I Shake My Head in Disbelief When I See this on Anyone’s Website

I shake my head in disbelief every time I see on someone’s website a “free 15 minute consultation.”

What on earth do you think you’re going to accomplish in only 15 minutes?

You’re going to learn more about the prospect, his/her business, uncover and identify their needs, goals and challenges, explore feelings and desired outcomes, and make a support diagnosis all in only 15 minutes?

Heck, it takes the first 15-30 minutes alone just for clients to feel comfortable and let their hair down.

If you’re going to offer a consultation, make it something real. Fifteen minutes is a joke.

You need AT LEAST 1 hour (I actually recommend blocking 2 hours so you have plenty of space to explore the conversation) to have a productive, probing and worthwhile consult that is not only going to be meaningful to the prospect and build rapport, but also help you devise smart, considered, high-value, customized support plan recommendations for which you can command top dollar.

Putting in the time upfront it takes to have a REAL consultation is an investment that will earn you more retained clients and better beginnings that have a real chance at success and results moving forward.

8 Comments Posted in Administrative Consultants. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses

  1. Entirely agree Danielle! Sometimes I meet with a prospect 3 or even 4 times before we actually start working together. It’s also a GREAT opportunity to ensure you like the person enough to work with them long term. I focus on the fact that the more time spent at the beginning getting to know the character of the person and the way they like to operate will save time in the long run.

  2. Totally agree! I do the same with my life coaching clients. Its so helpful to fully understand their needs and serve them even if it doesn’t end in a coaching contract.

  3. Lora says:

    I totally agree and recommend a one to two hour time frame for a first meeting. I also charge. Do you ladies do the same?

  4. I do not charge for my consultations because it’s an investment in what will be a very lucrative ongoing relationship when they become a client.

    However, I also don’t give consultations to every Tom, Dick and Harry who wants one. I use several methods to weed out unideal prospects and prequalify others to make sure I am only spending my time and energy on the best and most likely and ideal of client candidates.

    I share all my methods and step-by-step how-tos in my Consultation Guide here: http://administrativeconsultantsassoc.com/success-store#gde03

  5. Lora says:

    Oh, I see. I haven’t really worked up to that focus. I do small business consulting so that can be a one time meeting, depending on what they can afford as a next step. I leave them with options and keep in contact and have them keep me informed about what is happening with their business and the decisions they’ve made. Some of it leads to consistent work, some doesn’t. I really enjoy working with “creatives” on a small scale, but I’m busy with a couple of businesses of our own and contracting with our church. What I do isn’t very lucrative at this point, but I enjoy the variety and being able to stay home.

    I hope to some day invest in your packages. I enjoy reading your blog.

  6. Catherine says:

    Hi Danielle. I completely agree with your perspective on this one. In some respects, offering a “free consultation” falls into the same category as pricing services too low. I’ve found that it can send a negative message about the quality of my services. I tend to compare this to understanding why people will pay the higher prices for a Lexus, when the Honda Accord looks just like it on the outside — but, when you look closer, you find the materials in a Lexus are a higher quality; there is more soundproofing; etc., than the Honda. So, it all boils down to “you get what you pay for.” Right?

    I had an associate suggest offering consultations on a “deposit” basis, the price of which should cover the time spent. If the client decides to continue and contract with me, then the “deposit” is applied to the total price of the job. This approach can weed-out the “lookie-loos” from those who are serious about using my services. What do you think?

  7. Personally, I’m not a fan of that suggestion. I wouldn’t pay anyone just to have a conversation with them any more than they should be charged to sit and have a cup of coffee with me over the phone. And I can afford to spend my time like that because (a) I do charge extremely well for my services, and (b) I don’t conduct consultations with just anyone and everyone. I ONLY have consults with prospects who have already been prequalified.

    A consultation is not the place where you should be weeding out looky-loos. That should be done before you ever meet in consultation. There’s also a hint of scarcity-mentality in that thinking. Because when you do proper prequalifying beforehand, you don’t have to hold anyone hostage with “deposits.”

    And here’s another thing I see that a lot of people don’t understand: A consultation is not where any work should be happening. You shouldn’t be telling any prospect what to do or how to do it. Because if that’s what someone is doing, then it’s not a consultation, it’s an actual service (and it should be called something else).

    You don’t solve any problems for prospects in a consultation (otherwise, you’d be a fool not to charge for them). A consultation is simply an exploratory conversation to get to know the prospect a bit, see what the prospect’s needs, goals and challenges are and where or whether you can help at all, and if there is a fit personality-wise.

  8. In other words, don’t confuse consulting services with a consultation. Not the same thing at all.

    Catherine, you may want to look into my guide on conducting consultations. I think you would really benefit into the insights and systems I layout there.

    In fact, you’ve purchased so many other of my components, it’s crazy that you don’t just get the entire system. It’s like trying to complete a puzzle with only half the pieces. If you’re interested, shoot me an email and I’ll be happy to give you a credit for your past product purchases toward the full set. You’d get SO much more bang for your buck on top of all the bonuses that only come with that set.

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