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June 20, 2018

Part 6: Talk about $ before scheduling a session

In week one of this series, I said this:

“..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.”

To sum up the first 4 weeks:

  • The complimentary session should be a mere formality to getting an already genuinely interested, ideal client to commit to a coaching relationship.
  • Don’t schedule complimentary sessions with people who aren’t your ideal clients.
  • Don’t schedule complimentary sessions with people who aren’t pre-qualified (we’ve already shared 3 of the 4 questions with you)

What does pre-qualifying mean?

I explained this before:

“By ‘pre-qualifying,’ I mean you are determining that conditions are favorable for the individual to begin a coaching relationship with you. To not qualify, isn’t a knock on the person. If an individual doesn’t qualify, I simply mean that the conditions aren’t ideal right now for them to begin a coaching relationship with you. Those conditions could change a month, 6 months, or a year down the road. But it’s helpful for you, as a coach, to determine this before giving a session away for free.”

The 4th pre-qualifying question is the money conversation. For most coaches, this conversation is so terrifying, that many of them fail to ever bring it up. As a result, they don’t sign clients. After all, how can a client pay you unless you have some sort of conversation about money.

I personally believe that conversation needs to begin to take place before you give a complimentary session.

[ult_cornerbox color=”000000″ backgroundcolor=”FFFFFF” bordercolor=”000000″ borderwidth=”1″ borderstyle=”solid” icon=”” ]I don’t think you should make your fees public.[/ult_cornerbox]

This is really important for you to get: I’m not saying that you should broadcast your fee to the world. Honestly, if you talk about your fees before giving the potential client an experience of coaching, you’re likely creating a big hill for yourself to climb.

The average first year coach in the U.S. has a fee between $118 – 128 per session. The coaches that go through our Jumpstart program make more than $250 per session, and some of our rookie coaches make between $350 – $1000 per session.

I tell our coaches all the time: why a potential client chooses to work with you (or not) is never about the money. It’s always about the value and benefit the coach brings into their lives.

I personally don’t want to go out and pay $100/hour for just any random new service that I hear about. It’s not because I can’t afford it, and it’s not because I’m cheap.

The only reason why people don’t want to pay money for anything is because they can’t see how the product or service could benefit or add value to them.

If an individual doesn’t believe a product doesn’t add value or benefit them, it doesn’t matter if it costs $2500 or $25, they’re not going to pay for it.

Even though it’s never about the money, I still tell coaches not to publish their fees because it can create a barrier for people who haven’t yet seen how your service can benefit or add value to them.

That’s what the complimentary session is designed to do. It’s supposed to be so explosive, that the potential client is convinced you can help them achieve their goals.

We show our coaches in Jumpstart how to have an Explosive First Coaching Session that not only convinces the potential client that the coach can help them, but it also builds such a high value for the service, that the price actually sounds like a bargain.

So we’re not giving the potential client our fee, but we still need to do soft introduction to money, and here’s how we do that:

[ult_cornerbox color=”000000″ backgroundcolor=”FFFFFF” bordercolor=”000000″ borderwidth=”1″ borderstyle=”solid” icon=”” ]PRE-QUALIFYING QUESTION #4: Can your budget include hiring a coach for the next 90 days?[/ult_cornerbox]

Again, this is a soft introduction to the money conversation. This doesn’t blow the potential client out of the water, and it won’t scare them away if you use the proper wording.

Let’s break down the choice of words:


Budget is an endearing, disarming term when it comes to buying any product or service. The word doesn’t feel high-pressure or salesy. The word actually sounds responsible – frugal, conscious of spending.

90 Days

When we say “90 days,” we’re not saying that we’re only going to coach them for 90 days. We are setting an expectation that coaching isn’t a magic pill that creates overnight success. The potential client needs to know they’ve gotten to this critical stage for a reason. They haven’t been able to overcome this barrier on their own for a reason. They are talking to a coach about this dream for a reason. Simply put, the reason is they cannot do this on their own, because if it was such an easy thing, they would have done it already.

90 days sets the expectation that transformation is a process. Accomplishing worthwhile goals, is a process.

It’s probably going to take more than 90 days, but we want to establish a minimum expectation of commitment, and I think 90 days does the trick nicely.

90 days communicates:

  • They realize that this is not an overnight thing.
  • They are committed to the process.
  • They are ready to put their money where their mouth is

If an individual has no room in the budget to go after their goals, then it means they’re just not that committed to it yet. You don’t want to schedule a complimentary session with someone who’s not willing to invest in their own getting to the next level.

Furthermore, you don’t want to give a complimentary session to someone who wants overnight success. If you do, they either won’t sign up, or they’ll sign up and won’t achieve their goals and will back out after a month.

I’m really encouraging you to be fearless about these things. No coach should have to deal with anxiety and the highs and lows that come with scheduling free sessions with individuals who either don’t value them, aren’t their ideal client, or aren’t really serious about become a real, paying client.

Don’t allow anyone to do that to you. Be pro-active by honoring your own time, asking the right questions, and keeping your value high. The complimentary session isn’t really free!


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Master Coach Trainer, Founder | | Website

Paul Dabdoub is a master coach trainer & mentor, speaker, writer, and entrepreneur, and an executive coach who’s literally helped 1000’s of people take practical steps towards their future.

Paul is the founder of Life Coach Training Institute - the largest life coach training school in North America and the #1 life coach certification online program.

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