Ever had a five and a half hour consultation for the potential client to choose not to work with you but for them to say they didn’t work because you didn’t give ENOUGH information AND that they wouldn’t comp you for your time. Whelp, you guessed it. It happened to me.

The lesson here is one thing: Value. Your services have value and your time has value. So how can you successfully help others to value your knowledge, provide value to them by answering questions, and not eat up your schedule. Here’s some things I’d instituted into my business that you could use.

Only give a set time of free consultation and advise them that there is a cost for additional time.

Offer paid consultations. For example, say, “Our live meetings will cost you $50 and will be applied to your retainer at sign up.”

Keep consultation times to a specific day so you’re not breaking up your productivity always taking calls. Tungle.me or Genbook can make this easy for you.

Remind yourself of your value. If the potential client didn’t need your help, they wouldn’t be calling you. Don’t be desperate and give services and time away just to get a client. Chances are they’ll not value it and you’re teaching others not to value your work or expertise–a definite no no.

Take control of the conversation. You ask them all the questions and those must not be related to building a strategy or giving them all your tricks. Save some for after the signed contract and paid invoice.

Putting these practices into place would help you maintain in control of your schedule so you aren’t taking calls all day, trying to secure new clients and help you get straight to the point on whether they will work with you or not.