Person holding a cell phone with color dots - representing digital marketing
June 28, 2019

What Good is a Free Consultation?

If it’s free, is it worth my time?

Business owners get bombarded with calls from obnoxious salespeople, offering a free consultation regarding products or services that will solve all their problems. In our field, digital marketing, they continually receive calls from people claiming to be Google or having the secret formula to success. I have a question, if a consultation is free, how valuable can it be?

With the right “consultant,” it can be very beneficial. Let’s start with the word consultation, is it an actual consultation or a veiled attempt to pitch you their product? How can you tell the difference? For one, if they only need ten minutes of your time, that’s a red flag. How can you conduct a meaningful consultation in only ten minutes? Ten minutes is enough time for introductions and you to ask, “what are you selling?” Nope, I don’t need that! If you want to know what the plan is, have them email you an agenda before you agree to the appointment. If the consultant asks you a few questions to customize the plan before emailing, that’s a good sign. Once you have the agenda, you are better equipped to decide whether you will benefit or not.

How can an agenda help determine if you would benefit from a free consultation?

It depends upon who the focus of the meeting is. Is the topic primarily about a product or about your business? Does it include discovery questions or just bullet points? And if you feel like the questions are leading you toward buying right away, it’s not a consultation. It’s a sales pitch! Will there be any educational value to the meeting that will help you, regardless of whether you choose to do business or not? Is there a sales pitch at the end?

The answers reveal much about your “consultation.” For example: How does anyone know what you need before meeting with you? Therefore, how can they sell you anything of value if they haven’t uncovered what your needs are? A “genuine need” is something you would invest dollars in to solve. If they can help you identify real needs and return with a solution, then there is a basis for a business relationship?

Remember the WIIFM (What’s in it for me?).

That is your WIIFM, not the consultants. You’ll either lose an hour of your life that you never get back or perhaps start a mutually beneficial business relationship. We’re all adults, sometimes there isn’t a fit, right now, no hard feelings. So yes, if you ask me for an agenda before setting an appointment with me, I will gladly ask some questions and send you one. You will see the focus of the consultation is on solving your need and not mine.

Article written by Jim Norton

Ready To Make a Real Change? Let’s Build this Thing Together!

Setup a Free Meeting