I am in the middle of a interview but it has prolonged for about 4 days, not entire days, but the client is getting free value from a lot of sources.

Comments come comments gone, each nugget of wisdom is leveraged by him, and I am not sure how to tell him to make a decision, maybe I need to detect his triggers.


  1. How do I detect his triggers? what questions should I ask? or what gestures should I look for?
  2. How do I tell him, please make a decision, since I need to know if I will be working with you?
  3. How could I calculate how much time and value should I dedicate to each lead? what metrics do you use?

3 Answers 3


I know this isn't the best answer, but you should essentially never "start" working for free. I know the saying goes "hardest part of freelance is the 'free'".

Be professional, but also understand that this is business. When they ask for a "nugget" as you put it, simply state something professional. For example: "I will be happy to give you this information. Let's set up a time to go over my contract and I can get started as soon as it is signed."

Interviews should not be about giving away free information. They should also not be about "proving" yourself. There are other means of getting this information.

You can offer risk free trials at a discounted rate or even a 1 hour free consultation. This way, you are in control and not the client.

  • thanks Ryan, that phrase feels very professional. I am thinking in using a referral system as a hook for people to "earn" a discount. I would also try to remove free trials unless I can automate the trial.
    – sites
    Feb 25, 2015 at 20:13

It's never easy to detect when a client/employer is genuinely gather information to make a buying/employing decision or are they making use of the opportunity to 'fish' for more ideas and proposals so that when they eventually choose the vendor/employee, they can use all the consolidated thoughts/ideas/proposals to get the selected candidate to work on.

It's always good to maintain a high level of integrity and professionalism. Always give the best you can at any point of item. Trigger questions to ask him to make a decision will be like,

  • "Would you like me to start working this xx project that we have been discussion any time soon/next month?"
  • "It's great to hear that you appreciate the thoughts/ideas/proposals I have came up with. I'm certain we can work well together. I'm ready to start work in 2 weeks time. How would you like me to link up with your HR?"

always go in with a tactful semi-direct question to get an answer. Never be confrontative!

Hope this helps.


I recently went through a situation like this, where a "client" had me do and re-do proposals and contracts, and even drive 100 miles to his place of business, basically to just pump me for my SEO information.

He dangled a $1500 job in front of me, and then tried to disappear after I put in approximately $500 of time, effort and knowledge transfer into the situation.

He even went so far as to delete his email so my mails started bouncing...real scumbag stuff.

So, with this event fresh in my mind, I would be very careful to keep giving and giving and not putting your foot down about getting a signed deal in place.

  • 1
    You make me think about an interesting variable to take into account, to measure how much the contract will return and invest resources according that. Two things though: Contract price is very hard to determine. Automate sales as much as possible is essential.
    – sites
    Feb 25, 2015 at 2:07

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