Nobody Values “Free”

If you have no skin in the game, then you’ll likely cancel at the last minute, not implement what you’re being taught, and definitely not give any credibility to the person offering the services.

For example, I’m frequently offered free ways to test a new service.

But my alarm bells go off when someone offers a free 30-minute business coaching session after I purchase their book. Or I’m contacted with a free consulting offer after having signed up for a program. In my experience, 15 out of those 30 minutes I get sold to aggressively and I feel used.

My time, and I’m sure yours as well, is much too valuable for that.

Is there a better way?

John Maxwell, the leadership guru, says “All’s well that begins well.”

In my coaching and consulting business, I begin my sales funnel by qualifying my customers. (I recommend the same process for you.)

If someone requests my coaching services, there is a written application process in the form of 5 questions determining if we’d be a good fit to work together. I then follow up with a phone interview of 30-45 minutes in which we delve deeper into the prospect’s goals for having a coach.

This 30 to 45-minute interview is not free coaching session. It’s designed to potentially be the start of a long term relationship.

The goal is to create a win-win scenario for both the customer and the coach. I have written before about seeking and only working with your ideal customer. This is the way to make sure you’re doing this. Ideally you want to reject many more prospects than you accept.

Similarly, when I discuss consulting work I zero in on asking two questions during the first conversation with the prospect:

  1. What does your budget look like? (I want to understand whether you have the authority and the ability to pay), and…
  2. When can you start? (I won’t waste your time so I have to make sure you’re ready to start immediately should we encounter a good fit)

If you work with me there will be a significant commitment of both time and money…and so it’s critical from the start to determine a good fit.

As a consultant or a coach you never want to train your customers to expect free sessions from you. You want to be viewed as being in high demand and therefore be able to charge premium pricing.

If your experience and skillset consistently exceed expectations, then you deserve to be paid well. In addition, your customers will expect to pay more for the outstanding results they see in their business and personal lives.

Today, we’ve barely scratched the surface

Whatever stage you’re at in business, you need to be all over the numbers. In posts like this, we aim to offer bite-size food for thought – but in a few hundred words, we can only do so much.

If you’re ready to build your financial muscle, how about a FREE copy of James Vanreusel’s (highly-acclaimed) book for CEOs?

The #1 Key to Creating a Thriving Business takes you through the challenges of growing and scaling your company, from first to last. And you can request your copy here – no hidden fees, no strings.