Scarcity versus abundance

July 12, 2017

abundanceWhen I started in the agency business 25+ years ago, there was this odd paranoia that ran through agencies big and small.  There was a belief that agency personnel couldn’t be friends with people who worked at other agencies because secrets might leak out. And if you dared to be friends or even associate through a professional network – you’d better not bring the other agency’s employees into your office for fear that they’d walk by something and glean secret details about your accounts. All of this is what I call a total lack of abundance thinking.

I know it sounds crazy – but it was very pervasive through the industry back then. Today, I’m happy to report that with few noted and paranoid exceptions, agencies seem to recognize that it’s actually healthy for agency professionals to mingle together for both the shared learning and camaraderie.

That paranoia was a symptom of scarcity thinking.  I don’t think the ad industry is the only one who did/does suffer from having that point of view. I think it’s easy for any of us to get stuck in that rut.

We’ve all seen scarcity marketing and sales in action.  It’s the overly attentive sales clerk following you around the store, the car dealer who won’t let you take a test drive without being in the car with you, or the salesperson that knocks the competition at every opportunity.

There’s a scent of desperation in scarcity marketing and sales that puts the buyer firmly in the driver’s seat. It converts the transaction from a potential partnership to an uneasy game of tug o’ war that ultimately puts you at a disadvantage because you want the deal more than your potential buyer does.

It creates the sense that there’s some sales quota that’s not going to be met or some other looming deadline that has everyone scrambling to cut a deal.  That rarely works out to the seller’s advantage.

I’m not talking about the idea of creating scarcity around your product or service. Letting someone know there are only four plane tickets left at this price or that you won’t be offering the workshop again until spring can be very effective because it actually is a position of abundance.  You’re basically saying, “Hey, just to let you know, I only have five of these left. Let me know if you want one before I sell out.”

That’s the secret of an abundance mentality. It’s very laid back and it gives the impression that while you’re happy to sell your wares, you’re equally okay if the prospect isn’t interested because someone else will be. That confidence in your product or service is contagious.

What does abundance marketing and sales look like?

You share your knowledge freely:  You teach and give away your expertise through white papers, ebooks, blog posts, free webinars and other tools.

You are quick to tell someone when what you sell isn’t right for them: You know that an unhappy customer costs you more than what you could possibly make off of them, so you encourage them to find a better fit.

You don’t haggle on your pricing:  You know that what you offer is an incredible value at the price you’ve quoted, so there’s no reason to play the game. You set an honest, reasonable price for what you offer and then you stick to it. If the prospect doesn’t want to pay that – it’s okay because someone else will.

You don’t chase potential buyers: You know that you can’t make someone buy before they’re ready so there’s no up side to being a pest. You keep offering value and your expertise and they’ll come around when it’s time.

Review your marketing tools and procedures. Do they suggest you’re desperate to make a sale or do they convey a sense of abundance?


Reducing the stress factor

June 28, 2017

StressWhether you’re successfully part of an internal marketing team, at an agency or even a business owner – you’ve got a skill that you probably take for granted. You’re a master juggler. You can’t execute successful marketing today without that ability. You’re used to having lots of balls in the air and even if you can’t always see each one, you’ve been doing it long enough that you’re confident that you’ll be able to catch them all. No stress for you.  It’s all just part of the day-to-day.

But here’s the part that we often forget. What we take for granted freaks our internal or external clients out.  That’s why they’re micromanaging you, asking you for updates all the time and making it harder for you to do your work.

Guess what – that’s on you. Their reaction and concern is natural and fair. It’s our job to keep them in the loop by over communicating so they can take a deep breath and be comfortable. It’s also good for you because when you reduce their stress, they’ll give you a little more breathing room.

Here are some tools you can use to keep everyone in the loop throughout the life of your work.

Project timeline: Marketing often looks simpler than it truly is. It’s a little like the duck swimming on the placid lake.  At first glance, the duck looks like he’s serenely floating on the water. But as we all know, under the surface, he’s paddling like crazy.

That’s why an initial project timeline can be a lifesaver.  But setting and correcting initial expectations right up front, you save yourself a significant amount of trouble down the road. It’s much easier before a project ever starts to help a client understand that the website will take ten weeks rather than three weeks in, they suddenly share that they need it next week for a trade show.

