Here is How I Respond to People Who Ask Me For Free Advice

Krista Neher Signing Her Book The Social Media Field GuideIf you are an expert and work to build a name for yourself, it is only a matter of time before people start to ask you to “pick your brain” or email you questions.  I wrote a post about it a while ago called “You Can Pick My Brain, Just Not For Free“.  The reality is that I love what I do, and I love spending my days giving advice and answering questions.

The challenge is that if I answer questions for free I am taking time away from the people who pay me for my advice.  This doesn’t really seem fair.  So, as a part of our social media marketing training we offer a social media membership program, which includes a Q&A call, where our members can ask any general or specific question about social media and marketing.  So, I suggest that if someone has a quick question they can either search for the topic on my blog, or simply join the program.  It is only $27.  Most people don’t join.

But, if my answer isn’t worth $27 to them, then it isn’t worth my time to answer them.

I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but seriously, I speak to tens of thousands of people a year.  I can’t answer ever question that people ask, and frankly, it isn’t fair to the people who invest and pay me for my advice.

At any rate, my apologies if this sounds like a rant.  Most of the time when I send an email like this I get a positive response.  Hopefully I don’t come across as a jerk.

Here is the email that I send to people who aren’t clients who ask me social media questions.

Hi NAME

 

Thanks for reaching out to me – I appreciate that you value and respect my opinion.

 

As you can imagine, I speak to tens of thousands of marketers and professionals each year on social media marketing topics, and I get many questions (similar to yours) asking my opinion or advice on how to handle something with social media.

 

I really truly love what I do, and I would love nothing more than to answer social media questions all day (which I usually do).  That being said, if I responded to every question I got through email and other social networks I wouldn’t have time to actually work with my clients and pay my bills!

 

As a solution, I created a Social Media Masters Circle program, where those interested in continuing to learn and get my advice on social media can participate, get access to training and ask me questions during our monthly Q&A calls.  Most of our customers love this because they can get personal customized answers to their questions without having to pay my consulting rates.  The program is only $27/month and you can cancel at any time www.bootcampdigital.com/mc

 

I appreciate your understanding, and I do hope that you will join us so that I can discuss how to balance your content calendar with you.

 

Again, I really appreciate you reaching out to me, and I appreciate that you value and respect my opinion.

 

– Krista

 

What do you think?  How do you handle these requests?

 

 

  • http://www.youseminars.com Corinne

    I love your approach. I am sure most people can understand when pointed out to them that asking for free advice is like them going to work and not getting paid. Ever. So while I love what I do and I give away lots for free, I do love to be paid for the service I provide. And 27 bucks is a drop in the bucket for what someone will spend on time trying to find the answer that you will readily give them.

  • http://www.charlyheavenrich.com Charly Heavenrich

    Hi Krista – I’m guessing this question will generate some fascinating replies. Thanks for opening up the conversation. We work in a period where there is an expectation that we provide information for free as a way of establishing our credibility. I have spent my life doing this, and it hasn’t resulted in a rush to hire me. In part this is due to my own boundary issues, as in not establishing them. A friend of mine says “ask for what you want you get it 90% of the time; don’t ask, you get it 20%” – this is not a scientific survey, just symbolic. You are setting your own boundaries and doing so, not in an arrogant way, but by valuing all the work you’ve done to establish your reputation. Well done.