It’s frustrating when people expect you to help them for free just because. Hey, you aren’t a non-profit and you shouldn’t feel any qualms about that. You are in business to make a profit, so how do you handle Freddie Freeloader without feeling like you are the jerk.
You may actually be unwittingly creating Freddie the freeloader. I know this may shock you because you are trying to build value before you ask them to hire you. That’s good, you just need to be careful about how you do that.
You see, if all you do is give in the initial stages of the relationship you are actually training the people who connect with you to expect free. Understand there is a big difference between giving publicly and providing individual help. Don’t allow potential clients to get confused by the difference.
While providing valuable and helpful information is an ideal way to demonstrate your proficiency, increase your credibility, and create a relationship you must do something immediately following or in conjunction with these gifts. From the beginning you have to train people to buy. Even if they start off buying free.
Oddly enough you even have to sell free. You sell your free information by helping the other person understand the value they will get from it. When you give your free information or gift there should ALWAYS be an opportunity for the receiver to take a next steps action. Include this request or offer along with the gift.
This is important for two reasons. First, it helps the people who want you to help them right now to immediately have a way to move things along. Second, it creates the understanding that you are a business, you are in business to make a profit, and you appreciate they may not be ready to advance a client relationship just now.
However, creating opportunities for potential clients to act or buy with each contact makes it clear you aren’t in the business of working for free. That doesn’t mean the people you share your information with won’t have questions or won’t ask you questions. No problem.
Rather than trying to specifically answer their question or solve their problem respond with a question to gain a better understanding of what they need and what they want. Acknowledge when you can help them with their needs and ask if it would make sense to schedule a time to talk about how you work together. This is a great way of establishing expectations for both parties without offending anyone.
By Julian Bush