I'm in a different line of work, but I sell a service. I get several calls a week seeking free advice in one form or another. I require a completed questionnaire before granting a free consultation. Those seeking free advice don't want to fill out the questionnaire and usually admit to wanting free advice, at which time my secretary quotes a consultation fee payable up front. That usually results in a quick hang up on the part of the advice seeker.
I tell them if they'd like to set up a consultation, I'd be glad to have one our "SEO/SEM experts" call them back.
In other words, I play the receptionist.
Then I tell them that if they decide to go it alone, they should be able to get a top-ranked web site in three to five years, assuming that they spend most of their work-time reading the Web specifications and server documentation, learning server- and client-side scripting languages, and reading authoritative online webmaster forums, so that they avoid the ranking problems that are so common with do-it-yourself Web design.
"If we can be of further service to you, please feel free to call for an appointment... Oops, sorry, there's the other line -- Thanks for calling, have to run..."
Certainly be nice -- Maybe they'll call back at the end of that three- to five-year period. :)
|at which time my secretary quotes a consultation fee payable up front. |
Sigh .. wish I had a secretary. ;)
|I tell them if they'd like to set up a consultation, I'd be glad to have one our "SEO/SEM experts" call them back. |
I like this idea. :)
Politeness goes a long way. I would follow a similar route to jdMorgan - point them at (useful!) resources that will make it clear the scale of work required.
You never know - for instance, someone might be phoning for free advice in a personal capacity who also works for a company that could well hire you. And your name is going to pop into their head when they're next asked.
My advice: don't spend a long time with them, but leave a good impression.
I'm neither surprised as to the respondants nor to their responses ..Hi guys :)..
..except to say ..if the question is is asked with sufficient charm ( and / or the "correct" mensurations:) ) , or is interesting enough ..then one does give "freebies" ..n'est ce pas ..les gars :)
As the guardians of my two favorite fora ..and as both "guardians" as far as I can see ...stand to gain zilch from the time and their participation in WebmasterWorld ..which they spend respectively ..apart ..from the contact and their innate altruism ..in often thankless tasks ..I'd like to say many of us appreciate your time and your involvement ..both :)
Whoops ..Andy .I surely didn't mean to forget you ..just not used to seeing you here in foo ..
[edited by: Leosghost at 10:50 pm (utc) on Oct. 9, 2008]
|not used to seeing you here in foo |
Hey, I'm [google.com] fooing more often than you [google.com] might think ;)
I smell a Foo Fight!
Receptional Andy vs Leosghost
Leosghost wins with 99 vs 43 (Googling 'site:www.webmasterworld.com/foo/ "username"' and clicking on the option to show all)
Who is the Foomaster? (I manage a respectable 59, but some of those are not me, just 'inbound' being used in a post)
snicker :)) ..thing is Andy ( who is waaaaaay good at manipulating G ..BTW anyone else miss WG ? ) ..on my keyboard "rceptiopnal" ..there I left it just the way it was when I first typed it just to show you ..isn't easy ..
Andy ..get yourself a keyboard where the top line ( below the 1234567890°+)..etc
reads "AZERTYUIOP" (plus what that does to the rest of the key layout) ..and then try to type in english ..fast ..especially when you actually think in french for at least 50% of the time ..and so your fingers dont go where your eyes think they should ..oi!
appolgies to BDW for temporarily diverting yer thread ..mes excuses ..
A foo fight? :)
Don't forget to go back to the old school, with webmasterworld.com/forum9 (not that it does my numbers any good ;))
Edit: and yes, apologies BDW.
[edited by: Receptional_Andy at 11:40 pm (utc) on Oct. 9, 2008]
Yup /foo/ was used intentionally and /forum9/ left out as I read the reference to be 'recently' - I was going make a reference to the 'new foo folder' but that just sounded silly!
There's always ["username" site:webmasterworld.com/forum9 OR site:webmasterworld.com/foo] ;)
[edited by: Receptional_Andy at 11:53 pm (utc) on Oct. 9, 2008]
See ..( for those who think foo isn't real WebmasterWorld )..depending on where we are when we instigate search ( via Mr Mc Cutts tame whoozlum ) ..I get that Mr RA ..in the red white and blue corner has "Results 1 - 10 of about 995 from www.webmasterworld.com for "receptional andy" foo. (0.08 seconds) " as seen from where I am ..
as seen from where I am .."serp" ( mum ! I just made a new verb mum ! I said serp ..mum an it was as a verb mum ..an it was to andyremnbbmeptioneandny ..*tain keyboard ) ..
only got ..Results 1 - 10 of about 568 from www.webmasterworld.com for leosghost foo. (0.07 seconds)..
