Want my advice? Will that be cash, check, or credit card?


Free reports. Free consultations. Free information up the ying yang.

If everything is free, how do you make money?

Good question.

The answer is simple: give away lots of free information but charge for your advice. Another way to put it: if you talk to them, you charge them.

Your time is valuable. Don’t give it away. But information is just paper or electrons and while you invest time in writing or recording or conducting a presentation, you’re investing in creating new clients and the return on your investment is, well, incalculable.

Me entiende?

Information is free. Advice is not.

There is one exception: Free consultations.

Why? Couple of reasons.

First, if you’re in a field where most attorneys offer them, e.g., personal injury, if you don’t offer them, you won’t be able to compete.

Second, ROI. You invest 30 minutes or so talking to a prospective client and in return, you (eventually) earn thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Do ten free consultations, sign up seven new cases (or whatever), and when you add up the collective fees, you look like a friggin genius.

In other words, it’s worth it.

Simple as that.

If we’re being technical here, and we’re attorneys so that goes without saying, you do give the client some advice during the consultation. But at the same time, you’re evaluating whether or not you want the case. Hey, maybe they should charge you for their time.

You can reduce the amount of time you spend on free consults by educating prospective clients and referral sources prior to speaking to anyone. Put information on your website, in your articles, ads, and so on, and especially in your “referral letter,” so that people know when they should and shouldn’t call.

Go write something and give it away. But don’t give away your time. Unless you’re doing a free consultation.

How to create (and use) a referral letter to get more clients


How to protect yourself from freebie seekers


For many people, a free offer is irresistible. They’ll sign up for your newsletter to get your free report or audio or other goody, with no intention of hiring you. In fact, many will unsubscribe from your list the first time you mention your paid services. Others will languish on your list and cost you money, as their collective numbers push you into a different cost tier.

Should you attempt to pre-qualify people before they join your list?

Generally, no. A bigger list is usually a good thing, even if it includes a large number of freebie seekers. So make your offer as inviting and easy to accept as possible. Don’t make people go through hoops to join your list.

Many will drop off soon. And the cost of keeping non-prospects on your list is acceptable because the easier you make it for anyone to sign up, the more who will, and that includes real prospects. If you make it harder to join, you’ll keep out the riffraff but also reduce the number of true prospects. And, you never know when someone might actually need your services, no matter what their original intentions.

There are some things you can do to pare down your list. You can periodically ask if they want to continue to be on your list. You can ask them to opt-in again. Or, you can sweep your account and remove subscribers who have not opened your (html) emails. But unless your list is in the tens of thousands, I wouldn’t worry about it.

Free consultations and free service offers are different, of course, because of the time factor. Here, you should at least minimally pre-qualify people before you see them. You can ask them to fill out a questionnaire, have them speak to someone in your office first, or briefly speak with them yourself on the phone.

In addition, make sure you post enough information on your website so that visitors can get most of their questions answered without speaking to you, and self-identify as a good candidate for a consultation.

Free is the most valuable word in marketing. Don’t let freebie seekers stop you from using it, um, freely.

The 30 Day Referral Blitz shows you how to write a kick-ass free report to build your list and drive referrals.