Do you use free coaching sessions (a.k.a. discovery sessions or complimentary sessions) as a strategy in your coaching, consulting or service business?
If you do (and by the way, this is a strategy that can be great for some businesses, and totally wrong for others)….then are these sessions reliably attracting and converting dream clients into sales?
Signs Your Free Coaching Sessions Aren’t Working
If you find it can be difficult to get people to book in for a free coaching session, even though you know you can solve so many of their problems, then know you are not alone.
If you do get people to book in, you give great value, feel you have built a strong connection and then when you talk about your offerings do you hear “can I get back to you?” or “I just don’t have the money at the moment? Again, know you are not alone.
You see, the way Free Coaching Sessions are usually marketed, offered and delivered is doomed to fail but they don’t need to.
In this total teaching episode of Romance Your Tribe Radio, I walk you through The 7 Reasons Free Coaching Sessions Don’t Work and then show you the changes you need to make so they will attract dream clients and consistently convert to sales for you.
You can watch the video, listen to the audio, download from the podcast directory, or read the transcript below.
Never miss an episode. Click here for all the ways you can subscribe.
Cheat Sheet Podcast Notes: The 7 Reasons Free Coaching Sessions Don’t Work
Reason #1: Offering a “Free Coaching Session / Discovery Session” Triggers People’s B.S Meters
I know that seems counter-intuitive to the topic we have but be honest with yourself. What do you really think when you see someone offer a free coaching session?
Because it is general, can be open to everyone and easy to book for most people, there is the alarm sound of their finely tuned B.S. Meter clanging in their head.
Because no-one gives away free services to anyone and everyone unless they are totally desperate and / or they are saying it is a coaching session but it is really a sales call.
Neither option is attractive and you have lost trust before you even get someone to book a session.
Read on, to discover a better approach.
Reason #2: Positioning Your Free Coaching Session as a “Try Before you Buy” Assumes Rejection
Offering a free coaching session can seem attractive because you are reducing the risk for the potential client. They can “try before they buy”.
But let’s look at what message you are sending here. You are assuming rejection and sending the message “There’s a good chance you aren’t going to like me because I’m not confident I can get you results.”
Even if you don’t label your free coaching session as a “try before you buy”, if in your mind you think this, you enter the conversation with a fear of rejection and your potential client will pick up those vibes.
Read on, to discover a better approach.
Reason #3: Over-delivering on a Free Coaching Session Decreases Sales Conversions
This is the mistake I made when I started out and it is really common.
It stems from one of the following ideas:
- I genuinely want to help this person and I have so many ideas and tips to help them.
- I am sooo going to impress them with how much I know that they will sign up on the spot.
The result, unfortunately is usually one of the following:
- Your potential client is completely overwhelmed, the thought of focusing any more on this is exhausting.
- They say something along the lines of….. ”OMG you are amazing, I have so many ideas I never would have thought of….. It’s going to take me a few months to get through this. Can we reconnect in a few months? (yep, this was a really common thing I heard when I first started out and offered free coaching sessions).
Not only does this totally bomb your sales conversions, if you DO follow people up in a month or so, more often than not they haven’t taken action anyway. So not only did you lose a sale, you didn’t help them because they really needed your help to get results.
Read on, to discover a better approach.
Reason #4: You Are Unclear On The Offer You Will Make At End Of The Free Coaching Session
In a free coaching session (a.k.a. complimentary or discovery session) the intention is ultimately for you to make a sale. The thing is, you may have multiple solutions or ways to help people.
If your offer for a free coaching session is not specifically designed to attract people who are most likely to find your offer irresistible, you can spend a frustrating hour discussing problems they need help with that you either:
- Do not have an offer that matches their needs, or
- You spend longer than necessary narrowing down which of your multiple offers is the best for them.
When you are super clear on your offer, then you can work backwards, to create very focused discovery sessions that attract people who are likely to buy.
The Solution: You may have multiple types of Free Coaching Sessions that lead to different offers.
Read on, for examples on how to do this
Reason #5: A Free Coaching Session Without a Specific Outcome Delivered on The Call Attracts The Wrong People
This reason links to Reason #4.
If your Free Coaching Session is left open and “organic” you will attract people who may or may not be a perfect fit for the offers you have available to sell to them. And, as I mentioned in Reason #1, without a defined outcome of your free coaching session, they will fill in the blanks and decide for themselves, what the outcome of the session will be.
