Can Giving Too Much Information Away Hurt Your Business? by Bob Bly

Posted August 10th, 2011 by Nelson Tan. Filed under Uncategorized

A few months ago, a VP at a local management consulting firm called me for advice on Internet marketing.

He wanted to start a line of information products related to the firm’s consulting expertise; as I recall, it was something to do with meeting OSHA regulations.

“But I have to warn you, our president is dead set against the idea of creating info products on safety,” he said.

When I asked why, he replied: “He is afraid it will erode our core business.”

For this particular consulting firm, their core business is helping clients become compliant with OSHA regulations.

For their advice, they charge a handsome fee: $3,500 a day.

The VP worried that if he gave away their knowledge and expertise in relatively low priced information products or even free white papers, potential clients wouldn’t need the firm’s expensive consulting.

Instead, they’d study the info products, do it themselves, and save a bundle.

I set him straight fast.

“Producing a line of info products won’t erode your core business in the least,” I explained.

“In fact, quite the opposite will take place.

“When people see you have published information products, they will—whether they buy your products or not—perceive you as a credible expert in the topic.

“This in turn will increase the demand for your consulting services, rather than cut into it.”

Writing a book on your specialty—or publishing special reports, white papers, articles, CDs, DVDs, or other content—positions you as a leading expert in your topic.

You know the expression, “He wrote the book on it.” It implies that the person is an expert because he is the author of a book.

“It is simply amazing the reverence people have for the printed word,” says EU, a successful publisher. “Simply because a person has written a book about a subject, people think he has something to say about it.”

Selling information products actually widens the net of prospects who can benefit from your expertise.

It’s difficult to get strangers to hire you out of the blue—after all, they don’t know who you are, what you know, and what you can do for them.

But if you package your knowledge in a $15 paperback book, they’ll risk spending $15 to sample it.

When they read the book, they will know that you know what you say you know—and believe you to be the expert you say you are.

So when you sell info products, you reach a broader—and bigger—audience.

What about the danger that the prospect will learn all your secrets by reading a $15 book, do it themselves, and deprive you of a big fat fee for your services?

That virtually never happens.

Instead, a qualified prospect reads your book and thinks: “The author really knows his stuff. But this seems complicated. I don’t have time to learn it or do it myself. Instead, I’ll just hire the author to do it for me.”

Yes, there are probably other vendors the prospect could hire to provide the needed service.

But more than likely, you’re the one they’ll call.

After all, you wrote the book on it.

Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.

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