Why is it that too many companies expect you to give away so much up front?
Back in my IT support days, we were expected to design a local infrastructure network as part of the sales process. These days, I get asked to develop a marketing strategy as part of the sale. Just the other day I was told that Regus wouldn't be using my services to help them launch a new business centre because I didn't develop a plan beforehand. This is after they came to me and asked if I could help. I am sure the same has happened to you many times.
If a prospect comes to you for help to resolve an issue they have been unable to resolve, why should you spend hours, if not days, working out what will be the best solution for them?
They then expect you to provide them with a detailed specification - and give away the crown jewels - before they say yes.
They go to someone else with a lower day rate, give them all your hard work and ask them to implement it, in the belief that they will be able to.
A Tasting Menu
Give them a taster of what can be done and plenty of evidence that you can deliver on your promises, but if they want to "pick your brains" for free, walk away.
I hope this helps
Halfway through the interview, Chip excused himself and left the conference room. He came back a minute later with another executive, "Allison." I could tell that Chip was very interested in what I had to say. Allison, Chip and I talked for another hour. It was a great brainstorming session. They were rapt. We finished the meeting and we all stood up and shook hands. Chip said, "I have an assignment for you." I said, "Great!" He said, "I want you to write our 2018 marketing plan." I laughed. I thought he was kidding. I said, "You give me too much credit! We've only spoken for an hour." He said, "No seriously, just write up your ideas for our 2018 marketing plan and send them to me."