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Should You Charge When Someone Wants to Pick Your Brain?

Discussion in 'Marketing' started by gen Y advantage, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. gen Y advantage

    gen Y advantage Member

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    Last edited: Jul 10, 2012
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  2. TheGoldenGoose

    TheGoldenGoose Well-Known Member

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    Not crazy at all!

    Advice is a service.

    I charge for initial consults, a one hour fee, then if they proceed it is deducted from their final invoice. This prevents tyre kickers and rewards the genuinely interested.

    :)
  3. Uncomplicating

    Uncomplicating Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely right.
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  4. Divert To Mobile

    Divert To Mobile Well-Known Member

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    I think its fair to charge for your knowledge if they benefit from it.

    Steve
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  5. gen Y advantage

    gen Y advantage Member

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    How would you bring up such a conversation when people ask you to come have coffee?

    There is a lot of research around gender differences and doing business. Usually women focus on building relationships first, before making business.

    Is this relationship building, or do 'we' really need to step up and ask for a sale?
  6. TheGoldenGoose

    TheGoldenGoose Well-Known Member

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    You don't want to be forever meeting with people that will just waste your time.

    If you don't value your time, nobody else ever will.

    Put your foot down, you will lose clients.. but you will gain respect.

    You will only ever lose clients that you didn't want anyway ;)

    If someone asked me, I would tell them I have an initial consult fee XX for meetings. I would also say that this is because the value I provide in a consultation isn't just a 'meet and greet'.

    I completely understand relationship building, but there needs to be a level of respect for the fact that you are not having dinner out as friends, it is a professional transaction.
  7. gen Y advantage

    gen Y advantage Member

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    Thank you for this, just what I needed. :)

    On another note, I have noticed when you comment you have little social media icons that people can click on that leads to your social media pages. May I ask how you have done this?

    Regards,
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  8. Paul B.

    Paul B. Active Member

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    I believe you can do it in the forum control panel under the tab 'edit your details'.
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  9. FS Concierge

    FS Concierge Administrator Staff Member

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    Hi Linda,

    Paul is correct, that's exactly how you do it.

    Just be careful NOT to include the http:// when you add the info, as otherwise the links won't work.

    Let me know if you need any help,
    Jayne
  10. Gordan

    Gordan Member

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    If its someone I know personally then I obviously dont charge for advice. But if its one of my clients, then yes definitely charge for advice. The industry I work in is service orientated so your brain is your bread and butter.
  11. gen Y advantage

    gen Y advantage Member

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    Thanks! That's really cool, I've done it. :)
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  12. HarryLuke Logistics

    HarryLuke Logistics Well-Known Member

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    Linda

    Awesome post.

    Although my footer states furniture, my history is broad and encompasses small business, franchise, finance and telecommunications and although i have been 'absent' from each field in a corporate sense for some years i am still regularly contacted to 'catch up' for a coffee. Actually probably once a fortnight.

    Unfortunately, with my current commitments to drop what i am doing (including watching movies :D) and drive into town for a coffee is really unproductive for me, even if it is for a free feed and the likes.

    **These comments need to be premised with - friends are different, i clearly know who are my mates and whom i am happy to undertake numerous coffees with - regardless of expectations.

    Having worked in fields that were relatively fast paced, i learnt quickly to be a bit more on the front foot when being asked for a coffee by a client, contact or supplier and the basics of what i would ask really drew on the How, What, Where, When and Why questioning in order to probe a little further in why they want a coffee.

    Questions may include:
    - Hows business?
    - What are you up to lately? any new business projects on the go?
    - Why do you want to catch up for a coffee? common answer, just to say Gday. If thats that case i then proceed with - so who's paying? if they say they will shout, i make a joke and say well if your paying you must want something out of me... but i can sort of get away with this one and probably not the best for everyone...
    - Hows sales and what direction are you heading?
    - Where are you working now? (sometimes there has been a large gap in contact with me)

    When it comes down to it, and once i establish it is a 'business chat' i generally comment about the coffee and looking forward to it.. then say... 'by the way, as we are friends i know a great business coach (or whatever is needed) that i can happily put forward to you as i personally find it difficult to ask such a close friend (remember you might not have seen them for months or years) some form of remuneration for my expertise. What time do you wanna catch up next week? cant wait to chat about family, holidays and how youve been.."

    This approach can weed out those wanting to drain your brain and use your expertise for nicks... those that can understand you in business, and really do want your input for $$$ will progress... i have found over the years, that my above approach has allowed me to save face a little without putting up a major road block...

    Most important aspect of this way though.... is to ensure you do not partake in business chatter at coffee.. unless its mutual and exploratory with a potential to move onto $$$ in your pocket.. If it gets 'intense' over coffee and they are drilling for free info, just have that card ready to hand to them for a referral to someone else you know as per your phone chat above and let them know you have already spoken to the person about them and they are awaiting your call...

    It is tough, each person will handle it different.. when i worked for the large telco's, ALL OF MY BUSINESS was conducted in a coffee shop.. i basically had an office behind their counter with stationary and the likes and would sit in the restaurant/cafe for up to 8 hours a day meeting after meeting... very social, so trust me, i had to adjust and to say NO to a free coffee was unnatural...

    Good luck, love to hear how you tackle this moving forward and would love some other inputs on how everyone personally handles these situations as i am sure all of us could potentially learn something a lil dif here..

    Cheers and thanks for the great post..

    Jason
  13. kathiemt

    kathiemt Well-Known Member

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    In BNI we're encouraged to have one-on-one (dance card) meetings, meeting with other members of our chapter over coffee or lunch, or whatever. It's expected. Of course information is going to be passed, ideas shared, but the idea is to learn about each other's businesses. As a result business does develop and and we are in a position to tell others about the businesses in our chapter because we have knowledge of them.

