(This piece is a guest post by Hannah Marcotti).
The last free session I ever did with a potential client was four years ago, sitting in my minivan outside my son’s preschool. Four years ago, half of my work time took place in that van, sitting outside coffee shops with a sleeping baby, stealing the wireless if I got a close enough parking spot, laptop perched on my legs, phone at my side.
Just into my second year of business I was still in struggle and doubt mode. I wore it well, made it pretty and sparkly, but damn it was hard.
I arranged to have a free session with a woman I had been emailing with a little bit and I was confident that we were a beautiful match. Part of my training as a Health Coach was to offer a free session for 30-45 minutes and so that is what I did. I talked to her almost exclusively about the free session and we set up our time to chat.
Our chemistry was amazing. We ended up talking for almost an hour. That session felt beautiful because I could feel her starting to peel, in our free session, and she was opening. Ready. It wasn’t the typical awkward free session, and I knew she was fully “in” from the first moment.
I felt empowered and open. I didn’t have to sell to her, I could just be there with her.
There was magic unfolding inside of her words, and she was being heard and seen. I was doing that thing I’ve done since a young girl, holding space for story, knowing, surrender and change.
I was trained to end the calls with a little sales pitch. I hated it. I hated the words ‘sales pitch’ or ‘close the deal.’ My stomach always felt a little sick.
And so I did what all beautifully rebellious coaches do–I didn’t follow what I had been taught. I listened to my intuition that I did not need to sell to this woman. I told her what a beautiful call that was. I told her that talking with her transformed the way I would continue into my day. I thanked her for her time. I was ready to say good-bye.
She said, “What do I need to do to sign up for 6 months?” She wanted to put the energy (money and time) into what she had received. She wanted more.
Often that first session with a client is the one that sets a foundation for change in their life so deeply, simply because someone is listening. The first time we connect has the potential to shift them radically if they can feel invested in the time they are sharing. That first call is powerful, transforming. If we can fully show up for it.
The call that day shifted the way I saw my business, my work in the world. I realized that my focus had been on marketing free sessions and the “sale.” When I got on the phone with this woman who I knew was ready from the beginning, I could stop focusing on closing the deal and begin to hold space.
Space is where the change happens.
I stopped doing free sessions and no longer had to answer email after email about what they were and how they would unfold. I didn’t have to schedule them. I didn’t have to market them. I didn’t have to talk about them or feel that sick feeling that comes at the end when the sales pitch is supposed to come. I redesigned my services.
I found the power that can come from one hour together so figured why not make that a service that provided a gorgeous energy exchange (money for space/guiding). I could hire a babysitter and stop sitting in my van! I could struggle a tiny bit less now because I was allowing my intuition to guide me.
Alternatives to Free
Free can be attached to fear. We are afraid of the sales pitch and if someone will sign up for more and our potential clients/customers may be afraid of hearing it or getting something for nothing. Really! I have a friend who likes to say, “I like to pay a lot of money for really amazing things.” She doesn’t waste money on stuff she doesn’t need or want, and she invests in experiences, beautiful food and wine. She took a trip to Paris. Her connection to the energetic exchange becomes a deep part of her investment.
When you are no longer marketing a free session you can begin to show YOU. Go check out some websites that offer free sessions and ones that do not. Where are they directing your eye and your energy? Think about the most important thing you want people to notice on your site or inside of your marketing. I hope the answer is YOU. They need to notice you.
A commitment creates value. When you pay for something, you have a perceived value. I want my value to be rock star- badass- nurturing- sexy- intriguing-life changing magic maker. I price accordingly.
There is more than one way to do free. I offer free e-books that can be read by thousands, offer huge value and show more of who I am. I often re-purpose what I’ve written in the past and create content that I offer for free. I show up on social media so I can be seen. Every year on my birthday I put out a free program that builds my list like crazy and takes very little time for me to put together. These things kick a free session’s ass.
Energy exchanges build trust and get results. Let me tell you about my favorite dress. When I stopped shopping the clearance rack and found designers who made clothes that made me feel sexy I started to pay a lot more for clothes than ever before. When I put on that sexy black dress that falls off my shoulder I sell some dresses for that Etsy designer! I love paying for her clothes. I love telling people about her and sharing the link. We built a relationship over the energy exchange.
Holding space in my minivan doing free sessions has grown into a business with hundreds of women taking part in courses and experiences that I create. I have a beautiful loft space that I work out of and park the minivan in the parking lot. Claiming my rock star- badass- nurturing- sexy- intriguing- life changing magic maker value allowed me to guide with my intuition and receive as I give.
I give a lot for free. Every bit of it gives back, and people can see me as I hold space for them. The value of what I do continues to increase as I believe in myself just that much more. Everything I offer feels good in my gut, my spirit.
We are creating energy exchanges and if we are willing to believe in us, so will those gathering around.
Hannah Marcotti is a quietly impassioned motivator who serves as guide to your gorgeous life and business of the heart. She is living life in highly sensitive skin, finding ways to move through life in each new iteration of self and deeply believes that change is sexy . You’ll find her circling women to help them celebrate life through story, soulwork and sometimes bourbon and bubbles. She is often found tattooing joy on the spirits of those in her community. Each Thursday morning Hannah sends out a love note to her community which you can sign up for here. Twitter: @hannahmarcotti.