Enroll More Clients – Structure For Your Free Initial Consultation

Enroll more clients with this structure for consultation calls | Marketing For Health Coaches

Offering a free initial consultation (also called a Get Acquainted Call, Strategy Session, Discovery Session, or Breakthrough Session) is a great way to turn a potential client into a paying customer.

Do you wonder how to structure this call, so you’re providing value while educating prospective clients about your services?

Do wonder how to transition to talking about your services, without coming off as salesy?

Today, I’m going to give you a structure for your free initial consultation so that you can lead these sessions with confidence, and enroll more clients.

I’m sharing:

  • How to frame the conversation from the beginning, so you’ll never come off as salesy.
  • Specific questions to ask, and in what order.
  • How to make an offer at the end in a way that flows and feels natural.
  • How to use these calls to help you write powerful marketing copy.

Let’s get started!

Breaking the ice

Start the calls by breaking the ice. You’re going to be getting fairly personal, so it’s important that the other person feels comfortable and safe speaking with you.

If you’re speaking with someone local, find out how they were referred to you and use that as a jumping off point for the conversation. Discussing your mutual love of a local yoga studio will make you feel more familiar to them.

If you are speaking with someone who is not local, find out where they are from and ask them about their town or state. Perhaps you can relate to having visited where they live. If not, ask them to tell you a bit about it. Starting the call off with small talk can put both your prospective client and you at ease.

Framing the call

Once you’ve broken the ice, let them know what they can expect out of the call.

You might say something like:

“The way I structure these calls is:

  • First, I’m going to get an understanding of what’s going on for you
  • Then, I want to understand what you’ve tried already, what has worked and what hasn’t worked
  • From there, we’ll talk about your primary goals
  • Then at the end, if you are interested, I can share how I work with clients.”

Then ask them “how does this sound?”

It’s important to ask this last question, because you want them to buy into
the process.

This way, when you get to the end of the call, they won’t be surprised when you ask if they want to hear how you can support them. And you won’t have to make any awkward, sales-y transitions into that part of the conversation.

Remember – people are reaching out to you because they want and need help.  It would be odd if you DIDN’T tell them how you could help them!

Specific questions to ask

After you’ve explained the structure of the call, you’re going to get into the heart of the discussion.

Start by asking, “Tell me a little bit about what’s going on and what prompted you to reach out to me”.

I like this question because you aren’t making any assumptions or leading them. You want to get them to open up and tell you how they are feeling.

They might say “I’m tired all the time. I need more energy”.

Start with empathy. You are there to connect to build trust and respect and let them know how you can help. Relate any personal experiences that you may have or other clients that you’ve worked with who’ve had similar struggles.

As they begin to tell you what is going on for them, make sure to ask follow-up questions so that you can get as much information as possible. Get them to talk about both the physical and emotional symptoms they are experiencing.

After they give you their initial concerns, ask them “what else have you been experiencing or struggling with?”

You’d be surprised by how many people share more information when prompted with this question.

During this part of the call, it’s important to consider if you feel you can you help them. Are they a good fit for your practice?

Once you’ve gotten a good picture of what is going on for them, ask “How long have you been feeling this way?” Then ask, “how has [insert struggle] been impacting you? What has it been like for you?

They might say something like “I used to play tennis and I wish I could still do that” or “I have had no energy for a year and I haven’t been enjoying life”. They might be general or specific with you.

Either way, ask “what else?” Get them to open up.

It’s important to next ask, “What have you done so far? What changes have you tried?

Ask them to talk about people they’ve seen – doctors, practitioners, etc. Then, dig in to find out how those things went. Find out what worked and what didn’t work and why.

After they share that, relate back to something they said by saying, “we’re speaking today because you [insert the areas they’re struggling with]. How would you like to feel?” You want them to connect with their desires and how they want things to be.

Get them to tap into the bigger why by asking “If you [insert the desires they shared], how would that make a difference for you?

For example, earlier in the call they might have shared that they want more energy. When you ask, “how would having more energy make a difference for you?” they might share that it will allow them to travel more and experience more adventure in their life. In this case, what they’re really looking for at the end of the day isn’t more energy, it’s more adventure.

