What advice or skills should you expect to pay for?

Back in the early noughties I invested a lot of time creating a course on sales and marketing communications specifically for entrepreneurs and owners of micro (1 – 10 employees) businesses, primarily in the B2B arena, where the main “man” was still responsible for the sales and marketing activities.

It was a proper “how to” distance learning course (as they were still called back then) that led participants step by step through each activity, it had examples of of using the skills in different situation and industries, exercises and worksheets that they filled out and submitted to me. We’d have weekly one-one-one telephone or Skype session to chart progress and iron out any bumps that had cropped up in their learning, honing and application of skills and techniques.

Now I’m one of the best sales trainers I’ve ever come across when it comes to training those who dread coming across as pushy sales men or women are concerned. If they couldn’t face the idea of making a “cold” sales call I’d included alternatives that they could learn to use – market/ marketing research, for example. And those who took the course found their success as a result of taking my course sky rocketed. But it turned out there weren’t enough of them, and I wasn’t charging enough to make the living I expected to from it.

As a good businessman I later came across said to me: “Fabulous idea; amazing value; but wrong audience – they’ll never pay you what it’s worth…” And he was right.

It was slightly better when I reduced the course to straight sales and telephone sales training that bosses could purchase for their under-performing sales representatives: It was obviously more appealing to fund a subordinate to do the learning than pay and have to go through the learning process as well…

An eye opener then was, when I asked the employer how the employee was performing against job specification and targets, I discovered how few micro businesses even had job specs for their staff, but that’s another story…

So, back to the original question

What advice or skills should you expect to pay for?

These days so much information is available for free, delivered right to our inbox just for the “price” of sharing an email address and agreeing to receive downloads of MP3s, .pdfs, attend webinars, teleseminars, and so on. We can get a plethora of advice if we’re prepared to trade some time and hear/ read the back stories that seem to be an essential part of why we should take notice of this particular expert. The freebies, when looked at objectively, are very often “what to” do so it’s wise to be prepared for the inevitable sales pitch that promises us the “how to…” And then it’s wise to look at the price tag compared to what the expert is offering in terms of how it will enrich our lives: $27, $47 or $97 doesn’t to me somehow add up to a likely Eureka! experience. And very few training products – self/ business improvement/ development are effective without accountability measures being in place…

What we should never expect to get free or “on the cheap” is one on one tailored help: advice, guidance, mentoring or training. Those who are offering that level of help have invested heavily in themselves in terms of time, money and effort: Why on earth should that be given away?

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