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. 


How to make your clients appreciate you more than they already do


free and discount services for lawyersLast week my wife went to her dentist for a cleaning. The bill arrived with a charge of $84 for the cleaning and $45 for the exam. Then, the bill showed a $45 credit for the exam. In other words, the exam was free.

Why? I don’t know. Maybe because it was a brief exam or maybe he never charges for an exam that follows a cleaning. Whatever the reason, my wife and I were pleased. We like our dentist even more than we already did.

Now, what if he simply omitted the charge for the exam? Would that have had the same effect? I don’t think so. We wouldn’t know that he was “comping” the exam. If we had thought about it at all, we would have assumed the exam was included in the cleaning and not given it another thought.

When you do something nice for your clients, whether giving them a free service, a discount, or something extra, make sure they know about it. Put the charge on the statement and then show a credit for that charge, so the client can see the value of the service they received.

Do this for free consultations, too. Send a bill for the consultation, show a 100% credit, and a zero balance due.

Do you think your would-be clients will better appreciate the value of what you do if they see that the consultation they got free is worth $400?

You bet they will.

Something else. If you don’t have free or discounted services you occasionally give to clients and prospects, it’s time to start. One way to do that is to take something you regularly include as part of your services and “break it off” as a separate item.

For example, if you charge $1500 to prepare a living trust and this includes a pour over will, power of attorney, and living will at no charge, simply send an invoice that shows the ordinary charges for those additional documents and 100% credit.

If you want clients and prospects to appreciate you more, when you do something nice for them, make sure they know about it.