The solution is to offer a very definite outcome which solves a pressing problem your ideal client has. This problem is solved in even greater detail through your offer you have for sale.
Example Focused Outcome Free Coaching Sessions
Here are 2 examples for 2 different offers I have and the types of Focused Free Coaching Session I could offer. I go into more examples on the podcast video / audio / transcript.
Offer: Video Marketing Academy
Specific Outcome on Free Coaching Session: Nail the topics for 6 weeks of video marketing (I can nail this in about 15 minutes of the call).
Offer: Attract Your Tribe Program
Specific Outcome on Free Coaching Session: Nail your most profitable avatar, or I could also do “nail your one-page 7 figure business plan”.
If you make your free coaching session available for anyone to book in for, you can end up wasting your time (no sales conversions) and your prospect’s time (you aren’t the right person for them anyway).
Reason #6: Not Being Specific About Who Is Eligible For A Free Coaching Session Attracts The Wrong People
If you make your free coaching session available for anyone to book in for, you can end up wasting your time (no sales conversions) and your prospect’s time (you aren’t the right person for them anyway).
Now, I know what you may be thinking:
- I can help a wide variety of people so I can’t be too specific on who I offer my free coaching sessions to.
- If I narrow down who is eligible for a free coaching session I will reduce the number of people who will book in.
The opposite is true.
If people can’t quickly see that your free coaching session is designed specifically for them to help them solve a specific problem they have…. then they won’t book in.
They’ll only book in if they have been exposed to enough of your marketing to have a good understand of who you help. In other words, if they’ve had enough exposure to answer the question themselves, because you haven’t been clear enough at the beginning to let them know if they are the perfect person to benefit from your free coaching session.
Now at this point you may also be thinking that you don’t want to niche your business down to one specific topic or solution.
You don’t have to.
You do however, need to make your FOCUSED free coaching sessions, eligible only to the most profitable avatar (ie most likely to buy), leading to a specific offer.
So you may have 2 or 3 or more FOCUSED sessions available, each one only to eligible people.
An example would be a health coach who helps women achieve weight loss goals. She may have 1 session only for women over 45 wanting to lose weight. And another for women who can’t shake the last 5 kgs.
If not sure what the offer is or who your most profitable avatar is, we need to talk baby.
That’s what I help you do. Here’s the best program to totally nail this.
Reason #7: Offering Unlimited Availability To Book Your Free Coaching Session Reduces Your Credibility And Reduces Sales Conversions
If you are using a free coaching session as a way to convert people to your one-on-one coaching, group coaching or workshops, you need to place a real value on your time.
After all, it is your time and expertise they will be buying.
If it is easy to access your time and expertise for free, then why would they consider paying you what you are worth….when you have sent the message that your time is worth very little to you?!
So, until you have a sales team fielding an endless stream of free coaching session bookings, you need to set a very real limit to the number of booking slots you have available per week. And make this scarcity part of your message.
OK let’s bring it all together into a simple message you can communicate to attract the ideal avatar to your free coaching session, who is most likely to find your offer you make on the call, absolutely irresistible.
I challenge you to complete the following message for your business and share below. You never know, your ideal client may very well see your comment and be grateful they found you.
[promised outcome of session] in 60 minutes or less
I have space for just xxx [avatar description] for a FREE session this week where together, we’ll [promised outcome of session].
Why? Because I know one you nail this step, you’ll be on the fast-track to [achieve final outcome of working with you and your offer].
Who? [detailed description of ideal avatar for this session]
Do You Need Help?
If this script is hard for you complete because:
- You’re not really clear on your most profitable avatar
- You don’t have clear irresistible offers
- You only sell your time, and not a suite of nested offers to leverage your time
- You aren’t sure what outcome you can offer in a session that attracts the right people
- You aren’t clear on how to describe the final outcomes people get after completing your paid offer
Then you need me baby!
And the best place to get my help is through The Attract Your Tribe program (which is also a great entry point to working with me as one of VIP clients)
Links and Resources Mentioned
Read The Transcript Here
Hello and welcome, it's Janet Beckers here. Today's episode is a teaching lesson, which means get ready to get your pen and paper out, get ready to take notes because today, I'll be walking you through step by step on mastery of a particular tactical strategy that you use, and today's. we're going to be looking at complimentary sessions, a really common technique that is used especially in the coaching profession. And what I'm going to do is I'm going to run you through seven big mistakes that people make if they are offering complimentary sessions. So, stick with me, we're going to work through those seven and as well as telling you the mistakes, I'll tell you what to do instead so that they do work, and then you'll be able to assess at the end if this is something that you want to be using as a strategy in your business.
