An enrollment session is a conversation with a potential client in which you assess the challenges they’re facing, what they’re longing for, and, based on that, what type of support you think they need.

Even though it’s hard not to get attached to whether people sign up, the point of the conversation is not to get people to buy from you. Rather, it’s to identify what they need and support them to make the decision that’s best for them, whether or not that means becoming your client. In fact, you will regularly assess that a potential client needs something different than what you offer. When you go into the call with this understanding, enrollment calls can feel respectful, transformative, and even fun.

Let’s explore how to set up an enrollment session—

Always set a separate time for the call.

If you are selling programs that are longer than one single session, never attempt to sign someone up as a client outside of an enrollment call. Meeting someone for coffee or at a networking event is about helping them know, like, and trust you, not about enrolling them as a client.

If someone asks you how someone would go about working with you, let them know that you offer a free, one-hour discovery session. Even if they seem like they’re ready to sign up, schedule a separate time to talk. This way, you’ll be able to prepare for the conversation and hold the space most effectively.

If you are a coach, consultant, or counselor, then offer a free, one-hour call.

Offering a free session makes it feels less risky for people to get a sense of whether they’re a good match for your work. And, an hour gives ample time to identify what they need and address their fears. I personally prefer doing calls on the phone, but choose what works best for you.

If you’re a bodyworker, depending on what you need to do to assess someone, you can do an enrollment session for free, or if you need to put your hands on people, you may offer the session in person, paid, and for a bit more time than a typical session.

When new clients call to schedule a session, if you’re a bodyworker, you can let them know you have a unique approach. You can say something like, “My initial consultation is ninety minutes (or the amount of time is best for you as the practitioner). In addition to treating your pain, we will assess what’s going on, identify the best path to achieve long-term healing, and discuss next steps.”

Give your enrollment session a name.

Rather than calling this session an “enrollment session” or “sales call,” I recommend giving it a different name, such as clarity session, strategy session, or discovery session. Choose words that make it feel substantial and valuable.

Create an intake form.

Create an intake form with all of the questions you need to ask to make sure that you only get on the phone with qualified prospects. And that folks send this to you two days before you talk.

Create an application form for your enrollment session on your website, and include calls to action to apply. Make sure to include inspiring text above the application form that speaks to their problems and longings and welcomes them to sign up. You can visit my website to see how I do this.

This is not a free coaching session.

To know if you can truly serve them, you need time to assess their needs. If you offer support for free, you risk giving them just enough support that it relieves some pain but doesn’t offer lasting transformation. This can dull the urgency they feel, and in the end, they can end up disappointed and doubt that your work will lead to real change.

Instead, tell them that this call is an opportunity for them to get clarity about their steps forward. Of course, they won’t discover all the steps they need to take in this one conversation— or learn how to take them— if you do the call well, they will walk away with far greater clarity about their next steps, even if you don’t decide to work together.

After a potential client sets up an enrollment session, ask them to read relevant pages on your website in preparation for the session.

For example, I ask potential clients to read my about page and other relevant pages. By reading this information beforehand, you preemptively answer their questions and they feel like they know you before they even get on the call.

The more you have these dialogues, the better.

It may take several sessions before you feel masterful at the enrollment conversation. Rather than letting fear stop you, get on the phone and keep having these calls. Talking to potential clients is the best way to create an effective message and get comfortable with doing these calls. When you master this skill, you’ll be able to enroll clients with ease for the rest of your life.

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