When you are a helping professional of any kind- doctor, lawyer, accountant, therapist, coach, etc. it is common that when people you meet discover your profession that they will share with you their biggest problem related to your profession and ask your advice. Friends and family will too!
You want to be helpful but you don’t want to give away your services. You want to support them but giving ad hoc “advice” in a short casual conversation would not be effective or desirable.
So what do you do?
My favorite strategy is to ask “Would you like my help with that?” followed by an invitation to make an appointment.
You can even follow up later with a reminder to do so, which would indicate that you care about them and are willing and able to be of service to them. So you are not “blowing them off,” you are simply being professional.
This strategy also works well in group social environments such as church, temple, parties, weddings, etc. It is great for people to be interested in what you do and ask you about it and you can have a great conversation about your specialty, but dispensing advice without having a professional relationship is not a good idea.
And this strategy works exceptionally well to create prospective clients from group events that you might host, such as presentations, seminars, workshops, classes, etc. Whenever someone comes up to you to share about their situation or ask you a question, don’t just answer the question, ask “Would you like my help with that?”
So whenever someone approaches you and shares a big problem or asks a question related to your specialty, remember to ask “Would you like my help with that?” as an easy way to gracefully respond and you just might get a new client.