Real-time budget: On larger projects that are going to stretch out over months, it’s a good idea to establish a preliminary budget with the caveat that it’s based on what we know today. Then, keep that budget updated real-time. It’s a bit of overkill to do it every day, but once a week should help everyone feel very connected to the project and reassured that it’s going according to plan.

The other advantage of this is that it forces you to identify trouble when it’s still small enough to deal with. So it’s a bit of a CYA move as well.

Weekly status reports: This is a simple Excel spreadsheet that lists all of the projects you’re working on (if you serve more than one department or client, have a separate document for each audience) and tracks progress.

To make this manageable, keep it simple.  Include the project name, the ultimate due date, the stage of progress it’s in right now, next steps and who is responsible for that next step.  If you share it with everyone (marketing team, other players in the mix, client, etc.) on Thursday mid afternoon, it gives everyone a chance to wrap some things up on the next day so you start the following week on time and on target.

The bonus feature of this report is that it serves as a gentle nudge. Let’s face it – it’s often the client (internal or external) that is holding something up. But they’re also the client so you can’t get on them like you do your internal team. So this is a bit more client friendly but still gives them a good poke.

None of this is rocket science but I often discover that because we take our ability for granted, we forget that our clients don’t.  Implementing these tools will reduce their stress and it helps keep you on track as well which ultimately allows you to do better marketing.


How to get it done

May 24, 2016

Get it DoneGet it done, get it done. The truth is, there isn’t a marketing pro or business owner alive who doesn’t feel the pressure of “too many things to do, not enough time to do them.” I know that I wrestle that particular demon all the time. We’re all going to be called upon to create more and more content as marketing continues to shift in that direction. That means, even more reading and more writing.

I certainly wouldn’t say that I have all the answers but I’ve worked hard to find efficiencies where I can. Because I write/publish a lot of content, people are always asking me how I find the time. So I thought I’d offer up some of my tricks to see if they can work for you.

Consuming Content: For my job and just because I’m wired that way, I like to consume a lot of content, from many different sources. For me, having all of the content aggregated in one place is a huge time saver. I use an RSS feed reader (my preferred option is Feedly) that allows me to consume 100+ blogs, news alerts, and articles all in one place, at one time. I can skim the headlines and first few lines and determine if I want to read more. If it doesn’t interest me, I can just mark it as read and it goes away. This is a key tool for helping me get it done.

Writing: I do three kinds of writing – scheduled, project-related and correspondence/email. For this column, I’m going to focus on the content type of writing or what I called scheduled writing.

The scheduled writing are things like my column for the Business Record and my blogs, that have a regular and reliable due date. I block time on my calendar for these and honor that time commitment like it was any meeting or appointment.

I do this sort of writing at the same time/same days every week. I also try to bunch up the writing – so I am doing a lot of it at once. Today, I’ll write this particular blog post and about three other blog posts all in one sitting. I find that once I get in the groove, I can stay in the zone and really knock a lot of content out.

My goal is to make sure the well never runs dry, so I need to keep it primed. I use tools like Evernote ( and my feed reader to archive little tidbits that might spark an idea for a post or column down the road. I also rip a lot of articles out of magazines and keep them in an ever-growing pile in my office. I use the productivity app Wunderlist ( and keep a running list of things I want to write about there as well.

Everyone is wired differently but I write best after 10 am. So I build my days accordingly. I schedule calls and meetings in the morning and do my writing in the late morning and early afternoon. I’ve learned that only under the direst of deadlines should I force myself to write outside of my natural rhythm. I can get there, but it takes twice as long and just isn’t as good.

After I’ve written a piece, I run it through a website called Grammarly ( Even after I’ve proofed something a few times, the site often spots a minor error or two. This tool makes sure that I don’t embarrass myself with a silly mistake.

Last but not least…once a month, I carve out an entire day to write. I seclude myself someplace where I cannot be found or interrupted.  And on that day, boy do I get it done!

Have some tips for how you consume or create content? Email it to me and I’ll share the ideas I get here in the column.


How to be a good agency client

July 1, 2014

How to be a good agency clientI’ve been working in advertising agencies for almost 30 years now and I’ve had the incredible good fortune to work with some amazing clients over the years. Early in my career, before I had the deciding vote on who we’d serve, I also worked with some real jerks.

For most of us in the marketing world, we serve clients (could be an internal department or external, paying clients) and in most cases, we are also someone else’s client (vendor, strategic partner, agency if you’re client side, etc.) as well.

I thought I’d reflect on my life with clients (and being a client) …and share the best practices so we can all be a better client on the next go around. Have you ever wondered how to be a good agency client?

