Samantha Attard asks about giving free consultations:

Have any of you read "The Prosperous Coach" by Steve Chandler? He has an interesting business development strategy of inviting prospective clients for a free, 2-hour initial consult and "blows people's mind" by providing all this value and life-changing info in that initial consultation. He's specifically a life coach, and I'm wondering how/if this applies to us in the nutrition/health space. How do you run your initial consultations, and what do you tell people that is life changing for them?
  • Sean Flanagan: Here's How to Get Started:

    Regardless of the program you're interested in - and especially if you're not sure which one is right for you - we should hop on the phone for a few minutes to see if we're right for each other.

    I want to make sure I'm signing up people who are truly interested in the level of service that I provide and are not just looking for another ""diet fix"". And of course you want to make sure that if you are dropping $200 or more, that you are not going to end up blocking an hour out of your day to talk to a jackass.

    So let's get on the phone or Skype for a 15-20 minute casual conversation where I can ask you a little bit more about your goals, background, and what you feel you need help with - and you can ask me anything you want about the hypothetical future coaching relationship to make sure I'm the right fit for you too. If either of us doesn't want to go forward, I can make an alternative recommendation if I am able. And if both of us agree to go forward, we can go ahead and get you all set up.

  • Matt Talley: I've given 2 one hour sessions for free to all new clients for many years now. 

    First is a sit down and talk, gather information, goals, fill out pain chart, flag for needing a doctors note, etc. 

    Second session is a workout based on info gathered in first session. 

    100% closing rate for 3 years now. 

    When I ask people months or even years later how they think I ""sold"" them the answer is almost always ""You didn't. That's why I bought. You just seemed like you wanted to help.""

    If they're willing to meet, they're already considering buying. Most people are considerate enough not to PLAN to take your free time and run. So I always see it as my sale to LOSE, not to gain.

    Overcoming the perception that you'll be using that time to hard sell people is a legitimate hurdle though. That's why I try to focus on referrals - my clients will make it clear to their friends and coworkers that I didn't hard sell them or come across as cheesy and pressuring.

  • Emily Segal: But you can't speak to a medical specialist or psychological professional in his/her office for an hour and not pay. My time is worth a lot and I give plenty of free access to myself and my materials in my free groups, webinars, blog, videos etc. Those are my "free samples". But one-on-one, they pay for that. I have offered free ones as specials from time to time and they never convert as well as paid consults. My ideal clients are people who value things they pay well for. Free makes them cringe. As it does me. If you offer me a free session I will think your business isn't doing well and you lack experience. I want to hire people with a high price and a waiting list. So you need to know your audience and try different strategies and figure out what works best for your own business.

  • Brandon Scott Chien: I have 5 paying weekly clients whom I'm initially offered free consultations to and tell them the truth about their fitness situation, show them skills to learn, and tell them I will not work with them forever, or I'm not doing my job

  • Samantha Attard: Wow - thank you everyone for your fabulous input!! My takeaways: 1. For some people: free sessions work! For others...not so much. 2. No matter what, make sure your potential clients KNOW the cost of doing business with you beforehand. (Actually Matt - do you have your price listed before they call you up?) 3. If free consults AREN'T working...take a look at what the heck you're doing in that consult. 4. If NO free consult isn't working....take a look at what the heck you're doing in your marketing. 5. If your'e offering a free consult - be clear and honest with your potential client WHY you're offering the consult and WHAT they can expect from it.

Robin Mungall wants to know if there's a way to help a client get her family motivated

  • Thom Lamb: ask dad "who around you is doing something you would like to do" and then help him to make that connection. Maybe there is someone in his social circle that is just a bit further down the process and that he can relate to. Perhaps that would help him to feel less intimidated about it all. But if we help THEM change the lens they are looking through, then THEY will see an example they could emulate. It's a question of contextualizing the content so it can be digested by the audience, instead of just presenting it from the aspect you (or your clients in this case) are most familiar with.

