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Mikell-Parsons-100Working with Julia has saved me so much money, time and major frustration! What a blessing!

Dr. Mikell Parsons

Understanding Your Ideal Client

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The foundation of great marketing is having a clear understanding of your ideal client, or your target audience. Who are you trying to reach?

Too often when I ask a new client this question, the answer is vague. They’re not sure. Sometimes the answer is “Everyone?”

This is a problem because if you don’t have a specific picture of who you’re trying to attract, your message will fail to engage. Your marketing will be weak and ineffective.

So it’s imperative that you spend time identifying precisely who your ideal client is, as this will inform all of your marketing efforts — your website, talks, 1-on-1 conversations, emails, articles, videos, social media and more.

By definition, an ideal client is someone who:

1. Knows they have a problem
2. Is seeking a solution NOW (there is urgency)
3. Has money to pay for a solution (this should be obvious)
4. Has a positive, can-do attitude (someone you would enjoy working with)

This means an ideal client is not someone who can’t admit they have a problem (“I’m not that overweight”) or isn’t motivated to take action yet (“I can live with this”).

No, we’re seeking the person who is ready and motivated for change, and willing to prioritize an investment in their health. We’re looking for someone who is seeking our help and doesn’t need to be convinced.

In order to attract this person, we need to speak in compelling language they can relate to. We need to make them feel understood. To do this, we “step into their shoes” by answering the following questions:
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How Long Should Your Free Consults Be?

 

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Many practitioners give free consults as a tool to introduce potential clients and patients to their services and enroll them into packages or programs.

It can be an effective sales tool, if you know how to do them right.

The question becomes, how long should your free consults be?

It depends.

A number of factors come into play here, including your pricing, your credentials, and whether you use a 1-step or 2-step sales process. Let me explain.

Your Pricing

This is not a hard and fast rule, but generally, the less expensive your services, the less time you should spend on the free consult. Here’s a rule of thumb:

  • If your programs are less than $1,000, you likely only need to spend 15-20 minutes.
  • If your programs are $1,000 to $3,000, plan on spending at least 30 minutes and possibly up to an hour.
  • If your programs are more then $4,000, figure 45 minutes to an hour.

 
Your Credentials

Your credentials are another factor that affects the length of your consults. If you’re an MD, DO or ND, people don’t expect to get much (or any) of your time for free and you can often spend less time than a DC or LAc.

If you’re a nutritionist or health coach, you’ll often need to spend more time, as your services are perceived as less valuable (not fair, but we’re talking perception here), and you’ll need more time to build rapport and demonstrate the value of your services.

1-Step versus 2-Step Sales Process

How long you spend also depends on your sales process. In general, you’ll need to spend more time on the free consult if you’re using a 1-step sales process. A 1-step process looks like this:

Free Consult —> High Value Package/Program

In this scenario you’re selling the prospect directly into a high value package or program from the free consult. There’s no intermediary step.

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Should You Offer Free Consults?

 

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It’s a subject of debate in the practitioner community: Should you offer free consults?

Some people will tell you never to do them (“Don’t give away your time for free!”) and others swear by them as an integral part of their enrollment process.

Here’s my take. I’ve talked with hundreds of holistic, functional and integrative practitioners in the past year and the consensus seems to be that free consults can and do work well, with the caveat that they must be done the right way. This means following a few simple rules:

1. Don’t confuse a free consult with a free session

This is a big mistake that a lot of practitioners make. They treat a consult as a coaching or treatment session and try to solve their client’s health challenges right then and there.

Yet this is a surefire way to virtually ensure that a prospect walks away without signing up for your services. You see, when you conduct a consult this way, here’s what’s going on in your mind:

“I’m going to wow this person with my deep knowledge and understanding of [health, nutrition, functional medicine, etc]. If I demonstrate how much I know, they’ll be so impressed that they’ll jump at the opportunity to work with me. It’ll be a no-brainer!”

And here’s what happening in your prospect’s mind while you’re sharing all this wisdom:

“Oh, wow, this is a great information. Hey, thanks for answering my questions! It’s so generous of you. I think I’ve got what I need. Thanks again. I’ll be in touch when I’m ready to get started. See ya!”

Then the person hangs up the phone or walks out and you never hear from them again. Problem is, they think they’ve got all the information they need to fix their problems and they’re excited to have gotten it for free!

But the reality is different. YOU know — with your deep understanding of the body’s systems and your knowledge of the extensive investigative work it takes to get to the root of complex issues — that there’s little chance a brief interchange is going to actually transform their health and change their life.

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