“Subramoney I just visited your website it has great content but it has a very low Alexa ranking..and a poor design. It also could do well with SEO..I am a….”

See the tone of this marketing offer? When I do sales training I tell people that the phone call (cold call?) is only, only, only for getting an appointment. When you offer your unsolicited advice see what you are doing…Now this guy/gal making this SEO offer:

  1. Does not know me, but is trying to start a conversation.
  2. Insults me (or my web designer?) by saying it has poor design.
  3. Assumes that I want more ‘hits’
  4. Starts as if he understands financial content, but actually may not.
  5. He has started off on such a negative note that I would never consider his services.

Now imagine when I get a phone from a friend saying “Subra this guy’s finances are in a mess..will you talk to him” I just get disturbed. The reasons?

  1. This friend/ cousin / client / student feels I should /could help a friend. Great thought but..
  2. I have no clue whether the guy who is in a mess needs me at all
  3. Many a times this person is convinced that Real estate works for him/her
  4. The need always has to arise from the person who is going to use the advice.
  5. In some such cases the ‘prospect’ is genuinely interested in some cases he says ‘I am a CA’
  6. Some of these D-I-Y investors sound so ‘I know everything’ that it is impossible to break into

Do not make a mistake, I am not against being a well wisher, but offering unsolicited advice is troublesome. Even for the giver. Here is a person who does not need this stuff, why am I giving it? If he wanted generic advice let him take it from my blog. If there is some specific help he could email / call / …BUT LET HIM DO IT. It is not about ego of ‘who should call first’ but simple principle of professional advice being not thrust upon an unwilling listener. How many of you would like a doctor from your neighborhood coming and lecturing you on health, nutrition,etc? at say 8am on a Sunday? I am sure that doc has your well being at heart (yes he could charge a fee if you went for specific help)..but you may NOT want this thrust upon you, right?

Earlier (even now my classmate tells me) I used to offer free advice on managing money, health, lifestyle,..to anybody who had half an ear. Hopefully I have reduced that. Blogging has helped. Those who really want help do send me a mail (and I am notorious for not attending to it, my apologies)…..


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  1. Most of my acquaintance are very ill informed about financial planning. The risks are not covered, heavily invested in debt/metal etc. No planning whatso ever and most are from business background. I have protected my brother’s health and life using my own money. Its difficult to offer unsolicited advice to people specially on sensitive topics like health / life insurance and taboo topics like share market (its a bad place to invest taken as satta markets). But on the other hand it pains to see your friends/well wishers making mistakes. Although I must agree that awareness about health insurance has increased manifolds and most like all of them must be having one (though younger ones may not be having).

    Subra one request please can you please do a write up on how to cover critical health risks. One of my relative husband and wife both got cancer at the same time and the entire family suffered a massive financial shock. They are literally on road. Well everybody may not that unlucky, but still it helps if we can cover such risks.

  2. i largely write about wealth issues. For medical expenses, there is medical insurance. Do not try doing it yourself get a good experienced (say around 40 years of age and with about 20 years experience) ..agent who has a variety of clients..so that he understands all kinda requirement. I am incompetent for advisory..

  3. although the tone given by the sales person with respect to web design and SEO may be wrong but sometimes it may have sense, as you rightly mentioned starting with the negative tone is never a good marketing strategy.

  4. Truly spoken. Unsolicited advice thrust down peoples throat just “passes” without getting digested! However, sometimes, if I can put my ego aside, it helps to evaluate whether or not there’s any value in that unsolicited advice.

    Recently I was on a two-wheeler at a long signal wait. An auto driver next to me was smoking and remarked I was wasting money by not turning off the engine at the signal! Although he was right and I did turn off my engine after his remark, I was surprised he couldn’t see his smoking as a bigger waste of money both in short and long term. I chose not to highlight it, of course.

    Couple words I used to pronounce confused the typical American, they suggested altering it. It most certainly helped my communication – unsolicited advice, but good advice. Not that the American pronunciation is the only correct one, but….

    Today, it’s become a habit – I don’t dole out unsolicited advice, I don’t welcome it either, but neither do I reject it if it comes my way. If there’s any value, why not grab it!

  5. One of my biggest problem is unsolicited advice from my managers. Just because they happen to be my manager, they think they know better than me on everything. I don’t know how to tell them that I don’t want their advice, without hurting them (and my appraisal) 🙂

  6. Subra,

    Your website of course has poor design 😛

    But I do not come here to appreciate the best and the most aesthetic of web design. I come for gyan, which I get by the tonnes, and all the entertaining analogies and anecdotes you relate. You are a great storyteller, do you know?

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