I keep giving my expertise away for nothing!

This week's question from my portal “The Neagle Code: Directions for Life” comes from Erin.


Hi David,

Thank you for your guidance! I am a nutrition coach and also an elementary school teacher. I am often approached by friends/co-workers/acquaintances with questions about weight loss and management. I am passionate about my expertise and love to converse about these topics, however; when asked to provide more personal advice, I am uncertain about the best way to shift from an inquiring acquaintance to a client. Should I just outline my services and costs verbally? Email? Pamphlet? Your thoughts are much appreciated!


Hi Erin, and thanks so much for your question!

I would like to take this moment to introduce you to your two new best friends…




You see part of your problem is that you're not in control of the conversations you're having with your friends/co-workers/acquaintances. You're allowing them to be in control. And the other part of the problem is that you're not setting clear boundaries about what you will and will not give away for free.

And the only way for you to regain control is to bring in the QUESTION.

I cover this in-depth in my training called Compassionate Conversion, but I'm happy to give you an abbreviated version here.

As soon as someone asks you a question, I'd like you to answer with a question. This allows you to be in control of the conversation, and positions you as an expert, rather than a friend/acquaintance/co-worker.


Co-worker: What's the fastest way to lose 10 lbs.?

You: What's your biggest frustration with losing weight?

In just the simple asking of that question, you can immediately see what they are really wanting help with, and they can see that you've got their best interests at heart. Let's continue:

Co-worker: I just can't seem to stick with eating healthy. I've tried and tried, and every time I last 2 weeks, and then end up eating Oreos.

You: I see. There are a number of reasons that can be a factor when trying to lose weight. Based upon what I know about you, I think I can help. I have a program I think could really help you kick the Oreos to the curb for good. When would you like to schedule a time to talk?

This sets a clear boundary that you're not going to solve all of their problems at no charge, and it maintains that you're in charge of the conversation.

Anyone in a “helping” profession can relate to this scenario, and the key is to use questions and boundaries to make sure that you're converting inquiries to clients.

If you'd like more (question by question) instruction on how to manage a sales conversation, go to: www.compassionateconversion.com

“Just Believe”,┬«

PS: The Neagle Code: DIRECTIONS for LIFE is a weekly no-cost program that is open to everyone! Each week, I'll select and personally respond to one question received via the above “The Neagle Code” page that I feel in my heart will help the most people. (You may choose to remain anonymous if you wish, with our full support.) It is my deep, heartfelt intention that ~ in answering your questions ~ I may provide you with the Universal Truths that in committed application, will set you free. Simply submit YOUR burning question at: www.TheNeagleCode.com to participate.

PPS: May I ask you to help me spread the word about this program? Is there someone you care for who is stuck, or struggling, or lost, or unhappy? Because if so, I would very much like to help. No matter their question, no matter their predicament, no matter if they've never heard of me before … if they would like to ask for help via www.TheNeagleCode.com, my Team and I will do our very best to provide that help.



  1. Thanks a lot for this. I get this a lot as well as I am in the same profession. It got to the point where I just stopped telling people what I do because I got fed up giving away all this free information which they probably never used anyway. I admit, never thought about answering their question with a question and will do this from now on.

    • It really is about setting a firm boundary Valerie with all those you communicate with. As long as you do you won’t have to avoid telling people what your passion is. Thanks for the post.

  2. That simple dialog you presented helped me immensely. I will use it from now on without exception. Its so exciting to be able to look forward to each conversation as a contact moment that can lead to a sales conversation so naturally.

    • It definitely is Nitsan, and this slight change allows you to control the sales conversation and see how best you can help the individual on the other end of the line. Try it and report back.

    • Thanks for the post Eric. Consider how important this boundary is and how freeing it will be when you don’t have to continually give advice to people who should be paying for it. You are talented and your gifts have a price; we all learn from that.

  3. David,

    So glad you shared this one because I see so many amazing people with Great Work to offer the world giving that work away for free simply because they do not know how to make this transition. Your Compassionate Conversation training is key.

    The other key piece that many people like Erin might be missing, which is implicit in your answer is a clearly packaged program/offer to direct people into when they inquire about the free work. That’s where I see most people get stuck. Create your offers and you’ll never give it away for free again (unless you want to).

  4. Never, ever, never work for free. When you pick my brain, you pick my pockets. Suckers and chumps work for nothing. Is petrol free, taxes-free, food, insurance, rent, utilities, eyeglasses, podiatrics, free? How about that 6 fig student loan “education”–was that free? watch harlan ellison’s pay the writer vid–spot on for moochers/brain pickers.

    • So true Sara, you need to charge what you’re worth. When you look for a handout, or gratis services, the Universe pays you back with much of the same. It’s the law.