Archive for October 5th, 2011

Why You Need More than 30 Minutes for Your Consultations

I frequently hear from folks who are having trouble converting prospects into retained clients. Now, there are lots of reasons why they might be having trouble. One of the most frequent (and easily rectified) reasons is that they just aren’t spending enough time talking with potential clients in a consultation. Thirty minutes just doesn’t cut it–at least when you are seeking retainer clients–and here’s why.

A retained relationship is one where you partner collaborative with the client to provide ongoing support on a month to month basis. It represents a much closer, more personal one-on-one dynamic. It has a higher value, and, in turn, requires more of a commitment from clients. Because this is a bigger, different kind of relationship than a simple one-off project, it requires a bigger conversation.

You can’t possibly get any meaningful, detailed level of information and understanding about anything in only 30 minutes. It’s just not enough time in which to ask the right questions, much less listen actively to the answers and mentally process them.

Clients also need context in order to understand your fees. You simply can’t do that in just 30 minutes.

And it takes clients–anyone, really–at least 30 minutes to let their hair down and really start feeling comfortable talking with you, a relative stranger, about something that can be one of the most deeply personal and important things in their lives–their business. The real conversation really doesn’t start until after that first 30 minutes.

A longer consultation is simply mandatory in order to give clients the space to get relaxed and turn what they perceive to be an “interview” into a conversation. And you need longer than 30 minutes in order to glean all the information you need to determine if this is someone you can help and would like to work with. You may even find that it’s better to spread your consultation out across two appointments (one for the initial Q & A and another for the analysis and recommendations).

In my practice, I tell clients to block out an hour and a half. If you get in a groove and really find yourself connecting, I like to stay in that moment and personally find it beneficial to do my consults that way. But I also don’t expend this time for just anyone and everyone. I prequalify potential clients so that I’m only spending my time with the most likely, best-suited client candidates.

You know, I’ve written a guide that consistently gets rave reviews and praise from folks in our industry about how much it has helped hundreds of them improve their consultations and gain retainer clients. It’s called “Breaking the Ice” and it gives you a complete, step-by-step process for navigating the consultation conversation, from the time they arrive at your website until after the consultation (the follow-up).

REGISTER FOR THE CLASS! This is just a tiny tidbit of the learning I will be sharing in my upcoming teleclass on October 25 & 26, Consultations that Convert: How to Convert All Your Prospects into Retained Monthly Clients and Make Boatloads More Money (Not to Mention an Infinitely Easier Business to Run.) If you struggle with how to seal the deal and build a roster of retained clients, I can help you! AND if you register by midnight, October 9, you’ll pay only $97 (a $100 savings). I’d love to have you there!