I think free strategy calls are essential when you are just starting out with your business but you are not just starting out and I want to help you stop doing them and provide paid discovery sessions instead.
Why do most consultants and coaches use free strategy calls and why has this become almost a standard practice in the consulting and coaching world?
The ‘Try Before You Buy’ Appeal
Everyone loves a freebie, right? Free strategy calls are like those little cheese samples you get at the supermarket. They give a taste of what it’s like to work with you without any risk. If people like what they see (or taste), they’re more likely to buy.
Breaking Down Barriers
Asking someone to pay for something they’ve never experienced can be a tough sell. Free calls lower the barrier to entry. It’s easier to agree to a chat when your wallet stays closed. It’s a low-pressure environment to start a conversation.
Trust is key, especially when you’re selling wisdom and expertise. A free strategy call lets you showcase your knowledge and build rapport. When people feel understood and see that you know your stuff, they’re more likely to trust you with their time and money down the line.
Let’s be honest, finding leads can be a slog. Offering a free strategy call can get a steady stream of potential clients into your world. It’s a lead magnet – something that draws people in, giving you a chance to capture their details and woo them over time.
These calls aren’t just about giving away free advice; they’re also for you to understand the client’s issues. It’s like a doctor’s check-up. You get to diagnose their problems and recommend the right treatment, which, surprise, is often your paid service.
Creating Tailored Offers
When you chat with someone for free, you learn about their specific needs and struggles. This information is gold dust. You can tailor your pitch and your services to align perfectly with what they need. Personalised service? That’s a solid gold way to get someone on board.
I have definitely used free strategy calls and they have been essential for finding new clients because they create a win-win situation.
It’s about proving your value upfront, in the hope that the cash register will ka-ching later on.
Why I Stopped Providing Free Strategy Calls
I Swapped Hope For Intention
- Time Is Money, and My Time Has Value One of the biggest reasons I moved away from free calls is the sheer amount of time they took up – time that more often than not, didn’t lead to paid work. Every hour I spent on a free call was an hour I wasn’t earning. I want to spend my time delivering value that’s recognised and compensated.
- A Filter for Serious Clients Free calls attract all sorts, including those who are just window-shopping or seeking free advice without any intention to invest further. I’ve found that when people pay for your time, they’re serious about the value you offer and are more likely to become long-term clients.
- Reducing the ‘No-Shows’ No-shows was a common headache with free calls. Without skin in the game, it’s easy for prospective clients to not take the commitment seriously. By stopping free strategy calls, I’ve practically eliminated this problem, ensuring that every booked session is with someone who values my time as much as their own.
- Creating a Sustainable Business Model Giving away my expertise for free was not sustainable. It wasn’t just the time spent; it was also the missed opportunities. While I was busy on a free call, I might have missed out on a paying client. I want to build a business that’s financially viable for the long haul.
- Encouraging a Mutually Invested Partnership Free calls can sometimes create a one-sided dynamic where the prospective client takes and I give. But true partnerships are about mutual investment. I want clients who are ready to commit, not just dip their toes in the water.
- Valuing My Expertise Last but not least, I’ve learned to value my expertise properly. If I don’t put a price on my knowledge and skills, why should anyone else? Dropping free strategy calls was a step towards respecting my own professional worth and setting the tone for how clients perceive and value my services.
Qualifying and Auditing Prospective Clients
There is one more super important reason why I stopped providing free strategy calls, and it’s the ultimate game-changer:
Qualifying and Auditing Prospective Clients Before Offering My Services
Let me break it down for you.
When I gave away free strategy calls, I’d often jump in blind.
I didn’t know enough about who I was talking to or whether we were a good fit for each other.
It was like agreeing to marry someone before the first date!
I also experienced compassion fatigue whilst “kissing a whole heap of frogs”.
So, I switched up my approach.
Now, I take the time to qualify and audit prospective clients before diving into offering my services.
This way, I make sure that the people I’m talking to are the right match for what I can bring to the table.
It’s not just about whether they can afford my services or not; it’s about whether we get on and are a good fit for each other.
Plus, I know the transformation I bring to my clients’ business and personal lives.
My time, energy and expertise are valuable assets — they’re the currency I trade in.
Every minute and every nugget of know-how deserves fair compensation.
On that note, let’s get into six reasons for using paid discovery sessions.
6 Reasons Why You Should Use Paid Discovery Sessions Instead of Free Strategy Calls
1. Qualify Prospects
Paid discovery sessions are great for auditing a prospective client before a larger more expensive engagement to help in understanding their needs at a granular level.
Whether you have leads, client personas, or direct contacts, an audit gives you an early insight, helping ascertain if they truly align with your offerings.
2. Delve Deeper into Client Understanding
Paid discovery sessions allow a deeper dive into client needs, identifying areas of improvement even before they articulate them.
This proactive approach not only builds trust but also sets the stage for tailored solutions.
3. Personalised Outreach Equals Better Engagement
We’ve all been on the receiving end of generic outreach messages. Personalisation is key to standing out.
What’s more personalised than an in-depth paid discovery session? This not only serves as a compelling opener but also ensures swifter movement through the sales funnel.
4. Serve Them Facts, Not Assumptions
Prospective clients appreciate straight talk backed by data.
A paid discovery session provides the perfect opportunity for collecting undeniable facts about the current state of the prospect’s business.
In many instances, a paid discovery session reveals issues they weren’t even aware of.
5. Connect Issues with Solutions
Often, a significant challenge is the cumulative result of minor issues.
By auditing beforehand, your sales pitch becomes impactful, connecting discerned problems with the precise solutions you offer.
6. Gain a Competitive Edge
A paid discovery session helps shed light on where your prospect stands in their market, offering insights into their competitors. Demonstrating their market position and potential areas of improvement can often hasten decision-making.
Free Strategy Calls Have Their Place In Lead Generation
I still use free strategy calls.
But, I no longer use them for getting clients. I use them to qualify prospective clients and ensure that we are a good fit for each other.
More importantly, my free strategy calls last no longer than 15 minutes (and that’s only if I “feel” that the person may be a good fit.
They are usually a lot shorter.
If they are a good fit, then I offer a paid discovery workshop where we can deep dive into the current problems, goals, objectives and aspirations of the business AND the business owner.
For me, a paid discovery workshop signifies the value of your expertise.
It underscores seriousness from the client, ensures quality time investment, and paves the way for a more committed relationship.
Remember, your time, energy and expertise deserve fair compensation.
By charging for it, you convey professionalism, deep expertise, and the value you bring to the table.
So, next time you feel like doing a free strategy call, try leading with a paid discovery session instead and let the results of that session do the talking.