Once we humans got over the shiny object internet syndrome, (say twenty-five years ago) we were left with the “OMG, look at all the stuff we can find” syndrome. This then morphed into, “I do not need a formal education, I can learn online. I do not need formal experts, I can find everything online. I do not need help, everything is online. I am the expert. Because it is all ONLINE.”
Today, almost everything is online. Education for education’s sake is commodity based, teachers are not needed to the same extent they once were and even the universities are struggling to keep up. Simultaneously, many, many professional organizations are stressed to re-invent themselves to handle the new realities. The changes all around are immense.
Then The Wild West sprung up ON THE INTERNET. The selling, often charlatan, programs of learning, and quite frankly, the whole way of packaging, selling and procuring information and professional talents had permanently changed.
Add in the ‘minor issue’ that we consumers have been besieged with free this, free that and now expect something for nothing, are downright suspicious about things like “Give me your email and get a free audit or check list”…you get the picture. There is a ton of noise. It is hard to stand out and stand apart.
Most smart companies, intelligent leaders and brilliant entrepreneurs have figured out that we are all in business to help our customers. We don’t sell them a damn thing. We help make their lives easier. We save them time. We offer them peace of mind. We help them make more money. Or we appease their need for greed. Really. We can believe anything we want about our products and services. But all we really do is some combination of these five things.
Except for social media (which is nothing more than a shiny pencil), pretty much everything we know about business has not changed in the last fifty years.
So, if you want to learn the secret to ANYTHING, you simply need to Google it. Then you only need to follow the information you found. Anyone who is anyone will tell you that the real secret sauce that they carry around is the twenty or thirty years it took them to become an overnight success. It is their experience (which means their combined successes and failures) that matters.
Therefore, to set yourself apart, no matter who you come in contact with, give something away FOR FREE – and make it valuable and generous. Here is why:
You are not special because you have that knowledge in your head. You are special because you can anticipate and respond to that customer. You are selling your ability to make their lives easier, save them time, offer them peace of mind and help them make more money and/or appease their need for greed.
Since you are not selling knowledge and education, you can share all the latest news and stats about what is happening in the industry, what laws could impact their lives in the future, what they might need to heed and information about funds they might want to set aside for coming events.
95% of the folks you come in contact with will NOT follow your advice to the letter. (Statistics show that only 5% WILL.) Of the remaining 5%, most will NEED your experience to make it work well. You can sell your education packaged as part of your experience knowledge to someone else at another time.
Does it always work? No. Will they always thank you? No. Will they always refer you? No. There are no guarantees. Business is built on trust. But it is vital that you take that first step because YOU are the solution, you are part of the change.
I have always done business with people who put me first, gave me free stuff/free help before I was their customer. They stood out from the pack. I never forgot them and when I had the chance, I joined forces with them.
Now, imagine if the entire country fashioned its business model this way – sharing not starving, Give your knowledge away free. Charge as much as you can for your experience!