I ran a private webinar over the weekend for my email subscribers where I answered questions on Pain Free Marketing.
One of the very best questions was “how much information should I give away in advance of someone working with me to entice them to sign up?”
This is one of the questions I hear most often from professionals – worried they'll “give away the store” in their attempts to follow my “Value In Advance” strategy.
I was going to do a long blog post covering all aspects of this question.
But tonight, at a pro-manchester event, over a few beers, Paul Aspden of Clock Creative summed it up far better than I ever could.
In Paul's words:
“You remember when Bob Monkhouse lost his jokebooks?” (for those of you not based in the UK, Monkhouse was an old-school stand up comic known for his huge repertoire of jokes who had a bit of a renaissance in the 90s).
“Well, the guy who found those jokebooks didn't become a famous stand-up comic, did he?”.
Paul's absolutely right.
It turns out that what made Monkhouse successful wasn't his jokes – the information he knew. It was his personality, his delivery, his relationship with his audience. Even though he was famous for his repertoire of jokes.
It's the same for all of us.
We worry about giving away too much information. Maybe our clients could do it all without us if we give too much “value in advance”.
But that's almost never the case.
Hardly any professionals sell pure information. We sell results.
And the results we deliver come partially from our knowledge – but also from our experience (knowing what knowedge applies in what situations), our skills (our ability to apply our knowledge – there's a world of difference between knowing what makes a good sales letter and being able to write one, for example) and our contact base (who we know).
The truth is, that if a blog post or an article or a PDF lead magnet you give away can reveal all your “secrets” so that clients don't need you – then you don't really know very much.
Come on, think about it. The sum total of your expertise. All the value you could deliver to clients. Can you really give that away in a simple article or report?
Only if you don't really have that much to offer.
If you really have deep expertise and experience, there's no way you can give that away in a short report.
And the sort of clients who'll take a short report and try to implement it themselves rather than hiring you?
They weren't going to hire you anyway. Don't kid yourself.
They're the cheapskates. The barrel scrapers. The freebie seekers. If you didn't offer your free stuff, they'd have found someone else who did. They wouldn't have come looking to hire you instead.
But there are plenty of people who will hire you after being impressed by your free stuff who wouldn't have if they hadn't seen it.
So please – don't get paranoid about giving away too much useful information. It really is almost impossible for professional service firms.