If you are a consultant or business advisor, chances are you charge for every consultation, or advice you give to clients or prospect clients. However, there are some consultancy and advisory firms who offer free initial consultation to attract clients.

But the big question – is charging for initial prospect meetings a good or bad idea?

Our firm had its own fair share of experience when it comes to this matter. As an accounting and also a consultancy firm, businesses and professionals go to us for business and financial advice. And after consultation, if they decided to push through with getting our services, we make the consultation free. And as a client, they are also entitled with free consultation every time they need it.

However, there are instances when a business owner or a professional just need us for consultation, and we usually charge for the meeting. And, charging this prospect meeting is not just difficult, but in all levels… awkward.

If a prospect client emailed us and asked us for a meeting, we usually send a meeting invitation via email with the details of how the meeting will go and the amount of the consultation so they won’t be surprised once we send them a statement of account after the meeting.

This way we are both in the same page on what to expect during the meeting.

But sometimes, or most of the time, prospect meetings do not go into a win-win situation, especially on our part.

Prospects get to pick our brain while we get nothing in return.

If you are a consultancy or advisory firm, it is only right to charge for initial meetings. It is part of your service. You give your time, effort and especially your knowledge in giving information to other people.

By charging for initial meetings, you are also establishing a sense of credibility and professionalism. You are not just a charity who gives free advice to anyone. You are a trusted company who gives valuable advice to businesses and professionals.

On the other hand, charging prospect clients have disadvantages. One, prospect clients have the tendency to walk away after knowing that you put a price on your consulting services. Second, prospect clients may think that you are just after their money, which is a big turn off.

It is really difficult to deal with this kind of situation. That is why, the best way to deal with it is that you set your boundaries. If you are a consultancy firm and a prospect is interested in telling you their situations, you can listen and somehow offer your services or how you can help them and not charge a thing.

However, if that prospect is demanding a specific solution or your expertise to fix the problem, that’s the time you should send him/her a charge slip.

What do you think?

If you also charge or having difficulty charging clients for initial meetings, share your thoughts below.

Savvi Accounting and Shared Services offers business and marketing consultancy to businesses and professionals, talk to us today on how we can help your business succeed.

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