When I launched my business in 2005, I was the poster child of success for using “free introductory sessions” to build my business. Indeed, free sessions helped me build my coaching business to an annualized six-figure income in only 73 days! With a combination of networking, events, and complimentary introductory sessions, my income grew to the six-figure mark, and then doubled by the end of the first year. As this kind of jump-start is almost unheard of in the coaching industry, it became a sort of calling card, garnering me interviews, introductions, and more.
So why would I abandon a system that delivered so much success!?
While I did some things very right, such as offering diagnostic “Strategy Sessions” that offered stand-alone value, parts of my system didn’t work so well. (I explain more about diagnostic Strategy Sessions vs. “sample sessions” in a previous article, “The Problem with Free Introductory and Sample Sessions.”
One thing that didn’t work so well was the “free” part of the sessions. While free for the prospect, there was a high hidden cost for me: an enormous commitment of time and energy. I would meet anyone who appeared to be a potential prospect, whether they came from a workshop, website, referral, or other means. I would painstakingly gather all kinds of information about them and their business, and next, I’d spend literally hours conducting a free Strategy Session with them. (more…)