How Do You Respond to Prospects Who Make Requests Like These?

So, I got an email the other day from a reader in the Northeast whose note underscored an issue we commercial freelancers wrestle with all the time. While this particular case seems a bit more straightforward (see my reply below), variations on this scenario can present challenges to writers like us. As a result, I’d love to hear others’ strategies on this. She wrote:

It seems that, where I live anyway, people have no problem meeting with me, picking my brain for marketing ideas, and then not offering a paid writing job. Happens all the time. I’m starting to think it’s my fault.

In the case below, I competed for a full-time job with the company. Though I didn’t get the job, my contact called to say she’d like to stay in touch, as she wants to work with me in the future. Since then I have maintained a positive attitude and stayed in touch thinking that I could turn her into a paying commercial writing client.

This morning a message came in from her: “Would you be around to meet with me and a few other staff members (including the person who landed the job I competed for) on (X) date/time? We don’t have any projects ready to go at this point, but I’d like to toss around some ideas for down the line. That would include some help on things like _____ (i.e., a short list of writing projects).”

Should I go, and with the same positive attitude that they’ll become a paying client?

My response:

Given that these particular folks haven’t made a habit of doing this (i.e., calling you in to talk but not hire you), I’d go ahead and meet just to get in front of them. AND limit it to an hour, tops. AND not give them all sorts of ideas they could run with without having to hire you. Nothing wrong with giving them an idea or two that demonstrate you know what you’re doing as a copywriter, showcase your range of capabilities and underscore the value of working with you. That’s often what it takes for a prospects to quantify you as a resource and start developing a comfort level with you.

It’s a fine line, no question. But, as I see it, if someone wants to pick your brains for ideas that would be worthy of a consultation fee, then you don’t want to give it away for free. An example of where it can make sense to meet (without pay) is if you’ve taken a look at their business and seen possibilities for several writing initiatives (involving you doing the writing) that could move their business forward (i.e., a newsletter, direct mail campaign, case studies, white papers, etc).

Still no guarantee that you’ll get hired, but to a certain extent, it’s often the nature of the beast that you have to show your value before you get hired. And in the above case, giving them ideas of possible projects still means they have to do them, so the idea itself is only worth so much. Not sure whether your frequent experiences of this kind (prospects happy to milk you but not willing to hire you) points to the “nature of the beast” scenarios we ALL face, or whether there’s something else at play here.

One thing I might suggest asking and clarifying before meeting, in a casual, “in-passing” kind of way, is what sort of in-house resources they have to handle projects like these. As a way, of course, of determining if they could indeed just take your ideas and execute them on their own. Any whiff of that and you should be careful…

What advice would you give her?

What’s your policy? Where do you draw the line when it comes to initial (unpaid) meetings?

What red flags have you come to recognize as signs of a “Moocher”?

Have you come up with any sort of standard response to similar requests?

29 replies
  1. Angie Papple Johnston
    Angie Papple Johnston says:

    That’s a tough one. I agree that she shouldn’t give them anything they can “run with” without her being an integral part of their running.

    I’d advise her to mention that her consulting fees normally run $XXX an hour, but since they’ve established a working relationship she’s willing to give them this freebie. At the end of the meeting, I’d suggest her simply saying, “So, if you’d like me to get started I can draft a quote and help you move forward with these ideas.”

  2. Star
    Star says:

    Might be worth a throw–one time only, and because they have not burned you in the past, as Peter says. Will the permanent hire guy know you were considered? Will this be awkward? Will others who competed for the job be there? I would say if they turn to you at the end and say, “You had so many good ideas, would you mind writing them up in a memo?” THAT would
    be the time to discuss the dough-re-mi aspect.

  3. Paul Chimera
    Paul Chimera says:

    Let me ask you something: Do you think any of THOSE folks in the meeting to which you’re being invited are “working for free?” Of course not. So why should you? Your time is valuable. Your service is not just wordsmithing, but offering ideas, providing suggestions, helping others gain insight, etc. That’s work. That’s a service. There’s value attached to that. And you should be paid for it. I’d tell them that your time is billable at “X” per hour for consulting, and that this kind of activity is indeed consultative in nature. Again, would THEY deign to meet while their pay was docked during said meeting? You already know the answer to that one.

