One thing that I’ve always believed critical to the success I’ve had in my life, in relationships and in business is that I’m a fairly generous person. In business and especially online, I’m pretty open about sharing a lot of what I know and talking about how I’ve learned or gained the experience. In fact, these daily emails are a big part of that sharing.
If we’re being honest though, when it comes to online business, being generous and sharing what you know is an important growth strategy. Being able to provide people with the information they need to move forward in their journey is a valuable commodity and it attracts people to you.
This knowledge sharing then builds rapport and trust with an audience who have sought you out creating a strong bond.
Here’s the thing though, as the provider of that knowledge, you can’t survive on the goodwill and positive vibes from the people who you’re sharing your information with. You ultimately will need to find a way to monetize that relationship.
Now, this is where things tend to get tricky.
We’re not going to go into the various means you can turn these fans into customers, but needless to say, there are a few: selling information products, offering coaching, building a paid community, etc. There’s really no shortage of ways that you can capitalise financially on the work you’ve done to build that audience based on a foundation of sharing and giving.
There is one thing you need to be conscious of though: tire kickers and information vampires.
These two groups are closely related, so I’ll start with the information vampires.
These folks are the ones who latch onto someone who is generously sharing their information and try to drain them dry of everything they offer without being willing to spend a dollar to get it. They ask questions, demand more detailed information and really they want you to spoon feed them the solution they are looking for. When you don’t they can actually get quite angry because underlying their parasitic behaviour is a sense of entitlement along the lines of, “Well, if this person is sharing, they should give me exactly what I want.”
They are not customers and will never be customers. Often times they at least have the integrity to honestly tell you they have no intention of buying anything. Like the vampires in True Blood though, when you invite them in, they can be insatiable. When you discover these people in your midst, it’s best to simply move away from them and stop responding.
Personally, I find tire kickers worse. Information vampires generally make no bones about it, they want stuff from you for free. Tire Kickers, on the other hand, try and dangle the carrot in front of you that they want to do business with you, but they just need a bit more information to help them work out if you’re right for them. Most people in the situation then try and offer up a bit more to help get that prospect over the line.
Except tire kickers never get over the line. They just want free stuff and they use this duplicitous angle to try and get it. They think that if they string you along a bit more then you’ll give them enough to help them get what they want and then they’ll tell you that they aren’t going to proceed for some lame reason. The real sociopathic tire kickers will actually leave an open loop out there to try and keep you on the hook, “Oh look, this isn’t going to happen right now, but I’ve got something else that you may be able to help me with.”
The information vampires are a nuisance, but the tire kickers, they can actually be quite damaging for people just starting out or for people who lack confidence. What happens is that you get excited, you work on trying to close the deal and then the tire kicker knocks you back. Immediately your confidence is rattled and you start questioning everything about your offer, your pitch, your sales technique…
The thing is, it’s not you. It’s them. They had no intention of ever doing business with you.
The worst is when the tire kicker comes back for seconds. The usual approach is that they remind you of the last time you helped them but it didn’t work out and that this time they have something you’re perfect for. They bait the hook and then go in for more free information with the lure of potential work. Then again, for some reason or another, it doesn’t work out.
I’ve seen some people fall for this two or three times and it can be quite depressing for them where they end up in a quagmire of self-doubt.
I had someone try and pull this on me recently. About six months ago they asked for some advice which I was happy to help them with, but out of the blue, they said they really were considering paying for one of my Tech Talk Sessions to get some help this time. I was pretty sceptical because I have built up a radar for tire kickers. I played along a bit until the request for “a bit more info” came and I politely suggested that once they paid for the session we could get into it.
Needless to say, the person made an excuse about how someone else offered to do it for them so they didn’t need my help this time but another project which was perfect for me was right around the corner… Blah Blah Blah. I don’t really care because I’m pretty busy and don’t need the work, so that doesn’t entice me.
This person even tried it on a third time! Without being rude, I just explained my rates and said they could contact me to purchase the time and we could go from there. Of course, again there was an excuse why it wasn’t going to happen, but next time…
You just have to spot these people and stop them dead in their tracks. You don’t need to confront them or anything, just point them in the direction of the “Buy Now” button and offer to help them once they make their commitment. The reality is, it will probably go nowhere, so don’t sweat it – you’re just putting a really smart filter in front of yourself.