BUT ..don't care ..dont like G anyway ..tell em so ..LOTS !
and its not the size that counts its what yer duz wiv it ..:))
bet ya i've been modded and admined more times than Andy !
plus ..i gets confused when it starts bleatin , and clippety cloppin ..and i forgets to post ..it's the 'ooves what does it guv ..
'slate ..g'nite ..sorry agin BDW ..Andy put me upto it ..ee bet me I couldnt type recepttionladany ..but see'in as 'ee cant say it ..w'ees kwits ..well neerly ..ay ? !
I regularly get calls fom people who tell me that they need a website then proceed to quiz me on costs, and other factors involved in the process. Sometimes they even tell me that they are going to build the website themselves but they need some information about this or that.
Are you polite with them or do you just tell them to eff off.
(Couldn't resist this) ;)
Must be something wrong with my design. I get calls from people wanting advice on topics related to the conentent but never about building a site like it.
I recently spent several hours with a potential client, explaining in detail the things that I could do for their website to improve its reach. That client then went back to the person who originally built their site and shared the information.
Bottom line: I received a paltry fee for enlightening two other people. And, it's not as if I wouldn't share this information, but I was led to believe that there work in it for me. Lesson learned.
|I regularly get calls from people who tell me that they need a website . . . but they need some information about this or that. |
I call them zombies, because they just want to eat your brain and leave the rest to the buzzards (bill collectors.)
After a while, you get to where you can spot them in the first two sentences. Personally (and this may apply to others too) the hard part is preventing my ego from taking hold. Ego knows stuff. Ego wants to share how much it knows stuff, and lets the info dribble on out . . . .
I give a little, but at some point I just come right out and say it. This is what I do for a living, if you want to pay me for my time you're more than welcome to come out and have a pow-wow, but I can't tell you *everything.* Then they play the well-I'll-bring- you-business-if-you-do card (which implies I'll badmouth your sorry tucshe all over town if you don't,) I (politely) play the "show me the beef" card. "Would you care to make a deposit?" (And put your money where your mouth is?) :-)
Usually ends shortly thereafter.
|the hard part is preventing my ego from taking hold. |
This can be a problem but it's also about common courtesy. I don't by default like to be rude to people. It's just that some of them are so brazen.
I had one guy call me to say that he was building a website for himself. He couldn't get a part of it to work and could I tell him where he was going wrong. When I explained that this was not a good business model for me he got quite shirty. "Come on! you must know where I am going wrong and it won't take you long to just explain this to me."
Some people just don't seem to get it.
Put up a website that is a primer on website design. When someone calls looking for free advice, tell him about the primer with the free info. If he says he already read the primer, tell him that's all the free info you have but you'll be glad to consult and your fee is $###.##. I quote $250 for 30 minutes and no one has EVER taken me up on it. A collateral benefit is that my secretary doesn't have to try to get off the phone because the caller usually expresses indignation and hangs up.
[edited by: lawman at 6:01 pm (utc) on Oct. 11, 2008]
|I don't by default like to be rude to people |
Engaging a professional with the intent of picking their brain for free is by its very nature more rude than any response the professional might make.
I've gotten pretty good at spotting a time bandit. Early in the discussion, I try to get them to commit to fill out a work order form. This is the most gentle way of separating the wheat from the chaff. Sometimes my sixth sense is off, and I'm short with what becomes a good paying client. I think the most blatant users are borderline sociopathic; nothing you can (angrily) do will get them to perceive their behavior as wrong. Being harsh won't cure these, but will drive off the clients who aren't necessarily moochers but need more hand-holding than average.
I would expect established business clients to be more sensible about expecting to pay for all services rendered, and not wasting time needlessly, but they seem to be almost as bad as the general public- go figure.
Easy... since I have learned and continue to learn so much from 3-6 websites including webmasterworld. I refer them here. After all, I asked for free advice on boards like this and profesionals have willingly and politely provided it.
Many times, they end up needing something they can't do on their own, remember how nice I was, and come back.
Karma, it pays off.