7 Steps for Turning your Initial Consults into Paying Clients

Do you offer a complementary initial consult like many wellness pro’s do? Most coaches and practitioners offer free consults so that potential clients can have the experience of getting to know them and their work. It’s a great way to connect with a new, potential client and determine if you’re a good match.

But free consults can wear you out, too. That is, if you are having a hard time converting all of those free consults into new, paying clients. Are you feeling exhausted?

How many times do your free consults turn into clients that say “Yes” to your support? If you’re spending hours giving away initial consults and no one is signing up to become a client, then you’re probably missing some very important steps in your client conversation.

As a holistic-minded person, you might find it easy to connect with people and you most likely have a good idea of what’s causing their problem. But when it comes time to asking them to receive your support, do you feel the nausea kicking in?

I know how you feel because I’ve been there. I used to get sick to my stomach, tongue-tied and forget what to say whenever my initial consults would start nearing the end. I knew I could help the person sitting in front of me or on the other end of the phone, but the sweat rolling down my forehead was a little distracting! Until I realized I was looking at it all wrong. Once I realized that traditional marketing and sales techniques do work, but they just didn’t resonate with me on a deeper level, I was able to make a shift. And the shift meant creating a bridge between Selling and Supporting.

The following 7 Steps will take you from just selling to truly supporting…and turn your free consults into paying clients:

Step 1 – Open to Possibilities

Forget about “closing the deal”. In the world of marketing, we call getting to the point when you have to ask for the business “closing the deal”, but it sounds so awful, doesn’t it? The “deal” sounds like some serious contract and “closing” has a negative connotation. That’s why I had to completely change how I thought about this part of my initial consults. One thing I knew deep down was that if I didn’t figure out how to do my job of explaining how I can help people, I was doing a huge disservice to them, and that including asking them to move forward with my support. So I left behind “Closing the Deal” and traded up for what I call “Opening to Possibilities.” This is the point when your potential client opens up to what lies ahead for them, they open up to how their life could be different and you, too, get to open up to being that change-agent for them. So start by having a mindset shift and focusing on “opening to possibilities” rather than “closing the deal”. It’s the difference between feeling like you are selling to someone and knowing that you are supporting someone in making the leap to reach their goals.

Step 2 – Hold the Space

When a potential client comes to you, they want to be able to open up and share what their problem is. They want to know they can trust you. I’m gonna bet you are really good at “holding a space” for your clients once they are working with you – it’s what you do best – listening, motivating, supporting. But how do you enter that same space on a first consult?

Here’s how….

Allow your potential client to share exactly what is going on with them. Don’t use this as a time to tell them all that you know about their problem, rather allow them to get into the pain of their problem. And once they are in that space, show up and meet them there. You might feel the urge to want to solve their problem or start spewing out your interpretation of their challenges, but this is the time to sit back and create a space for your potential client to really go deep into their pain. It’s from this point of pain that a person realizes they are ready to change, so don’t underestimate the importance of creating space for this pain to emerge.

Step 3 – Ask the Right Questions

The best way to help your client open up to get into this space and go into their pain is by asking the right questions.

You want to balance your initial consult time between allowing your prospective client to share his/her story and by asking the right questions to take them deeper. The goal is for them to have a new perspective on their challenge.
Going deeper means that they’ll experience the pain of their problem and decide that they don’t want to be in that pain anymore.

Pain Point Questions:

*What have you tried so far that isn’t working?
*How do you feel when you experience (insert problem)?
*What other areas of your life is this (insert problem) affecting?
*How long have you suffered from (insert problem)?
*What has held you back from making a change?

Step 4 – Reflect Back

The next step is to affirm back to your potential client what they have told you about their pain. This helps them to see what they have shared and also shows them you are listening. (Hint, this works really well in personal or romantic relationships as well!)

Reflection Question:

*So, what you are saying about “insert client’s problem” is that you feel trapped/unsure/scared/too busy/annoyed (or other pain they are feeling)?