Talk to us about budget: It’s ridiculous how some clients make their agency jump through hoops to guess at the budget. We can’t help you spend your money in the wisest, most effective way possible if we don’t know the boundaries. If you don’t trust us enough to tell us – fire us.

Say thank you in your own way: One of my all-time favorite clients came over one Christmas week and serenaded us with one of her holiday favorites. What an incredible gift – to share something so personal with such affection and heart. I’ll never forget the experience.

Invite us to the party: We can be so much more helpful if you bring us inside. Let us interact with your c-suite, sales team, and customer service reps and be a part of the very early strategy sessions. We bring a very unique and valuable perspective – we’re informed outsiders. We can see with more clarity and less bias but we also know enough to ask the hard but insightful questions.

Trust us: Our job is to make you a rock star. To help you achieve and surpass your company’s goals. We’re on your side. In theory, you selected us to be your partner because you believe we’re good at our work. So trust us. Don’t let your personal bias or preferences lead you in the wrong direction – when we disagree with you, let us explain, from our experience and expertise, why we disagree and be mindful of your mindset. In the end, it’s your money and we’ll do as you ask, but don’t shortchange our desire to being your best ally.

Pay your bills on time: On the other end of the money — pay your bills on time. Odds are we jumped through hoops to hit your deadlines, and now it’s your turn. Don’t put your agency in the position of being your bank. Remember, they’ve incurred costs on your behalf, so don’t hang them out to dry. Everyone hits a tough spot and when that happens, talk to us about it. But don’t leave us in the dark.

Connect with us: We all want to work with people we like. Don’t hide your humanity. Show us your vacation pictures. Tell us your funny weekend story. Reminisce about the old job or the old boss. We don’t have to be best buddies (although it’s nice when that happens) but it’s human nature to work harder for someone you like. So let us get to know you on a personal level.

Celebrate with us: Marketing is usually a a winding road of obstacles and last minute adjustments, done at breakneck speed and involves a bit of risk. When it all comes together, it’s magical. Take time to celebrate with the entire team. Give kudos to the people who often don’t get the lead the team or enjoy the glory. Rewarding everyone with a special dinner or even a bagel break will fire up the team for the next challenge.

The lion’s share of agency owners and employees chose the profession because they love to use their creativity to help clients.

Letting them know you appreciate their efforts and actually helping them help you means you both get more of what will make you happy and successful.


Want to up your creativity?

October 27, 2013

idea_lightbulbNo matter what you do for a living, you need to be creative.  Innovative and fresh thinking are always in demand, whether you’re a cop, a plumber, or a marketing pro.

Unfortunately, on the job, we can’t wait for the muses to strike.  We need to be creative on demand because there are clients, deadlines and projects waiting.

Want to up your creativity?

Having a career that demands creativity every day has forced me to find ways to keep that particular saw sharp.  Here are some of my favorites:

Exercise your brain: My goal is to keep my brain cooking at all times, so if I need to call on it, it’s already fired up.  I love brain teasers, word games like Scrabble, games of strategy and even which is like a brain obstacle course.

Simmering: When I’m stuck or every idea I come up with seems tired and overdone, I tuck the challenge in the back of my mind and let it simmer.  I do other things, concentrate on something else entirely and just let my subconscious work out the knots.

Blood, sweat and tears: Okay, skip the blood and tears part.  But sweating really works.  When we move our bodies, all kinds of endorphins are released.  Those magic chemicals put us in the perfect state to create.

Hang out with creative people: This is not only effective, it’s great fun. Actively look for opportunities to talk to creative people about creative things.  Listen to the language they use, the stories they tell and even how they use their body to enhance their tales.  If you live in Central Iowa, you have the perfect opportunity this Thursday.

The Iowa Creativity Summit is Thursday night from 6 – 8:30.  Come hear from David Burkus, the author of The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas.  Check out the event here.  I promise — you’ll get your creative juices flowing for sure!

If you’re like me, your creativity is a tool you rely on.  Like any tool, it’s my job to keep it in tiptop condition so it is ready when I need it.

So how about you — how do you keep your creativity flowing?



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So you want a career in advertising?

May 21, 2013

Fired businessman searching for a job isolated on white backgrouI was recently contacted by a college student who asked if he could interview me for one of this classes.  One of the questions he asked is one I get a lot, so I thought I’d share my answer with you here.

