If you are a coach or consultant, everything starts with your ability to successfully invite people to have a free consultation with you. If you don’t know how to book a free consultation (or discovery session) you cannot close high-paying clients. This skill is extremely important to develop and cultivate.
So the question is: how do you have a genuine, authentic conversation with a prospective client and then invite them to do a free session with you?
Imagine that you’re at a networking event. Someone you don’t know comes up to you and just starts talking to you about their business, and then they ask you to do a free session with them. Would you do it? Most of us are innately suspicious of people offering us free stuff. If we are coming from a place of feeling needy or desperate, it doesn’t feel genuine or authentic.
The next time you’re at a networking event, remember that the most important thing is to focus on the other person. Ask them questions about their business that show you are sincerely curious about them. Some good questions to ask are:
- What brought this event?
- What business are you in?
- How did you get involved in that business?
- What did you do before that?
- How is it going for you and your business?
- How long have you been doing it?
- What is your biggest challenge right now in your business?
You don’t want it to feel like an interview, but a natural, easy, relaxed conversation, like you were relating to another person that you are sincerely interested in.
Another thing to keep in mind during your conversation is how you present yourself. Talk slowly and clearly. Make eye contact. Drop into your heart and feel this person with your heart. When you comment on their answers you want to reflect with compassion, empathy, and acceptance. Then, if there is an opening and it seems like a normal, natural thing to offer, you can say something like “You know I am really enjoying talking to you and you seem like a really nice person. I would like to offer you a complimentary business strategy session that will help you build your business. Is that something you might be interested in?”
If they are interested make sure that you get their information or set a time right then and there.
Getting the commitment is one thing, but following up is really important.
My tips for following up – immediately get their card or information and input it into your database. Send them an email with a link to schedule a session within 24 hours or less. This is critical because people forget who they met rather quickly these days. Once you have sent them the link with a personal note at the top give them a timeline by when you need them to respond. I usually ask for people to respond to book their session within five days. That way I can follow up in five days if they haven’t responded and say “We haven’t heard from you yet… are you still interested in your complimentary coaching session?” This gives you a really good reason to check in with them and follow up with them.
Once you get their commitment, send them a link to schedule, and confirm their session time in a separate email. You might want to send them a “coaching prep form” to prepare them to make best use of your time. Then have fun talking with them!