Monday, March 14, 2011

Don’t Give Away the Milk for Free

I work with a lot of small businesses. Every now and then a start-up, or existing business that’s just starting to create a presence online, will contact me about my services. It’s been a tricky balancing act for me learning to give enough information to get them interested without giving away all the goods.

I used to talk too much. I’d get so excited about sharing what I knew. I was pretty much an open book for anyone looking to pick my brain for ideas.

Maybe you’ve experienced this too. Most client inquiries are legitimate, but every so often a client supposedly looking for help will consider you a free consultant. Don’t fall for it – the information and experience you’ve acquired is valuable. Give just enough information so that your clients understand the objectives and feel confident in your ability.

Have you ever had a client contact you just to pick your brain for information? How did you handle it?


Lori said...

Have I? How about the ones who ask for a free "sample" so they can tell if you can write for them - and then they disappear?

I remember giving one of these fools a really rough outline of what I'd do to fix their site - I mean really rough, like "Fix the grammar and change the images." It was clear to me they were fishing for a template so they didn't have to pay anyone. They weren't getting it from me. Instead, I gave them vague bullets and suggested that once they hired me, I could give them much more detail. They got just enough to see I could do the job. That and my samples should have been enough for the legitimate clients.

Kimberly Ben said...

Oh, how could I forget about the free sample requests (thankfully it's been a while since anyone's asked!)?
you're right, Lori, a general outline along with samples showing what you're capable of should have been more than enough.

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