If you aspire to be in our business — I hope it helps.  If you’re already in the business — what did I miss?

What advice would you give to anyone who was aspiring to enter the field of advertising?

Yikes… there are lots of things to know but here are some of the biggies.

  • You cannot do it alone so surround yourself with really smart, good-hearted people who you can count on.
  • The day you stop learning is the day you begin to become irrelevant. There is always more to learn.
  • Before anyone will give you their business, they need to know you care about them/their company.
  • When you make a mistake (and you will make a ton) be very quick to call attention to it, own it and work like a dog to fix it. And never forget to say I’m sorry.
  • If you help other people whenever you can, when you need help – there will be someone there to offer it.
  • There’s nothing wrong with making money. Don’t be ashamed to charge what you are worth.
  • Owning your own business means that when times are tough, everyone gets paid but you. So be very smart about not overspending your money and build up a nest egg for those tough times.
  • The smartest person in the room is not the one who knows all the answers. It’s the person who asks the best questions.

When I hire, I don’t worry too much about the degree the person has or things like grade point averages. I can teach them about marketing but I can’t make them honest or hard working.

I look for people who have a passion for helping other people. I hire people who volunteer their time, have a passion for a cause and instead of whining about it – do something about it.

I definitely want good writers, no matter what position they might fill. In today’s business world, with email etc. – everyone needs to be able to communicate clearly and be well spoken, both in face-to-face encounters and in writing.

I also look for someone who gets that our business is not 9-5 and isn’t going to freak out if they have to work late or over a weekend. Our business is very demanding and depending on what’s going on with our clients, we can put in some incredibly long, grueling weeks.

I also want someone who is willing to do “grunt” work. In a small agency, everyone pitches in and does what it takes to get the job done. If I can stuff envelopes or whatever – so can they.

I want someone who is a self-starter, a lifelong learner, a reader, someone who is funny, ethical and someone who resonates with our company’s core beliefs, which are:

  • Passion cannot be ignored.
  • Breakthrough thinking breeds breakthrough creative.
  • The guys in the white hats do win.
  • We take our work seriously. Ourselves, not so much.
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The path is never straight

March 24, 2012

I receive a lot of mail from readers and many times, they have a question that I can answer here on the blog, so everyone benefit from their initiative.

Victoria writes:  I am so interested in marketing but don’t really understand the best path into the business.  I was just wondering if you could tell me a bit about your story and how you got to where you are today.  

I am currently a sophomore in college and I was wondering if you had any advice or words of wisdom to share. 

I’m happy to share my story but realize that if there is a single truth in our business, it’s that no one’s path is the same and there are many paths that lead to the same place.  Sit back, this might take a bit.

I entered college convinced I was going to be a psychologist.  Late in my sophomore year, my advisor (who was also one of my psych professors) asked me to meet with him.  I’d had him for several classes and we’d gotten to know each other.  When we sat down, he challenged my career choice.   He asked me to consider a single question:  Could I leave my job and my patients at the office?

He told me that to be a successful (and healthy) psychologist, I’d have to be able to listen and guide but not try to help.  I couldn’t, he said, bring home every broken person like they were a stray puppy. After a weekend of soul searching, I realized he was right.  I wouldn’t be able to leave it at the office.  I was too much of a fixer.

So I went back to his office and asked him….”now what?”  He asked me what I loved about psych and why I wanted to be a psychologist.  I said:

  • I love understanding people and why they do what they do
  • I love helping people
  • I love asking questions that get people to think in a fresh way

Then, he said…what else do you love to do and I answered:

  • I love to write
  • I love to read
  • I love to do logic problems and puzzles
  • I love technology and computers (even back then)
  • I love to lead

We talked some more and finally he said, “have you ever considered advertising or marketing?”  I honestly hadn’t.  But from my first copywriting class, I was hooked.  Marketing was the combination of all the things I loved.  I just had never even considered it before.

Lesson One:  Know yourself well enough to do what you love.  That way, no matter how hard it is to get the job or how many hours you need to work — it’s a labor of love.

One of my professors was actually an adjunct professor who also worked at Grey Advertising in Minneapolis.  She asked me if I wanted to do some freelance writing for them.  Of course…I jumped at the chance.  I was petrified.  What if I sucked?  But, I decided I was not willing to let my fear get in the way of the opportunity.

Lesson Two:  Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway (thanks John Wayne).  There have been many times in my career when I was petrified.  But sometimes you just have to do it anyway.

