Do Paid Discovery Sessions Lead To More Coaching Clients?
The Discovery Session (also known as a Strategy Session) is a fundamental strategy for client enrollment in the coaching industry as well as for healing programs and personal and spiritual development trainings. However, the way most coaches and healers are using this strategy isn’t working for them as effectively as it could be.
The most commonly used Discovery Session strategy was originally inspired from the model taught by many coaching certification training programs. This concept is based on giving a free sample coaching session to get prospective clients interested in your services. While a true discovery session includes the element of coaching it is not strictly a coaching session.
The primary element that has been carried over is the fact that they are generally framed as a complimentary coaching session. We’ll get into more on why not to do free discovery sessions later but for now, consider that people looking for free aren’t necessarily looking to buy. In that sense, you can see how there is an inherent flaw in the free strategy.
What is a discovery session?
Before we go any further, let’s get on the same page about what a discovery session is. Consider that every client relationship begins with a conversation. Whether that’s one-on-one as in a discovery session, here in this conversation we are having right now, or the myriad of other ways available to communicate with your prospective clients. Every “conversation” you have with a prospective client is meant to establish a connection and rapport which is fundamental to anyone moving forward in working with you. So at the most basic level, a discovery session is a conversation.
The marketers would tell you that the singular goal of a discovery session is to enroll a client. But there’s so much more to it than that. Designed well, there will be many discoveries for your prospective client. They may include discovering that what they thought their problem was is different or more complex than they had been aware of. You may help them see more clearly what they really want and where they really want to be headed. And assuming you and they are a good fit, your time together will result in the discovery that they are ready to commit to moving forward in your work together.
While a lot of coaches think “I can help everyone,” the fact of the matter is you and your prospective client will be better served in the long run by being crystal clear on precisely who you can best serve and how you can best serve them.
Leave the rest to someone else.
For you, on the other hand, first and foremost, you want to discover if what you do is what they are looking for. If it’s not, be ready with a referral or a resource you can pass along that will support them in getting where they really want to be or what they really want to do.
Your next objective during a discovery session is to determine if they are truly an ideal client. What that criteria is will be different for every coach. In our work here at Divine Navigation, one important criteria in confirming an ideal client is that I can feel someone’s energy shift. This is a crucial component for being able to identify someone’s Divine Coordinates. If someone isn’t able to let their guard down enough for me to sense them in this way, they may not be ready to move forward at this time.
There’s our third discovery we are after when speaking with a prospective client. Is now the time for them to move forward? Depending on what you are offering, timing may be more important or less important to them getting the best results in your program or in their work with you. For example, unless you do divorce coaching, someone going through a divorce may be too distracted to give their full attention to your work together. Timing can be an important part of setting your prospective clients up for success.
The intersection of these three aspects, 1) is what you do what they need and are looking for, 2) do they present as an ideal client (or could they become an ideal client) and 3) is this the right time, will ensure your fulfillment in working with them and their satisfaction in the work you with them.
Discovery session template
When it comes to how to design your discovery session, be careful not to get caught in using business-as-usual business models that over rely on formulas or templates. Especially when it comes to using a discovery session template for what to cover in a discovery session.
When using a discovery session template it’s easy to fall into the trap of getting a client as your primary objective. Remember, we don’t just want any client (take on a less than ideal client even once and you’ll understand this). We’re only looking for perfect-for-you clients to fill your business. Losing sight of the fact that we are here to serve is the one thing guaranteed to jeopardize your spiritual business.
Furthermore, when you over rely on a discovery session template robs you of simply being present with the Soul in front of you (metaphorically speaking). Worrying about following a script will generally put you into your head, which moves you out of your heart. And when we are in our head we are usually more focused on ourselves (getting it “right,” getting a client, getting validated for being the expert) and not able to truly see them (and that’s an absolute must if someone is going to choose you to coach them.)
Why not to do free discovery sessions
When it comes to how you design your discovery session and why not to do free discovery sessions alignment is your key to abundance on the three points covered above. It’s also why I recommend you charge for your discovery sessions. Is it really in alignment for you to give away your time for free?
When we reflect on the concept of doing free discovery sessions, consider for yourself, how much do you value something you get for free? Sometimes you do. And sometimes you don’t. There’s no consistency there. We can’t honestly say we never value it and we can’t say we always value it.
That same inconsistency will show up when you are offering free discovery sessions. It will work some of the time and probably just as often it won’t work. It’s a fact that for the most part, when people are looking for something for free, they aren’t looking to buy. Of course, this won’t be 100% of the time but it’s too large a majority to spend your valuable time doing free discovery sessions.
Industry averages on conversions from free discovery sessions are reportedly about 25%. That means that 75% of the time, you’ve invested the hour (or sometimes more!) with nothing to show for it. This is a big reason why not to do free discovery sessions.
Are paid discovery sessions more effective than free ones?
After experiencing these inconsistent, less than desirable results, I created a new strategy session model that has served me, my clients and my prospective clients much better. Charging for discovery sessions.
In this discovery session model, you are guaranteed that you are only speaking with prospective clients who are willing to invest. You are also guaranteed to be compensated for your investment of time with that individual. For many coaches, this takes the pressure off of trying to “convert” someone. Whether they are conscious of it or not, your prospective client will feel any pressure you are feeling internally and that can actually deter someone from enrolling even when it would be a great fit.
Now, let’s be clear. This is not a session-by-session strategy. As you know, that’s a super tough business model that we shift coaches and healers out of just as quickly as possible. This is a highly valuable, expertly crafted session that invites your ideal clients directly into the deeper work with you, be that a coaching package, a group program or training or certification program.
Without giving away free discovery sessions, you stop wasting precious time with people who weren’t ready to invest. This helps reserve your limited time for those ready to make a buying decision because in essence, they are already buyers. They have already shown their commitment by investing in the discovery session.
When you stop doing discovery sessions for free, it also sends an important signal to you, to them and to the universe that your time, your experience and expertise, and your talents and gifts are valuable.
Conversion rates from paid discovery sessions leap from the coaching industry average of 25% conversion to the 90% range for many coaches that shift from a free strategy session model to the paid discovery session model.
The other thing you’ll be surprised to find is that paid discovery session secrets result in better clients who get better results. They are energetically already bought into the transformational journey from the start. This is about having prospects who are already a “yes” before you even get on the line with them.
This is about consistent cash flow and working smarter instead of harder. This is about being more efficient and effective in your efforts. No more feeling like you have wasted precious time. No more wondering if they will be the right fit. No more inconsistent results.
Do yourself and your future clients a favor. Stop offering free discovery sessions and grow your spiritual business.