One of our coaching clients called in the other day. He had made a proposal to a group and they were asking him to come back to yet another meeting and explain again what he was going to do. He said he had already explained the project to one of their representatives before, and they knew and understood what was going on. Now they want more details, more explanations for the whole group to hear.
He was suspicious and wanted to know if his instincts were right. I’m sure they were.
Their intent was probably to have our client describe in detail how the job is performed. With those details, they could hire laborers or some cheap fly-by-night contractor to do the job themselves. Been there, done that, way too many times. Gang, if your gut tells you that you’re getting used, you’re probably right.
The proper response when you suspect something like this, or if somebody is asking you for specifics on how to do their job, is to reply like this:
“John, I will put all the details of how we are going to construct / build your job in the agreement to do the job. If you want the details now, I will need to charge a consulting fee for my time and expertise. Is that fair enough?”
Now listen carefully to the answer. If they are just trying to get info from you for free, they will have all kinds of excuses and stories why that won’t work. They might even get angry. That’s okay, you just saved some time. Give them a pass to your competition and be on your way.
You didn’t get your knowledge the easy way, and your expertise is valuable. Get paid for it – don’t give it away for free.