October 16, 2010


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Most people are close to average, when compared with their peers. That's true by definition, whether you're talking about advisors, coaches, executives, musicians or teachers. Members of a tribe tend to think alike, look alike, and talk alike. You'll spot patterns among nonconformists too.

Yet there are material differences that affect that results you get. How do you pick one over the rest?

Look at their intent. This takes mere minutes to assess but saves you agony in time and money.  Simply look at what they give away for free on their websites, blogs, podcasts or videos.

You're looking for generosity. Unconditional and valuable to you.

You can easily look at their content anonymously and assess the
  • quality: generally reasonable but if it's too professional, maybe they hired someone to create it?
  • quantity:  do they give you a bite or a meal?
  • frequency:  is there a real commitment of resources on their part?
  • consistency:  have they quit giving?
  • history: are they innovators or laggards?

The Experiment

As an experiment, I've been looking for experts who could help my clients become more successful. These candidates create positive first impressions and seem to be worth hiring. There are so many of them. How do you pick one?

Online they've done nothing special. So the results below aren't surprising.

I bought a book from a coach and subscribed to her newsletter but she won't reply to emails (bad intent: not following her own advice). Imagine someone who'll take your money but won't respond to you.

A public relations specialist had no tips on how to approach a well-known group (bad intent: doesn't have the connections claimed).

A professional organizer created a paid event with slow onsite registration in a room with obstructions and lousy refreshments (bad intent: incompetence or low standards).

This one's weird. A coach sent continual emails pleading for free help in selling tickets, rather than designing a must-attend event (bad intent: proving that the techniques he teaches don't work).

Finally, two marketing firms added me to their mailing lists without permission (bad intent: violating the do-not-spam rules). Hire them and what sort of work would you expect?


How you do anything is how you do everything. — T Harv Eker
I wasn't looking for bad examples, but they abound. Online clues to intent could be wrong but  they're surprisingly predictive. What's your experience?

Rather than listen to what they say, watch what they do. You're more than a wallet or credit card. Are they after more than a bite our of your cookie?


Podcast Episode 88 (3:48)

direct download | Internet Archive page

PS If they're not online, that's a bad sign.

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