A guide to stop giving your time away for free

In tough economic times it’s easy to think that you should be prepared to do absolutely anything to get a client and then to keep them happy, but that is the fastest road to madness.

Here’s how it happens…

A prospective client contacts you with “a quick question”. They start to tell you their problems; they talk and talk, and ask questions. After an hour long conversation, they go away feeling great with their problem solved but you’re left tired, drained, and probably a bit frustrated.

You didn’t get the thing done that you needed to do. You have less time to market yourself and bring in the business that you need. You also have less time for the clients who HAVE invested in themselves on your programme, and you have less time for yourself and family. What you need, is a strategy in place to filter out the time wasters.

What to do if they want you to deliver part of your paid-for service for free.

Here is a script you can use when you are asked a question that will require you to use your hard earned skills.

• Check if it’s important to them or if they are “just curious”. “This is really important to you isn’t it?”

• If they say No then stop there and politely end the conversation, or you could ask them what IS important to them.

• If they say Yes. “Great. And because this is so important the best way I can serve you is with my undivided 100% dedicated attention and energy, you deserve that. So let’s book you in for a session where we can work together to solve this properly. The investment for this is xxx and I have a slot next Tuesday at 11.00am. Shall we go ahead and make the booking?”

• If they say No. Act surprised and say “Oh, I’m sorry! I thought you said this was important to you!” Make sure you stand firm. They may say they can’t afford it or have no money, or that their cat just died or any number of reasons why they think you should give your services for free. But the truth is if they really wanted that solution they would invest in it.

What to do if they dive into their life history or any other lengthy and irrelevant story.

Say – “I’m just going to interrupt you there. My guess is you’ve told this story a lot. And it hasn’t really helped yet. So would it be ok if I asked you some questions about where you are now in relation to what you DO want so that we can find ways to help you get that?”

Because you asked permission to interrupt, they will be fine about this.

Sticking to time limits and ending the conversation.

Have a clock in your eye line. Don’t get so sucked into the conversation that you lose track of time.

When time is nearly up say: “We are nearing the end of the time I have available today. I just want to check in, have you got what you wanted?”

If they haven’t, this is where you let them know where they can get the solution to this problem and where you offer your product or programme.

With firm, clear boundaries you won’t always get the sale, but whether you do or not you’ll have stopped giving away your time and energy for free.