Why Buy The Cow When You're Getting Free Milk?



No, this is not a post on getting that coveted diamond ring in the blue box.

If you’re providing B2B services, then it’s more than likely you are approached by clients or prospects looking to ‘pick your brain’ for ideas. Perhaps it’s over lunch, maybe it’s just a quick phone call; but if you’re like me, you may give away some great ideas and hang up wondering whether it would be appropriate to send an invoice for your consulting time.

Let’s face it, when we can get something for free, most people won’t pass it by. But if you’re not a charity, and none of us are, here are a few tips on how to make sure you are being paid fairly for your expertise.

1. Don’t feel obligated.

We all have a job to perform, and should be compensated for doing it well. Just because it does not take tremendous effort for an attorney to give you advice on your pending lawsuit does not mean that the information isn’t worth a price. After all, in order to obtain that knowledge, the attorney spent 4 years in law school, passed the bar, and worked his way up the ranks. THAT is why his time is expensive, and why it’s worth paying for.

2. Stop trying to be ‘nice’ and ‘helpful’

While you’re attempting to secure a new client by giving away advice they should be paying for, they may take that information to your competitor in order to secure a better rate. Or they may choose to do the work themselves now that you’ve provided the strategy. While you certainly don’t want to appear defensive or negative, by putting your foot down and requiring a fee for services, you will show prospects that your expertise is, in fact, worth paying for.

3. Give an inch, charge for the mile.

Sometimes you have to give a little to get a lot. This may be posting information on a blog, or through social networking, or providing a free trial of your product. However, be sure that prospects have just enough to make them thirsty for everything else you have to offer.

4. Treat yourself as you would treat others.

Would you call your doctor to ask her how to repair a broken arm? Would you ask a psychiatrist out to lunch and expect him to solve your family problems over dessert? Of course not. So the next time someone requests more free information than you should give, simply let them know you would be happy to put together a proposal or quote for the project, and leave it at that.

Like your mother may have said: “You’ll earn their respect for it, even if they don’t like it at the time”.