Some of the best advice I ever received from one of my former sales coaches was, “Vanessa, make sure you’re in the business of making money and not in the business of offering free consulting.”
If you’re deeply passionate about what you do, it’s very easy to give away too much of your knowledge and expertise. After all, you probably love what you do. And if you’re anything like me, you don’t do what you do just for the money. So it’s all about finding the right balance between passion and profit if you want to feel continuously motivated and valued and make a personal impact in the world.
Ultimately if you’re in business, you do need to be in the business of receiving money for your products and services. If not, you’ve got a rather expensive hobby on your hands!
So when should you give away some of your time and expertise for free and when should you be charging for your services?
Giving a taste of your services is a great way for potential clients to find out more about you and the services or products you provide. Think of FREE as the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream sample – you can have a taste or two to find out which one you want to purchase. Taste too many free samples though and you end up no longer wanting to buy and perhaps with confused taste buds too!
I love to teach my Platinum clients how to build a foundation of FREE as part of their personal Money Pyramid. Offering something for FREE is a great way to build the know, like and trust factor with potential clients. So here are some of my favorite ways of providing value through FREE strategies:
- A monthly newsletter
- Free on-line training series
- Free assessment
- Regular e-zine tips
- Speaking (on-line and in person)
- A taster workshop
- Free 30 minute strategy session
For the potential client, they get the “ice-cream” sample taste of you and your work before making a decision to engage you for your services. As the service provider, you get to demonstrate great value and expertise to a larger number of potential clients at low or little cost.
The secret to avoiding the free consulting trap is to have a clear strategy and process for enrolling potential ideal clients and well-defined boundaries around your own time too. After all, you don’t want to be just attracting people to your business who are only interested in tasting all of your ice cream samples without ever buying anything. Pay special attention the next time you sample ice cream – they‘ll usually give you 2 or 3 tastes for free and then ask you, “Which one do you choose?”
If you want to learn more about building your own Money Pyramid and making an offer for a potential client to work with you, then be sure to reserve your spot at my upcoming Be Bold. PLAY BIGGER.™ live event. Find out more and reserve your spot here.
© 2013 Vanessa Shaw