    I think if someone made a habit of trying to get lots of information free without paying for it (I know someone on another forum who has reputation of begging for help from anyone who will give it but doesn't pay for that help) then that's a different thing. But I have no objection to meeting with people and having a chat. Had a lady here last night, in fact, wanting advice on setting up a new business and we spent a lovely hour together. Will business occur for me? I have no idea but she will tell others about me and who knows where that will lead?

    I feel the key is to limit how often you meet with people. I try to make the one-on-ones a once-a-week event but sometimes it might happen two or three times in one week (different people) because I've had a few weeks where I've not met with anyone.
  14. Gavin_S

    Gavin_S Member

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    My opinion on if you should charge people who just want to pick your brain? Ah....give me $20 and I'll answer this question.
  15. Divert To Mobile

    Divert To Mobile Well-Known Member

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    You can ask them what the purpose is of the coffee meet. I can hear it now.
    "Hi gen Y how about we go grab a cup of coffee"
    "Is it a work meet or social?"
    "err social but I was going to ask you a few questions about fb"
    "no problem, I'm available between 3-5 tomorrow, I'll schedule you in for that time, just to confirm my consulting fees are $x per hour is that ok with you?"
    If they agree its win win, you will feel great about giving professional service and they will feel relieved that their not taking advantage of you.
    If they dont agree you can still go to coffee but if they broach the subject gently tell them that it was supposed to be a social meet. There is a good chance they wont ask you for coffee again but who works for coffee anyway?

    Steve
  16. Cjay

    Cjay Active Member

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    I happily provide incite into area's to which I'm knowledgeable without expecting remuneration for the most part. If the individual asking is showing an attempt at personal development and willingness to engage on mutual terms, I'm happy to have a yarn. In many cases it means you will learn something yourself! Think of it as an intellectual bartering process. I spent Sunday afternoon discussing finance structuring with an extended family member of the in-laws, but in turn got valuable incite into the plumbing trade, not to mention a new client.

    I have had instances however when it has been easy to see that the person is looking for a free-ride, in which case my time does become somewhat less available. I would rather engage with someone who understands the value you are providing them and are appreciative of it, as opposed to manipulative.
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  17. HarryLuke Logistics

    HarryLuke Logistics Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like we are all talking about our own experiences with our own coffee providers...

    Personally i am a strong believer in listening to everyone, as you never know where the next golden opportunity will prevail or present... although,

    Maybe there should be classifications for the coffee..... LOL...
    1. Those who extract
    2. Those who extract and insert (oh sounds dirty)
    3. Those that insert
    4. Those who just want a coffee...

    Most appear to be talking about class 2.. although at varying levels we will deal with all types, unfortunately at this stage i am dealing with class 1... i never avoid the coffees, but i do allocate my time wisely with the understanding it is purely a social interaction whereby the likelihood of me learning is heavily reduced as the extractor is determined to achieve his/her tasks over mine.

    i love this term.....
    "are you listening, or waiting to speak" and this is certainly a situation i want to avoid...
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  18. HarryLuke Logistics

    HarryLuke Logistics Well-Known Member

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    Hi Cjay,

    Hope you dont mind the post.. but i had a look at your web site and think it looks clean...

    Just wanted to let you know when i clicked on Services and arrived at the Services page, if for some reason i clicked on services again it gives me an error, as below:
    Not Found
    The requested URL /Services.html was not found on this server.
    Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.​

    To replicate you must already be on the services page when you click services again..

    Be well
    Jason
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  19. JamesMillar

    JamesMillar Well-Known Member

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    As an advisor every meeting should have a purpose (whether it's in office or out, casual or formal). Not to say that you need to prepare a formal agenda for every occasion but as an advisor, at least figure out before you go why you are going. Occasions during business hours are with going to be either personal or business orientated. If its business and it's a new referral or lead then you know it's sales / pipeline excercise (and you can qualify a lead if necessary before meeting). Beyond that I think it's fair and appropriate for a firm to devote some resources into meeting and relatsionship building on an unpaid basis. As an adviser you just need to learn how to provide some initial unpaid information but not the entire solution / answer (the valuable paid component). If you handle the initial meeting well and you have a great solution then invariably it will progress to a paid client. Everyone wins.

    Serious growth takes sales resources and as advisors our sales resource is largely time. We acknowledge that and plan accordingly. Some may not convert to a paid client and it's not necessarily the prospects fault (or ours). Sometimes there is no engagement needed.
  20. Shaukat Adam (Khalid)

    Shaukat Adam (Khalid) Well-Known Member

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    Depends on how you go about it. i'm not a fan of charging for time. it's too unproductive. if i am asked for "Advice" i normally respond with questions to demonstrate that i know my stuff and it's not always black and white e.g:

    Q. do i need a website?
    A: what makes you ask such a question. If you do have a website, how do YOU think it will help your business? What will be the top 3 purpose of your website? how will you attract visitors? what do you want them to do when they visit their website? and on and on...

    another example:

    q. i need some advice on generating leads

    a. what kind of leads? what are you currently doing to attract leads and what are your lead source. is it effective? how effective? how is a lead captured? what do you intend to do once youve captured the lead? how will that happen? etc

    the idea is to help them make a decision to buy or invest in a service (not necessarily mine) and how it will impact their business, culture, team members, etc. so i see the role of a trusted advisor as the one who helps a potential client to make a buying decision instead of a product decision. that is part 2 and the result is low quality leads, fewer conversion, high buyer remorse, a lot more time and effort invested (at least 200% more)

    the decision to buy or invest is more important than buying it self.that's the last part where the seller or vendor comes into the picture.

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