So I freelanced quite a bit while I finished school and met a bunch of people in the business.  I was smart enough to know that making contacts would matter when I graduated.   I graduated and got married….and within a month of getting married, my new wife got a job offer from Disney.  In Orlando.  So of course, we moved.

There I was, ready to find a job and I was suddenly living in a city where I didn’t know a soul.  No contacts.  No familiarity with the agency scene.

Lesson Three:  The road rarely zigs in the direction you expect.  You always need to be ready to zag.

So there I am, in Orlando.  I need to find a job.  And no one knew who the heck I was.  I had a great book of real work (thank you Grey!) but I was going to have to do something dramatic to get their attention so I could show it to them.

I had just watched Guys and Dolls and somehow it wove itself into my brain.  Next thing I knew, I was writing a cover letter in “wise guy” language, threatening to have Guido come by and break their legs if they didn’t make time to see “dis kid Drew who could write real pretty.” Believe it or not….I sent it, along with some samples of my work.  I got three interviews.

Lesson Four:  Sometimes you just have to throw caution to the wind.  The art is knowing when.

I showed up for the interviews in my suit and tie and hoped they’d take me seriously after my wise guys cover letter.  Within a week, I had a job offer from Y&R and accepted it.

My job was a whirlwind of learning and new experiences.  But it wasn’t just about being a copy writer.  I never said no.  I was relentless — anything that needed to be done, I did.  I helped collect old receivables, I ran errands, I served as an account person, I did admin tasks.  I wanted us and our clients to be successful and I didn’t mind doing anything that got us closer to that goal.

Lesson Five:  Put your ego aside.  There is no job that’s beneath you.  Your job is to help the team and your clients be successful.  Do that and it will get noticed.

I loved my job in Orlando and the people I worked with so I was devastated when they decided to close the office.  We all got laid off.  By then, the allure of living in Orlando was wearing off.  I wanted to get back to the midwest so that’s where I concentrated my job hunt.

I was offered a huge opportunity at Burson Marsteller in Chicago.  I would have been one of the lead writers on the Tropicana account.  It meant a lot more money. It meant getting back to the midwest.  I turned it down.

It would have also meant that all I did every day was work on the Tropicana account.  And not all of Tropicana.  The Tropicana frozen orange juice team.  10 hours a day.  5 days a week.

Lesson Six: See lesson #1 about knowing what you love.

I loved the variety of working with multiple clients.  I loved being at the strategy table as well as the creative table.  I couldn’t imagine ONLY caring about frozen orange juice.  And I couldn’t imagine not caring about my work.

Within a month, I was offered a job by the same Y&R agency I’d worked for in Orlando.  But this job was in Iowa.  As a Minnesotan, I was a little appalled at the idea of living in Iowa (long time rivalry) but I knew and loved the company so I said yes.

I spent the next several years there….learning more than I can tell you.  I was given a lot of freedom, responsibilities and lots of encouragement to get involved in the community.  I served on boards, was Ad Club president and found a way to influence the agency’s culture and success.

I couldn’t get enough of it.  I worked long and late.  I read everything I could get my hands on.  I asked questions.  I listened.  And I challenged.

I loved earning my clients and co-workers’ trust and then exceeded those expectations.  The relationships mattered a great deal to me and I will always look back at that job/agency as my real education on how to be a good marketing professional.

Lesson Seven:  Sooner or later you will find a job or a boss (or both) that wants you to succeed as much as you do.  Soak up their wisdom, generosity and be ready sometime in your career to be that person for someone else.

I eventually left that company in the biggest mistake of my professional career.  I took a job for money.  And I was miserable.  But from that mistake came the greatest decision of my career.  I launched my own agency (initially with a partner).

I was in my early 30s, ignorant as heck and thought it couldn’t possibly be that hard.

Man, was I wrong.  It’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my professional life.  I’ve made a lot of mistakes.  But it’s also what I am most proud of, career-wise.  I’ve hired some of the most intelligent people I’ve ever known.  We’ve built an agency that does smart, strategic work.  And we’ve built a culture that makes people want to stay (average tenure of my employees is 10+ years).  We donate over $100,000 of services to local charities every year and every one of my teammates serves on community boards.

We make a difference for our clients and our community.

Along the way, I’ve made some incredible friends and I am a very fortunate man.  And it’s not over yet.

