Why Do I Give Away Stuff For Free?

Sometimes I’m so eager to get someone to work with me that I give them advice for free. Then they don’t hire me.

This has been a problem since I first started this business 5 ish years ago.

I talk to a prospect and I ask them what they are looking for. I tell them what I do. That should be the end of that.

But I’m eager to please and I want to impress so, instead of saying “This is how I work, what do you think?” or something like that, I spew out actual tactics and strategies to fix their problems.

They scramble to write them all down because they’re often pretty good ideas. (If I do say so myself.)

But then they don’t think they need my help because they’ve already gotten something from me. For free.

I did this on Monday with somebody.

Admittedly, he wasn’t a prospect. He’s just someone I talk to sometimes to see if we can help each other out.

But I still gave him a couple of excellent ideas. His eyes lit up.

And I did not get a client out of it. (But of course.)

I’m torn here, because there are two competing ideas about this:

On the one hand, most people say you should give away stuff for free. You should let some idea of what you can do slip but not start giving advice and help until you are getting paid.

On the other hand is the idea of goodwill: by giving away stuff for free you create goodwill among your potential clients and the people you know. You create trust. You will get more referrals this way too.

The latter idea also assumes that the people who want to hire you will hire you anyway, even if you have given stuff to them for free. There may be some truth in that. It’s a principle that underlies the entire realm of content marketing, for example.

But it’s hard to always believe it’s true. Especially when I believe I could have gotten a client but my willingness to tell what they need to do before they hired me seems to have lost that client.

Why Do I Give Away Stuff For Free?

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