I am going to tell you…this blog post has been three weeks in the making. Today is the day.
Personal branding superstar Tim Davis and I have been discussing this topic for weeks now since we are both Nashville business consultants. This topic applies to just about any business but especially to service based Nashville entrepreneurs so take your time and read this post if you want to run a “for profit” business here in Nashville.
If you have been in business for any length of time and the word on the street is you know your stuff, you will start getting requests like “Can we meet for coffee?” or maybe your facebook messenger is blowing up like Tim Davis’s is 4-5 times PER WEEK with “Hey Tim can I call you? I need to pick your brain about personal branding“.
Typically, and this is not always the case of course, is the prospect is not in a position to hire you. Usually because of one or all three of these reasons.
- They can’t afford you right now
- They are not ready to move forward or in the next 30 days
- They see you as a friend and not an expert (“People ask their friends for advice and spend money with experts” – Tim Davis)
Should you not help people in need? Absolutely you should help people! We have ALL had people in our lives that helped us get to where we are at this point. Just remember too though, as humans we don’t respect what we don’t pay for in money,time or energy. If your prospect doesn’t have any skin in the game, they are less likely to get the results that they want which does them a disservice.
One last thing about working for free all the time. It is a great way to not be able to pay your bills, save for your kids schooling and put money away for retirement. Just know that going in.
Now, in saying all that, how can you let prospects pick your brain and not go broke? Is that even possible? Well of course it is silly, my headline gave that away.
Here are five ways to let people pick your brain without going broke. Use all…some…or none of the below.
1) Write Helpful Free Blog Posts
A great way to work “one to many” is to write blog post like this one so you can help a bunch of people at one time and only work once. This helps people get to know you and reveals to them that you know or don’t know your stuff. I have written about the importance of building your own digital pinball machine in the past. This is another good reason to do so now rather than later.
2) Free Education Based Marketing Material
Using education based marketing materials is an awesome way to educate and promote your business. Being a Nashville business consultant, I give away a free 54 minute audio CD called, “Ultimate Nashville Marketing Guide“. It is pure solid gold content that I lead with because this is usually my first interaction with my prospect and I want to remove all doubt that I know my stuff.
You can have your material so people can download it or have them pay shipping to receive it. Personally, I charge $3.95 for shipping and handling because it weeds out most of the curiosity seekers and leaves me with prospects who are really serious about growing their Nashville business. THIS one concept has done wonders for my business. Do likewise.
3) Free Recorded Consultation
If you still have a tough time with saying no to the “I want to pick your brain” prospects, consider doing it on the phone instead of in person so you don’t lose even more time driving to the location to work for free. Also, only do a free consultation if they agree to allow you to record the consultation and use it on your website and marketing materials. Still not the best option but at least you can use it to demonstrate to other prospects what it is like to work with you.
4) Paid Products
You do know marketing can actually make you money right? One of the very best things you can do for your business is write a book. People respect authors and it is yet another way to have the person get to know you and trust you more without going broke. Of course, I do what I teach so I wrote the only book about doing business in Nashville. In it, I share how I used the very blog you are reading right now to build my consulting business locally in just 90 days and starting out with just $35. There is no better way to show proof you know your stuff than to do what you teach people.
5) Paid or Free Events
Another way I let people pick my brain (and you could to) is my creating free and paid events that your prospects can attend. I run a very successful Nashville networking group where I can help people in a one to many fashion. I also run a webinar each month called Tech Tuesdays that doesn’t require me to even leave my house. My prospects enjoy it and its a great way to market my business.
I hope that these five tips will help you become more profitable. Start valuing what you bring to the table and only work with prospects who see that value.