  4. Katherine Andes
    Katherine Andes says:

    Boy, this one really irks me. I give a free half-hour consult and then charge my hourly rate for meetings … and, yes, I’ve lost clients this way. Some get quite annoyed when I tell them I’ll be happy to meet with them and my hourly fee is XXX. But I’ll admit I didn’t do this in the beginning. If it’s a huge client like a company with a ton of stores then, I will give several meetings over the phone for free. Otherwise, I’m working hard to position myself as a higher-end writer and not one who would run off to meetings at the drop of a hat. Once and awhile someone sneaks one in on me and a half-hour phone consult turns into two hours! Then I could kick myself. Of course, if my prospects were smart they would know they could get a lot of free consultation if they would just take me to lunch. Then I’m pretty cheap! 🙂

  5. Rick
    Rick says:

    Sometimes I try to get in front of a client by telling them that I’m in the area on Thursday and would love to chat, and they say sure, and we meet and nothing comes of it. Kind of a waste of my time.

    But when the client takes the initiative to call me in, its almost always because they have a project and/or want to pay for my consult time. I can’t imagine any agency or corporate client who just expects ideas for free; even if they’ve invited two agencies, three freelancers, a PR firm and a sales guru to one uber-meeting, the understanding is that each person at the table is getting paid for their time and ideas. I would only go for free if I was desperate; otherwise, I’d tell them I’d love to attend and am curious how I should bill them for my time.

  6. Nichole Bazemore
    Nichole Bazemore says:

    Ditto Paul and Katherine. If you’re going to spend time brainstorming, charge, if for no other reason than the fact that this meeting includes the prospective client and the person they hired over you. My initial thought is, if that person was such a good fit, why can’t they brainstorm without you?

    I meet people all the time who will gladly “borrow your genius” at will, for free, as long as you let them. But you’d better believe that if the tables were reversed, they’d expect to be compensated for their time. If you don’t feel right about charging your full rate, offer a discounted rate, and let them know that you’d be happy to offer more detailed, customer-or-project-specific ideas at your regular rate.

  7. Diana Schneidman
    Diana Schneidman says:

    The reader who asked the question certainly is a nice person. I’d be ticked off. You mean the other person is good enough to hire for money but I’m only good enough to work for free?

    How did the job interview go? If she rattled off long lists of project and subject ideas (which is a temptation when you’re trying to demonstrate “passion”), she’s already done her part to feed assignments to the job winner.

    Why not ask when actual projects will be generated and the likelihood she will be given any of them? If the answer is the first of the month, sure, go ahead and attend. If the timeline is uncertain and appears to be far in the future (if ever), she should be paid for attendance.

    Don’t worry so much about offending them. Haven’t they already offended you?

  8. Danica
    Danica says:

    I have to agree with Paul on this one – you’re good enough to ‘train your replacement’ but you’re not good enough to get paid for your time?! That’s called: A Starving Writer.

    Meet for an hour? I don’t think so. Whatever ‘tossing around of ideas’ she has in mind would be 10 minutes on the phone and a question: Are you proposing I work with your team on this project? She’s a prospective client, not your friend. Harsh maybe, but how much time are you willing to spend ‘fine tuning’ your oh-so-generous-free-suggestions while waiting for them to maybe throw a bone your way. Sorry, I like people as well as the next human but when it comes to business – it’s all about the money.

  9. Dan McCarthy
    Dan McCarthy says:

    In my mind, this whole scenario harkens back to the generalist versus specialist debate. Specialists can be Googled. But generalists have to get out there and talk to people in order to demonstrate their value. I haven’t had too many people hire me simply because I can “write.”

    I’m always looking for prospects who want to toss around ideas – not so that I can show them I know the answers. Instead, I try to demonstrate I know what questions to ask – questions other people on their team never think of asking. This is easier than you might think. Most marketing teams get their marching orders from C-level folks who only know the company needs a brochure, or web copy, or a newsletter because the competition has one.

    So, rather than endure a bunch of questions about how I would write something, I gently take control of the conversation by asking about their business (e.g. what differentiates their product or service, whether they use direct sales or channel partners, etc.). That helps me segue into questions about the business’s sales funnel. How do they attract new prospects, convert them into new customers and then build a loyal relationship with them?

    By now, I’m ready to discuss the assignments they have in mind because I’ve set the stage for questions they probably haven’t asked, like: How much will the collateral need to educate versus persuade the reader? Will it be the only sales pitch customers will see? Or will salespeople use it as a guide to the conversation? Then there’s always questions to ask about the mindset of the target audience.

