Hello dear friend and reader,
I have took this photo in Hong Kong.
It is an amazing place. What is even more amazing is that this place was built in a deliberate and strategic manner. Nobody found oil here. For all intents and purposes, when the British took the island, it was just a barren rock. Now, it is one of the Asian Tigers, one of the most powerful economic forces in East Asia.
I’m saying this because too many self-improvement authors and especially coaches use hope as a strategy. I have done this too as a copywriter. I have created hundreds of articles on my old blog and I have gave all of them for free. I have developed tens of eBooks and I haven’t charged for a single one of them. I gave my time for free, to anyone who needed some advice and people rarely bought anything.
Yes, I’ve got a lot of gratitude for my effort but you need to ask yourself, are you in this business for gold stars, for the validation of others or to create value for yourself and for others? Are you in this business because you know, with complete certainty that what you are offering is valuable or because you hope people are going to pay you?
Unfortunately, most people in the self-improvement field are in the same category. They hope that someone will notice how good they are and they pay, hoping that by helping as much as possible, giving of themselves as much as possible, someone will want to take more.
You already know this but it doesn’t work. Human psychology doesn’t work this way. This is the equivalent to high school dating. In high school, the nice guy that did everything in his power to please his crush never actually dated her. She dated the jerk instead. Eight years after I’ve finished high-school, I can say that this is true at my age as it was then.
This is also true in marketing. Taking the nice guy approach rarely works because while people may be grateful for everything you are doing for them, gratitude and paying are two different things. A sale is made when (1) there is pain (2) this pain requires immediate or urgent action (3) there is a clear pay-off if this problem is solved (4) you have a tool or a solution that can reduce or eliminate that pain. Sales are made equally with the carrot and the stick, both running away from something and towards something. In order for a sale to exist, there must be a pain that must be eliminated.
Is it in this area where most marketers get it wrong. If you come and inspire me and make me feel good, I’ll be grateful to you but I won’t buy anything. This is because I don’t feel there is a need. You don’t want to eat when you’re full and you don’t want to buy when there’s no need to buy. So your first goal is to make me aware of the need and of how much it is affecting my life. Only after there can be a selling solution. You can’t sell to someone who doesn’t realize that there is a need for what you are selling.
And to return to our earlier point, hope is not a good strategy here. The more you give to a person for free in terms of free materials but especially your time, the less you’re going to sell. It is like going to a restaurant, getting the first dish and the second one for free and then that person pledging with you that you should buy the third one. You’re not hungry anymore. You can buy out of gratitude but we both know that gratitude extends to many things but not to paying money.
I remember how I was trying to get customers in the past. I used to give my time for free. Everything they need, they would get. I would give them a $100/hour service while they were paying me $0. In the moment when I’ve asked for the sale, to move this to a paid relationship, I’ve got a hesitant person who changed from friendly to distanced and who can not invest anything right now. 95% of the people I’ve helped this way never contacted me again after I’ve tried to get paid after offering massive value.
Worse, some felt entitled of getting my help. They’ve felt like I owed them to keep continuing helping them for free, while I was getting nothing in return. Again, it is like high-school dating, do too much for a person and they feel entitled to that and not see it as a gift anymore.
So I’ve decided to do the smart thing and which is make the difference between selfish and self first. What you are offering is valuable and it works. You deserve to be paid for it. You don’t need to be plead with people to pay you. You don’t need to give free coaching sessions in the hope that they’ll convert to customers. When I go to a doctor, he’s not going to give me the first session for free, in hope that I’ll pay for the other sessions. I can pay and get the treatment or I can go home.
This is not selfish. It is win-win. When it comes to your time and energy, you are making a trade. You are helping him solve a problem and he is paying you in return. You don’t owe him to convince him by giving your time for free that you’re competent enough. No business does that. I don’t go to the Apple Store and borrow the new MacBook for a few weeks to see if it is worth it. I pay it, I get it home. I don’t pay it, I don’t get it. It is a common sense model and it works.
