Withholding is just not pretty. If you’re writing a nonfiction book or information product, you need to tell everything you know about the subject. People buy from you because they need that information. Now that doesn’t mean that you can’t break your subject matter down into several books or products. But you do need to fully deliver on what you promised for that particular book.
Many people are afraid to put everything in their book. “If I do that, they won’t need me!” Yes, there will always be some people who read a book or go to a seminar, apply what they learned, and meet with success. But the majority of us do not.
There will be things, no matter how well explained in print, that we just can’t wrap our heads around. Whether it’s a new way of doing something or we were home sick from school the day they handed out the chunk of basic information that would help us make sense of a concept, not everyone is starting from the same place. Some of us have gaps in our education that need some extra input. Most people, unless they are totally delusional, lack complete confidence when they are trying something new—they would like to have someone by their side to walk them through the process. In short, people will still need your help.
In reality, very few of us are self-starters. We need coaches, consultants, or accountability partners to keep us on track and moving forward. I love to tell all, give everything I have. If that helps someone get down the road without further input from me, that’s great. That leaves me more time to help the people who need some help. And remember…
Our market is not “everyone” or even “everyone who buys my book.”
Think about Michael Gerber’s book, The E-Myth Revisited. He tells you all the systems you need to have in place for your business and, through the storyline, how to implement them. But did you do it? Maybe you did a couple of things but you probably didn’t do a complete business overhaul. That’s why he has a team of people who work with companies to systematize their businesses. Does everyone who reads the book hire an E-Myth consultant? No. For starters, not everyone can afford to. But many businesses reach a point where they realize it costs more money to NOT do something than it does to pay someone to help them implement a plan or system. Those are your people.
If you’re writing a book or course, hopefully you have some expertise in your subject. You’ve taken formal courses as well as read books on your own, gone to seminars, and worked in your field to gain hands-on experience. The people buying your book don’t have that depth of knowledge and experience. They will still need your help.
Your book is a business card. By making sure people have all the information they need, you have proven that you know what you are talking about, establishing both authority and credibility. If what you do is complex and time consuming, smart business people will hire you to do it for them or to guide them through the process in order to avoid mistakes and get the new system, service, process, or product up and running as quickly as possible.
Smoke and Mirrors
Frankly, when people don’t tell me something, I wonder if it’s because they don’t know. If someone promises me information and doesn’t give it to me, but says I can get it if I buy this new, “higher level” course or package, then I feel misled. Why would I trust that the new package I’m buying has what I need? I thought the last package was going to have what I needed. I often tell the story of a marketer who presented a one-day seminar that was supposed to be 80% content, 20% sales. Most of his presentation consisted of telling us that something was in his other courses—“You get that in my Platinum Program.” The disconnect was huge: People had come to learn and he had come solely to sell. He wasn’t giving away anything, even the most basic information. In a room of 300 people, he had one sale. Had he spent some time actually sharing information, he would have sold at least 60 programs. People wanted his information. They were prepared to spend money to get that information. By the end of the day (actually, by lunch which was when I left), no one believed he had information to share—at any price. He had no credibility.
Sharing Shows Confidence
Last but not least, sharing everything you know on a topic is a sign of confidence. It says, I have enough confidence in my own abilities, in what I have to offer, that I can share knowledge with you and still know that whether you buy anything else from me or not, I will be successful. I can afford to share my knowledge. And, I am always discovering, researching, and coming up with new information to share. I am not afraid of running dry.
Human nature being what it is, we don’t value information that is given to us freely. (How many free ebooks and courses are sitting on your hard drive right now, unread?) So, no, you don’t want to tell everything you know for free. But you do want to tell everything someone needs and expects to know when they buy into your products or services. Anything else is less than pretty: It’s petty.