    Generally, I find most businesses haven’t thought much about the role (much less the value) of copy in closing sales and generating revenue. (When you find one that gets it, don’t let them out of your sight).

    More to the point, asking questions helps me maintain some control over the conversation – so prospects aren’t simply milking me for ideas they can run with. Instead, this approach gets them thinking (and often a little nervous) about how effectively they’ve been applying copy toward their business goals – and how they could apply it better.

    We all know that what we do (when done correctly) is both highly valuable and damned difficult. The trick is to convince prospects of that. So, showing you know what questions to ask is good way to demonstrate that the only answer is sitting in front of them.

  10. Jodi Kaplan
    Jodi Kaplan says:

    Quoting Chris Brogan the other day, “A few years ago, I was getting taken out to a lot of “free lunches” so that others could “pick my brain.” One day, it dawned on me: this lunch isn’t free. It’s costing me time. My information isn’t free. It’s taken me years to get it, and the people using this information are making material gain from the advice I give.

    I started asking about how consultants dealt with the request for free lunch. Everyone said pretty much the same thing, “I reply back, ‘I’d love to go to lunch. Are you hiring me to consult with you for an hour?’”

    Well wait, I’d say. Doesn’t that come off as scammy?

    “Who’s scamming who?” My friends would ask me. You’re being asked to give away your advice and wisdom to a company or sole proprietor who’ll then use it to make money, right?

    Lunch suddenly stopped being free to any but my friends. ”

    Full post here:

  11. Joseph Ratliff
    Joseph Ratliff says:

    One piece of advice I’ve used myself, and would give is…

    Include yourself in the advice you’re giving to these potential clients. What that means is, provide ideas that include your writing services as a necessary piece to complete implementation of the ideas. Give those types of ideas freely, once.

    If you don’t get hired, for whatever reason, simply make the next “consultation” a paid one, charging what your comfortable with for a couple hours of your time. If they don’t see value in investing in your time, thank them for theirs and move on to the next potential client.

  12. Star
    Star says:

    My secret weapon is being able to “explain” ideas so that only I could execute them. Thank you, thank you, it’s a gift.

  13. Katherine Swarts
    Katherine Swarts says:

    I notice that the company’s message, as quoted, doesn’t actually say the writer would be expected to attend the meeting gratis. So they can hardly claim the right to be offended if she replies, “I’d be glad to; my consultation fee in such a case is X per hour.” Or even asks for more details on exactly what would be expected from her so she can decide how much her time is worth.

    Most businesses–those big enough and experienced enough to pay reasonable rates for commercial writing, anyway–will refrain from being the first to mention money, will take what they can get for free, but will respect as a serious professional (one worth keeping on the “freelancers list”) the consultant who requests and negotiates pay, rather than the one who is so afraid of “driving away a client” she doesn’t dare show any semblance of assertiveness.

    Definitely, the best advice is not to give away too much free advice. I know of a few article writers who got burned when they sent in queries with detailed outlines and source contact information, then had a magazine buy only the “idea” (and use the details) at a fraction of the value of the research time the writer put in. Just about everyone is blind to the fact that time spent generating and discussing ideas is as productive and valuable as time spent as doing “real” work!

  14. Peter Bowerman
    Peter Bowerman says:

    Wow – quite the flurry of activity on this one. As I suspected there would be. Thanks to all for your wise contributions…

    Just a clarification, in all fairness. I changed some of the identifying details of this situation to protect the writer. And the full-time position she was competing for (but didn’t get) was for developing new business, not as an in-house copywriter. So, this wasn’t case of the newly hired writer being part of a team that was wanting to milk the writer who didn’t get hired for ideas, only to turn them over to the new hire. That, of course, would be ridiculous AND totally unacceptable.

    Nonetheless, in this situation, given that this crowd hasn’t abused this person before, I see no scandal in meeting once for a limited amount of time to scope each other out. And I liked Dan’s comment about taking control of the meeting with questions so that they get that 1) you know what you’re doing, 2) can take control of a project, and 3) can get you thinking about things in ways and from angles you hadn’t considered. All of which can build your value in their mind.

    And yes, I resonated completely with the comments that discussed making suggestions that involved you in the process – suggestions that wouldn’t be so easy for them to pull off on their own. As Joseph put it, “Include yourself in the advice you’re giving…provide ideas that include your writing services as a necessary piece to complete implementation of the ideas.” Always a smart idea.

