How to Offer Free Consultations that Attract Ideal Clients (ep. 5)

Episode 5: How to Offer Free Consultations that Attract Ideal Clients

Offering a ‘Free Consultation’ isn’t the juicy offer that it used to be decades ago. It’s now almost synonymous with “Let’s talk so you can buy something from me.” But there is a way to offer a conversation that will have your ideal clients eager to get on a call. In this episode, Pamela walks through exactly how to craft your ‘free consultation’ offer to make it irresistible.

In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • The 3-part naming structure for the perfect ‘free consultation’ offer.
  • The template for your ‘free consultation’ description that works, every time.
  • The #1 key to getting more people on calls with you with this offer.

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Timecode Guide:

03:31: Discover how to excite your target audience and get them to book sales conversations with you using Pamela’s proven 3-part naming template.
10:43: Craft the perfect description that makes people say “YES” to booking calls with you.
16:03: Uncover more about Branded Strategy Sessions, how they can help you, and what to do to increase your number of booked calls.

Resources Mentioned

Want to know more about how to attract your ideal clients online? We’d Love To Chat! Grab a Breakthrough Session with one of my coaches to learn how to create real impact and income online.

Podcast Transcription

Episode 5: How to Offer Free Consultations that Attract Ideal Clients

Welcome to Branded Strategy Sessions: The New Era of Dull ‘Sales Conversations’

Intro (00:00):
You’re listening to ‘A Profitable Impact.’

Pamela (00:02):
If you’ve been offering people a complimentary consultation, it’s almost code for, “Hey, talk to me so you can buy something from me.” Instead, there’s a completely different way to invite people to talk to you that makes them very eager to have a conversation with you about the work you do.

Gene (00:17):
Welcome to ‘A Profitable Impact,’ where every single week we help coaches and healers to expand their reach, to increase their impact in the world, and to be well-paid for their extraordinary skills and talents. I’m Gene Monterastelli. I am the Lead Coach and Pamela Bruner’s Impact Accelerator coaching program. And please welcome my friend, my colleague, and the CEO of Attract Clients Online, Pamela Bruner.
How are you doing today, Pamela?

Pamela (00:44):
I am doing great. And today what we get to talk about is, it’s not the sales conversation, but it’s something that’s equally as important as the sales conversation, which is how to invite someone into a sales conversation with you. And this is a usually overlooked arena of marketing and sales. The thing is I actually have a template to make this a lot easier and I’m so excited to share it.

Gene (01:11):
And one of my favorite things about this particular conversation today is we get to take an old tactic that is a decade old and hopefully make it go away forever because it’s a mistake that we see people making all of the time, and we’ve got a really useful way to help them to have those conversations.
So, as Pamela and I are having this conversation today, if you are in a circumstance where you are struggling to actually get people into those sales conversations, where you’re talking to the absolute right person, who is the ideal client for you, we have an opportunity for you to work with one of our coaches, absolutely free.
All you need to do is go to BookMyBreakthroughCall.com, that is BookMyBreakthroughCall.com, and you can have an opportunity to sign up with one of our coaches to have a conversation about how you can get in front of the right people more effectively.

Pamela (02:01):
Super good. So, let’s talk about that mistake that you hinted at a few minutes ago.

Gene (02:06):
Yep.

Pamela (02:06):
If you’ve ever heard somebody say, “I’d like to offer you a free consultation,” or “I’d like to offer you a 20-minute complimentary consultation,” it used to be that that was pretty hot stuff. And now, now it’s almost synonymous with, “You want to chat with me so that you can buy my stuff?” Like, it almost feels smarmy. It just doesn’t have the same “this is a value” cache that it used to.

Gene (02:32):
And it’s amazing. Like for me, when I hear, like you just said, when I hear something like that, the first thing that I do is I reach for my wallet to make sure someone’s not going to get ahold of it because it doesn’t feel like it’s, it doesn’t feel like it’s this genuine conversation where someone is showing up as helpful. Like, it just feels like a sales blinking in neon lights conversation where they’re sharing up to share their stuff. They’re not actually showing up to listen to where I’m coming from.