At this point of the call, you’ll want to take a moment to acknowledge how difficult it can be to share all of this personal information. “Thank you for sharing! I know it’s hard.”

How to make an offer at the end in a way that flows and feels natural

Start this section of the call by echoing back the highlights of what they shared – what they’re struggling with, things they’ve tried and how they’d ideally like to feel.

Provide them optimism that things can be different and that this is exactly what you work on with clients

You’ll then transition into speaking about your services.  You may say something like “There is so much conflicting information out there. It doesn’t have to be so hard. [Insert personal story if relevant or relate a story of someone you helped]. I know that you can feel better and I’d love to support you. Would you like to hear how we can work together?

You already mentioned at the beginning of the call that you’d be discussing this at the end, so the potential client is expecting it and has given you permission to share how you work with clients.

When you talk about your program, you want to focus on the areas they expressed wanting help with. “I know that you’ve made dietary changes in the past, but I’ve found that it’s knowing exactly how to go about those changes that makes a difference.”

In this way, you’re addressing any of their objections before they even raise them.

Start by discussing the benefits and how this program is going to help them. Focus on the areas they mentioned wanting help with, so it’s relevant to their struggles.

If we were to work together, we would start by focusing on [insert their primary health concern]. I will guide you step-by-step with specific foods to add into your diet.

You’ll continue to outline the areas you will focus on with them and describing your approach. (Don’t go into the details of exactly what recommendations you will make during the program.)

Once you’ve covered the benefits, describe the features of your program – “the way the program is structured is….

Explain how long the program is, how many calls they get with you, and any other features included in the program. With each feature, explain how that feature will support them. For example, you might share that you’re going to give them quick and easy recipes so they can make healthy meals that taste great and give them more energy.

Finally, you’ll say “the investment for this program is….

If there’s more than one payment option, such as a full-payment and monthly payment, share that information at this point in the conversation.

After you go through this information, leave some space for them to respond. If they don’t say anything after a few moments, ask “what are your thoughts”?

At this point, they will share if they’re ready to move forward. They may also have questions for you. If they don’t ask any questions, I suggest asking if they have any questions. Their questions may actually be concerns they have. By getting them to voice their concerns, you have an opportunity to appease their fears and leave them feeling confident about working with you.

Should you use an intake form?

Many coaches ask people to fill out an intake form or health history before speaking. This can be a great tool to help you prepare for the call, however, it’s not absolutely necessary that you do this.

When considering whether to have people fill something out beforehand, take into account your style and your audience.

If your audience is people who don’t have a lot of extra time on their hands, having them complete a long form before they speak with you may feel overwhelming. You want to keep the barrier low so that speaking with you feels like a pleasure, not a chore.

How to use these calls to help you write powerful marketing copy

One thing I love about having calls with prospective clients is that the information you hear can be used as market research. Take notes while you’re on the calls. Notice themes that come up and the specific word choices people make when sharing what they’re experiencing. Then be sure to use this information on your website and in any marketing you do. You can even use what comes up as topics for blog posts.

Now I’d love to hear from you!

Are you currently offering complimentary sessions like this in your practice? If so, how are they going for you? Do you have a specific question you ask that works really well? I’d love to hear about this in the comments below.


27 Responses to Enroll More Clients – Structure For Your Free Initial Consultation

  1. Thank you, Amy! Great article – I love how you summed up the process of the discovery call and made the transition to the “ask” very smooth. I love offering a free call so I can get to know the person and their problems before I take them on as a client – it allows me to select which clients are best suited to work with me and those that I know I can truly help. Of course, sometimes it means missing out on some income but it’s also proven to minimize the number of headaches or feelings of frustration or resentment that can sometimes come with a less-than-ideal client.

    • Amy Lippmann says:

      Jessica – I love what you shared about using the free call to determine if the client is a good fit for you. It’s never easy to turn a client away, but it only leave more room for the perfect clients!

  2. Thanks for sharing Amy! I like how you broke down the components of the call into an easy to follow format. I always get stuck on the transition from explaining to asking for the sale. I will definitely try your suggestions.

    • Amy Lippmann says:

      Glad you found this helpful Janine. I know that making that transition can feel tricky, but there’s really no need for it to be awkward. Let me know how it goes!