    As I see it, with all these ideas in mind, you can control situations like these with a little planning, foresight, and yes, some courage to ask for what you want. And in this particular case, they left it open enough as to the discussion that the writer could steer it in direction that would be more likely to lead to a gig or two.

    Course, let’s be honest. How one deals with situations like these will often depend on how experienced you are. If you’re just starting out and don’t have a big portfolio and aren’t a marketing maven quite yet – able to blithely lay out any number of brilliant marketing initiatives at the drop of a hat, and with one hand mentally tied behind your back – then you likely will need to work on getting face time and building that body of work and reputation.

    If, on the other hand, you’re in fact that knowledgeable veteran, and you know it, then you may not have to give anything away free. Or, at the very least, it’ll be your call as to how you want to handle it. But, the key is to know where you are on the spectrum, and know when it’s time to be compensated for the value you bring to the table.


  15. Ken Norkin
    Ken Norkin says:

    I’ve gone to plenty of no-charge, get-to-know-you, here’s-my-portfolio sales calls both as a freelancer for nearly 20 years and for a decade in ad agencies before that. Still, I’d like to think that I wouldn’t go to this meeting for free and so I think neither should your reader.

    That’s because as I see it, she’s already given this company their free meeting — in her unsuccessful job interview. The operative language in this story for me is that the would be employer /client in not hiring this woman said “she wants to work with me in the future.” Bingo! We have a winner. Or, rather, we have a client.

    The woman has already said she wants to work with your reader, so your reader is already beyond going on no-charge sales calls at this company. She is being called in to do exactly what she does for a living, for paid clients.

    I think she needs to tell — not ask — the client that the meeting request as described is a consulting session that will cost $XXX per hour or $YYY on a flat fee. Plus, she should let them know that she’ll also be charging them for writing up any follow-up plan or ideas that may be requested.

    Maybe she’s not comfortable doing any of that. Maybe she thinks going in for free will lead to paid work. And maybe this is like 99.9% of these situations I’ve seen or heard described on freelance forums or my at own panel presentations these past two decades and she’s already agreed to go in for free and is hoping for validation that she made the right decision.

    Whether it’s a done deal or there’s still time to decide, I guarantee that if she goes into this meeting for free, the company participants will also expect any follow-up from her to also be free — thus hitting her up for a “proposal” that is really a plan that they should by all rights pay for. I would put the chances at far less than even that she will ever get any paid work from them.

    Of course, I hope I’m wrong.

  16. Charles Cuninghame
    Charles Cuninghame says:

    After reading The Four Hour Work Week I was inspired to create some “company” policies. My new client policy is that I will give one hour of my time to good prospects to discuss an upcoming project (on-site only for really good prospects).

    During these meetings I don’t hold back. I give a ton of ideas to show what I can do. They can run with these ideas whether they hire me or not. At the end of the meeting I ask the prospect to hire me or send a proposal.

    If they don’t hire me, but call again to pick my brains, then it’s a paid consultation. I’m planning on making it into a product and giving it a name (like “Marketing Burst Session”) and charging a nominal fee, say $150-$250 for an hour. I might even offer to refund the fee if they hire me for a project over $1,000.

    If someone balks at a low-risk proposition like that, then chances are, they’re not a good prospect and I’m better off moving onto the next one.

    This post and comments have been very useful because it’s important for all FLCW’s to think through these scenarios in advance ( like a salesperson visualizing themselves dealing with customer objections). That way, when they pop up you won’t be back-footed and will be able to respond with confidence and professionalism.

    I found this post on the same topic:

  17. Carol McLeod
    Carol McLeod says:

    Wow, what a great post and comments! I felt I had to comment as I’ve gone through this situation twice in the last six months. Granted, neither were for Copywriting specific jobs, but I was still asked to ‘contribute’ my ideas and visions on a free basis after. The first was a new non-profit that I’m still a part of, but have had to curtail my free ideas as I do feel like I’m being used. The second was a business that could be a client some day, the president did give me the ‘you didn’t get the job, but we’d like to keep the lines open as we like your ideas and approach’ speech.

    But again, they’re not off the clock while I’m there trying to get my foot in the door by giving out free value-added advice. This one infuriates me to no end!

