When Free Is Expensive

Free Consultation sign with clouds and sky background

A couple of years ago I saw an ad for a free coaching session. The coach was fairly well known, at least I knew him, maybe because I’d been on his list for awhile.

The ad was well written (enticing) and though skeptical, I thought, this guy has a good reputation, let’s see how it goes.

I am not naive. Because I’d seen his material over time, I felt comfortable that he had something to offer. Free? Well, that should ring some bells of doubt, but I made the appointment. After all, I call myself an open-minded skeptic. This had to do with a particular area of technology with which I needed some help.

On the day of my scheduled appointment, a friend of mine came to town unexpectedly and invited me for lunch. It was the same time as my appointed call and only a couple of hours away. I thought, well, I booked this guy’s time, at no charge, and a cancellation at this late date means he likely won’t be able to fill the slot. Cancelling would be totally unethical.

I passed on the lunch with my friend and took the call. When I answered, there was a woman’s voice, and I figured this was his assistant. It wasn’t. The real coach wasn’t calling, but one of his “associates.”

There is a limited space super discount coaching offer (but not free) available now. You can see it right away by clicking here.

The ad hadn’t indicated anyone else, but the “star” would be involved with my session. I was beginning to feel foolish. But I decided to participate and see what I could pick up from her.

She was pleasant, professional, and engaging. She began by asking me a series of questions. As she dug deeper, it was obvious these weren’t designed to help her answer my questions, which had yet to be asked, they were to pre-qualify me financially for their programs. I went along with it to see when the “coaching” would begin.

Then she began enthusiastically complimenting me for being the genius that I must truly be. Well, I didn’t want to interrupt that line of thinking, so I remained silent, except for an occasional  “thank you.”

After about twenty minutes of all that, and extolling the virtues of their platinum club, or something like that, she began the sales close. If you’ve ever been pitched on a time share, this would remind you of that, and probably within the same price range.

I have to say that the offer was compelling. One of the best sales pitches I’d heard in years. I could see how someone could easily be pulled into this very expensive program.

The allotted time was about up. I complimented her on her presentation skills and asked if she’d seen the sales page for this free “coaching” session?

Cautiously, she replied, “Yes.”

I said, “I bet most people, by the time this presentation is complete, forget all about that sales page, don’t they?” No answer.

I said, as impressed as I was with the offer, I couldn’t ethically join up. She asked, why not.

I said, “Because we’d be beginning this relationship on a lie. You never offered me a minute of helpful coaching, yet that was the subject of your sales page.”

Had I been sucked into this deal, their package prices ranged from $5,000 to $35,000. So free would have become quite expensive. Some people were sold on this guy and bought those programs. One person later died through his negligence, and he spent time in Federal prison.

Since then, these free coaching sessions are the rage. I’ve been watching how they’re positioned. About 75% of those who use associates say so in the ads. But that’sis usually buried deep in the copy.

Out of curiosity, I’ve sampled five more of them. Of those, only one gave me actual coaching and never tried to sell me until my questions had been answered. His specialty is video marketing, and I’ve gone out of my way to recommend him to those who need his services. 

There are two times I don’t charge for coaching. When it’s attached to a particular paid offer, or it’s pro-bono work.

Once I gave two seminars on the same day on the same topic. I was paid by both groups. The first audience in the morning was made up of individuals who had to pay to attend the program themselves. It wasn’t cheap either.

The second group was later that afternoon. But this group was made up of employees who paid nothing to get in, and they got off work to come. Their employer paid all the costs.

Both audiences were attentive and very smart. I can always tell an intelligent audience because they are the ones who laugh at my humor. <Pause….>

Both programs went extremely well. I had fun with each of the groups, they applauded and even gave me standing ovations.

But was one noticeable difference. The morning group, who had to pay to get in, took notes and asked questions. The afternoon group, there was very note taking and only a couple of questions. 

I’ve discovered that when you do give away good coaching for free, it’s not appreciated or even correctly used. I have long-term paying clients who follow-up and do the work when it’s appropriate. Many of those I’ve worked with at no charge because they couldn’t afford anything, did little that I could see with the information.

I’ll help others where I can, but to get new clients by doing it for free? Nope.

But a deal? Do I have a deal? Of course,

I’m happy to discount a session or a package when I’m looking to fill slots.

So, if you’re looking to brainstorm, one-on-one, or need coaching for a particular matter, you should take a look right away at my offer.  http://tomjustin.com/your-coach-47/

You will have my full attention as I will likely have yours too.