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What to Say When They Ask for Free Advice

“I’ve got one quick question,” she pleaded into the phone. “I just need a little advice,” she went on.

Another caller said, “I’ve been looking at your website, and I’m impressed. I was hoping you could give me some advice over the phone.”

They want free consultations. They want advice without paying for it. They’re in a difficult situation, and they need help.

How do you feel when that happens? When it happens to you, I’m guessing that you want to help. You have what the caller needs, and you’re anxious to assist. However, you hesitate because you’ve got mouths to feed: yours and maybe your kids. On top of food, you have student debt to pay and a payroll to meet. That’s why you hesitate to give out free advice.

Of course, you would never be like that caller. You would never call a lawyer expecting free advice, right? You know better.

Well, here’s a little reality check.

Those quotes I started with aren’t from prospective clients seeking legal advice.

They’re from lawyers calling me seeking marketing, management, and technology advice. They want help selling their services, making technology decisions, developing compensation plans, and figuring out how to build website traffic.

I get requests every single day for free advice from lawyers.

You’d think they’d know better, wouldn’t you?

I’ve reached a point where I pretty quickly turn the conversation to my initial consultation fee and hourly and daily rates for my advisory services. I explain how I handle these calls and how I can help.

That puts an abrupt end to many of these calls. “Oh…I see. Ah…thanks,” they say as they hang up. That’s the last I hear from many of them.

Would I like to help everyone who calls? Sure. Why don’t I? You know the drill: mouths to feed…

Is the advice you give your clients worth what you’re charging? Do you save your clients time and money? Do you add value to their lives? Yes, yes, and yes: you deserve to get paid.

What about me? Am I able to help, add value, increase profits, etc.? You bet: I’m able to do all of the above using strategies and tactics I’ve tested for 25 years. My stuff works, just like yours.

Free consultation? Not so much.

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Lee Rosen

Lee Rosen has practiced family law for more than twenty years. With four offices, Rosen Law Firm serves Raleigh, Charlotte, Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Rosen served as the Law Practice Management Editor of the ABA Family Advocate for more than a decade and received the ABA James Keane Award for excellence in eLawyering. He served as Chair of the Law Practice Management Section of the North Carolina Bar Association, is a frequent speaker and is often sought out by the media as a source of family law insight and commentary.