Pamela (02:58):
So, let’s talk about how to do it differently.

Pamela (03:00):
So, here’s what we’re going to cover in this episode.
First, we’ll go over a three-part naming template. It’s a structure that you can use to give your sales conversation a juicy name so people actually want to get in that conversation with you.
Then we’ll talk about the template for a description of this conversation that works every time, in every specialty.
Finally, we’ll talk about the number one key to getting more people on calls with you with this particular offer.

Naming Your Strategy Session (Part 1): The 3-Part Naming Template

Gene (03:31):
Excellent. I really love having conversations about strategy sessions and the value that they are. So, let’s just dive in. Why don’t you talk about the naming of it, and why we name it in that particular way?

Pamela (03:41):
Great. So, as we said, we want to get away from the whole ‘complimentary consultation’ or ‘free consultation’ name.
In the coaching world, particularly the terms ‘discovery session’ and ‘strategy session’ have been used a great deal, and that’s not a bad name for it, but most people don’t want a ‘discovery session.’ They don’t know what that is, they don’t know what they’re going to discover, and it doesn’t really mean anything outside the coaching world.
‘Strategy session’ is a tiny bit better, but it’s not relevant in a lot of areas. It’s not really relevant and healing, it’s not relevant in, I would say, relationship coaching or personal growth or spiritual coaching.
So, what do you do instead? Well, you have a three-part name and I’ll go through what each one of these parts is.

Pamela (04:29):
The first word is usually a Specialty word. So, that might be health, it might be relationships, it might be business, it might be money or finance, but it is some word that identifies the niche that your work is in.
The second word is an Enhancer word. So, this is a word that, think about accelerating and turbocharging, it’s some word that enhances the value of the session.
And the third word is what I’ll call a Session word. Often that’s just the word, ‘Session.’ It might be the word analysis or assessment, those are things that we use fairly frequently in this.
So, let me give you an example to string this together. So, we might say a ‘Business Accelerator Session,’ or we might flip the order around a little bit and say ‘Optimal Health Session’ or ‘Health Optimizing Session.’ So, you can see how you can plug words into this template. You may need to shift things around a little bit, but it creates something that’s very powerful.

Pamela (05:30):
So, I’ll give you an example.
If I said to you, you know, “Hey, I’d be happy to offer you a 20-minute complimentary consultation.” You know, that has that sort of jargony-feel. It’s almost a lack of integrity. But if I say, you know, “I’d be happy to have a business acceleration session with you, where we’ll look at the five things that might be holding you back in your business and the number one thing you need to do to move forward.”
Now I put the description on the end of it, and we’re going to be talking about that in a minute, but can you hear much more valuable that second offer sounds?

Gene (06:00):
Ya’ know, I love it because what it’s doing is, it is, and we’re going to get into this more detail I’m sure, but it’s implying value for me. You know, one of the things that I realize more and more is these are not free sessions because for a client to show up or a potential client to show up and sit down with us, they might not be investing any money, but they’re investing their time. And in the world that we live in right now, time is in a lot of cases as valuable (if not more valuable) as money, because once it’s gone, it’s gone. And to be in a situation where someone is going to invest 20 or 30 minutes with me, it’s really important that I’m demonstrating a sense of value so it’s worth their time to show up inside of this particular context.

Naming Your Strategy Session (Part 2): Brainstorming Exercise

Gene (06:48):
The other thing that I think is important to recognize, this is one of those things that you do really, really well, Pamela, is that when we’re brainstorming ideas, you move really, really quickly and you come up with ideas. As listeners, as you are thinking about this, recognize the fact that this is going to be a process coming up with this name. It’s not complicated.
Pamela just gave you a really simple formula to be able to do it, but don’t expect your title to spring from your head fully-formed. This is a brainstorming activity that takes some time. And oftentimes what I do when I’m doing something like this is I get my three columns, my specialty word, my enhancer word, my session words, and I brainstorm. And once I run out of ideas, I actually set the timer on my watch and I make myself stare at those columns for five more minutes, knowing that there might be a good idea, lurking around the back of my subconscious mind that I need to give space to come out.
And so, Pamela has given you something that is really super simple to do, and it’s important to give yourself the space so that you can do it in a successful way, knowing it might not happen in 37 seconds.