I’ve seen too many people in this field putting themselves in an early hole by trying to be nice. They would give free coaching sessions and free seminars and free everything, books, membership sites, videos in the hope that once they tasted the quality of the content, the other person would buy. Well, the other person rarely bought because there was no pain to solve, no hole to fill and because moving from free to paid is a huge hurdle, as in his mind, your content is already designated as free.
So my advice to you is this – stop giving your time and your materials for free. Apart from your blog posts, monetize everything. You are writing a book, sell it. You have a membership site, sell subscriptions. You’re selling coaching, charge full price for every hour. The people who are going to buy are going to pay anyway and you’re going to lose only tire-kickers who never intended on becoming your customers anyway. Plus, people are going to respect you more because you respect yourself. You’re not doing the noble thing. You’re just lowering the value of your time and effort, the relative value, each time you’re giving it away for free.
This can be a highly emotional topic, I admit this. I know what Earl Nightingale said “serve and the reward is going to come from somewhere”. Earl Nightingale lived in a different time. He lived in a time where information was at a premium and not easily accessible. Now everyone expects everything to be free on the Internet, eBooks, videos, music, games. Giving them the free option is the worst thing you can do for yourself because (1) people don’t appreciate what they get for free so they’ll never use it and (2) you are offering a form of value and you’re getting nothing in return. You’re in business to empower people through your knowledge and strategies, not to sacrifice yourself. You’re giving value for free to your children, to the ones you love, to your closest peers and that’s it. The venue for free is family and closed one, for everyone else, is a trade, value for value.
Take decisions for business purposes. As long as you’re offering value, ask for value. A “thank you” or “you’ve been of so much help”, I’m sorry to say but it is not value. We say this to taxi drivers for taking us to our destination and it is not an appropriate payment for something that costs $50 or $100 or more.
Finally, let me put it this way. You love people and you want to help people. You appreciate people. Isn’t it fair for people to really appreciate you too? If you give me something that’s worth $50, isn’t it only fair for me to give you something of similar value? Why should you sell yourself short? I can tell you for four hours in a row that you are amazing, that your materials are great, that you have so much knowledge but can you take this validation and put your kids through college? Can you take it to pay your mortgage? Can you use it to buy your dream car? The answer is no so say no to giving your time, your effort, your value for free and when you’re doing it, as I’m doing it in this blog post, make it goal oriented, to serve both them and you.
Stop hoping that they’ll buy and start selling. People don’t buy because what you’re offering is great. People buy because what you’re offering solves a problem that is more expensive to them than they pay for whatever you are selling.
That being said, let’s discuss how we can do this. I’m here to help you do this. I’m here to direct you, through the science of direct response copywriting to take decisions that are actually profit and not validation oriented. Together, we make a promise. “We’re not seeking for gold stars, the good opinion of others”. We care what people who pay us think of you and me, because they are customers and because they are fair in compensating you in a way you deserve. Everyone else who is not paying is not a customer and until it becomes a customer, you should not even think about them. You’re here to serve but you’re here to serve those who serves you. Unless a person agrees upfront to reciprocate and offer value for value, that person is not a person of interest. Your efforts should be directed towards empowering and helping those that empower and help you, period.
How can I help you?
By writing amazing sales materials and creating amazing sales funnels that attracts the people who pay you, respect you and use what you’re creating and keeps the tire-kickers away. From this day onward, we’ll have a credo to guide us “All decisions are taken for profit decisions. I’m empowering those who empower me by paying for my time and value created”.
So let’s have a call. Use the link below to schedule a 30 minute complimentary call with me where we can discuss potential options.
I’m looking forward to have our initial call.
PS: In these 30 minutes, I’m going to analyze your sales funnel, products and services and come with approaches in which you can sell them better, approaches that are to be implemented by me. It is not a sales call per se but the purpose is for us to work together. If you’re looking for consultancy and not a needs analysis call, then you can purchase it at a flat rate of $75/hour.