your ability to help a client work through their mental and emotional roadblocks is the key to your success as a coach. If you don't feel confident in your skill-set as a coach, focus on developing it until you do.
Your goal is to dive deep, uncover what's really keeping your client stuck, and create a shift that helps them move past it. When you can do this, you'll never have to struggle to turn a free session into a paying client. They'll be asking you how they can work with you and when they can pay you.
This, then is your primary objective: to serve your potential clients so powerfully that selling becomes effortless.
How to incorporate this into your coaching practice:
1.) Have an application for your calls.
2.) Set expectations at the beginning of each call and let the client know what the potential outcomes are.
3.) Develop your skill-set as a transformational coach. When you can create breakthroughs for you clients, you won't have to work so hard to "sell" them.
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Now I want to hear from you. How did the shifts presented here change the way you approach your calls? Comment below and share your insights.