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Are You Conducting FREE Coaching Sessions The Proper Way? by Bart Smith

Are You Conducting FREE Coaching Sessions The Proper Way?

by Bart Smith

I’ll be brief about this because it’s actually quite simple.

The Standard/Typical Free Coaching Session Format

How do you think your typical coach or consultant goes about conducting free coaching/consulting sessions with prospective clients IF they offer they even offer them at all? Does this sound familiar?

  • 15-30 MINUTE FREE PHONE CONSULTATION? Can you really get to know someone in a 15-30 minute call? Wouldn’t these types of sessions seem RUSHED? Most of the time, the prospect needs more time to see if YOU are a good fit for him/her especially when you’re about to ask them to spend a few hundred dollars per month with you over the next 3-6-12 months. Prospects need assurance that you can be trusted, are genuinely interested in them, have expertise in their areas of need and are prepared to customize the coaching experience. The coach/consultant needs time to evaluate the prospect as well. Rarely am I a fan of giving my time away so I would not be in favor of free consultation calls especially since there is so much at stake. And, seriously, how much can you accomplish with a quick phone call? If your goal is to establish trust, then a meet and greet should be scheduled to ensure you both make the right decisions.

  • THE CALL ITSELF? It usually starts out like this, “So, tell me about yourself?” = WASTED TIME. “What seems to be your problem?” It would be nice to know this before the call and besides, the client, no doubt, will waste precious minutes talking in circles and without specifics. Time is ticking. “Have you worked on this (problem) for long?” It would be helpful to know in advance the nature of the problem the potential client is attempting to explain. So, the coach might ask another question, “What solutions have you tried?” Again, time is ticking and time is almost up. “Well, based on what I’ve heard, I think I can help you. What do you think?” Wow, a lot of “thinking” and not enough “knowing.” Right? The prospect’s response? “Maybe. I think I need more time to think about it, after hearing your prices. Let me get back to you.” Neither one of you have truly been able to put value on the call, discuss expectations and some idea of a treatment plan, let alone discuss how much coaching is going to cost. At the end of the call, what did you accomplish? Probably little to nothing. Always, schedule an appointment for a caller so neither of you wastes time and to allow both of you a better chance at reaching a positive arrangement.

  • Seriously, isn’t that how most coaching sessions go? Let’s try a different approach, shall we? What you are about to read below comes right out of my book, Rich Coach Broke Coach. I came up with this formula after evaluating many failed first encounters with prospective clients. Check out my approach and see if it makes sense to you. I hope it meets your needs.

    Bart’s 20/20/20 Free Coaching Session Format

    So, here’s how a free coaching session might go, and in this order, from my perspective and experience. I think you’ll get the idea about how effectively this could work:

  • HAND PROSPECTIVE CLIENT A FREE COACHING SESSION VOUCHER: The offer of a free (or discounted) voucher could certainly give a potential client an incentive to schedule time to speak with you. Templates are provided for coaches in my book and in my coaching client forms bundle found here at MTC. You only need to go to the website to download them for your use. In this case, being able to hand out vouchers at a networking event or some other venue could be just the ticket for those who aren’t sure about seeking help for troublesome issues. The voucher encourages the prospect to go to your website and download specific coaching forms that will enable you to get to know the person and tailor your questions prior to setting up the call. This is the true essence of selling with precision.

  • Coaching Client Gift Certificate
  • PROSPECTIVE CLIENT IS INSTRUCTED TO DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE COACHING SESSION AGREEMENT FORM + SELF-ASSESSMENT FORM. A free 15-minute call will prove valuable when you utilize the coaching forms. (1) These forms get the prospect INVOLVED in working with you before they spend a dime on your services. It gives them “skin in the game,” as I call it. (2) These forms are to be filled out and sent to you prior to the coaching call. The information they provide will help you to determine where the potential client’s hot spots are and help you determine a potential course of treatment. The coaching forms will also keep you organized and on track and will make good use of your time. So, plan to spend 15 minutes prior to the call reading all about the potential client’s hurts and worries. Your phone call is now spent carefully listening to them, asking pointed questions, and then making recommendations for services. Hopefully the client will say, “How can I say no! I like how you work!” (3) Client is then treated like a paying client and learns how organized and professional you operate. You both recognize that what has come out of the call is mutual respect and a willingness and openness to work together on the issues. The client’s first impression in this case is a positive one. THIS IS A BIG PLUS FOR YOU because this was good use of your time and time is money!

