This is a question that has been asked over and over again – “should I be charging for my discovery session/enrollment conversation?”
There is no “should” – only what is in alignment with You.
For most coaches who are starting out, offering “free” sessions can be a great way to get more people into conversation. Not only can they get higher chances of signing clients (sometimes, it’s a numbers game) but also get more opportunities to practice their sales conversation skills and get comfortable with these situations. However, as your business takes off and you hone in your skills, you may find a paid discovery session to make more sense.
Note: I am not advocating one form or the other, I have seen very established coaches offering free sessions and work beautifully. I do want you to CHOOSE INTENTIONALLY based on what is in alignment with you. For me personally, my priority is “clean money energy” and “fair juju exchange.” Not because your coaching school taught you so, some guru says so, or you bought a program that gave you some “templates” to do so.
There are certain situations in which charging for the session may makes sense:
- You have a full client load and you don’t want to have conversations with “tire-kickers” looking for a free session.
- You have the ability to attract highly-qualified potential clients (they are so well-qualified that they are willing to pay to get you on the phone), and you are confident about your conversion rate. (You will probably get fewer sessions at the beginning, but if your conversion rate is high then you won’t be losing revenue.)
- You offer more than just the usual “let’s talk about your problem, see what your blocks are and find out how I can help you with my programs” in your conversation.
E.g. I realized when I conduct my discovery sessions, I (used to unknowingly) whip out my intuitive skills and give the potential client a LOAD of clarity and direction just 20 minutes into the conversation. They were walking away with value that most people would get only after a few sessions in a coaching program so I decided to stop offering “free” sessions.
Personally, I find “free session” to be an unequal exchange of energy because I put in a lot of “juice” into those sessions and I don’t want to spend my time with people who don’t take the conversation seriously, appreciate what they get, or don’t take action after the session.
- You feel that the energy is not “clean” between you and the potential client if there is no monetary exchange for your time (for me, it translates as acknowledgement and appreciation).
Paid sessions works well for me because the “potential client” doesn’t feel “obligated” to hear my offers if she gets what she needs in the 30 minute together, or if she doesn’t think it’s a good fit. I feel good about what I delivered, and don’t feel that I have to push for a “sale” except to ask if she may be interested in exploring working together. Just one sentence, no strings attached. It helps me to have no attachment to the outcome, which is actually a critical mindset for getting more clients!
It wasn’t easy when I made the decision to start charging for my “discovery sessions”. The itty bitty shitty committee in my head was having a party with fears, doubts, and confidence issues. The Fear of Not Being Good Enough, the Fear of Not Being Worthy, and the Fear of Being Vulnerable/Criticized rose to the surface. I adjusted the price many times, played with adding bonuses, questioned every single move (with the support of my coach) to identify what came from my core value and what came out of fear and doubts.
What did I learned out of this exercise?
Clean Energy and Clear Intention is Paramount
No party should feel “obligated” to do anything during or after any discovery sessions. You DON’T have to tell the other person your program if you don’t think she ca benefit from working with you.
You mindset during the conversation, whether paid or not, needs to come from a place of service, of connection, of compassion. Being detached from the outcome allows you to be fully present for the other party in the conversation – that’s where magic happens.
If you decide to have your discovery session remain free of charge, make sure the decision does not come from the lack of confidence, fear, or the “comparison syndrome” (e.g. other coaches are doing it.) If you are charging, it is not because you see others doing so (and feel like you may be missing out) or you want to make a quick buck.
How To Get a Rush Of Paid Discovery Sessions
As I mentioned, charging for your discovery session can initially reduce the number of sessions you get. It’s cool, and yes, it’s going to take some Guts to stand by that decision. And fret not, there is a few ways you can boost the sign up rate:
- When you first launch the paid format, you can do an announcement to your list and offer 5 spots at a special “pilot pricing.”
- Include a session for participants of your group programs as bonus – you are charing the session “for real” so it raises the perceived value of your package and make it more likely that people will “take you on.”
- Include a coupon code for them to sign up for the session for a discount for those who purchase your information products.
- A few times a year, you can run a “discovery session campaign” promoting the session to your list, maybe with a special pricing. (This is an example I did on “Freedom” for July 4th)
- Write some kick-butt blog posts that really engages your followers, and point them to sign up for your session at the end.
>> Want to learn how to GET MORE CLIENTS by acing your enrollment conversations? Check this out.