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“What should I say when someone sends me a note asking how much I charge for a session? How do I gracefully draw them in without scaring them from the big commitment? Most want one session, and I desire to sign them on for a full program.”

That was the question confronting Xander, a holistic relationship coach. Over the past year, we’ve been working together and he’s enrolled several new clients for longer engagements at a higher fee.

This approach is getting Xander’s clients even better results and boosting his income as well. But it also means there’s no obvious answer to a question like, “What’s your session rate?” – and simply quoting a package price is an invitation to sticker shock.

“What should I say when… ” is a common dilemma faced by coaches and consultants when marketing their businesses.

Clients often ask me: “What should I say when…”

  • The graphic designer wants my tagline?
  • A potential client asks for a discount?
  • Someone asks me to give a talk?

Those are great questions, and I plan to answer them – and all the others I receive – here on the blog. Just post your question in a comment below.

Now let’s start with the question you read from Xander, the relationship coach. He’s done single sessions and knows that people feel SO much better after just one with him. He also knows …

Their issues will recur; they need more time with him to work on root causes, ingrained behaviors and old patterns.

Only then do they get the lasting results he promises.

So instead of simply allowing clients to sign up for sessions with him via his website, I advised him to stop offering single sessions and to use a form for people to fill out to request a Discovery Session.

But he still gets asked about the single sessions.

There is a short, simple answer to this question, and a longer one. I think both are helpful, because I know, realistically, that you may find yourself in situations where the short answer doesn’t work.

Short version:
Q. How much do you charge for a session?
A. I don’t offer single sessions.

There you go. This is the policy: no single sessions.

If you set and enforce this boundary, you’ll find serious clients who want serious results will not ask you about it. Instead, you’ll likely hear, “You don’t? Oh, how do you work?” Then you can have a conversation about their needs.

BTW – don’t say, “I’m sorry, I don’t offer single sessions.” You’re not sorry. You’re wise. You’re an expert. You’re advising them what works and what doesn’t, and for that reason, you don’t offer single sessions.

Now you may offer single session tune-ups to clients you worked with in the past. You can set a rate that works for you and the client, or you can offer ongoing packages with floating sessions they can use after the core work is done.

But if someone is just trying to get an hour of your time, this is the simplest way to set the boundary.

Longer version:
Q. How much do you charge for a session?
A. I don’t offer single sessions. If you’d like to speak with me about your situation, I do offer a free Discovery Session in which we can discuss the challenges you have and some actions you can take to achieve what you’re looking for. At the end of that session you’ll be clear on what you need to do and how I could help you. Would you like to schedule one with me?

So … now the ball’s in your court.

Do your Discovery Sessions deliver?

The challenge for coaches, then, is to deliver a Discovery Session that clarifies for the potential client what her challenges are and what it really takes to solve them: commitment, time and a program developed by an expert coach that has a history of getting results for someone just like them.

In his sessions Xander would ask clients questions to help them discover how much their challenges were impacting their lives and how urgently they wanted these problems solved.**

** See, that’s a big reason people think they want a single session. They want the problem to go away urgently, quickly – in one session! Don’t mistake this for them being cheapskates or not valuing your whole program.

An effective Discovery Session helps potential clients experience the magnitude of their pain and impatience, and realize just how much it will take for them get from where they were to where they wanted to be. That’s when many will sign up and begin the transformation you know you can help them achieve via your whole program, NOT from a single session.

Would you like to get the results Xander is getting from his Discovery Sessions? Make an appointment to talk with me about mentoring here.