Recently I spoke at an event where numerous people asked me to meet with them, have lunch, etc. I responded: Sorry, no free lunch meetings – if you want to meet with me you need to pay my hourly fee.
I mentioned this in an email and got this reply from Dennis:
I love your stuff, you are obviously a very talented online marketer. In addition I bet your a good person, I don’t know but I get the feeling you are. However one thing really bothered me that you said in your newsletter dated Tuesday October 28th.
As far as I can deduct you where part of a program that went late into the night that people paid for and after it was over several people wanted to take you to lunch etc, to pick your brain. You response was sure, just pay me my hourly rate. Now I’m all for people getting paid for there time, God knows if you say high to a lawyer your going to get a bill. Wlth that in mind there is such a thing as going to far. It’s called GREED. It’s what the me generation did to this countries economy today. It’s the reason our economy is in such a mess.
I have been here for 58 years and have met many successful people, everyone of these people that I have asked to take to lunch and chat never charged me a dime. And myself being a very successful sales person earning over $100 K per year since 1974 have always given freely to others who asked. My opinion regaring your reponse to a request to do lunch was not being a smart business person, it was greed with a capital G. Come on, lets get real here if this kind of greed does not stop this country is headed for the dumpster.
Can you imagagine having to pay everyone who you asked for advice ? Why not put a hold on the greed and give a little back without getting paid for it. Even the blood sucking lawyers do probono work, even high priced doctors volunteer there skill to help people who can’t afford medical care. Even old John D Rockefeller realised his greed and started giving his money away. Then theres Perry Marshall he won’t go to lunch with eager students and share his knowledge without getting paid. You can rationalize all you want, but your response was arrogant and greedy. Let me summarise, what you did was Bull Shit.
This was my reply to Dennis:
Thanks for your note and I can appreciate how my comment made you feel. Yes if someone told me 20 years ago I’d be charging people $700 for lunch and turning away people asking for help, I might have felt the same way as you. As you wrote your email I think you felt more and more angry about it all the time.
My wife read your email and said, “Perry, this guy apparently doesn’t know how many people want to take you to lunch.”
Dennis, I have over 100,000 people on my email list. You have no idea how many people email my office and ask questions – hundreds and hundreds every month. I could EASILY spend all day dispensing free advice. The demand for it it ENDLESS. I could spend every single breakfast, lunch and dinner time slot dispensing free advice and the line would never stop.
At the meeting, had I responded to all those requests I would’ve been out to lunch every day this week dispensing free advice. Remember: I’m not a salesman. I’m a consultant. Advice, not widgets, is what I sell. When you were a salesman you didn’t give away your goods for free and you didn’t feel guilty if they expected you to and you wouldn’t feel guilty for saying no.
There are several reasons why I don’t dispense free advice:
-It would be unfair to those who pay for it, and there are many who do
-People almost NEVER act on free advice, especially if it requires them to do something uncomfortable – so what’s the point in dispensing it?
-If people want free information there are hundreds of pages of free articles and MP3’s on my website and it’s good stuff
-If I gave away my knowledge I would not be able to be generous to those who truly are in need.
You accuse me of being greedy and not being generous. You do not know that. You do not know me at all. You have no business making such judgments. You do not know how many people and/or organizations I DO give free advice to. You do not know who or what I give my money to and it’s none of your business anyway.
Just know this: If I gave away free advice I would have no money to give to AIDS orphans in Africa.
So given that I have people lined up to pay me money (for example if you want a 1 day consultation it has to be booked 1-3 months in advance; phone consults are booked 2-4 weeks in advance) why should I allow people to cut in line and pay nothing?
Would that be right?
Finally, most of the questions people would ask me are already answered on my website or in my products. Most of the business ideas people pitch me with are a waste of time. People who have not read my books or website first usually wouldn’t understand the answer if I gave it to them.
I am known all around the world for my expertise and my time is valuable. I am a STEWARD of my time and I am responsible before God for how I use it. To give it away indiscriminately would be irresponsible and wasteful.
I will give my time to people who earn it and that is why I am then able to be generous with people who need it. Hungry children in Africa need help more than well-fed Americans who are trying to solve their business problems. If they want free advice, they can ask someone else.
When people pay for my time, they get value. In life you usually get what you pay for, and when you pay me $725 an hour [note: my hourly rate has risen since this was written, it is now $2,500] you get your money’s worth. My job is to deliver that value and make sure that knowledge is put to use for maximal effect to ALL involved – my customers, myself, and the causes that are dear to my heart.
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