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person calling and asking for free advice

Discussion in 'BlackHat Lounge' started by theseodude, Apr 3, 2013.

  1. theseodude

    theseodude Regular Member

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    This person called me today and asked for a lot of free advice. I helped her as much as I could, because she was a woman and I felt bad for her...I could hear the desperation and confusion in her voice. she said her seo company had told her something, and she was trying to see if their advice was correct.
    but what is the best thing to do in these cases? do you just say "I dont give free advice, you need to be a paying customer" or what?
    and when they talk about another seo company, do you make the other seo company look bad? do you say "everything they told you is wrong"?

    I tried to be very helpful, I gave her a lot of honest advice....but now I think it wasn't a good idea, does it bring down your perceived value when you give free advice?
     
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  2. spacebrook

    spacebrook Newbie

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    You can try and give limited free advice. If she finds you good enough and have a good knowledge, she will eventually come find you to do her SEO work. You don't need to purposely put another company down because this may look like you are just wanting business. Give honest and thoughful, but yet limited opinion :)
     
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  3. Panther28

    Panther28 Elite Member

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    Some of the best marketers will always give you lots of information that is very helpful, so you havn't done anything wrong there. You've only increased your authority on the subject. Your problem is you now feel a bit strange, since it hasn't resulted in any sales or anything.

    However, what have you got? you've got a contact, in a business, with access to other contacts. You've got an easy open door to a referral, or an opportunity with a bit thought. This person now 'morally owes you' and will want to repay the favor with some help.

    You need to have in place a decent contact capture system though, records and notes of conversations that you can call upon in a minute, and this person should be now part of your sales funnel. Follow up questions, recommendations to clients, extra consulting, offer them a product.

    Tons of things there, and if they arn't in the least bit helpful, then be sure to give them access to your new premium rate call number if they need to contact you on your "new direct line"
     
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  4. BlackHatSoda

    BlackHatSoda Junior Member

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    Considering there are a million plus self-proclaimed SEO and/or internet marketing experts out there and maybe a couple of hundred have anything close to an actual, public reputation for knowing what they're talking about, I'd say it's probably a good thing to give out some initial advice for free so a potential client can get some idea that you know what you're doing.

    There's a professional term for doing this, it's call a free consultation. Look at it like that and keep it to a fixed amount of time, say 30 min. Let the person know up front that you'd be happy to give them that 30 or whatever minutes for free but beyond that, you're willing to continue helping but for a nominal fee.
     
  5. kvmcable

    kvmcable Supreme Member

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    If you have a website you ask them to contact your sales team through the contact us page. This is how we deal with all the Amazon buyers wanting us to provide them with more product detail and exact measurements. They always contact us under the guise of wanting to make a purchase but we learned a long time ago to make them work for free info. We kindly explain this is our sales order line for customers having issues with checkout. If you need more information you need to contact our warehouse through our contact us page and they'll look up the information for you and reply as soon as they can.

    We probably give that conversation 10-15 times a day and we're lucky if we get an email through our contact us page 2-3 times in a week. Rarely will we see an order for those items even after giving them the information. They just dial every number for vendors selling those items until they get a live person on the phone to try and get free info. With us they have to work for it.

    Also you'd be surprised the number of people that just sit on the phone all day getting free information to do the work themselves. They contact all the local and not so local experts and gather as much information as they can. Most of the time they have a good story such as the one you heard. We get this with computer repairs all the time. Sorry we can't diagnose it over the phone; you'll need to bring it in. That usually sends them packing. They have little to no intention of doing business with you anyways so we nip it in the bud early.

    I'm sure others will tell you to coddle people on the phone, prove your smarts or an you're an expert to try and win over clients but I find it rarely works that way these days. With our repair business they'll ask 100 questions and order parts online. We've had them carry laptops and computers in boxes all disassembled for us to repair after they thought they'd do it themselves.

    Just this year we started a new rule if you disassembled it or had someone else disassemble it, we won't work on it, period. We got tired of people accusing us of missing or broken parts, accusing us of further damage and some even accuse us of not knowing what we're doing when the parts they brought in don't work or don't fit. Now if they work on it, they own it. Take it down the road, we don't want or need the headaches.


    A little OT but you get my drift, ask them to send you an email or letter, limit your time on the phone or you'll always be on the phone with little or no money to show for it. That was a hard lesson for me. My wife runs the front end of the business and nobody but a handful of people have a clue who I am. I rarely talk to customers because my wife knows I help too much and if she let me converse with customers we'd go broke. She cuts to the chase, bring it in, write it up and the techs will take a look at it.

    If it's a local person you can do as the Attorneys do. They never give free consultation over the phone. Make an appointment, get them to come in and discuss the matter one on one. That will tell you if they're serious about hiring you or just scraping free info.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 3, 2013
  6. Mr.Boss

    Mr.Boss Junior Member

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    yea giving free advice is not problem it shows your generosity but don't go off the limit :)