May 15, 2018
It’s quite common for coaches – especially new coaches – to offer a complimentary session to individuals who are considering working with them.
But if you’re giving away free sessions and the majority of those sessions (and I mean better than 50%) aren’t turning into paid coaching clients, then there are some real red flags that probably have nothing to do with your coaching skills but have everything to do with who you’re giving free sessions.
I don’t think it’s a bad thing to offer a complimentary session, as long as we’ve done our due diligence to ensure that who we have in front of us really is our ideal client, and they’ve been properly pre-qualified before we ever schedule a session.
Let’s get something fixed in our minds to start:
When I say that, I don’t mean that we’re doing anything with strings attached or that the individual is even paying us for the session. What I am saying is this session is absolutely costing you, the coach, time and money.
To setup that session, you spent some sort of time prospecting. Perhaps you went to a networking group, or maybe you created a post on social media. Regardless of how you set that meeting up, there was time and some ingenuity that was involved. You drove to the appointment, sat with the individual for an hour, shared your gift, drank a cup of coffee, then drove away. All of this time, fuel, expertise, etc. with no exchange of money. It was all on your dime.
Now none of this is a waste; it’s all about providing something of value and benefit to the potential client. It’s an investment.
But when you make an investment, you need to put it into things and, more specifically, into the right people that have the greatest possibility for your return on investment.
What that means is that you have to be a little more selective than many coaches who are starting out.
I know for me personally, when I began as a coach, I had no idea who I wanted to coach, so I just put myself out there to coach pretty much anyone with a pulse.
When you simply say, “I’m a life coach. Does anyone want a free session?” You shouldn’t expect really good results.
Even so, that’s what I did: I reached out to about 100 people when I first started with terrible, unclear messaging and just asked if anyone wanted a free session with me.
The response was great – 15 people wanted a free session. But not all of those 15 people wanted to pay for a coach. That wasn’t their fault. It was mine.
So I gave out 15 free sessions. 3 of those people became paying clients. Fortunately, I got a fourth client out of it – an entrepreneur observed me giving a free session to one of those people and, on the spot, asked me to be his coach.
A lot of people would call this success, and it’s not that bad. Honestly, I sent emails, etc. to do the prospecting, so I had no hard costs involved on that end. The reason I didn’t get more clients out of the 15 free sessions wasn’t because I wasn’t skilled or helpful, it was because almost none of them were my ideal client, or a least weren’t at a critical stage to actually act on it.
Spend the time to do your own homework to discover your target market and choose a niche. Don’t worry about who you’re leaving out. Worry more about choosing who you want to work with, who will pay you for your services, and only offer a complimentary session to the people who fit that description.
You’re not a beggar. You’re not desperate. People who get a complimentary session from you are not doing you a favor. Don’t allow yourself to think that way, and don’t present yourself that way.
I don’t care if you have zero clients. I don’t care if you just got certified last week.
You’re a professional. They are the ones who are receiving something of significant value at no cost to them. This isn’t a freebie. This costs you something. You’re investing in them.
When you feel desperate, you’ll make decisions that aren’t the best. You’re already making an investment by giving someone a complimentary session. Just make sure you are making a wise investment.
Don’t try to give a session to someone who doesn’t value it. Don’t give a session to someone who wouldn’t pay a premium for it. Don’t give a session to someone who seems wishy-washy. And don’t give a session to someone who really isn’t your ideal client, even if you think you need the money.
What this all comes down to is your own personal value.
A coach who values themselves attracts clients who value them as a coach.
Is this a complimentary session for the potential client with no strings attached? Yes.
But this session has extraordinary value, and your time must be treated with the utmost respect.
So let that begin with you.
This is the introduction of this series, but over the next few weeks, I’m going to show you how you pre-qualify potential clients so you don’t waste your time or theirs on complimentary sessions that don’t go anywhere. I’m going to also show you how to set appointments that will be so highly regarded that the individual will not cancel, no-show, or re-schedule.
And the result is going to be a high percentage of those sessions translating into real, paying clients.
Don’t miss any parts of this series!
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