How to Convert from a Free Session
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How to Convert from a Free Session

Today’s blog topic comes from a mastermind group meeting we had yesterday with a group of small business owners.

James was asking about how to convert a prospect into a paying coaching client after they’d done a free coaching discovery session together.

While James’ Hot Seat was about doing free coaching sessions, you can also use these ideas if you do free mastermind group meetings, free classes, or free mentoring meetings as part of your marketing and sales funnel.

Determine the purpose of the free session

The first step is to determine your purpose for offering a free session. Are you intending to ask this person to become a client at the end of the session? Or is the session simply a demonstration of what it’s like to work with you, as a way of educating your audience?

For instance, in yesterday’s Taste of a Mastermind Group meeting that James was in (you can get the recording here), my purpose for offering a free mastermind group meeting was to demonstrate what a real meeting looks like. I had no intention to ask the audience to become members of my mastermind group. But in James’ case, his free coaching session IS a prelude to asking that person to become a paying coaching client.

And that makes all the difference in the world! When you know the outcome you want, you can design your entire process around that goal.

Set expectations in advance

Previously, James had been inviting people to a free coaching session through the connections he was making at his local Chamber of Commerce.

But he wasn’t saying to them before the meeting, “If you’re curious about coaching and would like to see what really happens in a coaching session with me, let’s set up a free session. If, at the end of the session, we both think that we’re a good fit for each other, we can discuss which of my coaching programs is best for you.”

In this way, he’s setting the expectation that the purpose of the meeting in advance, and only those people who are interested in possibly working long-term with James would request a free session.

Members gave great suggestions to James

In our mastermind group meeting yesterday, many members had super suggestions for James about how he could approach his marketing and sales funnel differently. Here are some of their ideas:

  1. Does it have to be a free session? Many people will take advantage of a free offer but have no interest in paying for your services. Kate suggested that James could charge for these “discovery” coaching sessions, and if the prospect became a paying client, they’d be refunded what they paid for the discovery session. In this way, James is indicating that his time and skill have value and that he doesn’t give his time away for free.
  2. Kenneth asked James, “Where in the session do you ask the prospect to become a paying client?” In James’ case, he didn’t ask them to become a client in the free session. He was using the free sessions as a way of establishing rapport but then continued to send the prospect free resources after the meeting, with the hopes that they’d contact him later to become a client. Members of the mastermind group suggested to James that the free meeting should be the final resource offered, not one of the earliest ones. They also suggested that James asks the prospect at the end of the session whether they thought it was a good fit and did they want to become his coaching client.
  3. Sonja asked James if he’s using any type of CRM (customer relationship management system) to capture the information about the prospects and get reminders to follow-up with them. You need to have some system to keep track of all the prospect interactions you have. Just because a prospect says “no” the first time you ask them to become a client doesn’t mean a “permanent no.” Design a way to follow-up with them later if timing or money is an issue.
  4. Jim suggested that James designs a process which will determine if the prospect qualifies to be a potential client, either before the free session or during it. By determining the prospect’s needs, James can know if it’s a good match for his services.

As you can see, there are many ways to convert a prospect into a paying client for your services, but you need a well-planned marketing and sales funnel, and clear goals for each step within that funnel. You can watch the full mastermind group meeting here and get the rest of the tips the group offered James around sales and marketing.

Mastermind Group Success Starts Here


4 thoughts on “How to Convert from a Free Session”

  1. I watched the demo meeting live and got so many great ideas to implement myself. This was one of them! Beware: there are lots of “shiny objects” in a mastermind group meeting! Find a place to capture the ideas that resonate with you then choose the one or two that are aligned with YOUR goals this year.

    1. Karyn Greenstreet says:

      I agree, Monica, the “shiny object syndrome” can kill your business and sap your time and focus!

  2. It was a great meeting and offered insight into the mastermind experience.
    Thank you!

    1. Karyn Greenstreet says:

      I’m glad you found the demo meeting helpful, Mike.

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