Free Consultation vs. Lead Magnet: Which Should You Use?

Professional service providers often ask me why they should put work into creating a Lead Magnet, when they already offer a Free Consultation as an incentive to attract leads.

One reason is that most of your competition is also offering Free Consultations. A Lead Magnet can be a huge differentiator, especially if it provides help to potential clients up front that might be held back in a consultation.

A Lead Magnet can be a huge differentiator, since most of your competition is also offering Free Consultations. Click To Tweet

Also, a Free Consultation may only be valuable to someone who is actually ready to talk to to you. A Lead Magnet can help prospects all over the spectrum of readiness to buy. Remember: your goal here is to get LEADS, not just CLIENTS.

Free Consultations can also be less effective for other reasons:

  1. Free Consultations risk devaluing your services. You will no doubt have encountered callers trying to get as much free information out of you as they can, with no intention of hiring you. With a Lead Magnet, you can provide answers up front without the awkward negotiation of what you can or can’t do in a Free Consultation.
  2. Free Consultation offers by themselves provide no description of value. They need just as much description of benefit as a Lead Magnet. What does the caller get? Who will they talk to? Is it a one-and-done phone call, with no follow-up? Can you/will you actually help them, or is it a veiled sales pitch? Without answers to these questions, people don’t yet have enough trust to call you.

Improve your Free Consultation

A Free Consultation CAN be a good incentive, but it requires positioning to establish its value up front. You can’t simply announce “Free Consultation” and leave it at that. Much like the landing page for a Lead Magnet, your Free Consultation offer should have its own page. Describe who you can help, how you will help them, and the process by which you’ll do it. The more the visitor understands what the Consultation is all about, the more value it will be to them.

A Free Consultation CAN be a good incentive, but you must establish its value up front. Click To Tweet

You might also consider charging a nominal fee for the Consultation. Even a token amount attaches some value to your service. It’s also sure to weed out the freebie-seekers, and helps maintain expectations that you do charge for your time.

However, you will still need a Lead Magnet if you’re serious about attracting leads. Lead Magnets work better at scale. You can reach and communicate value to many more leads, automatically, without tying yourself up with one-to-one consultations.

In the end, you really should have both. You can begin promoting your Free Consultation immediately, but make sure you establish its value. Then add a Lead Magnet to capture additional leads.


Incentive Offers like these are just one of my “9 Ways to Get More Clients in 7 Days or Less!” Click here to get your copy of the free report.

About David Raitt

Many professional service providers lack access to good information on actually running a business. I love to help business owners learn online marketing strategy and make great decisions about growing your practice.

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