You also can offer free critiques, audits, strategy sessions, etc. The goal, from a business perspective, is to open the door to a one-on-one conversation with your seminar attendees after your event. The theory is that seminar attendees will better understand what it is that you do, how you can help them, and why you’re the best man or woman for the job. In short, seminar attendees make highly qualified prospects. All you have to do is make the sale.
There’s just one little problem.
Most attendees do not ever take advantage of your gift.
Sometimes the problem is sheer laziness — it seems like too much hassle and work to make a phone call or fax in their bonus certificate.
Sometimes it’s busyness — a free consultation with you is not urgent, so it never makes it to the top of the to-do list.
Sometimes it’s even shyness of sorts — customers are too embarrassed to show you how poorly they are doing in your area of expertise. Rather than getting your help, they avoid your offer so they don’t have to face the reality of how much they have to learn and improve.
Then there’s the reason that I’ve naively overlooked in my own business: they think that you are going to spend the consultation time trying to sell your products or services. One of level, this seems logical, right? You offer free consultations so that you get the opportunity to sell. Therefore, it makes sense that customers will know that’s why you offered the gift.
Here’s where your attitude and intention make a big difference: Are you offering the free consultation only to sell? Or do you truly plan to deliver something of value, and then mention your products and services as a way to continue their education and growth?
I fall into the latter category, hence my blind spot to the objection that a customer pointed out to me yesterday.
As part of my home-study course, I offer a free critique to the seminar marketing materials you create by going through my course. My intent has always been to offer a bit of personal assistance in fine-tuning my customers’ seminar marketing copy.
Yesterday, at the end of a great critique, the seminar promoter made a confession: he hadn’t wanted to cash in his certificate because he suspected it would be a big pitch fest. He finally signed up, thinking that at the very least, he might get some ideas for selling services.
Instead, he received 3 pages of notes and suggestions for strengthening his marketing copy.
The lessons I learned, which I offer to you:
* Offer from a place of giving. Delivering value in a consultation is what will close the sale, not pressuring someone into buying. I’m pretty confident that if my customer needs help in the future with his seminar marketing, I’ll get a call.
* But don’t assume that your prospects and customers know that you’re not out just to make the sale. My customer even shared his ideas for how I should address this particular objection in my marketing materials.
* Remind customers that they can cash in their certificates. The reminder I sent is what finally promopted my customer to dig out his certificate and sign up for the critique.
To effectively use free consultations as a bonus to increase seminar value and registrations, think about all of the reasons prospects might be wary about accepting your offer of free help. And don’t forget to look at own experience — why haven’t you taken advantage of every offer for free help you’ve received? The more objections you address, the more people will accept your offer … and the more relationships you can develop.
About the Author
Jenny Hamby is a Certified Guerrilla Marketer and copywriter who helps consultants, speakers, and coaches promote their own seminars, workshops, teleseminars and webinars. Get your free copy of her e-course, 31 Secrets to Jumpstart Your Seminar Promotions.
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