Free consulting is not part of your sales process
When a company has a problem to solve it can look for a consultant to fill in the job.
Many consultants will or can apply for the job.
In order to stand out from the crowd some could even offer an initial free consulting. Similar to a freemium in web services.
- Free has no value and is valued as no value
- A service is only worth the price you (can) charge
- The free consulting can solve a large part of the problem hence no contract
- The free consulting will cannibalize your fees and can cost your engagement
- Once offered free consulting, then they will consult you for free over and over again.
- The notion of a free consulting service suggests the sales process was never completed and the free consulting still has to prove the value for the company or organization.
- There is no apparent win for the company and too many uncertainties exist whereas the role of the salesman is to reduce the risks.
The sales process
However during your sales process you need to show and demonstrate your expertise and provide some value for the organization – but not free consulting. If you can’t provide value during the sales process then you or your services are a commodity.
Your sales process can also be an education for the client as he might not be aware of many issues and problems.
Maybe you can offer the initial session for identifying the needs for free as this allows you to define the size of your project and scope. The more problems and ideas you can identify, the more consulting opportunities you have. Just be smart enough not to list all of the problems in your first offer as then the initial total amount will become way to expensive.
This initial free session is a part of your sales process as ti allows you defining the total project or different projects you can go after: it is your company market research.
Do you offer free consulting to convince your client to buy