Most professionals at some point offer complimentary initial meetings or consultations with clients as a “free service”.
Give yourself the right professional positioning at the beginning of a potential engagement. It makes perfect sense to offer an introductory meeting at no cost to the potential customer. A no-obligation meeting to begin with makes as much sense for the adviser as the consumer. There are some consumers you just cannot, or don’t want to, help. So there is nothing wrong with telling them there is no cost to them for that initial meeting, but that is simply not the same as saying there is “no cost to the meeting”. There is…it is just that you are paying it instead of the consumer.