Being nice is keeping you brokeHow often do you have someone who sends you an email asking you to answer some questions as itpertains to your expertise.As you read their questions you quickly realize they will require a fair amount oftime to respond to.Wanting to be polite, the temptation is for you to respond. It’s not that youshouldn’t respond, but you need to know where to draw the line.One or two questions is fine, but beyond that, you are giving away your services.If you’re serious about building your business and having people valuing your time, you have to be ableto say no to many of the inquiries that come your way.A client of mine asked me what she should do with an email someone sent with over tenquestions they wanted her to respond to. I suggested she let this person know what herconsulting fees are and offer to set up an appointment.The more of an expert you are viewed as the more likely you will receive these types of emails.Years ago I received an email from a gentleman with one simple question. I was happy torespond to his question as it took less than a minute to respond.Then came another question. I responded to that. By the third question I wrote, “We are now movinginto consulting. I would be happy to set up an appointment for you.”He wrote a scathing message that went something like this, “I can’t believe you won’t take time torespond to my questions. You said you help people, but you’re not much help to me. You’re full of crapand you say one thing and do another.”I had to laugh at this. For him to assume that I would continue to answer his stream of questions with nocompensation is not at all realistic.He obviously had no intention of ever paying me for my services. Based on his angry response I took himoff my list. I didn’t need his anger, energy or unwillingness to respect my time.Have you ever received these type of emails or phone calls? How have you responded? Did you give freeconsulting so as not to appear unfriendly?Fact is, you will upset some people when you tell them no. Fact also is, if you want to grow yourbusiness you must set boundaries. Sure, it’s okay to answer one or two questions, but then you alsohave to be willing to say no.If this happens to you, here’s a very simple response you can send:
Thank you for your inquiry. You have outstanding questions.These are the types of questions I work on with my private clients.I would be happy to set up a consulting call with you.My fee is $____ for this.Here are my available times for a session.Here’s what will likely happen. The person will never respond to you. They will respond with a messagesaying they were not trying to get free consulting, but then you will not hear back. They will set anappointment.A couple weeks ago I got a message from someone wanting to know aboutmarketing his book. The way his message was worded indicated he wanted freeconsulting.I told him that I charged for this kind of service. He responded by saying he wasn’tasking for free consulting.We set a time to talk and one of the first things he said was, “I don’t have muchmoney and would like you to work with me for a percentage of what I will sell.”Folks, in most cases, this IS free consulting. For someone to have not made any money up to this pointand want you to give your time, efforts and energy to their project with no financial investment on theirpart is not realistic.When you get these types of requests you have to set boundaries. You have to be willing to say no. Youhave to state your fees.The reason many emerging entrepreneurs fear doing this is they don’t want to appear not being nice.Let me ask you this, “Would you rather be nice or broke?”I’m not saying to be mean to people, but as with the man who got upset when I said we were movinginto consulting, he certainly didn’t think I was nice. Personally, I don’t care.What I care about is helping my clients get results. When they do, I got from them liking me to themloving what I was able to help them accomplish.