Have you ever wondered how to improve your client booking rate, without taking on any and every client?

There is nothing more frustrating than speaking to client after client and not booking an event. You start to wonder what the issue is. Could it be your pricing? Is your proposal lacking something? Is there something wrong with the service you’re providing? Did they find something better?

I’m sharing one (1) simple strategy I used to increase my booking rate to over 90% and how you can do it too.

The Pandemic & My Client Booking Rate

When the 2020 pandemic started event planners were scrambling trying to find alternate revenue sources. They were losing a ton of revenue due to event restrictions and were seeking solutions to help.

In an effort to help support my clients and community, I decided to open up my calendar to more appointments. But in doing this, I also started seeing an increase in no-show clients, and an increase in clients that were not in the mindset needed to grow their business, as yet.

This naturally started to get a little frustrating, as I usually take time out of my schedule to prepare before an appointment. I take the extra time to review the person’s business and look at where there are potential gaps in their marketing. I show up informed and ready to have a fruitful conversation.

With the increased no-shows I was now faced with the decision to either reduce the number of hours I offered or find a strategy to reduce no-show clients. I chose the later.

Charging my Hourly Rate for Consultations

One of the most common recommendations that I came across was to charge for my consultations in an effort to reduce “time wasters”. This was something that a lot of event planners have asked my opinion on over the years, and one that I strongly disagreed with.

Think about it like this, if you were to enter a mall looking for a top and every store you wanted to browser decided to charge you a fee to enter, how would that feel? I’m guessing you would probably not be too excited to pay a fee just to see IF this store might have a top that you wanted.

Well, clients are the same. Whether booking a consultation with a potential coach or a wedding planner. That first conversation is usually an opportunity to learn more about you and your business, as well as if you’re able to assist them. So adding an hourly fee makes it more of an obstacle to actually booking more clients.

But how do you fix the no-show issue?

The Best Client Booking Rate Solution

I was speaking to another entrepreneur when she recommended the perfect solution. Why not charge a small fee for your consultation? This would be a fee that is small enough to make the session accessible, but also allows clients to “put something on the line”.

Aha

I decided to test it out. What could it hurt right? If I added a fee and I didn’t get the results I wanted within the next two weeks I would change it back to the original process and start again.

With this in mind, I decided to charge a fee under $10 to ensure accessibility for clients who really are just needing to have an opportunity to see if I’m a good fit. The final amount I decided on was $7.

I changed my consultation process, added the $7 fee and then waited for the results.

Here is what happened.

The Results

Once the $7 fee was added, the number of clients who booked a session with me decreased dramatically. I moved from approximately 10 consultations per day to an average of 4. That’s over a 50% decrease in appointments!

Now you might be thinking this is a little scary, but let’s evaluate the other half of what happened.

When I had 10 consultations per day, I was closing 1-2 at the most, which is about 20%. When the number plummeted to 4 per day, I started booking 3 to 4 clients from these sessions. So even with a lower client booking rate, my bookings went up and I started converting at over 90%, sometimes even 100%!

How is this possible with less clients? Let’s have a look.

The Client Booking Rate Analysis

What accounted for this success rate? Well there are two things:

  1. The number of clients booking decreased because it presented a barrier for leads who were either not yet ready to work with me, or who didn’t see the value in paying $7 to gain access to me. These, unfortunately, proved to be the clients who were often no-shows.
  2. The clients who did book a consultation, even with the $7 fee, were potential clients who were already in the mindset of looking to grow their business and the $7 was just a small fee to ensure that I was the best option for them. These clients were more serious about investing in their business and were also more likely to sign up, hence the increase in my booking rate.

Final Recommendation

After this experiment, it goes without saying that I will be keeping the $7 booking fee on my consultations. I would also highly recommend that if you’re struggling with no-show clients and are starting to feel frustrated, that you give it a try as well.

I recommend using a calendar system with payment options such as Acuity or Calendly, to make it easy for clients to book and pay at the same time.