Final lesson:  Trust your heart.  Our business is about people and relationships.  Yes, you need to be smart and you need to keep learning but above all that — you need to love the work you do, the people you do it with and the people you do it for.

There you have it Victoria…my path.  Now go out there and carve out your own!  (Here are some practical tips on getting that first job!)

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Do you take yourself seriously?

October 7, 2011

At McLellan Marketing Group, we live by our core beliefs.  One of them is:

We take our work seriously.  Ourselves… not so much.

Let’s be honest here.  None of us save lives every day.  (Okay, if you actually do… you have my permission to skip this post) Sometimes, I think we need to just get over how important our work is and lighten up.  In front of our clients.  Let them see we have a sense of humor about ourselves.

Why?  Because they’ll actually enjoy working with you more.

Check out these planes from Kulula Airlines.  No doubt their work is serious.  They propel humans 30,000 feet into the sky and have to get them back down safely.  But that doesn’t mean they have to be uptight about everything.  Southwest Airlines has nothing on them!

What do you suppose the flying experience is like?  I’d sure want to try it!

That’s delivering the brand and some word of mouth worthiness at the same time!

Check out these photos… and enjoy your Friday.  Be sure you read the labels.  Some of them are hysterical. (Email subscribers — if you can’t see the pictures, click here to view them.)

Kulula Airlines #1
Kulula Airlines #2
Kulula Airlines #3
Kulula Airlines #4


My thanks to blog reader Amy Roppe for sharing these with me!


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Recognize yourself in this video?

May 19, 2011

If so, shame on you!  Whether you’re the client or the agency guy — you know better.

While this is obviously over the top, I think we all know that it hits a little close to home.  The work and the audience deserves better.  (Email subscribers – click here to view video.)


Stop giving it away

May 17, 2011

….Are you giving away your expertise?

“Actually, I get paid to do that.”  I hear this every day in a client’s story as they lament a prospect expecting to get their thinking for free.

I say this every day in my own head too.  And, I’m betting you mutter it under your breath as well.

And yet, most people struggle with finding the words to tell yet another “prospect” that what they’re asking for isn’t free.  It’s actually the most rare of fruit that only comes from years of experience, study, real life trials and walking through the fire with a lot of clients.

You wouldn’t call a plumber and expect him to come to your house and diagnose and fix your problem for free – and yet every day, professionals, especially professionals of the creative class (doctors, lawyers, business coaches, marketing professionals, accountants and other knowledge based workers) are being asked to do that very thing.

If you’re a professional who draws on complex bodies of knowledge and experience to solve specific problems – you’ve probably faced this issue.  So how do you keep from having this recurring problem impact your business?

Actually – it’s a marketing issue.  And here are some ways to communicate away the situation.

Stop giving it away: This first suggestion is certainly the simplest in theory and the hardest in practice.  If you keep rewarding the bad behavior, you will just get more of it.  When someone asks you to share your expertise for free, you need to have a practiced and comfortable answer.

That answer should be based on your organization, your brand and your comfort level.  It should respectfully and clearly explain that your advice is not free, in fact that’s how you make your living.

Set the expectation early on: Long before someone ever gets you into a meeting – you need to establish the rules.  On your website, in your brochure, as a part of your “get to know us” PowerPoint – spell it out.  Be very clear that your thinking time/expertise is delivered for a fee.

You don’t have to list prices if you don’t want to get that specific.  Avoid being too nice and push yourself to be blatant that there will be a cost.

Don’t run after them: If they balk at being charged or try to get you to reduce your fee, be polite but stand firm.  (This requires being fair when you set your pricing to begin with).  If they walk away – let them.

I know this is tough when you really want the project – but they have just told you what value they’re going to assign to your years of experience.  Is that really a client you want?

Give it away but with intent and purpose: One way to demonstrate the value of what you sell is to give it away. (I’m not contradicting myself, I promise!)  So go ahead and give it away to a non-profit or a start up you’re sponsoring. (like our adopt a charity program)

Use that generosity to set the contrast for prospects.  “Now as you may know, we did this same sort of XYZ plan for charity 123, but naturally, in that case, we actually donated our expertise.”

Next time you find yourself grumbling about this problem, remember – you ‘re actually the one giving it away.  And only you can keep it from happening down the road.

Addendum:  Someone just shared this post with me from Kevin Dugan.  He’s ranting about the “can I buy you coffee and pick your brain” call, much in alignment with the post above.  See — it is something we’re all facing.

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