How to Lead Free Initial Consultations That Get You Paying Clients
Learning how to invite people to work with you in a soulful way during a free initial consultation is vital to the health of your business.
It’s the difference between having potential clients say “I’m not ready” or “I can’t afford this” to having them say “Yes, I want to work with you!”
If you don’t know how to lead a free initial consultation, even with the best marketing plan, you’ll always struggle to bring in paying clients.
Here’s what I mean…
Let’s say you do some great marketing – whether that’s locally or online – and you get 6 potential clients to sign up for a free initial consultation with you.
If you don’t have a solid process for leading those calls, you may end up with 1 or 2 new clients.
But when you have a proven process, you can double or triple those numbers to 4 or 5 new paying clients.
Because this is such a critical part of growing your business, I’m sharing the structure for your free initial consultation… so that you can lead these sessions with confidence, and enroll more clients.
We teach this process in-depth to our clients and after using this process they’re signing 70-80% of potential clients. (Truth be told, some are signing 100% of potential clients, and that’s when we know it’s time for them to raise their rates!)
- How to frame the conversation from the beginning, so you’ll never come off as salesy.
- How to dig into what your potential clients are struggling with.
- 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!
Break 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.
Frame the call
Once you’ve broken the ice, you want to set yourself up as the leader of the call.
Ask them, “What was it that made you want to set up this session with me today?” This gets them, right away, tuning into their pain and gives you a glimpse of what they really need help with.
Then, let them know what they can expect out of the call. This ensures that you don’t get caught up in answering questions or giving free advice for the length of your call.
You might say something like:
“I’m so glad that you set up this call up and I want to thank you for joining me here today. Let me share how our call is going to flow.”
- 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 question, because you want them to buy into the process.
Framing the call this way lets the person relax, knowing you’ve got a plan. It also ensure they won’t be surprised when you ask if they want to hear how you can support them at the end of the call. 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!
Dig into their health struggles
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 about your [insert their main struggle that they shared earlier]”.
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.
As they talk, listen for their struggles, pain points and what is going on underneath the problem. Really let the client talk here and share what’s going on. If you let them, they’ll tell you everything you need to know.
Respond with empathy. You are there to connect and 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.
If they seem hesitant to share, 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’re experiencing.
Once they’ve shared about their struggle, ask them “What happens if this doesn’t change?”
This helps both of you tap into how much their health challenges are impacting their life…and how motivated they may be to take action.
After they share that, find out how they want to feel. Here you’re helping them think about what would be possible if they addressed their health struggles.
Again, ask follow-up questions so that you can get as much information as possible. You want them to connect with their desires and how they want things to be.
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.”
Test for readiness and commitment
This is the part of the call where you want to gauge how important it is to them to solve the problem they’ve shared with you.
One key question to ask in this section is “On a scale of 1 to 10 how important is it that you achieve that?”
It’s important to ask this because you only want to make an invitation to work with you if the person is committed.
Invite them to work with you 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 know what it would look like if we were to 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.
Once they say yes, you can say “’With everything you’re telling me that you want to achieve, I’m going to recommend my [insert the program that you believe will get them the results they are looking for. In most cases you are going to want to recommend your high-end program because it’s the one with the most support]”.
Ask how that sounds and make sure they seem enthusiastic about going forward.
If they appear interested, share more about your program. Focus on the RESULTS they’ll get. And, let them know about the tangible outcomes and any tangible products that they’ll get with your 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.
At this point, they’ll 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 usually tap into 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. Addressing concerns and objections is a KEY piece of this process.
Once they’ve decided that they want to work with you, get them on your calendar before you end the call.
Wrap up by thanking them with excitement and say goodbye.
How to use a free initial consultation to help you write powerful marketing copy
One thing I love about having a free initial consultation 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.
When you use this structure, you’ll find that you’re able to lead these calls with confidence and enroll more clients – without feeling salesy.
Now I’d love to hear from you!
Are you currently offering a free initial consultation 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?
Comment below or come join our Facebook Group to share!