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15 Feb, 2012

Should coaches offer an introductory meeting for free or charge for it?

Posted by: The Coaching Academy In: Ask Bev|Questions & Answers

Ask Bev: Should coaches offer an introductory meeting for free or charge for it?

A couple of weeks ago we announced our new “Ask Bev” feature that we’d be including in our weekly PS Online e-zine.

We’ve had an amazing response to this announcement and have already received a considerable amount of questions from you on how to GROW a successful coaching business. Each week we’ll pick a question to be featured and publish it on The Coaching Academy blog.

So, without further ado, we kick off the “Ask Bev” feature, with the question below from Keith in Nottingham:

What are you thoughts please on whether to offer a 30 minute (ish) introductory meeting free of charge / or to charge for it?

Dear Keith,

This is a very important question.

So here goes, what is the best way to conduct a coaching consultation:

1. Offer a 15 minute telephone consultation free of charge. Fifteen minutes is easy for people to fit into their day or lunch hours. Free because at this stage you don’t know if they are the right client for you and they don’t know if you are the right coach for them.

2. If someone phones to book a consultation NEVER offer it on the spot, if you do that it gives the impression that you are not busy. Take their details and arrange to call them back (don’t ask them to call you back). Aim to call them the same day or within 24 hours of the enquiry if possible. Don’t be too cool calling people back – remember “another day older another day colder”.

3. Don’t make the mistake of offering a “mini coaching” session as part of the consultation, the purpose of the initial consultation is to find out what they would like help with and for you to demonstrate that you are the right coach to get them from where they are not to where they want to be.

A few questions to kick off with could be:

  • Have you worked with a coach before?
  • If we were to work together what result would you like to achieve, what have you tried already?
  • If you were to achieve your goal what difference would it make to your life?
  • How has this problem held you back in the past and how might it hold you back in the future if you don’t deal with it?

4. The purpose of the questions is for you to get a clear understanding of their situation and desired outcome. Listen for limiting beliefs, attitudes and behaviours that could he holding them back.

5. Having had the initial consultation you will be able to give the caller an expected number of sessions / costs and can confirm if they would prefer telephone or face to face coaching.

6. Ask how soon they want to get started and see if they have their diary to hand to explore dates.

Using this process 90% of my telephone consultations turned into immediate clients.

I look forward to hearing about your future success!

Next time on “Ask Bev” we will be answering the question “Should you put your prices on your website?”

I wish you well,

Bev James

About Bev

Bev is CEO of The Academy Group which includes The Entrepreneurs’ Business Academy (EBA) & EBA for Coaches which are both joint ventures with James Caan. Her book “Do It! or Ditch It” has already been listed as a bestselling business title and she is ready to pass on her success to your organisation.

Connect with Bev on Google+

3 Responses to "Should coaches offer an introductory meeting for free or charge for it?"

1 | Frank Roe

February 19th, 2012 at 8:31 pm

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I like the idea of the 15 minutes complimentary session. I’d not thought of one quite so short. I’ve been offering up to an hour. Thinking more about it – it’s very useful and reduces the ‘free’ time given away. I guess it eliminates the ‘tyre kickers’ at once and qualifies the genuine potential clients.
Thanks Bev.
Frank Roe

2 | Margaret Hall

February 21st, 2012 at 1:00 am

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Thanks for the ‘kick off’ questions. I was struggling to get started marketing my coaching. I have now written these by my phone as a reminder to give me the confidence to make some calls to people on my list.

3 | Ian

March 7th, 2012 at 2:50 pm

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I believe you should always give more than expected in any life situation. Giving 15 minutes free is great and if it over-runs a bit too that would be great too.

Also we never know where these leads (even the ones that do not come back again) go to?

Life has a wonderful habit of when you give you always get something (usually much better) back in return. It often does not come from that person that you have given to.

The 15 minutes free is a great idea!!!

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