    Thank you to Peter for posting this, and to learn that I’m not the only one this has happened to! To echo Diane from above, my husband would say ‘this person is good enough to hire for money, but you’re ideas aren’t good enough to be paid for? Definately a downward spiral in confidence no writer should have to go through! To me it boils down to added value, and specializing too. Live and learn, and learn some more!

  18. William Reynolds
    William Reynolds says:

    I’d go — but I’d charge a meeting fee. If someone wants to pick my brain and nothing more, they can do that, but I’m getting something for it beyond some nebulous hope of working on future projects. (In fact, I just wrote a blog post on this pitfall and other “red flags for writers” on my own website.) If you ask a psychologist or business coach or doctor or lawyer for an hour of that industry specialist’s time, you will receive a bill for that time. Well, I’m an industry specialist. “Pick my brain” all you like — just keep in mind that the meter’s running.

  19. BKcopy
    BKcopy says:

    Are donuts involved? if so, go. Pastries? Even better. Just remember, as you’re wolfing down the free vittles… slobber, spit and talk with your mouth full. Use a lot of “s” words so some serious spittle comes out. One other thing to consider: After you’ve hired a plumber to come out and unstop your toilet and solve a huge problem, do you say,”Hmm, let me think about how you saved the day for me, then I’ll consider paying you.” Of course that’s ridiculous. Why should writers be treated any differently? One set of jackasses tried to pull this on me. This big, nationwide firm of screwballs wanted me to come to their interview for a full-time writer with some “ideas.” Hmm, interesting approach. Suck in a desperate dude willing to do just about anything for work and ply him for ideas in the vain hope of landing said job. Brilliant! So, I go to the meeting, show them my book, chit-chat about their ties, etc. Then they ask where for my ideas. I tell them the plumber story with all the gory details and declare as I’m packing up: “I, sir, am a plumber. If I fix your clog, I expect to be paid. Since you obviously have no intention of paying me for my intellectual property, good day.” I walk out, opening the closet door. D’oh! Any hoo, I didn’t get job. nor did I want it. I’d rather slop you-know-what than work for fools like that. Who’s with me?

  20. Michelle Z.
    Michelle Z. says:

    When I get that question, I enthusiastically say, “Great! I’d love to brainstorm with you and your team. My consulting fee for up to two hours is $XXX. Will that fit into your budget?” When they say yes, I ask for more details about the meeting. I’ve never had anyone turn me down or balk at the price.

    I think a huge part of freelancing is being BOLD. When I first started, I was shocked to hear the words come out of my mouth when I told a client that I charged for my time, raised my rates, etc. The reality was: I was freaking out while the client just said, “okay” and agreed to my prices. They know it’s business and they expect to pay. We should think the same way and respond accordingly.

  21. J.M. Lacey
    J.M. Lacey says:

    When I began as a freelancer, I met with people that promised me work and they asked for my marketing and pr advice. I’d freely give it, perhaps meet with them more than once, prepare proposals, and never hear from them again. After this happened a few times, I finally got wise, and bold. I run a business, and needed to be treated as such. So now, depending on the circumstances, I tell people my initial (one hour) consultation is at “no charge” (never say “free”). This way, I place a value on me and my work. If they really want a project, I quote them an estimate. If they want to move forward, I collect information and details, prepare the final contract, and I don’t start anything (including the research) without the contract or the down payment. If they change their mind, they get a bill for my time from the estimate to the contract process.

    Haven’t had a problem since. When people realize there is a value to your work and can’t push you around, they tend to take you more seriously.

    I also am careful how much advice I dispense before a check is in my hand. Although I might say a company needs advertising, I wouldn’t say how it should be worded, designed, etc.

    If you’re in a situation where you’ve been meeting with someone frequently for “free”, that’s a bit tougher, but not impossible. Simply let him know you’ve enjoyed meeting with him, you hope he has found your advice useful, and if he wants a more intense knowledge session and/or ideas, you’d be happy to share – for a fee.

    But you’ll supply the coffee.

  22. Lori
    Lori says:

    Peter, I’d tell her pretty much the same thing, but I think I’d have her contact the company and let them know what the hourly consultation fee is and ask them to nail down how many hours they think they need of her time. That sets a professional boundary – one that may be necessary given their previous contact with her.

