I love the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Great tunes especially at 3AM on a Friday night. They’ve also got an incredibly relevant message for how you can grow your business: Give it away, give it away, give it away now! (I’ll spare you the repeats).
Want to grow your business? Give it away.
No. I haven’t fallen and hit my head again. I routinely give away our stuff. Our services. Our content (ummm… yeah, you’re reading a FREE blog full of our intellectual property and the only price I ask is comments and telling your friends – you are telling your friends, right?). But I give it away deliberately and with purpose.
Have you ever been in that “free seminar” that was nothing more than a disguised sales pitch? Infuriating, huh? Did you buy the speaker’s stuff? Didn’t it grate on you when they’d say “so those are the first two steps in our secret ten step process. Buy the other eight steps for just $999.99!”
Those folks aren’t successful long term. They need to learn how to give it away. So do you. Allow me to explain.
Have you ever been to Baskin Robbins? Pink spoon. Give it away. Eventually you find something you like and buy it. But the thing is you’re already in the store and already have that ice cream craving. The method I’m describing is about getting them to come to you in the first place.
We have content and intellectual property. We routinely speak for free at conferences, group events, etc. (check out our Upcoming Events category for prior examples or our list of future events). And yes, that takes time and energy. Sometimes we’re even giving up client time (read: cash) to attend such events.
Once we take the stage, we give the whole methodology away. We teach the folks in the audience the ENTIRE framework. They LEARN something while they’re with us. Of course at the end we make our contact info available and gently mention we teach classes and provide coaching on the subjects we speak on. And then the magic happens – clients ask us to come work with them.
They’ve seen the entire methodology and can envision how it can apply to their organization (rather than having to divine what the secret 8 steps are and if they’ll be relevant to their teams). They’ve seen that we’re confident in the quality of our content and our instructors. And most importantly, they’ve seen we are genuinely interested in participants walking away from a seminar with real, practical knowledge they can apply (which isn’t possible if they’re missing the 8 secret steps).
On other occasions we’ll have conversations and give advice on a client’s or prospect’s business problem at no charge. We’ll do our best to help them as much as possible in that discussion. And sometimes they’ll hire us to help them because we’ve demonstrated competence in our domain. Other times they don’t hire us (but they DO remember us and refer us to other folks because we’re helpful). Bottom line is we are again giving it away.
My accountant? He gives it away. I occasionally go to him with a question or two. He answers. He provides some thoughts and guidance on how I might manage my books and my taxes (I do it myself). Rich doesn’t charge me. Ever. Even though I’ve DEMANDED he send me a bill even for the time I’ve taken from him. No bill. Guess what? I TELL PEOPLE HOW AWESOME HE IS! He gets giving it away (and just email me if you want his name).
Too many folks are afraid of giving their stuff away. They believe if they give it away then clients won’t have a need to hire them. They think people might steal their stuff (chillax Captain Paranoid – there’s a little thing called copyright law to protect you).
Get over it.
Try giving it away for a change to see what happens. Sure you have to charge people for it at some point but they’re much more willing to pay for something they’ve seen in its entirety and that they’re pulling into their organizations. They’re much less likely to buy if you’re pushing it on them with the promise that the secret 8 steps will solve all their problems.
Give it away. I challenge you to think about your business and how you might give it away in various ways. Free advice over coffee? A free workshop (where you DON’T SELL!)? Participate in a conference? How can you show off your content and capabilities in a manner that makes prospective clients clamor to bring you in? Try it. I dare you.
Have you had any success come from giving it away? Any bad experiences? Please share!