You know me, I don’t like to brag. But…
… last weekend I successfully replaced the water temperature regulator in our shower.
Now, I understand. For you, this may not be a big deal.
Maybe you’re the kind of person who rebuilds car engines, or renovates kitchens, or knows how many volts can fit inside an ohm (or whatever).
I am capable of none of those things.
So, when the hot and cold water in our shower decided recently to start switching places quickly and at random, our first thought was to call a plumber.
But then it occurred to me, “Maybe I should give it a try?” And so I did.
After much googling, I found what I believed to be the correct part and ordered it online.
Even more important, I found BJ Poznecki, a Chicago-area home inspector whose 17-minute YouTube video, “How to replace a Kohler shower valve cartridge,” was exactly what I was looking for.
Now let me just stop right there and point out that usually, when you find one of these “helpful” videos, it’s not quite right.
The parts are different, the setup is different, and sooner or later, you run into some problem that stops you dead in your tracks.
But not this time. BJ was using the exact same part as I and his shower mechanism was identical to mine.
Thanks to his simple, step-by-step demonstration, I had it fixed in less than an hour, an achievement that I place on the miracle continuum somewhere between the parting of the Red Sea and the invention of the Slinky.
So, here’s my question for you: Is BJ making a mistake by showing people how to do this kind of thing themselves? After all, isn’t he “giving too much away” since now they don’t need to hire him?
My answer, as I hope you’ve guessed, is a resounding NO. Three reasons…
Reason #1. Novices tend to be overconfident.
As a non-estate planning attorney (just to pick one professional service example), it seems pretty simple to me: When I die, give it all to my family.
In practice, of course, there’s a lot more involved. Taxes, trusts, health care proxies, who gets all the stuffed penguins in my office, blah, blah, blah.
An estate planning attorney who explains these types of things in a monthly newsletter, while certainly allowing some of her knowledge to leak out (plumbing joke!), is also highlighting the don’t-try-this-at-home nature of the work.
The more she reveals, the more people realize that they are out of their depth. That prompts some people to say, “Let’s just hire her.”
Reason #2. Useful information demonstrates how you think.
I’ve been helping clients develop newsletters for a long time.
One thing I’ve noticed is that no matter how well I know them beforehand, and despite the roughly six weeks we spend together developing the concept, specifying the audience, pinpointing the voice, and all the rest, it’s not until we finally write the first newsletter together that I get a clear picture of what they do and how they think.
That’s a valuable selling tool. Because when you sell a professional service it’s really hard for people to sample you.
You may have a beautiful web site and active social media presence. You may have relevant degrees and experience. You may even talk a pretty impressive game when asked to discuss your work.
But sharing a specific insight or explaining a concept to another human in a way they can understand? There’s no faking that.
When you give away useful information, you are showing prospective clients what it feels like to work with you.
Reason #3. It doesn’t matter who doesn’t hire you.
The vast majority of people who consume your free information will never pay you a cent (thanks for nothing, vast majority of people).
But so what? You’re not a bakery worried about people eating too many of your free samples.
The beauty of everything having gone digital over the past 20 years is that it costs you nothing to spread the word far and wide.
The only calculation that matters is whether or not the cost and effort involved in creating and sharing your content is paid back in the form of additional business for you.
Don’t forget, too, that among the readers who never hire you are those who happily spread the word.
Here’s the bottom line.
In my conversations with professional service providers, I hear the, “I don’t want to give too much away” objection frequently. It’s time to put that sentiment out of its misery.
Professionals who publish entire books – books that presumably share all their hard-earned insights – don’t see a drop in business as a result… they see an increase. Your newsletter, podcast, presentation, or 10-minute chat at a networking event is no different.
As BJ Poznecki no doubt knows, the more you tell, the more you sell.
- What’s your favorite miracle (extra credit if you witnessed it)?
- How handy are you around the house?
- What’s your approach to giving away free information?
Share your answers below…