Now, why am I talking about this particular topic today? Well, I've just finished creating a bonus module that's for the clients who are working through my Attract Your Tribe program. And this is a bonus module on how to sell on the phone, or as I like to think of it is how to have conversion conversations, and there's a few different ways that you can be doing that, and within that, there is the strategy of the complimentary session with all my retake on it. So I've actually been providing a structure, a template to be able to follow to be able to have these conversations. How do put this into your business model and when's it appropriate to use it in your business model and when definitely not. And then also that mindset that goes around so that you can be having these conversations with confidence and actually really enjoy them.
So that's why I'm talking about it today. So I'm going to be covering just one small section of that, but it's going to be really valuable for you. So you're ready to take some notes, and I really love to hear from you. If you're using complimentary sessions at the moment, are you going to make any changes based on what I've shared with you today? Okay. So let's get started. So I'm just going to refer now to my notes so I don't forget any of these seven. The very first mistake that people make is they offer a complimentary session. So if you have heard people say, "Look, I've gota complimentary session available for you or a discovery session," that may be what it's called. What's the first thing that comes to your mind? Well, the first thing for me is this is kind of really desperate.
They just say to me, "Look, come here, come here, come here, come here, and you can have something for free." For me, my BS meter goes up straight away and I'm going, "You know what? I know this is not a free session. I know what you're trying to do is you want to get me on the phone and then you're going to try to sell for me," and it just seems desperate. For me there is an immediate disconnect and immediate distrust. If you're finding that you're not really getting people going, "Yeah, awesome, a free session, I want something free," If you're finding that people were not saying that, they kind of go, "Oh no, that's all right, they're stepping back a little bit, that will be why.
Okay, so if that's number one mistake is just going out there, going "Complimentary session, discovery session," it's on your website booking now, it's for everybody. So that's mistake number one, making it available for everybody and saying, "Here's a free complimentary session." So let's look a bit further, and we'll work out what you can be doing instead. Now the other mistake that people make is they consider what they're doing is they're giving you a bit of a try before you buy, and we'll even use those things of, "You know, what, I'm going to give you a complimentary session, and that'll give you an idea of if you like the way that I work." To me, that is kind of putting you on the, "I'm actually not really confident that I can get results for you, so I hope you like me at the end of this."
Again, it is not positioning you as an authority, as the guide who's going to be able to help them on their transformational journey, that you are not really the person who understands what their problem is and where they're trying to go and that you've got a process to get them there. If you're saying that this is kind of a try before you buy, it means that there's a really good chance you're not going to like me. That's why I've got to do this. So that is not really very good positioning. So if you're mentally thinking of this as a try before you buy, if you're finding that you're using the language that gives that impression, this is not a good thing for you to be doing. The complimentary sessions will not be working for you because people are not coming in there seeing you as the person who is confident that you're going to get results for people. So let's have a look now at another mistake that people make, and as I'm going through, we'll be getting by the end, you'll be working at what you can be doing instead.
Now, this is one of the things that a huge mistake that I made when I started, and you might be very well doing this. A big mistake people make when they're giving a complimentary session is really trying to just give as much value as you can in that time, like a total total brain dump where you're thinking, "You know what, I am so going to impress this person with how much I know and how much I can help them. Then I'm going to try to do as much of that I can in this 30, 60, 90, whatever it is that you set aside. I'm going to help them as much as I can," because then they're going to go, "Whoa, this chick knows what she's talking about. I am so signing up." Big mistake, and it took me a while to learn this one because when I first started in the Niche Partners, which is the business that sort of started out where I would be working with people to help them to get the results, so not just mentoring them, it was a done for you.
So I do everything for them, and get a revenue share, and then that evolved to become Wonderful Web Women, which started to turn into a coaching business. So when I was first starting out, I didn't have mentors, I just was working it out myself. So whenever I got anybody on the phone, I just couldn't help myself but overdeliver, and then this is what would come at the end of it. I would then say, "Hey, so I've got some great programs, you want to sign up for some coaching," and they would just go, "Oh my God, you're fantastic. I have just got so many ideas. I didn't even think of half of the things that you've just told me about and you know what? I've got so many ideas now. It's going to take me a few months to actually go and take action and implement it, but I've got good stuff to start with now. So I am so coming back to work with you in just a few months once I'm finished doing all this."
