For consultants and coaches, no matter what kind of industry you’re in, there’s a simple way you can get more clients that doesn’t require a big marketing budget.
All you need to do is leverage your free coaching session or free consultation and apply this one simple influencing technique.
The magic of the free consultation
Offering a free coaching session or free consultation is a great way to get more clients, especially if you’re in a high-touch service business where one client can equate a large chunk of business for you. What I don’t mean is offering multiple free coaching sessions. As a coach or consultant, you should be paid for your time. But there’s a way you can leverage a free session to get people interested in your service and then convert them into a paying client. If you know that once you get a lead and have explained how you can help them that there’s a high probability of them turning into a client, then this technique can work wonders! You can create a steady flow of new clients for your business, or generate a quick influx of leads when you’re experiencing a slow period.
The problem is that this is so obvious that it’s often forgotten about. You start getting clients and leads through referrals, experimenting with social media, newsletters, content creation such as blogs or videos, and maybe even Facebook ads. Sometimes you’re so used to juggling all these different marketing activities that you forget to focus on what’s actually working to drive real leads.
I have a friend that fell into this trap. She’s a coach that provides a very specific service to people looking to solve a specific problem. She had been running her own business for a few years and was regularly creating content, posting on social media, doing a monthly newsletter, etc. She had ebbs and flows for getting new clients for her coaching business and it was fairly steady until one month she had 0 new clients and a lot of expenses.
She started to panic because she only had one small payment coming in that month and hadn’t secured enough new clients for the next upcoming month or two. She needed to generate new clients for her coaching business fast or she’d have no cash flow to cover expenses for the next few months. She tried ramping up what she was used to doing regularly to market her small business. She was frantically putting together content for a newsletter and trying to brainstorm new ideas for posts on social media when she paused and thought to herself, “Why am I wasting time doing all these things when I know what works is just getting a lead on the phone?”
She had a staggeringly high close rate – around 80%. She knew if she got four or five people on a consulting call, there was a very high chance that nearly all of them would turn into paying clients. So she decided to focus on what worked – pushing her free consultation. She made sure her main CTA (Call To Action) was contacting her for a free 1-hour consultation, figured out how many leads she needed to generate in order to hit her target number of new clients, then used scarcity as an influence technique to drive more demand for her free consultation. The result? She quickly landed seven new clients – exceeding her target – and felt confident she now had a proven strategy to generate new leads whenever she needed an extra boost in sales.
Here’s how you can leverage the same strategy to get more clients for your coaching or consulting business.
Step 1: Make sure you’re highlighting your CTA (Call to action) and value proposition everywhere
To give yourself the best chance at converting website traffic, social media eyeballs, etc. into warm leads, make sure you’re promoting your free consultation with a clear CTA (Call To Action) and a value proposition.
For example, let’s say you offer one-on-one coaching sessions to teach people how to connect better with their cats and work on unwanted behaviours. On your website you’ll want to include a line of text that’s very prominent on your home page. Tell people visiting your website that they can contact you for a free 1-hour consultation call to learn how you can help them form a stronger relationship with their cat and work on unwanted behaviours. You’ll want to include a button that says “Contact Now”, or “Book a call” or something along those lines that make it clear what people should do and how they can get in touch.
Make sure your call to action and value proposition are on all your marketing materials, not just your website. You can include a call to action in your email newsletter, in your about page description on Instagram, your Facebook page, and – you get the idea.
A good test to see if your call-to-action and value proposition are clear is to see if it answers these questions:
- Who is your service for?
- How will they benefit from your service?
- How do they get in contact with you?
Step 2: Identify your close rate and lead target
Once you know you have the foundation set for leveraging your free consultation, now we want to figure out how many leads you need to generate in order to hit your revenue target or target to get new clients for your consulting business. To do this, start with your revenue target based on your average deal size and work backwards from there.
Target clients = revenue target / average deal size
For example, let’s say for simplicity’s sake that your goal is to generate $10,000 per month and your average deal size is $3,000 which usually works out to a 3-month project and 3 payments of $1,000 each. This means your target for new clients is 10 (10 clients at $1000 a month, each is $10,000 per month in revenue).
You know you need to bring on 10 new clients, but how many leads will you need to make this happen? This is where you want to use your average close rate. To calculate your close rate, look at your past lead to customer ratio.
Close rate = landed clients / total leads
Lead target = client target / close rate
For example, let’s say on average for every 10 free consultation calls you do, 5 of those people turn into paying clients. This means you have a 50% close rate. So if you want to land 10 new clients a month, you need to generate 20 leads (free consultation calls) per month. Now you have a clear target!
Pro tip: Keep a record of all your leads and clients so you have historical data to refer to when making these calculations. You can do this the old school way by keeping track with a spreadsheet of how many free consultation calls you do and track how many turn into new clients for your coaching or consulting business. Or you can level-up a step and use a small business CRM like Daylite, for example, to keep track of all your leads and clients. Most CRMs will include a report of your close rate so you don’t have to calculate it manually.
Daylite Tip: If you’re using Daylite as your small business CRM, follow these steps to track your close rate in Daylite.
Step 3: Leverage scarcity to get new clients
Once you have your lead target and you’re doing everything possible to make sure you’re promoting your free consultation on all your marketing channels, now’s the time to take it a step further by leveraging scarcity. Scarcity is an influencing and marketing technique where you drive up demand by lowering the supply, or in this case the perception of supply. When people see that there’s only a small amount of something available, it increases their chance of acting fast to get that product or service.
To apply the scarcity technique to get more clients for your consulting or coaching business, promote how many free consultation spots you have available and keep the number small so demand goes up. For example, let’s use that example of a consultant that helps people form stronger bonds with their cats. You could do a post on your Instagram story about how you only have 3 spots left this week for anyone interested in learning more about how you can help them work on behaviour issues with their cat. You could also leverage this in an email campaign. You can even use this technique on your website. Remember that call to action example on a website? Include there how many spots you have left.
Of course, you’ll want to make sure that there are in fact only 3 spots available, so if you’re using an online scheduling tool that someone can book a call with you right from your website, make sure you only include a few times available in your calendar so it matches with what’s on your website.
Step 4: Watch the leads come in
By leveraging your free consultation and promoting it on all your marketing channels with a clear call-to-action and value proposition, then giving it an extra kick by leveraging scarcity, you’ll have a better chance at turning your website traffic and viewers on social media into warm leads.
Pro Tip: To make sure you’re increasing your odds of converting these warm leads into paying clients after your free consultation call or meeting, make sure you’re following a follow-up schedule to nurture those leads into clients. Don’t leave it up to a lead to follow-up with you. Yes, your call or meeting may have gotten them interested in your service but people are busy. While their problem may be painful enough to pique their interest in looking into a possible solution, they may have forgotten, gotten busy, or been approached by a competitor in the meantime. Set a reminder on your phone to follow up with them a few days or a week later, or use a small business CRM like Daylite where you can set a follow-up schedule to automatically remind you to touch base and keep track of every lead.
Need help keeping track of leads, client communication, and follow-ups? Try Daylite – the Mac CRM for small businesses.