Transforming Client Intake: Why Wellness Practitioners Need to Offer a Free Consultation

Wellness practitioner client intake process with free consultations

Written by Joanna Sapir

When I begin working with new clients, many of them tell me that they are soooooo uncomfortable doing consultations. They truthfully would prefer to skip this part of the client intake process.

Does this sound familiar?

Perhaps you are uncomfortable because you feel like the consultation is a “sales call.” You feel like you have to “convince” the prospect to say yes, make the sale, and collect the cash.

Or you might think you don’t need a consultation call because people can just buy sessions from your website or a link you text them.

But here’s the deal: consultations are a critical part of your client intake process. 

You shouldn’t feel uncomfortable doing a consultation because if you’re doing it right it’s not about ‘convincing’ a prospect to sign up. 

And if you think you don’t “need” to do a consultation, you are missing a HUGE opportunity. 

When done correctly, consultations can turn 80% of your prospects into great, lasting clients. In addition, they create consistent income for your business!

You will feel even more fulfilled by your work because you’re helping people who really want to improve.

Today I’m going to share key parts of my transformational consultant call framework from my Predictable Sales System. This is the system I help you build for your business in the Business (R)Evolution Academy.

Discovery Call vs. Consultation

Many practitioners ask me about calling the call a discovery call vs. consultation. My answer is… what you call it isn’t important in the big picture. It can be a consultation, a discovery call, or something else— what matters is what you do during that call.

So… let’s dive in!

 

Free consultation as part of your client intake process

What A Successful Client Intake Process Looks Like For You and Your Clients

The consultation is one of the first steps of your client intake process. Yet most practitioners don’t actually know how to lead a good or effective consultation call.

They wing it; it’s often a casual “chat.” The practitioner goes with the flow, there is no real plan or structure to the conversation.

For the prospective client, this can actually feel unsafe!

They (unconsciously) feel like: What’s the container here? How will this go? What’s supposed to happen?

When you use my consultation call framework, you establish yourself as the expert. You have specific goals for the call, and you lead the call with confidence. This alleviates any uncertainties for your client.

My client intake process teaches you to do consultations in a way that you actually enjoy. And the resulting conversation brings you fully aligned, committed clients!

You aren’t “convincing” someone to join you on the call, you are inviting them to take the first step. It’s up to them to choose whether or not to do so. 

As part of this process, you are going to be selective about accepting new clients. I call this a “red velvet rope policy” – your consultation is a specific process designed to vet prospects and make sure they’re a great fit to work with you. 

I have a podcast full of tips to make your consultation more successful. But, first, you need the solid framework that I’m talking about today.

Let’s break down each step of the consultation.

 

Client Intake process Step 1: Establish Expectations

Consultation Step 1: Establish Expectations

“If you want to make your clients happy, set expectations.”
Forbes Magazine

Begin the consultation by clearly explaining the purpose and structure of the conversation. This includes setting a time frame (typically around an hour) and outlining the consultation’s objectives.

Explain that you are going to ask them a bunch of questions to help you really understand their business. These will include detailed questions about how their business is working, how they feel about the business, and how it’s running. This will give you a picture of where they’re at and help you determine whether they’re the right fit for your services. 

Tell them that if they are a good fit, if they are somebody who is going to benefit from your business, you will let them know that. And if they are not, you may recommend other resources or somebody else that can better help them. 

Let them know that they will have an opportunity to ask questions as well. 

Explaining all of this information establishes clear expectations.

 

Client Intake process Step 2: The Interview

Consultation Step 2: The Interview

Once you clearly set expectations for the call, the next step is to conduct a detailed interview. 

This involves asking specific questions about their business operations, feelings, and experiences.

The interview takes a good portion of the call, because you are asking all the questions that help you determine if this is a bullseye client.

It’s your job to determine whether this person is going to benefit from what you offer; whether this person is exactly who you design this program for. 

A couple of important points about the interview: 

First, it’s important to remember that the interview is not the place for you to give advice, coach the person, or even respond to what they are saying.

