“You do not have a problem”

Someone called to ask my advice because he was worried about a perceived problem to do with tax. This gave rise to a dilemma all professional services business owners have to deal with now and again. The caller thought he had a problem. I did not think he did.

The dilemma for some is that they could charge a fee for “professional advice” to tell the client that they had absolutely nothing to worry about. The alternative is to say in two sentences why there was not a problem and allay the concerns of the caller. The downside of the second option is that there is no fee.

As usual I took the second option and “earned” no money. Am I stupid or merely ethical? The caller was grateful anyway and said that if again he thought he needed advice he would certainly come to me.

I hope it was good marketing on my part even if I did not earn a bean for the conversation. Was I stupid? What do you think?

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2 Responses to “You do not have a problem”

  1. Barbara Saul says:

    Not stupid. You did earn kudos, I suggest, and quite possibly a new client or several along the line. It makes good marketing sense to give sometimes, just to be careful how much of that we do and not end up doing more for free than chargeable.

  2. Jon Stow says:

    Thank you, Babs. I hope for payback in the long term as well as avoiding a guilt trip. You are of course right that we should avoid doing too much for free. We also need to be careful with people who contact us with the specific object of getting our expertise for free in a single conversation.

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