When dealing with small and sometimes more impoverished clients, it’s usually in your best interest to charge a fee (even if it is small) for that initial consultation.
This fee will rid your marketing hours from time wasters who are unable to afford your fee. For many clients, the advice they obtain during the first 30-minutes or hour meeting may be sufficient to meet their needs.
Such a strategy may not be a good idea when dealing with large, well-financed prospects, however. Most often, these clients are not in need or seeking free advice. Your larger clients will be interested in results over the long haul.
Don’t hesitate to charge for diagnostic and needs-analysis services. Determing what the problem is may be the most valuable service you can provide. Giving the answers away for free in the hope of getting an opportunity to implement your solution is simply — poor marketing.
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