Give Away Everything You Know for Free

I’m constantly meeting new business owners looking for tips on how to get their first few clients. I tell them that one of my best tricks is to tell clients everything you know with the understanding that most of the time they will be so overwhelmed (and impressed) by the information that they will come back and hire you to do the work. Of course they counter, “What happens when they just steal your ideas and execute?”

The kind of people who take your ideas and run with them aren’t likely to become or remain good customers so you haven’t lost much, have you?

I once knew a woman who told me that she didn’t like to work for free and as a result wouldn’t advocate this process. I think she was wrong but we are all entitled to our opinion, right? Well the March 2007 issue of Inc. magazine tells how one business owner took the idea of give-it-away further and is reaping awesome rewards!

Dan Dersham of LeanLogistics in Holland, MI, not only gives away his best ideas but he invests big marketing dollars in developing case studies and white papers that he can publish broadly to attract customers. He’s spending nearly 35% of his marketing budget developing these publications and is seeing 6X the response rate of any of his other marketing programs.

The stats in the article are great but you don’t have to wait until you grow a $7MM company to start putting this lesson into practice. Small business owners can start sharing the wealth of their knowledge now and should put a plan in place to develop one white paper or case study each quarter — something that can be used to generate new business and serve double-duty as a frequency tool to send out to existing clients to remind them of your service and highlight your most recent success.

For more stats (and comments on this same Inc. article), check out the White Paper Pundit.

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