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Free Coaching Sessions To Get Clients – Yes or No ??? by Becky Auer
Do you believe in what you do?
Is it your passion for helping others achieve their goals? Are you also sick of giving away your time to those who don’t make full use of what you share?
If so, join the club! You can bet you aren’t alone. Or you may be brilliant at what you do, but not so hot at making the money you deserve from it.
Let’s go step by step and talk about whether we, as coaches, should offer up our time, resources, training, and knowledge and expect nothing in return.
Here’s what usually happens…
- You spend significant time creating and giving away free resources “to build your list”
- You spend more time than you should helping those who say they are desperate
- They disappear when it’s time to invest
Occasionally, one of these prospective clients will book a coaching session with you, but it quickly becomes clear they are all over the place.
You make a suggestion; they automatically throw up an objection
- You ask a question; they don’t have an answer
- You set up an action plan; they never come back
And the time you’ve invested has left you with very little to show for it.
But you did have that one client book a session, so you’re on the right track. Right? Oh, heck no. Totally wrong. Make no mistake…
A client who pays $1500, then disappears without following through is your worst advertisement!
It’s worse than not having landed that $1,500 fee at all. There’s no follow-up from them; no success story to share; no big referral or recommendations. In fact, they’re more likely to tell people they “paid a fortune” and you didn’t deliver.
So, what does that have to do with free coaching sessions? Haven’t we just proved that giving away your time or products for free is not worth our time and counterproductive?
Not at all. Ok, let me explain.
In this article, let me help you learn to use free coaching sessions to avoid attracting the wrong client—and virtually guarantee you land the right ones.
Free coaching sessions can be a powerful tool to increase your self-confidence, your perceived value—and revolutionize the number of quality, paying clients you attract. But they need to be positioned correctly. Potential clients who take action on your coaching will also be only too happy to talk about you with enthusiasm, gratitude and ‘all things good’. And who doesn’t want that?
There are two really important reasons for delivering your free coaching sessions.
Let’s set your free coaching session up to:
1. Painlessly weed out those who can’t afford you or won’t do the work or just aren’t the right match – before they even sign up.
2. Attract and qualify those who can pay, will pay – and will actually do the work to get the results they can see, feel and be happy about.
This is where all your focus has to go. If your free coaching-session offer fails to perform these two functions, it will turn out to be counter-productive.
If you are planning to give away free sessions, you must learn how to set them up so they perform with precision.
If, as a new coach, you find yourself feeling doubtful or guilty about charging these prices, don’t. If you set your free coaching sessions up correctly, you’ll be clear about your purpose—and theirs; clear about the value they will receive and ready to deliver the high-end offer at the end of the session with confidence.
How do you make sure your free session isn’t just attracting those who want a freebie on your dime? And how do you make sure you are confident in the value you’re about to provide?
Here’s a simple, three-step formula to follow…
1. Identify your ideal client’s biggest, most immediate: Problem, Fear, Worry, Frustration or Block
2. Ask a “Big Question” about that problem that grabs their attention
3. Promise a simple and complete solution to that specific problem
Once you have identified the immediate problem and given a simple solution in your free coaching session: Show your client what she needs to do next.
Let’s break it down…
Identify the problem:
This is not any old problem. In fact, it may not be a “problem” at all. Getting the exact word right is crucial. Putting thought into the right word for what is stumping your ideal client right now, at this immediate moment, will help you personalize this to your ideal client’s specific pain point.
Is it a “problem” or is it a “fear”? And is it something you can actually help her solve?
Look for something that is causing frustration: Something that is preventing her from moving forward in one specific area. That area should be the stream they need to cross right now or the door that’s stopping them from reaching the garden.
Identify this frustration point, and you have your key. You, yourself, can unlock the door to making sure the right client steps through.
Even if you’ve just had an “ah-ha” moment, don’t stop there. Write down the pain point you just identified and then ask these qualifying questions:
1. “If I show my client this missing piece, will she be able to afford the next step? Will she be eager to rush into the garden behind the door?”
2. “What will solving this pain point set her up to do? Is it something she won’t be able to resist, once we solve her immediate frustration?”
3. “If I help her find the missing piece, will this actually prove I am the right person to help her take the next step?”
If the answer to any of these three questions is “not really”—keep on going!
Brainstorm other pain points—and zero in on the strongest: The one that, once solved, will set your prospective client up perfectly to see you as her ultimate solution.
For the sake of this article, I will assume you have identified the specific niche or segment you want to be in. Then, you set up call in times to use a free strategy or coaching session to bring in members of that specific segment. We only want people who are action takers—and who don’t mind paying to achieve their dreams.
So, let’s make a deal you are no longer going to offer “free-for-all” coaching sessions, where the client asks anything she wants and you have NO idea where the focus is going to go.
Instead, you will offer to help her with that one single, specific fear/problem/gap you have identified. And you will keep the focus on that during your session, so at the end, she feels she has the solution… but sees what step she needs to take next.
If you give away free sessions to demanding, needy people who don’t take action, want more (without having to pay for it), don’t seem to understand the purpose of coaching and who gobble up your time, you will not be successful. You’ll be wasting your time with tire kickers.
The more of this type of client you attract to your free sessions, the less confident and more frustrated and miserable you’ll feel! Trust me on this. Been there, done that.
If you have a strong idea of how you want your session to go, more power to you!
And you need to let your client know exactly what she will get and do so in the first part of your free coaching session.
If you are running a live, one-on-one session, jump into making it all about your client.
Consider structuring your session as a step-by-step process that “walks them through” how to achieve something specific. This should be something important but simple so that they are not overwhelmed with information.
Make sure what you give them is of real value: Something that will advance them or change their lives for the better. And make sure you leave them with a “bonus”—at least one handout or roadmap (branded with your logo) that they can use over and over.
Finally, here are 3 Hot Tips I have learned:
1. Don’t coach during your free coaching session.
Wait, what? Yup. Look, what you need to remember is you’ve offered to teach them how to do something specific or get past one specific roadblock—don’t get into their motivations, feelings or anything else that can lead to tangents. Why?
You don’t want them to feel like your session was unfinished—which is absolutely going to happen if you go into full “coaching” mode. No, it won’t make them want to continue with a paid session: It will just leave them feeling “ripped off” or let down.
Remember, you need to teach your client that one valuable skill or trick as promised: Then lead into your offer.
2. Send them a questionnaire with questions to answer before your session. It gives you a starting place to work with your client. It will also show you whether the client can follow directions and get that questionnaire back to you before your session. If they can’t, do you really want them as a client anyway?
3. Give them what you promised. Your client should feel you delivered on your promise—and more! Remember, you are doing this free session to get a high-end offer to a client who can easily pay for it as well as appreciate it—by taking action.
And you can walk your client through an exercise, as long as it leads to achieving the goal of a session. This is a great way to showcase your coaching style.
Finally, when you’re finishing up with your offer, remember the value they will receive will far exceed the cost of your high-end offer. They will be receiving a pay-back that will make a real difference in their lives in terms of enjoyment, profits and the lifestyle they want. At least that’s the goal.
When you create a simple system for your free coaching sessions you can watch your business give back more satisfaction and more profits for you and your clients who are in your niche.
About Becky Auer
Becky Auer has started 3 multi-million dollar businesses. The last was a Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar that she took from $0 to $6.5M in just over a year and kept it there until she sold it. Becky runs group coaching and mastermind groups as well as coaching private clients. For Free Resources, go to www.BeckyAuer.com.
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