  • Ashley Palmer: My question: do these family members want to change? Without some desire it's completely impossible to get anywhere, and it may lead to more resistance and family tension. If that's the case, the best thing is to remind your client they are leading by example. Let the family members observe her dedication and the rewards that come from it, and at some point they may get inspired by it. If she tries to change them when they don't want to change it will not work.

Yusuf Clack asks, "Who here gets hit up for family discounts and would like some help getting full price?"

  • Yusuf Clack: For fun, here is my script.

  • Steph Haddad: If someone wants to double up and go below my prices when it's a significant other, i hear them out, then tell them either in person or (if they are intense) through email offer them options that work with their price point.... and not with me. Usually a Rec Center with a good rep that has classes included, and I have a contact there to send them to for a personal touch. I have yet to have people ask that already train with me. Only people who are prospects. I feel icky when it happens.

  • Yusuf Clack: But it's the people that want a recurring discount that backfires in my model -- vs a "Test the waters" sort of fast action bonus

  • Steph Haddad: Yeah... i don't do that. that's asinine. my mechanic doesn't give me a referral bonus for the people i've referred him. i want quality, i pay for quality.

Gillian Thomas asks for some advice about the best next step I can take to develop her online nutritional habits coaching program.

  • Sean Flanagan: My suggestion would be getting a subscription to Digital Marketer's membership site - DM Lab.
  • Roland Fisher: Nutrition and exercise science are the things that get you to the table, they have to be there, but they are the smallest part of running an online business. The coaching skills and marketing skills are the things that matter the most. Since you have great coaching skills, I agree with Sean, I'd get the DM's membership and start learning there.The first thing to focus on while you are learning, is building an audience. If you have 1000 fans you have a business and can grow from there really well. In fact in our mentorship program the second last assignment was in that direction.
  • Ashley Palmer: I agree with above... Learning to market is the next step. Start by asking yourself who your ideal client is, where do they hang out (online, in person etc), and how to position yourself as an expert and provide value in those places.
  • Ashley Palmer: Hmmm... well, I spent wayyyy too much time and money learning how to market... lol. I don't know that there is one course, or one resource that answers everything, I've just kinda pieced it all together. However, if I were to go back and do it again, I would spend money on only one thing: Ramit Sethi's Zero to Launch program, which coincidentally I haven't done, but I have friends who have, and what they learned from it is pretty much the same conclusion I came to after years of trying it out and experimenting (plus taking wayyy too many courses)

Ashley Palmer shared some awesome advice on running Facebook ads.

  • Ashley Palmer: Just got off the phone with a guy from the facebook business team… and came back with some super valuable information about running ads. I asked plenty of questions related to our industry.

1. Fitness and nutrition Facebook ads will likely not get approved if they focus on physical appearance, weight loss or their current physical condition (so don’t say “feeling fat?” but you already knew that) The best advice of the FB guys who are in contact with major agencies is to focus on the positive experience they will have with your brand. What will that experience be like? Show them.

2. Ads are most expensive right now. Between Halloween and January 1st, so if you’re starting ads, continuing ads, and feel like WTF… that’s pretty normal.

3. Ads are cheapest between Jan 1st and July 31st due to the smaller number of advertisers, so if you want to get started with facebook ads and grow your list, that is prime time.

4. The biggest advantage us “little guys” have over larger companies is that we “get” how to be social. Sharing value and starting conversations is what we do well, and big brands suck at it (his words… ish) so there’s no need to copy what the big brands are doing, and yes, we can compete against them.

5. Behavior targeting is more successful than interest targeting.

Roland Fisher reminded us of the perils of "false" motivation.

One of our struggles can be motivation. We've all felt that. This got me thinking about a lie of the self help industry. A big lie. I used to strive to be motivated. I read Tony Robbins, and several authors about the mindset of success, the mindset to be confident, rich, happy. I'd get fired right up. Hellz yeah! I'd take over the world! I began to think that this would make me successful. I even joined an MLM cult. It never worked. I'd lose my motivation after a few weeks, sometimes it took longer, I could make it last for months if I had a habit of reading that material, listening to those tapes (yes I'm that old), going to those meetings. I never succeeded though...

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