How do you convince your customers to pay for your consultation time on clarity?

I own a pretty successful premium WordPress plugin that transforms WordPress into a legally binding and secure document signing application (without the monthly fees). We tend to shy away from phone support so we can offer competitive rates however when I do call a customer it often turns into a "free" 30 min consultation with our users explaining how they can automate their business and operation workflows saving time and money. What is the best way to frame in a way that is a win for everyone involved? What email/methods have worked well for you?


The way I see things, a pay-per-minute phone consultation ought to involve no sales pitch whatsoever. Nobody wants to pay for that, and nobody should.

Consulting and sales are utterly different roles. Mutually exclusive, in fact.

Is your value proposition external to the call or internal? A consulting call ought to be self-contained. By the time a client hangs up, they ought to be in a better position than where they started – with no further obligation to pay us.

So ask yourself what the purpose of the phone call is. If your goal is to sell a product or service – a useful WordPress plugin in this case – then the call is a sales presentation not a consultation, and it ought to be free.

The hard truth of sales is that a large percentage of prospects (the majority, usually) won't buy, even after a 30-minute presentation about the virtues of your offering. Time spent talking to dead ends must be factored in to your price and recouped by successful sales. Adding that cost as a fee for the sales pitch itself won't work out well.

This is sometimes a tough distinction to make.

In my own case, I offer a number of services (e.g. brand name creation) that go beyond the scope of a 15-minute phone call. When someone is paying me $5 per minute, I don't want to squander their time and money by explaining some other paid service!

So the rule I've set myself is to stick to problems I can solve on the phone. When it's appropriate to explain the broader services that I offer, I try to do so in a non-paying context. Mainly through email.

There's nothing wrong with using a free call for a sales pitch. But it does sound like you're using phone calls in order to pitch a purchase; so charging for such calls would probably backfire.

Answered 6 years ago

My guess is you probably do most of the talking during the 30 minutes consultation.

The 30 minute consultation isn't really designed for you to give your best ideas and strategies away for free.

It's designed to qualify the prospects by asking them questions and discovering their needs.

Don't do show and tell. Don't sound like a salesperson.

In this video, I talk about why you need to qualify hard.

Answered 4 years ago

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