Image: Charles Deluvio
A lot of service providers offer free initial consultations as a way to attract new clients. However, it’s one of the most dangerous things they can do.
Here are just 3 of the major problems caused by free consultations.
1. Free consultations make you look desperate
By giving your time away for free, you give the impression that you’re sat in a quiet office, with no clients. And nothing to do.
You’re literally (not figuratively) placing zero value on your time. That’s a very negative image to create in the mind of your prospective clients.
It paints all the wrong pictures. It damages your reputation, because looking desperate isn’t a good look! As such, it totally devalues your services. It also acts as a warning sign to genuine prospective clients, who will not hire what looks like a failing service provider.
It’s a toxic soup. Pure poison.
2. Free consultations attract time wasters like a magnet
Whilst high quality prospective clients are put off by needy looking service providers, free consultations are super-attractive to freebie hunters. These never-to-be clients flock to them.
Freebie hunters are time wasters who refuse to pay for professional help. Instead, they sign up for everything they can get for free, then try and do it themselves.
It looks something like this:
- The freebie hunter searches the internet for service providers who offer free consultations.
- They then contact the provider and request a free consultation, pretending to be a prospective client.
- They know the service provider will try and impress them with their knowledge.
- So, they ask for advice on their specific problems.
Don’t become a target for freebie hunters. Just don’t. Seriously.
3. Free consultations trap you in a dangerous cycle
Giving your time away for free to strangers can’t solve your marketing problems. It will simply guarantee that you stay stuck. That’s because it locks you inside a negative cycle.
The cycle looks something like this:
- You need more, paying clients.
- So, you offer free initial consultations, placing zero value on your time.
- This makes you look needy (at best).
- Any genuine prospective clients who see this are presented with a desperate looking image, which damages your reputation.
- This obviously repels the exact clients you want (and need) to attract.
- And this is on top of whatever your previous marketing problem was, which led you to giving your time away.
- You remain stuck.
- So, it’s back to step 1 again.
Thankfully, there are proven ways to make your business succeed. Strategies that attract the right clients or customers. Strategies that are perfect for you and what you want to achieve. This is where you need to focus. Anything else is unsustainable, totally avoidable and less than you deserve.