Things to know about a consultation
The free consultations booked with service providers are designed for both parties to feel each other and see if it would be a good fit. Prospective clients are checking to see if the person has the knowledge, and skills to complete the task. The service provider is checking to see how much information is at the ready and if there are any red flags to watch out for.
You can learn a lot in a free consultation. From the service provider side of things, we learn how prepared the person is and how much heavy lifting will be required. This is important when evaluating the client and the cost of the project. You need to understand how much time and resources the project would eat up your regular day-to-day.
How to prepare for a consultation with a service provider
One of the things that will serve a prospect best is to have done their due diligence. The more answers they can cover the more accurate the estimate and timeline will be for the project. Far to often people believe the hard part was coming up with the idea and stopping there.
When you can go into a consultation knowing your budget and the market rate for the project. It alleviates a lot of the awkwardness of the part of the call where costs come up. Bargain shoppers and people doing price comparisons for the lowest cost tend to stand out. Mainly because the conversation switches from the quality of the work to how much can they receive for as cheap as possible.
Dos and Don’ts of a consultation
Things that you do want to cover in the consultation are what separates them from their competition. What is their working style? Is the person you’re speaking with the same person who will be doing the day-to-day work on the project? The typical turnaround time for projects. These are just a few examples that can serve a person well in consultations when trying to find a service provider.
Things that you don’t want to do on the consultation call. A person should not spend the bulk of the time on the call trying to pump information out of the service provider for free. Most are comfortable answering what they can do but when the focus becomes too heavy on the how. It becomes a red flag.
Red Flags that service providers look for
Red flags are warning signs that agencies and service providers pick up on over time as they get further and further into their business. Cautionary tales that don’t have to be experienced firsthand.
As those red flags start to pile up and you’re going to find yourself being thanked for your time but not necessarily partnering with the provider. Red flags mean they’ll most likely mark up the price for the project. They’ll be hesitant to take on the project if it looks like the person is disorganized and or requires an excessive amount of hand-holding.
Referenced above are the bargain shoppers and tire kickers. People are more interested in getting more for less or free if possible. What people are paying for when purchasing a service is the expertise to not have to struggle to figure things out. They’re paying to skip trial and error.
Those who want to convey that they think they know just as much if not more than the expert that they booked for the consultation. In those situations, the eagerness to show they have insights overshadows the purpose of the call. Identifying the right expert to partner with on their project.
One of the more lowkey red flags is the prospect that says they have a friend that does what the expert does or in the neighborhood. What this tells the expert is that they will most likely be competing with recommendations whether they’re getting paid to make them or not. It essentially adds another client and voice to the project. Which can slow projects down and get them off track.
What are the benefits of a free consultation?
Consultations will allow a prospect to qualify themselves for the product/service as well as the provider. Early-stage prospects get to learn more about what’s going to be required to complete the project. Mid-stage prospects will learn more about the process and pricing. Late-stage prospects will learn timelines, who would be involved in the process, and more about the final deliverable.
How to make the most of your free consultation summary
A free consultation is more than just a quick 10-to-15-minute call. It is an interview on both sides designed to qualify leads and see if this is someone you can see partnering with on your project. Identifying the fit should be the main purpose of the call.
You can prepare for the call by checking to see if the service provider has frequently asked questions listed. Reading reviews and case studies. The goal should be to go in with a decent idea of who you’re speaking with and their work. It will open the door for more in-depth conversations and ground being covered in that short amount of time.