  • THE 20/20/20 CALL: This 3 X 20-minute breakdown of a one-hour call, not 15-30 minutes, is designed to walk them (and you) through exactly what the client needs to hear in order for them to ultimately say, “Yes, sign me up for your coaching services. I want to continue with this call. I appreciate what I’ve heard from you (coach) and I am eager to hear how you can help me.” This free 20/20/20 free session call, goes a little something like this:

  • 1st — 20 MINUTES: (YES+PAIN SEGMENT) The first 20 minutes consists of asking questions about the responses they filled in on the intake form, self-assessment form and/or questionnaire. Your asking questions should be in the order to where the prospect responds with “Yes” a majority of the time. “So, you say here on your self-assessment, that you are _____.” (Yes) “Where you talk about _____, is that true?” (Yes) … etc. Build up the “Yeses!” and get them to be thinking deeply and specifically on their hurts, worries, losses, pain, problems, etc. (By the way, true sales and selling is a “hurt and rescue” business, but more on that later.)

  • 2nd — 20 MINUTES: (“WHY” / “MISSING SOLUTION” SEGMENT) The second 20 minutes consists of more “E.E.” (“Emotional Excavation”) and probing into the pain, problem or passion the client expressed on their questionnaire/self-assessment form, but specifically into the WHY does the client struggle? Why hasn’t he/she accomplished their goal by now? What obstacles are they encountering? What kind of support are they lacking or (negative) support are they up against? Get the client to elaborate on the WHY! What’s the missing solution they think they need?


  • PART 1: Restate the pain/problem/passion …

    PART 2: Restate the WHY they struggle …

    PART 3: Tell a story about how you helped someone in the past (or how you would help this client) …

    PART 4: Make your offer to help …

    PART 5: Answer any questions/objections …

    PART 6: Sign them up for coaching …

    PART 7: Congratulate the client …

  • That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. By restating the client’s pain/problem/passion and their struggle with “why” they still struggle, it’s the perfect opportunity to reinforce why they came to you; offer up a success story about a previous client (or imagined) that you helped with a similar problem.

  • THE CLOSE: YOU/COACH: “On this call, and on your self-assessment/questionnaire … 1. I heard your pain is ______. (Client says, “YES”) 2. That you’ve struggled with ___. (“YES”) 3. It’s clear, if you knew what to do, how to do it, or had someone show you how to ______, that you could ______ (achieve your goal and overcome xyz). (“YES”) Okay, then, let me share a quick story about how I helped someone in your exact situation. (Proceed to tell the story, AND WHEN YOU’RE DONE, YOU MIGHT SAY …) What did you think about how I helped that client with a similar situation as yours? Did you see how I helped them save time/money/energy? What did you think about that?” With this type of dialogue, you set the client up to compare/contrast his/her current situation of pain/problem/passion and struggle, matched with how the coach solved a client’s similar problem, while assessing the saved time/money/energy spent all on one call.

  • Now, while I go into even MORE DETAIL on this 20/20/20 first free session format inside Rich Coach Broke Coach, can you see the big difference between the first 15-30 minute free phone call that’s literally a waste of time for both of you. The client FEELS like you’re a good fit to solve their problems compared to the 20/20/20 approach along with free coaching session vouchers, free coaching agreement, self-assessment form filled in and submitted before the first call? I hope so!

    Look, TREAT and TURN every PROSPECT as if he/she is a $1,000+ PAYING CLIENT! Most people can find the money they need to get help needed to overcome what ails them. The problem is in (a) CONVINCING the prospect YOU can really help them and (b) securing their participation in the coaching process! This is accomplished with ease using my 20/20/20 free session format and complementary coaching client forms approach.

    So, why not try this approach when you go looking for new clients? I have numerous testimonials that confirm that the forms added to their success. Want more insights into this process? Click the button below to learn more about my book Rich Coach Broke Coach (in paperback or online via eBook+audio) as well as 151+ Mistakes Coaches Make and my Coaching Client Forms.