Pamela (07:56):
So, let me give some examples that might spur the creative juices flowing. You know, for Specialty word, if you’re in relationships, don’t go necessarily with the obvious word, which is ‘relationships.’ If you help singles find their partner, the word might be ‘romance,’ the word might be ‘love.’ I would brainstorm a whole bunch of words that are relevant in that specialty.
Just like Gene suggested, make your three columns and start writing. Don’t try to come up with the entire name, just come up with a list of words and then think of it as a menu where you’re pulling one from Column A, one from Column B, and one from Column C. 

Gene (08:29):
If you love what you’re listening to and would like to learn more about how you can elevate your business and want to know how you can increase your impact in the world, I’d like to invite you to a call with one of our coaches. 

Want to know more about how to attract your ideal clients online?

We’d Love To Chat! Grab a Breakthrough Session with one of my coaches to learn how to create real impact and income online.

Naming Your Strategy Session (Part 3): Enhancer Words

Pamela (08:52):
For the enhancer words, there are so many: accelerator, optimal, optimizing, breakthrough, all of those words. Get your thesaurus out and find more words that mean things like that until you find some words that you really like.
The one other caution that I will put with this is: be careful that what you’re saying is not a mouthful.
Because if you string enormous words together, even three words can seem a little overwhelming. You know, I made the offer a few minutes ago saying a ‘Business Acceleration Session.’
Actually, when I’ve made the software in the past, I’ve called it a ‘Biz Acceleration Session,’ just because it’s a little shorter and a little easier to wrap your head around.
So, think about, “How can I make this really juicy, but also not too much of a mouthful?”

Gene (09:40):
What I think when you say “mouthful” is, I love using my mouth as a test for anything that I’ve written to see if it’s actually a good fit. My mouth will tell on me if I am saying words that are not natural words for me to be saying because oftentimes we write a slightly more formal way than we speak.
And so, when you’re working on a title like this, or anything else, I would really encourage you, listeners, to read it out loud and see how it feels inside of your mouth. When you were saying words that do not sound like you, you’re physically going to feel it in your mouth. Because we want this to not only be sharp and communicating well, but it also needs to sound like you so it’s authentic, and so you get more used to saying it and you discover if it’s the right words for you.

Pamela (10:24):
Often when I teach this, I have people say to me, something like, “Well, you know, ‘Optimal Health Session…’ that sounds very valuable. And I am concerned that I’m setting people up and I don’t want to do a ton of free work here before we get to my paid offer.”
I completely understand.

Proven Template: Crafting Your Strategy Session Description

Pamela (10:43):
And that brings us to the next thing that we want to talk about, which is the template for the description of this session. I gave an example of it earlier, but I’ll read it again in template-form:
“On this call, we’ll identify the five things that might be holding you back in [blank] (which is your specialty area, whatever that is), and the number one thing you need to do to move forward.”
That’s it.
“We’ll identify the five things that might be holding you back in [blank], and the number one thing you need to do to move forward.”

Pamela (11:14):
So, you could say, “We’ll identify the five things that might be holding you back from optimal health and the number one thing you need to do to move forward,” or “We’ll identify the five things that might be holding you back in making money and the number one thing you need to do to move forward.”
So, you can plug-in this template very simply.
If you’re not sure what to put in that blank, you can actually use this template with no specialty word, “We’ll identify the five things that might be holding you back and the number one thing you need to do to move forward.” You don’t even have to name the specialty – you already named it in the name of your session.

Gene (11:48):
And Pamela, the thing I really love about this particular template, and it’s a subtle copywriting thing that is hidden inside of what you said here, where you said “the five things that may be holding you back.” We are in a wash in information. Like, I know the eight things I need to be eating in order to be healthy. You don’t have to tell me that, but I’m always looking for the things that I am doing wrong, the hidden mistakes that are there, the barriers that I am not recognizing.
As a person who is trying to create change, I am much more likely to be intrigued by the things that are holding me back than you saying, “Here are five things that you need to be doing right now in order to have a better relationship, health, whatever the topic area is.”
So by framing it in this way, it makes it even more enticing than just the value itself, because we’re all trying to figure out what is the thing that is in our way, more so than the information we need to move.

