When Helping Is Not Good Business
Your accounting firm is designed to help people so you naturally offer free information. You give away ideas, suggestions or opportunities. But, do you ever wonder if you’re giving away too much?
Let’s put it in perspective. It’s okay to give away the store. Just don’t give away the entire mall.
Boundaries keep things in perspective. You decide what to share and under what circumstances.
Give Away Free Information
I freely give away information all the time. I want people to view me as a resource.
Educating people leads to them knowing, trusting and liking you.
First of all, you do this because you care about people. So how does this impact your firm?
Freely sharing information can attract more clients. Or, it could limit your income. This truly depends on the situation.
As I mentioned, I freely give away a lot of information. But I don’t offer “pick my brain” sessions. I choose how and when I give stuff away.
My blog posts, ebooks, webinars, videos, speaking opportunities, interviews and strategy sessions are full of rich content. I happily point people to these free resources.
Along the way I learned three types of people want your free information.
- Do it yourself (DIY). They’ll use your information to solve their problems.
- Wanna be DIY. They’ll start to apply your information. Eventually, boredom sets in or they lack the skills to finish the job. So, they’ll reach out to you to do the work.
- Want it done for them. These people want your solution. However, they don’t have the time, or desire, to do it on their own. They happily pay you to do the work.
Sometimes the DIY’s hire you down the road. Either they become too busy and can’t spare the time. Or, they now have the money.
The Kindness Problem
A difference exists between giving free information and doing work for someone without being paid. When you do the work for free:
- Your bank account does not receive new deposits. You still have bills to pay to cover your business expenses, including paying yourself.
- Resentment builds when the people you help don’t become clients.
- You grow angry with yourself for solving their problem without getting paid. Basically, you are not solving your business problem.
- Overwhelm and burnout builds. You don’t see a way out and don’t know how to fix the problem while remaining true to yourself.
Giving away information, when done strategically, builds your accounting firm. You gain:
- Visibility. Potential clients learn about you.
- Credibility. Educating them, by freely sharing information, gives them a glimpse of what you do.
- Profitability. When people connect with you, and realize your value, they’re likely to become paying clients or referral sources.
Get comfortable with clearly letting potential clients know you can help them. A complimentary strategy session is a great way to discuss what’s possible. Remember, these sessions explore the possibility of them hiring you. This isn’t a pick your brain session.Don’t expect others to value you until you value yourself. As you gain self worth and recognize your value, you’ll attract new ideal clients who appreciate you. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
Reset Your Value Thinking
Don’t expect others to value you until you value yourself. Connecting with your value is a process. You can’t snap your fingers and magically develop confidence.
As you gain self worth and recognize your value, you’ll attract new ideal clients who appreciate you.
- Raise Your Awareness. Your knowledge is your single, most valuable asset. Start thinking about the value you provide to your clients. What’s possible for them because they chose to work with your firm? Make a list of the five most valuable benefits clients get from working with you.
- Evaluate Your Current Giveaways. You get to choose when to offer free information. Do you share nuggets in casual conversation? Maybe your free consultations turn into free advisory sessions. Sometimes too much information leads to a potential client becoming overwhelmed by everything you shared. At that point, they’ll delay the decision to start working with you now.
- Develop a System. Here’s an advanced move. Shift your focus during client conversations. Find out “why” this matters rather than “how” to get it done. Sometimes directly asking if they’re interested in your help can lead to a new client signing on with you.
- Practice Holding Back. Gain awareness of your generosity. Connect with your value. Learn to ask questions. Realize that information overload can often be a disservice instead of a service. Ask questions that drill down to the real concern and share stories about how you helped others with something similar. This approach builds perceived value in their mind without you having to give away the entire store.
As you go through this process, you’ll discover that your conversations with new potential clients shift. Now’s not the time to tell them how your business works. Instead, ask them questions about their current problem.
Simply because someone reaches out to you doesn’t mean they’re ready to solve their problem. Three different stages of readiness exist.
- Awareness. These people don’t even realize a problem exists. Asking great questions increases their awareness.
- Research. People in this stage gather information.
- Action. It’s time to get started. They’re ready to invest.
People in the action stage realize they have a problem and need your expertise. Your strategy session isn’t designed to give away free advice. It’s a conversation where you guide with questions about their problem.
Focus on Future Value Not Free Information
Knowing and doing are two different things. People will learn how to solve their problem from your free information. On the other hand, most people will never follow through with your suggestions.
Freely sharing information builds credibility. Asking great questions suggests authority. Next comes profitability – signing on a new client.
There are people searching for you. Your service is the solution to their problem.
Shift your mindset regarding free information. Connect with your value and set clear boundaries. Follow this approach to increase your confidence and your income.
Success happens from the inside out. Your mindset affects your earning potential. Let’s remove the blocks to building a profitable business.
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