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Giving Too Much Away?

December 9, 2010

A doctor and a lawyer were talking at a party. Their conversation was constantly interrupted by people describing their ailments and asking the doctor for free medical advice. After an hour of this, the exasperated doctor asked the lawyer, “What do you do to stop people from asking you for legal advice when you’re out of the office?”

“I give it to them,” replied the lawyer, “and then I send them a bill.”

The doctor was shocked, but agreed to give it a try. The next day, still feeling slightly guilty, the doctor prepared the bills. When he went to place them in his mailbox, he found a bill from the lawyer.

It’s an old joke (thanks to Jokes Place for this version) but, as with most good jokes, at it’s core is some truth.

power meeting from aboveAs service professionals, whether it’s IT, accounting, management, or other,  we provide advice to clients and they pay us for it. Sometimes, we feel compelled to give away free samples to prove our level of expertise. How many free samples do you need to give away to make a sale?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2011 9:29 am

    I’m going to postulate…..I think you surface a real latent sentiment that many of those that don’t talk on the web feel towards those that do. “Why should I bother publishing my valuable knowledge or waste my invoiceable time on da internetz”

    Infact, even among those that do there is a certain fatigue creeping in as expressed in blog posts like:

    http://babblingvc.typepad.com/pjozefak/2010/11/im-tired-of-creating-your-content.html

    Of course the true extent of this sentiment is hardly going to appear online from the very same refuseniks.

    • January 26, 2011 10:07 am

      Paul,
      There is a fine line between sales/marketing and free consulting. Everyone has to draw it for himself. The Internet gives us a medium to reach a large audience with the lure of “free” expertise. However, you are right in that your expertise needs to be spread judiciously. There are those who would exploit it. You have to choose whether, in the end, there is value for you even there.

      Thanks for the feedback,
      Alan

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