Pamela (12:47):
That’s really the difference between this format and the format that you might use for a freebie, where you might say, “Five Mistakes Professional Women Make When They [blank],” that’s the title of a freebie or a blog post or something.
When we say, “We’ll identify the five things that may be holding you back,” that feels more personal. That feels like there is a reason for them to be in this conversation because you’re going to identify the five things for them and how they may be affected by it.
It’s subtle, but it’s very, very important in making this a juicy offer.

Gene (13:20):
I actually like to call that “the special little snowflake call-to-action,” where we are identifying the sense where it’s like, “these are the five most common mistakes, but I’d love to have a conversation with you because you are unique and different, and even though these are the common ones, let’s figure out the ones that are actually holding you back.”
Because we all love things that are personalized for us and framing it in this way is doing exactly that. It’s not general information. It’s about me specifically.

The #1 Key to Get Ideal Clients on Calls using this Strategy

Pamela (13:48):
Right. Now at this point, the question might be, “Well, wait a minute. If I’m going to dive into identifying five things and giving them one thing, am I not giving away my services for free?”
So at this point, without going too deep in the sales conversation because we covered that in another episode and there’s a whole process for the sales conversation I suggest for the transformational entrepreneur, there’s one thing I will tell you about this conversation, this particular system that we’ve set up here, which I call a ‘Branded Strategy Session.’
The Branded Strategy Session has an incredible value. The value is diagnostic. It’s not a prescription. We’re not solving their problem. We are helping them diagnose their problem. We are helping them identify the things that are holding them back, and we are giving them the path forward. We’re saying, “this is the number one thing you need to do to move forward.”

Pamela (14:40):
Now, in most cases, that’s going to be hiring you. A number one thing to move forward is to invest in the Signature System that I’m offering, invest in my work. And that’s going to be the thing that moves them forward.
The cool thing about this particular offer (“Five things that may be holding you back…,” “Number one thing to move forward”) is, if this person isn’t an ideal client for you, you can say, “The number one thing you need to do to move forward is to talk to my friend Sally because I don’t have anything for you or it’s not a good fit for us to work together, but I’m going to give you another resource.”
That’s a wonderful thing to do. It’s not going to happen all the time, it probably won’t happen very often, but it allows you to stay in integrity.
You’re not always going to offer, you’re going to offer just to ideal clients. So, the value of this session is diagnostic. You’re not going to solve problems for them, but even identifying what this particular situation is costing them and what they need to do to move forward, that is a tremendous value that you provide without solving their whole problem.

Gene (15:43):
I want to underline something you just said there, and I want to put it in bold italics texts, so we are not missing it. The thing that you said in there about “the number one thing you could do is to work with someone else.” And for me, when I recognize the fact that when I’m stepping into a strategy session like this from a place of integrity, where my job is not to sell them something, but my job is to offer them something that is useful, even if it means I’m offering or I’m directing them to someone else’s services, it makes it so much easier to invite people into strategy sessions.
Because lots of people, and I’m sure lots of you who are listening, have all sorts of baggage around, you know, being a sleazy sales person and thinking that you’re tricking someone into working with you.
When we step up in a way that is authentic and clear where we’re saying, “I’m going to offer to you the thing that I think is best, even if it’s not me,” it makes it so much easier for us to step into those conversations with confidence and integrity because I, as the person who is offering something, am coming from the place of only wanting what is best for you, even if it means I’m recommending some other service that I don’t offer. 

Pamela (16:54):
Exactly. And when we discuss the sales conversation itself in another episode, we’ll go over how these five things fit into that conversation. And people also say, “Well, how do you know what the five things are?”
Well, I know what five things are in my area of specialty, and I’m guessing you know what five things, or maybe 25 things, are in your area of specialty. If you’re a relationship coach, do you know the 25 things or the five things that might hold someone back from finding the love of their life?
I’ll bet you do. And you can make a list and you can ask questions to ascertain whether those are affecting the person that you’re talking to. So, I have no concern with you coming up with five things in your area of expertise that might be holding someone back.

