Why I Don’t Believe in Keeping “Insider Secrets”
How many times have you seen or heard something like this?:
“Hey, do you want to know a secret? The information I’m about to share with you will completely revolutionize the way you do business. I promise you; this is your key increasing the quantity AND quality of your leads, unlocking your potential, and discovering immortality.
Are you ready? Just purchase my course for a one-time payment of $19.99!”
Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but I’ve witnessed so many of these types of pitches that they all sound like complete nonsense.
Facebook ads, YouTube videos, answers on Quora — no medium is safe from these life coaches/gurus/motivational speakers. Social media is overrun with people who are promising you the “secret to success,” and you can’t trust any of them.
Let’s make one thing clear right off the bat: The people who just want to sell you information do so because they have nothing else to offer. They don’t actually know how to execute the tips they’re giving you. If they did, they’d be offering you the opportunity to purchase that service. They’re afraid of freely giving away any bit of information because that’s the only thing they sell. If you know how to do it yourself, you won’t need them.
However, that’s only true for the scam artists. For those of us who can back up our knowledge with expertise and experience, we have nothing to lose from sharing what we know. Whether you’re in marketing, financial advising, home contracting, whatever — as long as you can back up your knowledge with real expertise in your trade, you have much more to gain than you have to lose by sharing knowledge. That’s why I want to use the rest of this article to talk about 3 of the reasons why providing valuable information with no strings attached is the best thing you can do for your business.
1. You Won’t Lose Business by Educating Others.
There will always be people who just want someone to do the work for them. Just look at how many people call a plumber for something as simple as a leaky faucet or a clogged drain. It’s not because all the plumbers in the world have banded together to keep their repair secrets safe from do-it-yourselfers. It’s because — for one reason or another — the customer wants a professional opinion. Maybe they’re not confident in their home repair skills. Maybe they don’t have the time to do it themselves. Maybe they just don’t want to.
You don’t lose business by giving away information. The fact that you can Google any subject in the world and learn it for yourself is proof. If you truly have something valuable to offer — experience, insight, talent — no one else can replicate your process, even with all the information in the world at their disposal.
2. Attention is the Most Underappreciated Resource.
Not only do you have nothing to lose from sharing what you know, you actually have a whole lot to gain.
While I may not be directly making a profit from sharing educational and inspirational content, I get something much more valuable in return—Attention.
Attention is the most valuable thing that someone can give to another person. We all have a limited amount of time in the day, only so many things that we can give our attention to. If someone chooses to spend some of that attention on my content, that conveys a tremendous amount of trust and interest in what I have to say.
Many other brands and companies undervalue attention. They’ll spend millions of dollars for “impressions” but completely fail to capture anyone’s attention.
It’s not enough to buy out a billboard or plaster your name across some banner ads. You need to give people something that makes them want to spend some of their limited time on you.
The 30 seconds that someone spends watching your ad, or even the 4 minutes that it takes for you to read this article, is time that they could be spending hugging a loved one or sending off a text to a friend or watching something online that makes you smile. My intention is not to waste that time.
That’s why I don’t believe in keeping secrets. I believe in providing value. I believe in giving you something that you can use in exchange for the time you’ve given me.
That’s how you capture attention, not impressions.
3. Shared Knowledge Creates the Groundwork for Solid Partnerships.
Sharing your knowledge is also essential to attracting the type of people you want to work with. Say, for example, I share an article about the power of Instagram Stories. (400,000 people use it every day!) Anyone who reads that article is going to know that I find IG Stories to be a valuable marketing channel, and if they decide to work with us, they’ll know why I may be suggesting it as one component of a social media strategy. That way, we can start on a solid foundation from which we can hit the ground running.
When we get to work with someone who shares our philosophy and trusts our agency to make the decision that’s right for them, everything just clicks into place. We think of our clients as our partners. We’re all in this together. That’s why it’s so important that we build that trust through open communication. Keeping secrets or refusing to share a key piece of knowledge unless someone pays for a certain service just doesn’t work with the partnership that we are creating between our agencies and the people we help (even if they’re not technically our clients).
Sharing knowledge candidly and freely is something that absolutely terrifies the online scam artists. They don’t want their content shared publicly. They don’t want their opinions interrogated. They just want you to pay up and peace out. That’s why those of us with real expertise need to be generous with our knowledge and our mentorship — to set ourselves apart from the pretenders.
By sharing what you know, you’re not only helping others but you’re also establishing yourself as a trusted authority in your industry. Basically, you’re proving that you’re the real deal. Also, you never know when a teaching opportunity will turn into something more.
And, if you’re ever in the position of trying to weed out the experts from the impostors, look for the ones who aren’t afraid to answer your questions, not sell you information. Interrogate them. Ask them if they’re able to actually provide the services they boast about. You might just be surprised by how few people who talk the talk can actually walk the walk.