When’s the last time you drove by a billboard or visited a website where you were greeted with the opportunity for a free consultation? Did you take it? After all, it was free, right? Chances are, you kept driving or clicked out of the pop-up to keep doing what you were already doing. If this is the reaction that so many people have, then why do businesses insist on offering consultations? While this phrasing might have worked in the past, there are a few reasons why you should avoid using it going forward.
59% of People Prefer Not to Talk to Sales…Ever
In a world where people live between social media apps and order food to-go without talking to someone at the restaurant, people spend their time on the internet to find the information they need to make a well-informed purchase.
In fact, 70% of buying research is done before reaching out to salesperson, and 59% of people prefer not to talk to sales at all. When you offer a consultation, you’re literally offering something most people don’t want to do at all: a discussion with your sales team.
It’s WAY Too Formal
If I had to put money on it, you’ve probably never used the word “consultation” in your day-to-day life outside of the office. It’s simply not the language people use. As the world adopts the ways of the digital environment, using the consultation is setting yourself up for failure.
Instead, focus on what it really is: a conversation. Marketing messages are becoming more personalized and need to remain conversational in order to keep your audience interested.
“Consultation” can feel intimidating. The last thing you want is to scare people away from becoming a customer because they think you’re a stick-in-the-mud. Have some fun. Get creative. Try using verbiage such as “Let’s Chat” or “How can we help you” to get the discussion started.
It’s a conversation…it better be free!
Imagine you have a few questions about a product you’re considering. You call up the company and start rattling off your questions and they provide you with answers. Regardless of whether they were the answers you were looking for, at the end of the call they ask you for your credit card information for the time they spent answering your questions.
Sounds ridiculous, right? Well, that’s technically what you’re implying you’ll do if you offer a free consultation as some type of value incentive. You’re essentially saying, “Hey! Come have a conversation with me, I won’t charge you for it.”
Keep it conversational. Be human and make it easy for people to approach your business so they can discover the value you provide on their own.
It Makes You the Same as Everyone Else
We’ve all seen the same ad for the consultation, and we’ve all probably ignored it. If this is the case, why would you include yourself in the endless sea of sameness? Your marketing is what sets you apart from your competition and promoting a free conversation with you isn’t an effective way to do this.
When you provide something that everyone else does, the value diminishes. You’re no longer the go-to source for information and you just become another option in their minds instead of the right option.
Are you really consulting?
There are a few industries that can use free consultation in their marketing because that’s actually what they’re doing. Let’s take lawyers for example. Even though they could definitely switch up the way they word the offer, someone who is looking for a lawyer is in need of a formal service, and a consultation to determine the best next steps.
However, most businesses that provide a service aren’t truly in the consulting business. If your aim is gather information about a prospect lead or try and sell a demo for your software, there are more effective ways to market your offer than using “free consultation”. Try “Tell us about yourself” or “Schedule Demo” to peak interest and increase engagement.
Your marketing is where you let your creativity show. It’s how you get people to initiate a conversation with your business and disguising this conversation as a value offer in the form of a free consultation just isn’t effective anymore. You need to get personal as a brand and in your marketing messages.
It’s where you set yourself apart from the rest of the pack and position yourself competitively in the marketplace. Get creative, be personable, and most importantly, deliver a delightful customer experience.