Blimey! There are a lot of names for those complimentary consultation offers that many coaches use to get visitors to contact the coach.
- complimentary consultation
- complimentary coaching session
- sample session
- comp session
- intro session
- sales call
- free consult
- free coaching session
- discovery call
- chemistry session (this one blew me away)
- apply for coaching (hmmm)
- needs assessment
- strategy session (my fave)
- enticing invitation (my concoction)
If you know of another name, please post it in the comments below.
So, you might wonder, Which phrase is the best?
Without going down a rabbit hole of thoughts, implications, and ideas that fire-up debates, here’s my twitterable-Kenn-quote about what I’ve found most helpful when thinking about this is…
Regardless of what you call your free comp session offer, make sure it speaks to potential clients’ interests powerfully. That’s the move to make. That’s marketing.
For these special session offers, I’ll like using the term strategy session to remind us to be strategic about how we describe and position it on websites.
In this article, you’ll get the top three things I’ve found to work best for generating more of these strategy sessions online.
Here we go…
1. Make It Enticing
A line of text stating “free consultation available upon request” off to the side of a page is hardly compelling.
To get people jazzed up about your offer, I’ve found these to work:
- give it a title that implies value to the client
- list the of benefits of getting on a call with you
- make the offer limited in availability
I’ll admit it – applying a limit to my offers made me feel uneasy at first.
It can feel uncomfy to say something like, “only 3 sessions available” when theoretically you could do 4 or 5 or even 10.
This can be very unsettling if you’re the kind of person who “just wants to help people” and is willing to give an hour to anyone without regard.
But on a deeper level, there’s more going on:
- You really cannot afford to give away a lot of time for free. You have bills to pay, mouths to feed, and meaningful dreams to pursue. You have to take care of yourself.
- Also, if you don’t limit the offer, people will just sit on the fence about it and not decide thinking they can come back later. Later is never and both of you miss out on the opportunity to work together.
- Finally, if you don’t show a limit on your time, your time is devalued since it appears to be easily attained. Oddly, this also lowers the commitment level of the coachee.
So yes, while limiting your free session might feel inauthentic, deep down it’s best for everyone.
Here’s an example…
For example, for a health coach working with professionals who are too tired and it’s killing their productivity, you could offer an Energize Your Life Strategy Session that’s available for the first five people to request it.
And then list out the benefits of the call, like finding the client’s top blockers to success or top sabotaging behaviors.
I go into a lot more detail about crafting your strategy session offer as well as handling the call in The Coaching Website Guide.
2. Make It Prominent
Many websites bury the comp session offer at the bottom of a secondary page or in small text on a sidebar.
That’s not going to work because if folks to see it, they won’t ask for it.
Contrary to what you might think, people do not read your website word for word, page by page until they’ve read it all.
Instead, they skim and scan, jump and jive around reading blips and blurbs until they find what they want.
Oh yeah, that’s worth repeating twitter-style…
Contrary to what you might think, people do not read your website word for word and page by page. Instead, they skim and scan and jump and jive, to keep their interest high and alive.
And so that offer to get on a call with you needs to show up many times throughout, invitingly and not disruptively.
So, make finding your offer very easy and obvious. Whether it’s a phone call, web form, or other call-to-action, make it prominent.
Here’s a little trick of mine…
Almost no one does this, but I think it’s a money-maker. Put your free session invitation on the menu as shown in the screenshot of Susan’s website below.
If you can work the design to make the offer subtly stand out in the menu – like a button as I did – I will add you to my favorite people on Earth list C. ;P
More tips, tricks, and tools from ten-plus years of trying tons of things for terrific website turnouts in The Coaching Website Guide.
3. Get Real Traffic
Koala bears at an automotive website won’t grow the business.
FB friends and LinkedIn connections coming to your life coaching website is better since those folks have will have a higher-than-zero level of trust and familiarity with you.
If you want to consistently get lots of new client leads, who won’t require much selling, who will pay your fees without fuss, and stick around for a long time, then it’s time to get real traffic.
By real, I mean they aren’t just random visitors who you have no clue about. Instead, they are people who:
- have a significant need or challenge that you can help with
- your credibility/experience/story will appeal to them
- have a high level of familiarity and trust with you
For example, your couple’s coaching website will generate lots of new calls if the visitors were in a long-term relationships, are having a difficult time, and have seen your name many times before.
If you are not sure if anyone is coming, or you haven’t done anything intentional about getting traffic, you’re probably not getting any real traffic.
4. Make your website faster (if it’s very slow)
Slow websites are bad for biz.
Under 3 seconds is good.
More than 5 seconds to load a page is toeing the line of what’s acceptable.
Use the speed test tool at Pingdom.com to check your speeds from various locations around the planet.
Most important is to test the locations where clients are likely to come from.
If your website is slow, it’s time to retool some things like optimizing big images, getting rid of unnecessary plugins, and possibly upgrading your hosting plan.
Talk to your techie.
5. Fix Tech Issues
Test the BLEEP out of your website.
Click through the pages, try out your forms, sign up for your list, and make sure it all works well.
Test! Test! Test!
It would completely suck if after having your website for a year, you found out the stinking free-consultation-request form didn’t work or your email account wasn’t set up correctly.
New client leads lost and your heart stops. Ack!
Do this at least every month.
6. Improve Readability
If a page is hard to read, people won’t read them.
There are definitely proven reading rules to apply to your pages if you want folks to eat every last word.
The most important ones are:
• Make paragraphs short, even a sentence or two.
• Stick to one point per paragraph.
• Use simpler words and avoid jargon.
• Use headings, subheadings, and bullet lists often.
• Avoid big, long blocks of text.
- Keep it simple, easy, and fun.
Because I’m so amazing, look at my blog posts and pages and see how welcoming they are to look at, scan, and read. Hehe, just kidding. I’m only applying what I’ve learned from successful others.
But do look at the blogs, articles, and websites of your favorite writers, gurus, and though-leaders. You’ll quickly see how pages should look.
7. Test Usability
If your website is not easy to use (and YOU are not qualified to answer that), then people just won’t use it.
EVERY (100%) time I sit down and watch someone use my website, I’m ALWAYS humbly amazed by what they do and ALWAYS find good things to do to improve them.
You’d think, as a design pro, I’d have it all together. But the reality is that “how we use things” evolves, especially technology.
This is gold and most website owners never do it -> Sit with a human and ask them to perform tasks on your website. Almost anyone will do, but if you can get one of your clients, that’d be great.
Invite them to speak out loud as they use your website.
To sum it up, if you want more complimentary consultation requests from your website, this works:
- Make your offer enticing
- Make your offer prominent
- Get real traffic to your website
Spend some time getting specific about this offer, and intentional about your traffic sources.