Literally that's what people were saying. If you're getting conversations like that, just know that that is a big mistake. You can't try to over deliver and impress by doing this huge brain dump, and just trying to help them as much as you can. It's not going to work. You're not doing them a service because, very likely, if you followed them up in a month and said, "How much action did you take on what I gave you?" Very few of them have done anything, I can tell you now, because they're not going to get that. They're not going to go forth and actually do it. So it's not helping them, and it's not helping you with your sales. So that's another really, really big mistake is to try to totally over deliver in that session. Now let's keep on moving on.
So the next thing then that I see a big mistake that people make is not being absolutely super clear on exactly what is the offer that you are going to be making to people when they, at the end of your conversation or sometime during your conversation when it comes to, "Look, this is the way I can help you." So if you've got lots of different things that you could be helping people with, you might have a few different programs, a few different services, and they may be quite different outcomes from each one. If you're getting people onto a free session, you can be spending a lot of time trying to work out what's the best thing for them because they might be coming on wanting to talk about one particular topic, but that's not actually the thing, you don't have an offer around that or your best offer is not around that topic.
So by not being super duper clear on what it is that you're going to be doing, offering at the end, then means that you can't then work backwards to go, "Okay, well, what's going to get the right person onto that call in the first place?" So number one, you've got to be really, really clear at the end, what are you, what are you going to offer? So you may end up having different types of complimentary sessions if you have different offers because you want it to be seamless. So if you are not really clear, and if what you're enticing people onto this free session for does not closely link with what you will be segueing over into for a sale, for the conversion, that's a big mistake to make. It's too general, it's too hard. You've got to try to wrangle people over in the right direction. So that's a really big mistake to make.
So if you're doing that, I want you to be really clear on what is the offer I'm making, and if you're not clear on what your offer is, if you're not clear on the transformational journey you take your clients, on or that your clients themselves need to be on, that's where I come in. That's where I can help you, I've got my programs, and that's specifically what the outcomes are that I deliver through those, is to help you to be able to do that really, really well. So if I've got to you to this point and you're going, "I'm really not super clear on that," then we need to talk, baby. So there will be links below here for you to be able to go and check out the different programs that, hey, we might even get on the phone if that sounds right. So that's an important thing. Know what your offer is, and you will have, if they are very different offers, you need to have more than one type of complimentary session. Now you can see that we're getting a little bit more specific, aren't we.
Now, the next big problem that I see that people do is they don't design the complimentary session to very specifically lead to that actual conversation. So you don't want to be, say for example, one of my programs is, around either a video marketing academy. Now, there is no use me trying to get people to get onto, if that's what I'm really going to be focusing on selling, there is no use me getting people onto the call who really want to talk about something like "What are my offers," or what are my, "What's going to be my best business model," those sorts of things because that's different programs that I have to offer, not the video marketing one. So in that case, I need to make sure that when I'm offering them a complimentary session, that it's specifically around video marketing. So you can see how, depending on your offer, that's what's going to be the focus. So I need to let people know that this is a complimentary session around video marketing. Very, very specific. That's if I'm selling that program. Now that's one mistake.
So now we're looking at the next one, which is, once we've done that, we need to be really clear on what the outcome is. So if you're going to be saying, "All right, we're just going to get on here and we're going to talk about video marketing," it's still not going to be specific enough. However, if you can offer them something that you can be helping them to nail very, very quickly so that on that call, you can be promising them that "You know what, we're going to get on the call and it's going to be this particular outcome." Now this outcome that you're going to be delivering, helping them to do is something that's going to be helping them to realize that there is more that they can possibly be doing with your help.
For example, if, I don't offer complimentary sessions by the way for my programs, but if I was for the example with the video marketing academy, and instead of just saying, "Okay, we're going to be talking about video marketing," I might say, "You know what? We're going to get onto a call and I'm going to help you to work out the first six topics that you can be doing videos on for your business. I might do that. I know I can deliver that, but I know that it's also going to make people realize, "Wow, maybe I need to, how am I going to shoot the videos? how am I going to get confident with that?" And then, you know, "How can I do up all the automation?" So that could be a good outcome if I was going to do that. So what can you be doing, that is a very specific thing.
