If you want to book clients offering free consult calls is a great strategy, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to offer these calls.
The goal of your free consult calls is to discuss how you can work together and your services with a potential client…so you NEED a clear plan for how these calls.
Here are our top tips to help you make the most of your free consult calls:
#1. Do – Keep the Call Short and to the Point
You need to go into a consult call with the right mindset: a consult call is not to ‘prove’ you know your stuff or to provide free strategy.
Honestly, this is where a lot of service providers go wrong. They allow the call to go on and on….because they’re so excited to be on the phone with someone that they can help.
Next thing you know, you’ve been on the phone for an hour.
A consult call is ideally 15 to 20 minutes MAX. Set up your online scheduling tool to make your appointments 20 minutes long. That way, if you DO go over a little bit, you’re still within a 30-minute timeframe.
Then, when you start the call, make sure set the expectation that you have 20 minutes. You can say something like, “I’m excited to hear all about how we can help you. I do have another call at 12:30, so let’s get right into it.”
Your time is one of your most valuable resources so it’s important to keep calls short and on point. (Plus it shows you’re respectful of the other person’s time too!)
#2. Don’t – Get on the Phone with Just Anyone
A consult call isn’t a social call, it’s about seeing how you work together. Period. This is why pre-screening before you actually commit to having a call is a must.
Whether you choose to have a form on your website or to pre-screen with questions via email, you need to qualify people in some way beforehand.
Before the call, you should have a basic idea of what services they’re interested in, their budget expectations and their desired timeline.
You shouldn’t be getting on a call with anyone that isn’t in line with what you do or someone who simply doesn’t have the budget to work with you.
#3. Do – Take Control of the Agenda
Rule number one to remember: You’re in charge of this call.
You’re the BOSS. Not the prospective client.
Just like in our first “do”, after you set the expectation for how long the call is going to be, next thing you want to do is to set the stage for your conversation.
Let them know at the outset that you’re going to be asking a series of questions and then after that, they can ask any questions, and then you’ll wrap up by sharing how you can help them.
Have a set of questions that you can pull from and keep an eye on the clock. If your prospective client is going off on a tangent, you’ll need to pull them back by reminding them that you only a few minutes left and you want to stay on track.
#4. Don’t – Get Pressured into Providing Exact Pricing on the Fly
It’s nearly impossible to pull an accurate price out of the air, so avoid it at all costs. (Especially if this makes you uncomfortable or you need time to think about it.)
If you need to answer the pricing question use starting prices or offer up a price range. If they pressure you for an exact price, firmly tell them you want to give them a fair and accurate price so that means you need to look at the scope of work in more detail.
#5. Do – Set Clear Next Steps and a Timeline for What Happens Next
As you’re wrapping up your call, clearly lay out what they can expect from you next. Typically, this will include when they can expect a proposal (or quote) from you and when you can get started.
If they’re on a tight timeline, be sure to let them know that you’ll need a yes from them by X date to get started.
And finally. the biggest mistake most people make with consult calls…
#6. Don’t – Give Away Strategy on the Call
This is a fatal mistake that many, many people tend to make on consult calls. Seriously. This can totally kill your productivity while you give away your awesomeness for free.
During a consult call, you should NOT talk specific strategy or go into consultant mode on the call. Your potential client needs to PAY you for that piece of the puzzle. (And yes, those ALL CAPS mean we’re getting a bit loud here.)
While you definitely need to talk about what you can do for them, you shouldn’t let the consult turn this a strategy session. Providing strategy is what happens in a paid call after they hire you! (And if you don’t have this as part of your process, add it in there stat so you’re being paid for your time and expertise.)
Get Into Action
As you went through this list did you see a do or don’t that you need to start or stop doing? There’s a lot of info in this video and post, so let’s make it stick and take one simple action now.
Pick just ONE of these dos or don’ts to implement – or stop implementing – in your consult call process.
If you’re not sure where to start, and you don’t already have a process in place, a great place to begin is to add in pre-screening questions to your scheduling process. It makes a HUGE difference in the quality of the consults you do speak with and your ability to convert them into paying clients.