Should You Offer Free Consultations

October 5, 2016

 

This month we’re sharing some helpful tips on how to communicate more powerfully with your potential clients and your existing clients. Today we’re tackling the free consultation. It’s easy to think that adding the word “free” in front of something will win a client over faster but without knowing exactly why and how you’re offering a consultation it’s unlikely to be a success. Here are the three things you should know before offering a free consultation to a potential client.

 

Know Your Why

Before you offer anything at all to a potential client, it’s critical that you understand why you’re offering it in the first place and how it fits into your business. The main goal of a consultation is for you to explain your styling process, answer a client’s questions about your service, and to book the consultation (or close the sale). If you are offering anything more extensive than these three objectives, you need to ask yourself if someone would pay money for your consultation and what the price tag should be. If that's you, hold tight, and we’ll cover this more in a bit.

 

What Type of Consultation Is Right For Your Business?

A consultation can take place by phone, face-to-face, or by Skype. Determining how you’ll deliver your consultation is the first step to deciding which type is best for you and your business. Do you think you sell yourself and your styling services better in person versus over the phone? Do you prefer talking with potential clients by phone because you feel more comfortable taking notes to ask follow up questions later? Have you tried both methods for new client consults so that you can answer these questions with a solid point of reference in mind? If not, start there.

 

Next, ask yourself what your ideal client would prefer when it comes to the delivery of your free consultation. This last question is the most important one you should ask yourself. If your consultation delivery method doesn’t work for your ideal client, you won't have very many requests rolling in.

 

Determine Your System

What steps do you take during your consultation to educate your client and have them feel heard?  Any consultation you offer should have a method to it. But, don’t let the term “method” scare you. A method is just a set of predetermined steps to follow once a potential client is on the phone, or you meet face-to-face. It can include things like: going over a shortened new client form verbally to get some basic information about your client and what they’re looking for, explaining the steps of your styling process, and how and when the client should pay for your styling services.

 

One thing that’s important to remember, especially if you’re just starting out on your styling journey, is that one day your schedule will get busy. Taking an hour out of your day (plus the travel time to and from your consultation) will eat up time you could be styling clients and getting paid for it. With that in mind, be sure that whatever methodology you create for your consultation can easily be transferred to another delivery method like Skype or a phone call.

 

Ask Yourself: Would Someone Pay For This?

If you are offering free styling consultations that include: body analysis, personalized color charts, or partial closet edits, you need to put a price tag on your time and rethink what the purpose of your free consultations are. This is a good time to step back and look at whether you’re valuing your own time and skills. We’ve got plenty of resource on this blog to help you do just that so go back to some older posts and get confident putting a price on your valuable, more extensive, and totally not free consultation.

 

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