  3. Parijat says:

    This is just what I was looking for. Thank you! I’m already doing one version of this but I notice that these calls end up being run by the potential client than myself and we can often get off track. I think more structure will help me figure out if we are a good fit together as well as share with them how I can help them to improve my conversion rate from free calls to paying clients. It will help both of us feel more confident moving forward it seems! Thank you again!

  4. Jessi says:

    I’m so happy I came across this! Thank you so much much for the specific, detailed and encouraging information you shared. I believe one this that is of high importance, as you mentioned, is conveying that they CAN feel better. When someone else believes in you that can sometimes make all the difference. This is really great and I’m excited to implement your tips!

    • Amy Lippmann says:

      I’m glad you found this helpful Jessi. And I agree completely. When people feel that you are confident you can help them it’s a game changer!

  5. Tiffiney Poole says:

    So glad I found this article, it’s super helpful to get to the “meat” of what a discovery call should be. I’m excited to start using this information as I build my new business!

  6. LindaCrawford says:

    I also ask are you currently seeing a doctor or worked with another coach before (depending on your focus). I have invested time with prospects that used my consultation for answers to their questions then informed me that they are under a doctor’s care or taking meds (for conditions I am not trained to address)so that’s good to know in the beginning.

  7. Amy, thank you, You have given information we can use immediately in our business. There is no fluff or garbage information here. I love this because I struggle during my consultation in knowing what to say. I think I will be much better at getting more customers. Thank you

  8. Amy, you are the best. I am so pleased to have this information for years I have struggled during my consultations trying to find the right words and feel more comfortable in my own skin asking the client to take action. This makes my job so much easier. Thank you

  9. Kirsten says:

    Thank you for this Amy, so helpful! I’ve got my first booking this afternoon after following your 5-day challenge and I was hoping you’d have some advice I this; and you did! Soooooo much better and more intuitive than the Health History form. So thank you ☺️

  10. Emily says:

    Hi Amy,
    Really enjoyed this article. Seems more fluid than taking a health history which is what I usually do. Just wondering if you then take a fuller history in your first session? How long is this free session? The ones I have done have been at least an hour so have been trying to find a way to shorten it! Many thanks.

    • Amy Lippmann says:

      Glad you found this helpful Emily! And, yes, I would take the fuller history once they’re a paying client – in their first session.

  11. I think this is the perfect structure for an initial consultation. You guide the participant along so they know exactly what to expect and when you make the offer it sounds natural and not salesy at all. Thank you Amy; this is great!

  12. I like that you mentioned the importance of checking the audience. This is a great way to make sure that the crowd is hearing what they need to hear. It would help me a lot to keep this in mind as I look into coaching consulting programs.

  13. Heather Warta says:

    There is such conflicting advice out there on how to generate new clients and none of it seems to jive. I guess it really comes down to what works for you? I am just starting out myself so trying to figure out the formula that is going to work for me. I listened to a long-time health coach yesterday go on and on about how free consultations do not work. It’s tough to wade through all of the advice and customize your approach.

    • Amy Lippmann says:

      Thank you for sharing this Heather. It’s true that there are a lot of different perspectives on offering free consults. What I can say is that this is the strategy that has worked well for me and my clients. That said, one thing that can happen when you offer a free consult is that you will get tire kickers who don’t want to pay for anything. What I teach is that if you start getting a lot of tire kickers, that’s when you want to implement an application process – where the potential client completes an application prior to the session. This gives them a hoop they need to jump through and will weed out the people who aren’t serious. If you’re still getting a lot of tire kickers, then you can experiment with charging for the session. I will say though that if you find the free consult strategy doesn’t work for you, it’s likely that there are other reasons why… such as your specialty, the name of your session, how an where you’re promoting the session, and how you’re leading the session… so those are all things to keep in mind!

  14. Thank you so much! This is exactly what I have needed. I am thrilled to have landed upon your site as your blog posts speak so clearly to the struggles I have had. I never knew the exact roadmap to take my potential clients on so my calls were a bit disjointed and I know if I felt it so did they. This is golden and I have taken bits and pieces to a google doc to facilitate me through calls until it becomes second nature.

    I can’t wait to scour your site to fill in the missing pieces to help things flow and get some steady income in 2019.

    Seriously, thanks so much!

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