We’ve all heard the age old adage “Free advice is worth what you pay for it”… or, essentially, worth nothing. But if that were really 100% true then nobody would bother to blog, right? I mean, we all want to get paid. And certainly the smart customer knows they get MORE value from paid products and services if they’re working with an ethical marketer.
But is free advice really worthless? Or is that just something which people who don’t really know how to use it say? My tests suggest the answer is contextual. In other words, the value of free advice depends on whether the prospect actually expended some time, energy, or risk to ASK for it!
If you look at most marketing forums (or talk to most novice coaches), you’ll find free advice is usually dispensed for the benefit of making the giver feel brilliant, without regards to what the recipient really wants to know and is ready to integrate. It therefore usually falls on polite-but-deaf ears. (To paraphrase Samuel Butler: “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still…which he may adhere to, yet disown, for reasons to himself best known”)
On the other hand, when people have sought you out and raised their hand to REQUEST help for a specific problem, free advice can actually be quite useful. This “hand raising” can come in the form of specifically searching for information, signing up for your email list, connecting with you via a well-branded Facebook Fan Page, Twitter Account, etc. And to be certain, here too you’ll find many, many people who really aren’t “ready” for the full force of what you’ve got to offer.
But on an actuarial basis, the raised hand really does pre-dispose people to act on your advice. I could quote hundreds of stories of people who’ve NEVER paid me a dime yet used the prolific, FREE information and solutions we provide in our follow up sequences and interviews to dramatically change their lives or businesses. Literally hundreds.
If you’ve been following me for any length of time, there’s a good chance this includes YOU.
Moreover, because I run my blog and primary email sequence like a “radio show” and not simply a promotional device with one and only one goal (i.e. I don’t remove people after they purchase a front end product but rather want them to continue listening to the show for the duration of their interest in my teachings) my customers continue to benefit from my FREE advice for a very long time AFTER they’ve begun to give me money.
Beyond this, I can point to dozens who, based upon their consumption of our FREE advice for years and years, finally came around and purchased something ultra-high-end. For example, my typical $1,000/hr client rises up through the free systems for years before making the “sudden jump” to purchase the time at these rates.
Last year I also got a GIGANTIC corporate project without having to do virtually ANY of the selling usually associated projects of this size…from a guy who was on my FREE list for EIGHT YEARS without purchasing anything first!
Plus, I think it really furthers a coach’s mission in the world to offer free advice for those who ask. You can impact a hundred times as many people if you freely give of yourself in public mediums where people have tuned in and/or raised their hands. And when you’re old and grey like me (oy vey, I’m turning 50 in a few weeks!), it’s nice to wake up in the morning knowing your work has really made a difference. Very nice.
Of course, a mature person knows that PAYING for your time and/or products allows you to put more into them. PAID products and services inevitably provide a better value. This is why, for example, I don’t hesitate to purchase consulting time from people who could otherwise be talked into giving it to me for free. Why TAKE from them and make it harder for them to concentrate on my issues when I could GIVE to them and make them happy to really focus on working to genuinely help?
And by all means, don’t confuse what I’m saying with the idea that we should all become saints and eschew financial goals. Get paid… good God, get paid! (Your banker isn’t going to say “Oh, you helped a lot of people? Let’s give you a pass on this month’s mortgage payment!”)
But FREE is an extremely valuable tool in both marketing and life. It eliminates resistance. It makes initial connections. And it does a LOT of good in the world…
For people who genuinely ask.
Fred Gleeck once told me “Tell people everything you know and they’ll pay you to tell them again”…
I’ve found that largely true with just a few modifications.
If you tell people everything you know, there are a subset of more serious people who’ll want you to tell them in a more SYSTEMATIC way. And another subset who’ll want you to CUSTOMIZE the information for them in a personal relationship (coaching). And still another subset who’ll want you to do it for them (consulting). And ANOTHER subset who’ll want to be licensed to do it in your name.
FREE is the spark that ignites this fire.
Now, speaking of FREE, Terry Dean and I will be promoting a series of free business coaching videos in the next few weeks leading up to my 50th birthday. He and I are launching the founder’s class of our new Business Coaching Certification. This will be a revolutionary, SYSTEMS BASED program to help you attract dream business coaching clients and quickly improve their profits so they’ll happily pay your fees.
Right after Labor Day we’ll be taking on a very small group (at a very significant discount) and working with them closely in exchange for their willingness to serve as case studies. Watch your email for the FREE videos and priority notifications list. You won’t want to miss this one!
The Very Good Dr. Glenn 🙂
PS – Current students and past graduates of my personal coaching certification program who have completed their tuition payments (only) will be able to deduct their full personal coaching tuition from the cost of the business coaching certification.
PPPS – My own business coaching practice has been closed to new clients for more than two years now and I have 129 people on the waiting list, so the odds of getting me personally as a business coach are unfortunately now very small. I didn’t originally intend to keep it closed for so long, but there’s only one of me and it just made more sense to concentrate on developing training systems which would allow me to create more qualified coaches. Thanks in advance for your understanding.