So people are not going to get that distrust of, "Oh, she's just going to sell me," because they're going to go, "You know what? This is something I'm interested in, video marketing, and here it is that they get you. "I'm going to have this thing. We're just going to be focusing on six topics." So it might be something different for you. It might be, "We're going to work out the first three big steps that you need to be taking to get whatever the outcome is." Also be aware of if something that you know is going to take a longer period of time for you to be able to do, you don't want it to do something that's going to take an hour to do. You want something that you can deliver in about 15 minutes so that you've got time then to have the conversion conversation. So that's the other thing that people do wrong is they're not giving a really specific deliverable outcome from that time to work together. Now moving backwards, you can see I always like to start at the end and move back.
So we started with what you're offering, then we've gone to, "Okay, what is the topic?" Then we're going to want on an outcome that you can be delivering. Now the next thing we're going to do is who's getting on the call? And so this is another mistake that people make is they're not very, very specific about who this free session is for. You only want to spend that time with people who can spend money with you that are most likely to want the offer that you had at the end. So you need to be super duper clear. So for me, in the example of the video marketing academy, I would be saying this is for people who are in business now who want to be able to reach a wider audience using video marketing. So they're in business now. It's not going to be for somebody that wants to use marketing to, he wants to use video to do family shots or something like that.
Or somebody that's thinking, "One day, I might start up a business because I don't work with people who know that one day they might start a business with no idea what on," that's not the ideal person for the program. So very, very specific. You may have a very, very specific thing. There might be a particular gender or a particular age. They might have had a particular health issue, for example, or a particular goal. So be very, very specific on who this is for. This is the big mistake people make it that it's a free session for anybody. No way baby, because that brings us onto the next one, is scarcity. Your time is really, really valuable. So the big mistake that people make is they go, well, signing for a complimentary session. You know, I've got one. It's like it's going to be, "This is all, I've got heaps of time to do this." No, you don't. You've got other things that you've got to do, and you're only wanting to spend 30 or 60 minutes with people who you're pretty sure that it's going to end up resulting in a sale.
So you want to make sure that you're going to get a return on investment of your time. So you can't be doing this, spending this time with people who are not likely to be clients. And so you really need to look at your calendar and go, "You know what, I've only got time to do six a week, so I need to make sure that I can be helping you." So that's a difference. So by making it so that it's really general, that is for anybody, and that you've got no commitment on your time does not position you as being able to give value, and all of those things that make it too general, too easy, are red flags for people that either you don't really know what you're talking about because why would you be so accessible? So are they going to get results for me anyway.
And the other red flag is, "You know what? Nobody would be doing that in their right mind." If they're running a business, they're not just going to keep on doing everything for free in their right mind. Why would they be doing that? I know, it's a sales call, red flag, I don't trust them straight away. So are you doing any of these things? If you are, my challenge to you is to take into note what I've said, those different things that are gonna help you to narrow this down, to make it so that this is actually something that is going to be really easy for you to be able to offer and get the right people so you're not wasting your time with tire kickers, that were never going to be the right people for your programs, and you're wasting their time as well if they're not going to be the kind of people that you're going to be able to help.
So I'd love to hear from you. Are you making any of these mistakes? If you are, don't beat yourself up too much, because I've done that. I've made every single one of these mistakes when I was starting out in my business, and I've helped a lot of people who come in doing that general thing to be able to make it so that they are very specific, and that it can work for you. Now there's a lot more that goes into this on actually how do you structure the calls. Even if that is the right process for you to use, at what stages in your business is it right, and when is it wrong. So there's a lot more that goes into it, and say if you want to know more about that, you would need to be in my Attract Your Tribe program, baby.
So I've got links down below for you to be able to find out about the Attract Your Tribe program. It's something that you can usually access at any time, and then once or twice a year, we run a live session, but you can be able to get into the program there. So have a look and see if it's open, and that's really gonna help you there if you want to know more. Otherwise, leave your comments down below. I really want to hear from you. Have you made these mistakes? And if you only change it, what's going to be the thing that you're offering? What's going to be the big thing, put it down below, and you never know, it maybe appeal to somebody else that is watching this episode, that's thinking, "I need that. That person's talking to me." So use this as an opportunity for other people who are watching this that you might be able to help them as well. Okay? Go forth, have fun, and I can't wait to see what you come up with. Bye.