The number "3" seems to work really in my presentations. I share 3 specific ideas, use 3 different stories to support those ideas, and offer 3 different free options on the bottom of a form they received earlier.
One of those free options is a free 30-minute phone or Skype consult.
At first I dismissed this activity as a huge time trap. But colleagues shared the merits of why they offer it and their results. They convinced me to try it.
My biggest fear was that these free 30-minute calls would eat up my day without any return. But I was wrong. Here's what I found:
First of all, only a certain percentage of audience members will sign up for it. These are the ones who really resonated with my message, my style, and feel I may be the person who can truly help them. They are a "hot" prospect.
Secondly, I can control how many of these calls I want to schedule in a day, week, etc.
The best surprise was that when we had our conversation, I got to know them and was able to truly offer personal suggestions to help them achieve their goals. It was a fast way to build trust and they told me exactly what their "hot buttons" were!
Now that I know their "hot buttons" as well as their goals and obstacles, I can offer a few general (not too specific) things they can do. Toward the end of the call, I simply ask if they'd like my help implementing these ideas and more. Some will ask me to explain how that works. Now I have permission to share the value, probable results if they implement my ideas and strategies, pricing, and how the coaching will take place.
I strongly suggest you have the following in place:
- Follow up with 24-48 hours of the event. I like to call first. Most of the time I get their voice mail. So I tell them who I am, why I'm calling, and that I'm sending an email with the details. Then, naturally, I send the email and ask them to choose 2-3 dates/times that work for them and send to me.
- A timer. During a free 30-minute call, I share my ideas at the 25-minute mark and then ask if they'd like help. This gives us a few minutes to discuss that and still stay on target. If we are working out the details because they've agreed to become a client, I don't mind going a few minutes over.
- Help them feel the emotion of the success they desire and the pain that is holding them back. Asking great questions helps me (and them) discover these emotions.
- Have 3-4 main questions to ask each person. These questions are geared toward giving me the answers, skills, experience, and abilities to help them achieve their goals. Let them do most of the talking - this is where I am fact finding, not offering suggestions. I have the questions I ask and a few relevant quotes laminated and in front of me on these calls. It keeps me on task.
- When the call is ended, I send an email to the prospect with an overview of what was discussed: their goals, my suggestions, and how I work with clients. I include my price. It's basically the same thing I said on the phone, but now they have it in writing.
- I NEVER start working with a client until I receive payment. I tell my new clients, "once payment is received, I'll send the first homework assignment for you to start working on. That way you'll already be moving forward by the time we have our first call."
- Be careful with guarantees. I have no control over the client and if they'll do the work. If I spend the time with them and they lose interest or change their mind, I'll offer to send them my home study course, not a refund. This way they still get great content to help them succeed when they are ready to move forward.
- Contract or no contract? I personally do not have a contract by choice. My private coaching generally takes 12 sessions and I bill in blocks of 4 sessions at a time. The client always has a choice on whether or not to renew. So do I. Many coaches have 6-month contracts. Several have told me that I'm losing out on a lot of money by doing it my way. I don't care. I have to do what feels best for me and the people I want to work with.
I've found that when I use speaking as a lead capture opportunity and the 3 free offers as a way to sift interested from disinterested, my closing ratio increases because I've already built trust with them. The free 30-minute consult is the "fast track" to talking to the person one-on-one and moving them from prospect to client. If they say no, it's ok. They are still on my mailing list and may convert over the next 60 days.
If you aren't already offering free 30-minute consults during your speaking gigs, I would encourage you to start. If you are but aren't getting conversions during the conversation, review the questions you are asking. (Read #3 above again).
There are people right now who are praying for the answers you can provide. If you don't step up, who will?
PS Want to see how this works? Register for a free 30 minute consult with me. No pressure. No obligation. No contract. Just help.