    Depending on what was discussed in the initial call, I might also take along samples of the projects discussed and, if pressed for ideas, suggest they get a contract set up based on her samples before she gets too far into outlining the project. I think she should use language in her responses that frames their “brainstorming” and “chatting” as a project. The more emphasis she puts on it as a living project, the better her chances of securing the contract, in my opinion.

    As for my policy, they get one free consultation. After that, the clock is ticking.

    And my standard response is something along the lines of “Great! I look forward to it. My standard consultation fee is…. and if you contract me to complete the project, I’ll waive the consultation fee.”

  23. paul novak
    paul novak says:

    Yup, definitely a fine line. I’d go there for two reasons. To learn how they are doing things and to learn about the caliber of people they have. I’d do exactly what was asked, I’d let them CONSULT with me. I would not correct errors, offer better solutions to their problems, or give away marketable information. If they want an opinion, fine. If they want some advice, sure. And I’d only do it that one time, and make sure I was on top of whatever they had to bring to the table.

    Later on you’d be better informed about what you’re up against, how to go about surpassing whatever they are currently receiving and know where you should direct your efforts.

  24. Karen
    Karen says:

    I can think of several times where I’ve been called in to discuss a project, only to have my brain picked and not get the work. I gave my ideas too freely, trying to prove that I could help them a lot. They took notes, said, “Thank you very much,” and then ignored all my follow-up to lock in the deal.

    Never again. If I agree to meet with a prospect (at no charge), I play it very close to the chest, throwing out ideas so vaguely they can’t take them and run. I do like everyone’s idea of a consulting fee. Then I’d be willing to give more specific guidance and not feel used if they don’t hire me.

  25. BarryMac
    BarryMac says:

    No brainer,

    Tell them your fee for consultancy work and charge them!
    This is a form of abusive behaviour from business managers who know they can get something for nothing. Going along with them just teaches them they are right, and spoils it all for all genuine freelancers with higher self respect. Just because they never ʻdid it beforeʻ with you doesnʻt mean they donʻnt do it as a regular way of doing business.

    If theyʻre serious they will pay you, if youʻre serious you will charge.

    Find people who value you and pay you what youʻre worth – no exceptions.

    BarryMac (26 years as owner of Graphic Design Studio).

  26. Mele
    Mele says:

    I heard a story about a guy who scheduled free consultations with lawyers whose offices were all located within blocks from one another (called Lawyers Row). He would start at the top of Lawyers Row, ask Lawyer One a few questions, then onto Lawyer Two….By the time he got to Lawyer Ten, he pretty much had his case wrapped up. His knowledge was limited, of course, but he learned enough to represent himself in his own divorce case, saving thousands of dollars.

    I’d give them a 3o minute no cost consult and when the clock strikes on the half hour, start billing!

  27. Catherine
    Catherine says:

    Great discussion. Your client base won’t grow if you don’t take yourself seriously enough to place concrete value on your work. I agree with those who’ve said this is a situation where she is being asked to consult, and by stating out front what her consultation fees are, she establishes this as business transaction. I agree with those who said she was already told they’d like to keep in touch for business reasons. Glad she asked the question because this issue is pervasive with those of us who come from fields other than business. As a counselor, I had people try to get free therapy and advice. Learned right away, to state the parameters when this happened, referring them to other professionals or suggesting they could make an appointment to see me. Thanks for the good, sound, practical suggestions for how to handle similar situations.

  28. Malisia Copywriters Only Ezine
    Malisia Copywriters Only Ezine says:

    Peter, I can honestly say I’ve never ran into this problem. The only real problem so far since I’ve started my copywriting career is people calling me in for a writing job only to find out that they want to hire me to sell insurance for them. “No way!” That’s a waste of my time. They never what to discuss the job over the phone. It’s always a writing job according to them.

  29. Trevor Nottle
    Trevor Nottle says:

    Don’t give them nothing for nothing. You and I have spent many years gaining knowledge, information, insights and expertise. Even a full-on restaurant meal with all the wine you can drink is cheap for such people who actually have no creative, imaginative ideas of their own – not even the jerk they hired instead of you. Charge up front always. Professionals do not even give a free first time mtg. One thing’s for sure: a charge separates the serious sheep from the doo-lally goats. Why waste time on the goats? When your dentist is looking down your throat and ‘quoting’ you is he planning his next holiday in the Bermudas or his new Ferrari, or is he hoping you’ll come back for the treatment. Be BOLD and set your own value on what you do. You can always negotiate from that point.

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