Sign up now for a free consultation! How many times have you seen this when visiting a website, squeeze page, on a Facebook Ad, or even on a billboard when driving past the local park bench? As business owners, we value our time. Why on earth would we want to give any of it away for free? What is in it for us? More than you think.
Money and trust go hand in hand. We give money to those we trust, those who we believe have our best interest in mind. In a standard brick and mortar society, we may have to take a leap of faith as the local grocery store isn’t going to give you an opportunity to try their produce for free and see if you like it before you return to buy more. Same with your neighborhood dry cleaner, they aren’t going to clean your first suit for free in hopes to retain your business.
So why do online entrepreneurs do free consultations? For starters, if the neighborhood dry cleaner had 50 additional dry cleaners surrounding it, it would find a way to attract your business among the competition, whether it be a coupon, refer a friend, or a discount card (free dry cleaning with so many visits). There are literally hundreds of thousands of individuals in your niche. Take being a virtual assistant, you can throw a rock, blind folded, in the middle of a desert and hit one – it isn’t hard – we are everywhere! There is a new virtual assistant starting a business every day, even right now, while I am typing this. How do I know? I am a part of several Facebook groups that help Virtual Assistants get started (yes…I help the competition – what is wrong with me!)
I have been a VTA (virtual tech assistant) for over 10 years. My client list is always full. If I grow, it isn’t because I have lost someone, it is because I have been so efficient at my job that I have created additional time to take on someone else. I say all of this because I don’t feel threatened by the continuous additions to the already overpopulated niche of Virtual Assistance. Should I be? Possibly but I know that, while we all may do the same thing, I offer something that no one else does – myself. My personality, my work ethic, my capabilities, my knowledge, my imagination comes with working with me. How do I convey this to a potential client? A free consultation!
Consultations allow an individual to build the trust of a potential customer by answering their questions, connecting on a personal level, and discussing concepts that may not come up when reviewing a business website or may not have been answered on a brief sales page. It also allows the business owner to feel out a potential client and provide alternatives (or custom packages) that may be better equipped for their needs versus the standards you provide on your site. I have a client that is exceptionally talented at this. She has consultation calls with clients who are interested in specific item she offers. When they get on the call, they are so impressed with her knowledge and expertise, they are ready to sign right then and there…until they hear the price. If they weren’t talking to her and simply saw the price on the website, they would have closed the window and moved on. On a consultation call, she can get a feel of their hesitation, dissect their concerns, and customize a package that feels right for them – salvaging the sale.
Why do I do consultation calls? As I tell every single potential client at the beginning of the call – it allows the individual to verbally explain and/or elaborate their needs, provide their expectations, and provides an opportunity for me to explain who I am, what I offer, and how I work. It also allows us to see if we are a good fit for each other. Not every coach and client or VA and business owner is right for each other. I have a client that will actually black list previous clients to avoid working with them again. For me, a consultation avoids this from happening by weeding out mismatches up front. When you speak with someone, you are able to get a feel of that person, trust your gut. Does the decision to work with them feel light? Do they fit the profile/mold of your ideal client? Are their needs and expectations not only reasonable, but in line with your business?
What’s in it for you if you do a consultation? A sale! A referral! The ability to connect with someone who would have clicked away, closed a page, moved on from a squeeze page or a Facebook Ad. The chance to form a relationship with someone that, if they are not able to afford your services at that time, may be able to suggest it to someone who can. Most importantly, the opportunity to ensure the business partnership you are building is right for both of you – especially if the product you are selling is your time as a coach or service provider.
There is so much to gain from a quick 15-30 minute consultation and several websites you can use (for free) to setup your platform. A few recommendations are: 10to8, Acuity Scheduling, YouCanBookMe, and Calendly.
If you aren’t offering free consultations now, consider it. If I still haven’t enlightened you with my “whys”, I would love to hear your “why nots”.
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