Make More Money by Working for Free!
In my massage therapy business, I have made most of my money from giving away free 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 acquired from this marketing strategy! Even after 40 years as a remedial massage therapist, the Discovery Session continues to be my primary client attraction tool. It consists of a mini-massage treatment and a casual conversation about the client’s needs and how my work can help them.
Many wellness 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!
While I understand these objections, 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 for it to work right, you need a system.
Letting prospects sample your services by giving free sessions is one of the most powerful client attraction strategies you can use to promote your practice and build your client base. This doesn’t mean you set up on a local street corner and offer freebies to every tire-kicker who comes along!
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 [your modality], the people who request the free report are qualified prospects. You don’t have to sell them on anything because they are already interested in learning about what you do. 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.
When these potential clients receive your Free Report, they see that it also has a Free Offer, in addition to your high-value information! Again, those who request the offer are strongly interested in what you offer. When they call for the free Discovery Session, you have a few options at this point. You can either:
1. Invite them 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, as a massage therapist I 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 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. Think about the implications of this strategy for your wellness practice!
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 answer “Yes!”
Please note that we’re calling your free sample a mini-session. It should NOT be a full session! It’s a short 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 return on your investment!
Giving free treatments can serve as your primary client attraction strategy if done with a system designed to attract loyal, long-term clients! I continue to fill my massage practice using this approach, so I strongly encourage you to give it a try!