Your client will agree, therefore affirming to herself that yes, this is her pain and it has now been recognized by you during a supportive process. For some people, this may be the first time they have been able to really describe and share their pain to someone who would listen.

Step 5 – Envision

The next step is to ask them if they are ready to make a change by envisioning what will happen if they do/do not make a change:

Envisioning questions:

*What do you think will happen if you don’t make a change?
*What would things be like if you got support in this area?
*What would your life be like in 6 months/1 year from now once this problem is solved?

Step 6 – Provide the Solution

Once your potential client has envisioned what their life would be like with support, you want to make sure you show them how they can easily reach their goals with this support from you. This is where you get to use the Opening to Possibilities part!

‘Opening to Possibilities’ Questions:

*Are you ready to make a change now?
*Are you ready to move beyond this struggle and finally solve this problem in your life?

If their answer is yes – then describe how you will help them and set a date to get started.
If their answer is no – ask, “What is holding you back?”
If their answer is “I’ll think about it”, try this response:

“What I have found with most clients who decide to think about it as that life happens, they don’t have time to think about it or they end up not taking action, so then another year goes by and they are still in the same space. And the clients who decides not to overthink it are committed, inspired and get started right away and see results right away. Do you consider yourself someone who wants to see results right away?”

If the answer is yes, set a date to get started right away.
If they are still unsure, determine a date to followup with them (see step 7)

Step 7 – Always Follow-up

It’s critical to follow-up in a short period of time with your client. Remember, they are ready to make a change because they decided to talk with you to begin with. Now they just need to turn the corner in deciding that you are the person who can support them. Make sure you set a date and time that you will followup with them. Avoid following up over email as it doesn’t allow you to truly engage. Call them over the phone to find out how they are doing and let them know you are there to support them.

Implement these seven steps and you’ll be on your way to supporting more people to make amazing changes in how they experience their lives.

Thriving Together,



Suzanne Monroe
Founder & CEO, IAWP

PS – This post was taken from the IAWP newsletter. Not getting our newsletter? Sign up by entering your name and email at the top of this page and you’ll also receive our FREE Wellness Professional’s Success Starter Kit!

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Are you a wellness professional, holistic health practitioner, or other health-minded, heart-centered entrepreneur who wants to learn the business and marketing tools to create lasting success? Get your FREE Wellness Professional’s Success Starter Kit at http://www.iawp-connect.com and jumpstart your wellness practice today. Suzanne Monroe is a Wellness Business Coach and the Founder & CEO of the International Association of Wellness Professionals, where passionate practices become thriving businesses.

7 thoughts on “7 Steps for Turning your Initial Consults into Paying Clients

  1. Monique Meinecke, RN

    Excellent advice for anyone who has a health, wellness, cosmetology, fitness, etc. business. I agree that it’s so much better to get on a personal level with people. In aesthetic nursing, my boss wanted us to bombard our clients, trying to “get them in” for treatments/surgeries. I refused to use their methods becaus…e they were so cold in their approach. Instead, I did things similar to your approach and had great success in initial treatments after free consultations with most as long time clients. Thank you Suzanne for sharing.

  2. Suzanne Post author

    Thanks Monique and Edie for your thoughts! And way to listen to your heart, Monique.

  3. Brad

    As a professional in the field working with Holistic Health Practitioners I see mistakes made in this area far too often – Doctors tend to want to force feed their knowledge and the patient rarely gets to talk about what’s most important to them!
    thanks for outlining these steps – i plan on forwarding this to several clients of mine!

  4. Suzanne Post author

    Brad – You bring up a great point – that patients want to talk. It’s not that practitioners mean to feed all of this knowledge, but it often happens because they have so much great, life-changing information to share to support their clients. It’s a good reminder to remember that clients/patients may want to talk about something else at that moment that’s going on for them. Thanks for your comments!

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