The Doctor and the Lawyer

Ah-ha Moment

Entrepreneurs always struggle with giving people free advice. This is true of consultants, doctors, lawyers, counsellors, decorators and many others. One lawyer offers the following suggestion for reducing the amount of free services he has rendered.

At a recent networking meeting a well-known doctor and equally famous lawyer were trying to discuss synergies between their practices. They were having difficulty carrying out their conversations as people were constantly coming up to the doctor describing various health conditions in hopes of getting free medical advice. The doctor became frustrated because he really wanted to position himself as an expert witness for future cases the attorney may have.

He finally asked the lawyer, “People must really believe all those lawyer jokes as they are leaving you alone.” “Oh, I assure you it’s not that,” the good counselor replied.

“Then how is it that people are not bothering you for free advice when you’re out of your office?”

The attorney grinned and said, “That’s easy. Whenever I am asked I give them the advice they seek. Then when I get back to my office I send them a bill.”

“Wow, that’s a good tactic,” the doc pondered. “I think I’ll give it a try.”

The next day the doctor began to prepare bills for all those that had asked for his advice but decided to sleep on it overnight before sending them out. The night’s rest did not dissuade him and he marched to the mailbox to send off the bills. When he got to the mailbox he was shocked.

Why? (Scroll down to find out)

The mailbox had one item in it: a bill from the lawyer.

This action is not recommended as in the small business world entrepreneurs that are known as “givers” are most likely to get business referrals. If someone gains a reputation as being unapproachable.

The best action for people that become frustrated by giving out advice without being remunerated is to develop a comfort level at which you say, “It sounds like this is something where I could provide some help. Let’s set aside some time after the networking event to discuss a proposal.”