Our firm gets calls from people who simply can't afford our fees. What can I do with them?
Assuming you are right that your fees are out of their range, you can still offer to take a look at what their problem is and quote on it. Sit down with them and say, "I recognize that our fees, although competitive, may exceed your budget. However, we have looked over your situation and I have some comments and recommendations. Rather than charge you for a trip, a day (or more) of my time, I just figured this would be more valuable at no cost to you. And if you have any follow-up questions just send me an e-mail. My pleasure." Does this sound like a waste of time. Not really and here's why:
- You usually learn a lot from the experiences of seeing peoples’ data, problems, models. It would be more instructive than the case studies you look at during your professional development work over the year.
- You will earn their respect, maybe even make a friend, for very little time investment (perhaps less than quoting a large fee and not earning the business).
- When they grow ... they will remember you (especially if your observations and recommendations are on target).
These situations can create the most avid referrals you can ever find. They contacted you and you provided value with professionalism and for free. Think of how they would view you if you just turned them away without any discussion or consideration. © 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA