Don’t be cornered to be a pleaser
When I started charging people for my time, I found a much better level of conversation and connection – and referrals went through the roof. Why? The person writing the check VALUED MY EXPERTISE, paid attention, took notes, implemented the strategy we outlined and saw results (read: real ROI).
A recent (well, a few weeks ago) post by Chris Brogan was sent to me by my good friend, Barbara Talisman and we had a nice email exchange about the post and the topics covered. Brogan discusses strategies for asking for the sale and being a salesman (not the pushy and old-fashioned or the always-be-closing mentality) over giving everything away for free.
The article took me for a few reads to fully understand not only the message but how the message relates to myself. One paragraph in particular hit a cord (or whatever you want to say):
A few years ago, I was getting taken out to a lot of “free lunches” so that others could “pick my brain.” One day, it dawned on me: this lunch isn’t free. It’s costing me time. My information isn’t free. It’s taken me years to get it, and the people using this information are making material gain from the advice I give.
Those of you who know me, know my almost inability to say no. Trust me, it’s not as good of a quality as you might think.
Now I do think there is a huge difference between having lunch to connect or network versus a lunch where somebody meets to ask how they can use social media to brand their service or product. In fact, I do love both instances but did tend to feel used after a pick-your-brain lunch (funny how those people turn up later using your strategies but never give you credit). Ok, that parenthesis sounded bitter – sorry!
So here I sit. One part of me says to share the knowledge and information and heck, it will educate more of the world on the proper way (yes, I do think there are too many “consultants” doing it incorrectly) to use the internet to market, engage with their customers, and brand themselves (not just build followers on Facebook). The other part that just paid a lawyer for advice says heck no.
I know quite a few people who constantly operate at the first mentioned, thinking the more information they give away the more power and success they will obtain. However, I also hear on the side from the grapevine that those same people are not respected from either side of the table.
I am not claiming Holy Mary here; I used to be a free consultant years ago. I admit it.
So what’s the difference here, you ask. Not sure but would you take advice on a financial strategy from a free consultant over one who charges what they are worth (because they have proved they are worth money)?
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