If you sell any kind of 1:1 or high-end group offerings such as coaching, consulting, speaking or done-for-you services, the first step to enrolling new customers is usually getting a prospect on the phone to see if it’s a fit.
One of the fastest ways to fill your coaching, consulting, speaking or service business is to do more free initial consultations with qualified prospects.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to students who were having a hard-time filling their practice. Then, when I asked them how many initial consultations they were doing, they said none. Zip. Zero. So it was pretty obvious why they didn’t have the client-base they wanted.
And, when I reviewed their website, 9 times out of 10, they didn’t have a good process in place to turn visitors into prospects by getting them signed up for a free discovery call.
Not a lot of Wordpress or Squarespace templates come with this functionality baked into it, so most people just add a “schedule a call” link or button on their coaching or services page and that really doesn’t work well enough, especially when you’re first getting started and you don’t already have people coming to you site ready to work with you.
That’s why we’ve included free consultation page templates optimized to get the right people on the phone with you in our Take Flight Now website packages.
Here’s the simple 2-step process we use for optimizing your website to grow your client-base:
Step #1 – Attract New Visitors to Your Free Consultation Page
So my first recommendation is to include a “FREE CONSULTATION” button right in the top navigation of your website. And put that button first. So it’s the first option people have when they land on your site.
I did that when I was first getting started and we quickly had several people filling out our free consultation form every single week. That alone got my business off the ground.
Think about it. What would just 2 more free consultation calls each week do for your business? That’s 8 or more close a month. If you close just 50% of those people or 4 people, that’s 4 new private clients every single month. That would transform your business.
So now that our business has grown and my time has gotten more valuable and scarce, we’ve taken that button out of our top navigation to reduce our number of initial consultations. Now visitors have to go to our services page before they see the free consultation button, which instantly cut the number of consultation requests we’re getting by about 80%. That’s a lot.
Here’s the thing: at the time, we intentionally chose to reduce our incoming prospect calls because we were focused on our group programs, rather than our services and consulting.
Unfortunately, most people limit the number of prospects contacting them by accident simply by not effectively guiding new visitors to their free consultations and letting them know why those free consultations are so valuable. ….
Of course, now that we’ve grown our team and have great people who can take new client calls, we’re in the process of adding that “FREE CONSULTATION” button back into our navigation.
What I want you to see is that our navigation and the layout of our site has evolved with our business model. We redesigned our navigation at each step in our evolution as we evolved from a small branding and web design agency focused exclusively on 1:1 client work; to a larger training agency focused primarily on group programs; and now to an even larger training, branding and web design agency with the ability to provide fully custom services to hundreds of customers at the same time.
One of the biggest points I want to convey here is that your website has to support your business model if you want to see the income and impact you imagine.
Step #2 – Pre-Qualify Your Prospects So You Only Talk to People Ready to Buy
So now let’s talk about what happens when someone clicks on that free consultation button.
Well usually clicking the free consultation button takes your visitor to a page where they can sign up for a free consultation.
That seems obvious enough. but here’s the secret to this page: When you’re first starting out, you can do a simple form such as this one from my client Michelle Deen. Michelle’s just about to launch her site so she decided to keep it simple and use one form for all contact requests — such as media requests, enquiries about her services and general enquiries.
This is what most people do. And that’s fine when you’re just getting started and you want the practice of talking to lots of people whether or not they’re interested in your services or qualified to be your customer.
But, once you gather some steam and you’re ready to take on more clients, I recommend creating a dedicated free consultation application page that speaks directly to prospective clients and positions the value of the free session they’re signing up for.
If you do that well through a strong headline and some compelling body text, like my client Teri Gyemi does here, you can actually ask people to fill out a longer application form that really gives you the information you need to get on the phone and speak directly to their needs, wants and desires.
As you can see, Teri asks a number of revealing coaching questions such as:
- What three experiences or situations from your life do you most wish that you could change or do over differently?
- What are your three strongest desires for your life right now?
- What are three things you would most like to change about yourself?
Here’s the thing: If you spend some time working on your introductory copy and application questions, this free consultation form can do two really important things for your business:
- 1First, it allows you to understand a lot about your prospect before you even get on the phone with them, so you can be more compelling and effective on that initial consultation and have more people take the next step with you.
- Second, if your application form is long enough to require real thought and effort from your prospect, then anyone who takes the time to fill it out has already invested in you and what you offer. That means that they’re already committed and your job just got a whole lot easier.
After all, if someone didn’t really care and just wanted to get a free consultation, they probably wouldn’t take the time to fill out the form.
For many people, time is a more valuable currency than money. I know I’m at the point in my life where free can be pretty expensive if it takes my time and energy.
This pre-qualification process actually weeds out the tire kickers from the action takers, and allows you to invest up to an hour of your time with each prospect, because you know that a good percentage of them will take you up on your services.
It’s OK to ask for a lot of information on your form if you plan on giving a lot of value in the call and your prospect knows it.
They key is positioning your free session so your prospects want to sign up and show up. Don’t assume that just because it’s free, people will take advantage of your offer.
Now go out there and Live Your Message!
Love it? Hate it? Let me know...
Thank you Marisa! I immediately made the adjustments you recommend to my website. I appreciate the great and actionable information you and your team share so generously.
Thanks so much for sharing this information, I’ve just set up my website, finerwords.com, and am looking forward to actioning your suggested tweaks.
Thanks Marisa, I currently use pre-qualifying questions in email campaigns. I love the idea of putting it on my menu bar. My question is: My website pushes my free special report & mp3’s to capture leads (on every page). Would adding this be too busy and disfract from list building? My interest is both list building & new clients.
I can’t seem to access the free template to get ideas of questions to ask for my medi spa. Its a new business and want to offer free consultations to start and get people in the door!
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