Pamela (17:37):
So, let’s talk about the number one key to getting more people on calls with you with this particular offer. And this is more of a mindset shift, which is to think of this offer as a valuable item that you are giving away. You might think of freebies or lead magnets this way.
You know, if you write a really good freebie or lead magnet, it wouldn’t be inappropriate to put a value on it. Maybe it’s $10, $20, $50 when you think of the value that people can get.
The value that someone can get out of a 30-minute conversation with you about what’s holding them back is enormous. It’s very different than a consultation where you’re just trying to establish if they want to buy something from you, this diagnostic conversation is very valuable.
And so, when you make the offer, whether you make it in an email, whether you make it in a social post, whether you make it in a conversation with someone, you want to treat it like a very valuable offer, something you might actually sell.
And in fact, I’ve done that sometimes, where I’ve said, you know, “this is something that I usually offer for $197, but I’m happy to gift this to you.” And that’s not blowing smoke, or it’s not out of integrity because I have sold these sessions before for more than $197.
So, if that is language or wording that works for you, then use that.

Gene (19:00):
As you say that, I think back to a time, Pamela, in which I actually paid for something very, very similar to this.
It was an hour-long instead of being 30 minutes. And the promise was, “we’re going to figure out the five things that are getting in your way and some action that you can take from it.” And he even said to me, it was a circumstance where, “I’m going to give you enough to-do’s that it’s going to take you the next six months to do.” Now, we’re not saying that you need to make an offer like that, but that’s what he said. And he was wrong.
Over the course of the hour, as we identified those five things that were holding back, we ended up with a nine-month-long to-do list for me. And so it is possible in a short period of time, even though the person I was talking to, isn’t the person at that moment, who’s helping me to solve those problems, you can sure bet after we had that conversation, I hired that person to help me to fulfill that list that we came up with because he demonstrated an amazing expertise inside of that.
And so, recognizing the fact that in helping people to understand what their problem is, and what’s holding them back, has a lot of value. We don’t have to solve the problem in order to be providing value for them. And so to be able to relax ourselves and having this conversation, you should know it really is useful for them,

Pamela (20:12):
Right? And now that we’ve gone through all of this, we’re now giving you the underlying mindset that you need to have this a very valuable session, even as diagnostic. And now that you have a naming structure and you have a template for the description and you have the mindset, go out and start inviting people to have strategy sessions with you.

Closing Remarks

Gene (20:30):
And so, if you are in a situation where after hearing all of this, you’re still not feeling super comfortable. Like, you know how to take an idea like this and execute it so you can share it in a confident way. We would really encourage you to sign up for a conversation with of our coaches, absolutely free.
If you go to BookMyBreakthroughCall.com, that’s BookMyBreakthroughCall.com, you can have an opportunity to spend some time with one of our coaches to help them to figure out what is holding you back when it comes to creating your branded strategy session so that you can be out in front of the right people in a way where they recognize the value in the conversation, they’re excited to have the conversation with you, so it makes it so much easier for you to expand your impact.

Gene (21:16):
If this particular conversation today was useful for you, and you know another coach, transformational entrepreneur, or healer out there in the world who needs to hear this so that they can be in front of the right people in a valuable way, please pass this episode along. It will make a real difference in their life, and they may never find it unless you’re the person that passes it along to them.

If you haven’t done so already, you can subscribe to the podcast. It’s absolutely free. You can subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, everywhere you get audio. All you need to do is search for ‘A Profitable Impact’ and click the Subscribe or Follow button so that every single time a new episode comes out, you don’t miss it.

If you have a question or a comment or a topic that you would like us to cover on a future episode, please, please, please reach out. We love hearing from listeners, just like you. All you need to do is go to AttractClientsOnline.com, click on that Contact link. We would love to hear from you. Until next time, I hope you have an impactful week.

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Pamela Bruner - Attract Clients Online Blueprint

Building a business as a coach or expert is challenging, especially if you’re trying to find your clients online.

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