I know that can be hard: as a coach or practitioner you want to tell them what they need to do.

But that’s not what the interview is for. Remind yourself that the purpose of the interview is to collect information. After you ask each question, you need to put some “invisible tape” over your mouth! Listen carefully and take good notes.

Your notes will outline what I call the PPD: the pains, problems, goals, and desires of this potential client. You can then compare these with the PPD of your bullseye client.

 

Client Intake process Step 3: Determine if they're a good fit

Consultation Step 3: Determine If They Are A Fit For Your Program

You will continue to ask questions until you have determined if this person is a great fit for your program or not. 

If they’re not right for you, and you know other people or resources that can help them, share that information. Doing so helps them find someone who can better meet their needs.

If they are a good fit, let them know and explain to them what makes them a good fit. This helps them better understand why they need your program and your expertise.

 

Client Intake process Step 4: Open it up for questions

Consultation Step 4: Open It Up For Questions

Once you know this person is a good fit, you can now ask what questions they have for you about moving forward – about your services and about your program. And again, put that invisible tape over your mouth – let them ask the questions. 

I call this “no pitch selling.”

You are never actually pitching your program or doing a sales presentation. You’re not telling somebody why they need to work with you. That’s all very salesy and pushy and can feel coercive.

Your consultation is a conversation, and in this stage you’re giving them the opportunity to ask you anything they want. 

By answering their questions you are building a stronger relationship with the client. They will feel more comfortable and confident about your services and expertise.

 

Client Intake process Step 5: Start onboarding steps

Consultation Step 5: First Onboarding Steps

One of the best parts of my consultation process is that the majority of new clients commit during the call! There are always a few that need more follow up, but they will be the exception, not the rule.

Because of this, the next part of your consultation call is to begin the onboarding process. Once they commit, you can congratulate them and say “Here’s how we get started!”

This can include 

  • sending a client agreement 
  • scheduling their first sessions
  • sending prerequisite work 
  • recording payment information

This is when you set up business automations such as automatic payments. No more telling someone you will send an invoice or sending a link to pay! You collect payment information and set up all future payments right there on the call.

At the end of your consultation you not only have a new client, you have automated, consistent income. You will never have to chase down payment for services or convince them to book the next appointment. 

Instead, you will have sold them a program that they are fully committed to completing.

 

Wellness practitioner taking notes during a session with a client

Customize your Client Intake Consultation Process

In the Business (R)Evolution Academy you will learn my entire client intake process.  We dive much deeper and design a 10-step customized consultation process for every business that we work with. 

This approach leads to a significant increase in client enrollments in your programs.

My students learn how to do consultations in a way that they actually enjoy. Each one feels authentic and gets them wonderful, fully-aligned, committed clients!

When you use my consultation call method, 

  • you know whether this prospective client is a good fit for YOU
  • you know you can help this person meet their goals because they need exactly what you have
  • you have clients that are actually committed to the time, energy, effort, and money it will take to achieve their goals
  • you have clients that take personal responsibility for their actions

By the end of the call, you are ready to hit the ground running!

Join The Business (R)evolution Academy (BRA) And Learn My Client Intake Process 

Each step in your client intake process needs thoughtful planning and implementation, and the consultation call is no exception.

Join The BRA and we’ll help you design a customized consultation call that fills your roster with committed, long-term clients.

Join The BRA and we’ll help you design a customized consultation call that is valuable and meaningful to your prospects and fills your roster with committed long-term clients.

Just click the link below to get started:

I am excited to help you transform your wellness business and move you closer to committed clients, higher (and consistent) income, and creating a successful and sustainable business.

Get the FREE Download:

The Business Strategy Scorecard

…which of these nine ingredients do you need to get high quality
long-term clients & steady, predictable income?

Joanna Sapir is a business strategist and coach helping innovative wellness practitioners and coaches build more profitable and sustainable businesses. She's on a mission to build a movement of people creating a new vision and reality for our future as humans on earth.

Want to talk about how to grow your wellness business?
→ Book a free consult today.

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