Make Money with Free Sessions!
In my massage therapy business, I have made most of my money from giving free massage treatments!
“Wha-at?” you say! “How do you make money by working for free?!”
Do you offer free introductory sessions? I long ago lost count of the hundreds of repeat paying clients I have gotten from this marketing strategy! Even after 40 years as a remedial massage therapist, the Discovery Session continues to be my primary client attraction tool.
Many holistic health entrepreneurs are opposed to the strategy of offering free sessions. Their “reasons” include:
– It lessens my credibility.
– It’s unprofessional.
– It cheapens the value of my work.
– I can’t afford to work for free.
– People will take the freebie and run!
Do any of these excuses-disguised-as-reasons sound familiar? It’s not that the reasons are wrong – it’s simply that these practitioners didn’t know any better! But you are about to know better! However, knowing is not enough. You also need to take action! So if you’re ready to know better and do better… read on!
While I understand the reservations these practitioners have about giving free sessions, I take a different view. I know from experience that it’s possible to build a steady base of repeat clients by giving away services. But… it must be done under specific, controlled circumstances.
Letting prospects sample your services by giving free sessions is one of the most powerful client attraction strategies you can use to promote your holistic health practice and build your client base. This doesn’t mean you set up on a local street corner and offer freebies to anyone and everyone! That would attract tire-kickers – people who just want the freebie and have no intention of ever becoming a paying client.
On the other hand, no-cost sessions are very effective when offered to a qualified prospect who has shown interest in working with you. For example, if your website offers a free report on how to choose a chiropractor, the people who request the free report are qualified prospects. They indicate their interest by signing up for your offer – they are interested in learning how to choose a chiropractor. People who are not interested will not request it. Your website offer automatically filters out those who aren’t a good fit for your business.
Then, when these “Ripe Peaches” – potential clients – receive your Free Report, they see that it also has a Free Treatment Offer, in addition to your high-value information! Again, those who request the offer are strongly interested in what you offer. Then when they call for the free session appointment, you have a few options at this point. You can either:
1. Invite them to come in for the free mini-session, giving you the opportunity to invest your time with people who are good candidates to continue as clients. Isn’t the potential to get a long-term loyal client worth this small investment of your time and energy?
2. Offer to upgrade their free mini-session to a full session for an additional fee. For instance, a massage therapist could give a free 30-minute session, and offer to upgrade to 60 minutes for half of the regular massage fee. Most prospective clients see this as getting a full treatment for half price! A nutrition counselor could give a free nutrition assessment and offer a few tips on improving the diet. What could your upgrade offer be?
3. Offer a virtual mini-session with a phone or Skype consultation. You will follow the same 3-step system as an in-person session, having a conversation about their needs and your solutions, and giving them a little sample of what it would be like to work with you! You could also offer a take-away bonus, such as a hand-out, download or an exercise that they can take immediate action on.
Offer them your solution to their problem, letting them know that you’re here to serve them, that help and relief are available! With the free Discovery Session, you serve them in 2 ways:
1. By giving them a sample experience of your work. “This will give you a little/temporary/partial help while we figure out your next step.” This implies that you have the solution, that they will get some immediate relief, that you want to continue working with them and it gets them curious about what that “next step” could be.
2. By offering them a long-term solution to their problem. “If I could show you a way that you could improve/eliminate/deal with __________, would you be interested in hearing about that today?” Rarely does anyone say no; the majority of people will answer “Yes!”
Please note that we’re calling your free sample a mini-session. It doesn’t have to be a full session. In fact, it should NOT be a full session! It’s a mini-session in which you pack a lot of your value into a little of your time! Remember – you are investing your time, not spending it! As with most investments, we expect a return of more than we put into it. If you consistently invest quality time with potential clients, you will see a big ROI!
If giving free treatments is done according to a strategic plan designed to attract loyal, long-term clients, then it can serve as your primary client attraction strategy – just as it has for me! In fact, I successfully filled my massage practice using this approach, so I strongly encourage you to give it a try!