Charlene Norman

4 years ago · 4 min. reading time · visibility ~10 ·

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Give it Away for Free: One Secret To Success

Give it Away for Free: One Secret To Success[ BULLET PROOF]


Change Your Thinking
For The Better

Why on earth would I say give it away for free is a secret to success?  Because apparently today, I am the odd man out. 

Not really. Here's why.

Once we humans got over the shiny object internet syndrome, (say twenty-five years ago) we were left with the ‘holy shit, look at all the stuff we can find’ syndrome. Which then morphed into, ‘I do not need a formal education, I can learn online. I do not need formal experts, I can find everything online. I do not need help, everything is online. I am the expert. Because it is all ONLINE.’

Today, almost everything is online, education for education’s sake is commodity based, teachers are not needed to the same extent they once were and the universities are struggling to keep up. Simultaneously, many, many professional organizations are stressed to re-invent themselves to handle the new realities. The changes all around are immense.

Then The Wild West that sprung up ON THE INTERNET – the selling, often charlatan, programs of learning, and quite frankly, the whole way of packaging, selling and procuring information and professional talents has permanently changed.

Add in the minor issue that we consumers have been besieged with -- free this, free that and now expect something for nothing, are downright suspicious about things like ‘give me your email and get a free audit or checklist’ … You get the picture. There is a ton of noise. It is hard to stand out and stand apart.

I have been standing out (or maybe standing apart) for a long time. Having watched and studied some very talented individuals from around the world, I have long been a woman who refused to play the standard white male game and stumbled more times than I care to count. Why? because I do do a few things differently with the knowledge I carry in my head.

[ BULLET PROOF |Free. Yep, Free.

One biggie is I give a lot of it away for free. I can hear so many of you scream. FREE? Are you nuts?

Listen, except for social media (which is nothing more than a shiny pencil), pretty much everything we know about business, has not changed in the last fifty years.

So if you want to learn the secret to ANYTHING, you simply need to Google it. Then you only need follow the information you found. And anyone who is anyone will tell you that the real secret sauce that anyone who is anyone carries around is the twenty or thirty years it took them to become an overnight success. Yup. It is their experience that matters.

In other words, a plumber can tell you all about the parts to put in, the welding to do and the conditions you need to make perfect. And you can find all that exact information on the internet with beautifully shot videos and step by step photos. However, when you actually attempt to do the plumbing job yourself, the result, for the vast majority of us, will not be anything close to the pictures and videos. For one simple reason. You do not have the twenty or thirty years experience the plumber has. And your final results will clearly show that!

The Why of My Free

No matter who I come in contact with, I give away all kinds of generous and free advice. Three tips. Solid stuff that will make them money somewhere in their operation. As long as they execute. People are always impressed that I am so generous or blonde or stupid. Here’s why:

1. How can people understand who I am and what I offer if I do not first offer something of real value and demonstrate some of the depth of how I can help with their problems?
2. How can people get a quick assessment of whether I am a trustworthy person?
3. I am selling my experience. My ability to save them time. My ability to make them money. My ability to change their thinking. I am NOT selling my knowledge and education.
4. I know for a fact that 95% of the folks I come in contact with will NOT follow my advice to the letter. (Statistics show that only 5% WILL.)
5. Of the remaining 5%, most will NEED my experience to make it work well.
6. I can always sell my education packaged as part of my experience knowledge to someone else at another time.
7. I am very careful about the parts I give away. There are parts of my offering that are recycled through blogs, speeches, conversations, private notes and that are always free. There are other parts of my offering that are never offered for free.
8. It takes a good seven nudges to a potential to make one sale. One note with three tips is only one out of those seven nudges. One out of those SEVEN nudges. I like to make my nudges impactful. Each one of those seven nudges must count. Because when I play, I play to win.

Does it always work? No. Do they always thank me? No. Do they always refer me? No. Have I been taken advantage of? Yes! Did I learn from that? Yes. That is why I limit everything to three.

I fully acknowledge there are no guarantees. Business is built on trust. I believe it is important to take the first step. Sales is all about building relationships. Sales is most definitely very much like dating and I found a way to make kissing all those damn frogs enjoyable. 

I have always done business with people who put me first, given me free stuff/free help before I was their customer. They stood out from the pack. I never forgot them and when I had the chance, I joined forces with them.

I like to think I model my business approach after the best of the footsteps that went before me.  That is why I say.  Give it away for free!

If you would like to receive additional ideas to help you stand out and stay ahead of your competition, sign up for our bi-monthly thought pieces.

To your success!

Charlene Norman & Jim Murray are partners in a collaboration called Bullet Proof Consulting. Charlene is a business strategist with an ability to identify and deliver profit opportunities. Jim is a marketing and communication strategist and creative director. Bullet Proof is located in St Catharines, Ontario and designed to serve forward-thinking businesses in the Western New York, Niagara, and Golden Horseshoe regions of Southern Ontario.


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Charlene Norman

3 years ago #9

Kelly Forgive me for being so rude, It has been a few months since I have been on beBee hence the reason for my absence, I normally get back to people in a far faster fashion.

Charlene Norman

4 years ago #8

Phil Friedman WOW! I have never had the pleasure of being asked for the entire thing as a condition of being considered. YIKES! Very valuable advice for only part of the plan. So true. Thanks. Off to read your other nuggets.

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #7

Good solid advice, Charlene Norman, not the usual SMBS. I personally always include a couple of context related tips in any presentation I give to a prospect. Of course, if I don't get the contract, those tips end up being free information. But I do that to demonstrate authenticity and expertise. What I recommend, however, is to never provide a complete plan, even when a prospective client asks for it as a condition for being considered -- because 80% of the job is knowing from experience what to do. Too often, a demand to see a complete plan is the precursor to the prospect taking the plan and giving it to someone who promises to execute it for much less than you would charge. Always false economy, but usually by the time the prospect realizes that, it's too late -- for everybody involved. But it's always, win some, lose some. And if you can't handle that, you should not be an independent consultant. Some related thoughts:

Great ideas, Charlene Norman. People like the word "free". It makes them feel special.

Charlene Norman

4 years ago #5

Ah Wayne Yoshida, I used to agree. Not being thanked was so bloody awful I blame the lack of manners on the rise of technology. More technology means less time means less civility means more me time means less manners. Very simple and so very sad. A small part of a much bigger picture. One that I am now spending gobs of time writing about these days in my second book. LOL. Frankly, I gave up worrying about manners years ago. I am ecstatic when I see the the ideas still stick and continue to be passed along. Because nuggets are always worth their weight in gold. With or without thanks. Hey, thanks for reading and noticing!

Wayne Yoshida

4 years ago #4

Thank you, Charlene Norman! I have a similar tactic, but now I need to mix in some stuff that is not for free -- thank you for explaining that missing part on the way I've been doing stuff. And my observations are similar to yours - the worst one is the part about not getting thanked. What happened to old fashioned courtesy? What happened to manners? And the plumbing example is exactly right. I can and do things using the Internet for information and guidance, and at The Office I am famous for telling people to go Google something. But let's get practical -- sometimes I have to get an experienced expert to un-do what I tried to do, and get something done correctly. . . . I do have some great success stories - like my washing machine story, and I like to think that the struggle is part of getting the experience needed to do it again when needed.

Debasish Majumder

4 years ago #3

lovely buzz Charlene Norman! enjoyed read and shared. thank you for the share.

Charlene Norman

4 years ago #2

thank you sir! Gert Scholtz

Gert Scholtz

4 years ago #1

Charlene Norman to have you as a business partner!

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