Help First, Sell Second
by Robin Sacks
Let's face it, "being sold to" is SO 20th century.
One of the greatest lessons you can learn in business today is that the best way to let someone know you can help them is to just help them! In other words, give them a tip, give them a tool, give them a trick, then explain to them exactly how to use it and when to use it. Tell them how to do exactly what they are trying to do. Tell them how to start, what to think about first, things to consider or give them something that changes their trajectory that they never thought about before.
Give that information away!
When people choose to try what you gave them, assuming you have good information, they are going to find success. It's going to help them! And when that happens, chances are they're going to come back to you for more. When they come back for more, that's where there is opportunity to discuss how you can help them in a professional capacity (i.e. get paid). They already know your value, you don't have to "pitch" them.
You have got to be able to put the pitch aside if you want to engage effectively.
One of the most powerful pieces of advice I ever received to "get obsessed with giving away your content, and being paid for consulting and speaking."
It blew my mind when I heard that, mainly because I had been already been approaching my business that way...but was constantly doubting that approach! I was always questioning it, thinking it was the "wrong" thing to do. Am I giving too much away? Shouldn't I sell more of this information instead of put it into an article or a blog post or on a social media channel? How will I make money if I am giving so much away?
That one piece of advice confirmed that, if you are good at what you do, the way to make money is to help people - and that might not look the way you thought it was going to look from a traditional sales standpoint.
Why this works.
Here's the reality, people aren't buying your products and services, they're buying you. They can get similar products and services anywhere these days, but the experience of you is what makes it different.
This applies to absolutely any product or service that you need. Let's say I have a plumbing issue in my house and I need to hire a plumber. If I don't already have a plumber who I use, I'm probably going to call a few different ones and have them come out to give me some estimates on the repair. But I'm not really just getting estimates for how much it's going to cost, am I? Think about it. Three plumbers come out to the house. More likely than not, they all would fix the repair essentially in the same way and their estimate costs would probably be similar.
So how do I choose?
The answer is that I'm probably going to go with the person that I got the best feeling from; the one I liked and trusted. If one of them was a jerk, he might do a good job making the repair, but I'm not going to hire him. If one of them did not stand out in any way, he'll probably be forgettable if the others had distinct qualities (good or bad). If one of them gave me additional information or understanding that the others didn't that ended up being helpful or above and beyond, there's probably a much better chance that's the person I'm going to hire.
He didn't have to do that, but he did. Why? Because it was helpful, whether he got the job or not.
In the end, people are not buying just your product or service. They are also buying the experience of you.
When you realize that giving information away is an opportunity to grow your business and get clients and referrals easily, you instantly level up your business.
Did you help them? Was it a good experience they had with you, whether they bought anything or not? Did they get good vibes from you? Did you kind of creep them out? Were you harsh? Were you trying to sell me additional things before you took care of the problem I needed taken care of? Did you give me a bunch of extra information that you didn't need to, but that was helpful to me in understanding exactly what needed to be done and why?
What is the experience of you? Do you know? If not, it would be very helpful to ask people who know you or do business with you. Sometimes, it's more helpful to ask the people who didn't do business with you, if you really want good information.
The key is to know that the best way for people to pay you to help them is to first just help them.