If you give free sample coaching sessions, make it worth your while. Use these seven techniques to leverage your time, set yourself up for success, and enroll 100% of your prospects into your coaching business.
Be a Professional
Most challenges with sample sessions are the result of undervaluing your time  and services. When you give away your time too freely, go over time boundaries and charge low fees, it comes across as unprofessional — a big deterrent to enrolling ideal coaching clients.
Show that you highly value your services:
- Only give sample sessions to pre-qualified prospects.
- Manage time boundaries firmly.
- Accept only ideal clients.
- Charge fees that pay you well .
Seven Techniques that Work
#1 Pre-qualify prospects and take on ideal clients
If you’re trying to serve a large niche market, getting people to sign up for sample sessions is challenging. Instead target a narrow coaching market  and champion them. Then, your prospects will find you and sample sessions will be a breeze. The more you coach folks in your ideal coaching market, the faster you build visibility, credibility and expertise.
Only take on ideal clients. If you sense a prospect is not the right coaching client for you, refer them to another coach. Keep contact info for coaches with other target markets and specialties. Explain that you’ve learned to trust your intuition, and that fit in coaching is critical for their best results.
“I don’t think I’m the best fit for you. Would you like a referral?”
#2 Share your fees and terms before scheduling the sample session.
“Let me tell you how I work and we’ll set up a sample session. I charge $500 for three one-hour sessions each month. Email updates between sessions are included. I suggest we work together for a minimum of six months to make significant progress on your goals.”
This way you don’t drop a bomb on the client at the end and you won’t waste your valuable time on a prospect who will not invest in your services. Your prospect will see you’re in high demand.
Never adjust your terms – fees or number of sessions per month – if the prospect objects to your fees or says they can’t afford it. Taking on low frequency / low fee clients results in:
- Your client feeling dis-empowered.
- You feeling resentful that your time is undervalued.
- A diminished sense of investment in the personal success of the client.
Set up group coaching, masterminds and membership programs to serve individuals who choose not to afford private coaching.
#3 Set up expectations about the session.
“Here is how the sample session will work: You bring a small and very specific outcome you want to take away from our time today. This is called your ‘agenda’. We’ll have a powerful conversation for ____ minutes. At the end, we’ll take time to answer any questions you have about how this works as an ongoing process for your success.”
This shows your prospect that you are a professional and that the normal result to the session is to enroll in your services.
Stick to the time boundaries you’ve set. Resist the impulse to over deliver. Do NOT:
- Try to cover anything but the agenda
- Go overtime
- Offer a second sample session
#4 Don’t perform. Connect!
Co-creative coaching is about being interested, rather than interesting. Your aim is to draw out the client’s wisdom rather than having all the answers yourself. The real magic of coaching is in the partnership. Show faith in their brilliance, your ability to coach, and the coaching process itself.
#5 Always “Close the sale”.
Become masterful at asking prospects to hire you and your business will thrive.
“What are you taking away from this conversation? Can you imagine how this would help you _______?”
Mention specifics they’ve shared with you about their problems and goals. Coach through obstacles, but don’t try to convince them. Believe that they know what is best for them.
If they want time to decide, ask:
“What needs to happen for you know this is right for you?”
Often that question will remove the obstacles. Check with them by phone, not email, in two days. If your follow up call does not result in them enrolling, let them go energetically.
#6 Trust that all is well.
If a client doesn’t hire you immediately, bless the experience and don’t worry why. We can never know the path of another. You’ve planted a seed that could result in a client years later! Have faith that your ideal clients will hire you if you make yourself consistently visible to them.
#7 Get them on your list.
If you miss this opportunity, you’ve wasted your precious time. Ask if you can subscribe them to your blog or ezine, if they have not already. This way, you have future opportunities to connect with them and build trust.
Some coaches don’t offer free sample sessions. Some coaches charge for intro sessions. I offer a 20 minute consult to enroll prospects into one of my group programs. I accept very few private clients so that I can better leverage my time and increase revenues, while providing great group experiences for my clients. Coaching is an entrepreneurial business – you can do whatever suits you best!
Share your comments, questions and what’s working well for you with your consults or sample sessions.