I’m a little bit nervous to share this strategy with you today.
It's honestly so powerful that I never imagined I would give it away for free on my blog. But I know it can make a difference for your business, and I don’t want to keep it a secret anymore. Just be sure to read this post all the way through so that you can execute it correctly.
Okay, that's enough hype. Let's dive in...
The Story Behind This Facebook Post
What I'm about to share is something I discovered at the very start of my coaching journey. I had only worked with a couple of clients in one-off sessions. These clients came out of a free personal development workshop I held locally back when I was living in Washington, DC.
Because I didn’t sign them up for longer term packages, and because I was still learning the ropes of coaching, it didn’t take very long before I went back to having no clients.
That's when I went to an three day event where I met my first coach. She opened my eyes to the fact that I had been creatively avoiding. I was working on my logo, blogging, tweaking my website (things that felt productive) but I hadn't really come out publicly as a coach to my personal network.
The truth is, it doesn't matter how much goodwill you've built up or how much content you create if you never give someone the opportunity to take the next step with you. You need to actually be speaking with potential clients.
So when this coach challenged me to schedule 30 free conversations with people from my network and gave me the idea to post on my Facebook profile about it, I knew I had to do it.
What Happened When I PUt Out My Free Session Offer
I remember clenching my teeth and hovering my mouse over the “Post” button. And then I remember getting responses literally within an hour. It was amazing.
I posted this in two places: my personal profile and a private FB group from an event I had attended the month before. Then I spent a lot of time having free conversations with the people who reached out and I offered coaching to some of them.
As a result of this one post, I got my first five long-term clients at around $2,000 to $6,000 each. And when you take into account referrals and repeat business it adds up to even more.
I've taught this to almost every coach I’ve ever worked with and they've had similar results. Two of them had their first 5k months. One of them got their their first six coaching clients and started a new group program. It goes on and on.
Before I take you into the exact language I used in my offer, I want to make the point that mine isn't even that good. I wasn't that clear on who I wanted to serve. But I did use result-oriented language and apparently it was compelling enough for people.
I actually got over 50 responses from this one Facebook post, which led to a lot of conversations, which led to the five clients. If you're able to be more specific than me, it's probably going to work even better for you.
Set a goal for the number of clients that you want because you're going to need to talk to between three and six people before you get a paying client.
The rate at which you convert depends on how good of a fit the people you're talking to are for what you offer and how talented you are at enrollment.
Here's Exactly What I Posted On Facebook
Below is the original free session offer I sent out for my coaching business (this is back when my niche was focused on helping people find passionate work)...
A warning: do not send out the exact same message as me. It won't work. You need to customize it with your own voice and the problems that you solve or it won't resonate.
Click the button below for a fill-in-the-blank template:
The more specific you can be about who it is for and the outcomes you want to help them achieve, the more people will contact you.
The Main Reasons Why This Strategy Works So Well
Let's dive into the psychology of the post itself:
1. You're offering something for free. People like free things because there is no real risk for them except their time. You might be tempted to charge a small amount for these sessions to weed out people who aren't serious. I wouldn't recommend doing that because unless you're going to charge full price, you're tying a value to your time when you charge versus when it's free. You also may not get anyone who is willing to pay you without talking to you first.
2. You're coming out as a coach. You'd be surprised how many people have no idea what you're doing when you get started coaching (or even once you've been doing it for a while). In general we respect people who put themselves out there and we want to see them succeed. By the way, even though you can send out offers in the future, you only get one shot at doing it this way - so make it count.
3. You're giving them a story to tell themselves. By framing your free session offer as a challenge, it makes it less likely that people are going to feel like you have a hidden agenda. You're basically saying "I know this is kind of crazy to do and you can reap the benefits of it." This makes it easy for them to take you up on the offer and pass it along to friends.
The Main Reasons Why This Might Fail For You
Even though this strategy can work like magic, there are some common pitfalls that I want you to avoid. Here they are:
You must use your own voice. If the words in your post don't sound like words you would ever use, it's not going to seem authentic. Make sure you tweak it to fit your personality.
You must stick to the template. Customize the language but not the structure. Do not try to innovate. Don't add a whole big explanation at the beginning to justify why you're doing this. Every component of the offer is there for a reason.
You must be very clear. If you do not specify who you work best with and what you help them with, no one is going to take you up on your offer. It's not enough just to give away your time for free. People need to feel that it's relevant to them and they need to see the benefit of blocking off time to speak with you. What's in it for them?
You must put the offer out. Sounds obvious, but a lot of people are too afraid of being judged and they come up with all these reasons not to even send the offer out. If you don't send it out, you'll never know how many clients you could have gotten. Up to you.
You must follow up. There will be a few people who express interest but then don't end up scheduling a time with you. That's normal. But you still need to follow up at least three times over the course of a week because some people will still be interested but they'll forget.
You must use scheduling software. If you don't have an online scheduler, I would highly recommend getting one before you put the offer out. Otherwise you're going to spend a ton of time going back and forth with each person trying to agree on a time to talk and some of them will end up falling off. I recommend Calendly (their free version will work fine for this). Don't link directly to your calendar in the post - have people message you first. This small intermediate step is less intimidating and makes it easier for people to take action. It also allows you to vet each person before letting them onto your calendar.
You must come from a place of service. If you don't put this offer out with a genuine desire to help, it's going to backfire. Don't do this to get clients. Do this so that you can help yourself and others get clear on what they want and what's stopping them. Paid clients will be a natural consequence of focusing on those two things.
You must put this in front of the right people. Out of the five clients that I got from my post, four of them came from the Facebook group that I posted in. Only one came from my personal profile. This is because almost all of the people in that group were highly qualified for what I was offering - they had already paid to attend an event focused on personal development and career satisfaction. So the moral of the story is: make sure you identify the people and groups who would be most interested in your coaching and get this in front of them. You can also send out this offer via email.
You must structure these conversations effectively. If you want a framework for having conversations that are both valuable for the other person and likely to result in a new clients, check out my article on the 3C Sales System.
You must ask people for the sale. Don't ask everyone you talk to whether they want to work with you. Many of them won't be a good fit. But definitely ask the right people if they want to hear more about what it would look like to work with you. If all you do is have some interesting conversations and then say bye, you're probably not going to get any clients.
Now It's Your Turn
So, are you ready to try this out for yourself?
If so, I've created a template for you to fill in with all of the most important components of the offer. You can access it by clicking the yellow button below and entering your email.
Let me know how it goes!