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(free) information is power

I had a prospective client meeting yesterday; delightful, thoughtful people who are trying to make the world a better place. They came recommended through a mutual friend and I met them for Iced Tea and nibbles at  Lucky’s Coffee Shop. I’m deliberately keeping the details vague, because this post is about information and how to use it most effectively.

This prospect has a great concept to take their brand’s product to the next level and wanted to discuss with me how to go about getting into the mobile app arena. They said that they have ideas that they wanted to keep secret. No problem, I responded, I will bring along a standard NDA (non-disclosure agreement) so everyone can speak freely. After a nice preliminary discussion and a few moments of wrangling over just what the NDA was supposed to protect, I finally said, “This document is designed more for your protection than it is for mine. ” When I began to volunteer advice about how best to tackle their problem, the owner of the company set the NDA aside and said “I don’t need this. I trust you.”

The reason for this post is that, yes, in the information age, information is power. Many people then guard information so closely that they come off cagey, vague and shifty. Not the best way to build trust with your client.

Establishing your expertise is one of the best ways to build user/customer/confidence in your brand. So how better to establish your expertise than giving away some information for free. Demonstrate that you have expertise to spare by being free with your knowledge. Don’t be threatened by sharing what you know because the implication of sharing is “what can they do if they really tried?”

So if you have a client that needs some free advice on a subject you know a lot about, do them and yourself a favor and just give it to them. You’ll be helping to win over a new fan and perhaps sales and referrals down the road.