Information should be shared not sold

Information should be shared not sold

This is a Filofax.

I’ve had a couple of experiences recently that have made really question whether information is really a competitive edge anymore. I’m not talking about proprietary recipes, or things that can be copyrighted. I’m talking about the kind of information that USED to be a gold mine and is now available to everyone if they look hard enough.  Information is no longer for selling…it’s for sharing. Collectively we can get better and make more money.

For example, when I was in sales 100 years ago we kept our client lists very secret. Those relationships and those names were to be guarded with our lives. A colleague of mine once left his Filofax at a bar after a networking event at a bar. Our manager almost fired him, sure that our competition had snapped it up and were busy calling his contacts. Even names of producers used to be sacrosanct…only to be known by those publicists in the “in” crowd.

I don’t think we can use information as a competitive edge anymore. Anybody can buy a subscription to Cision and find out who to pitch. HARO goes out multiple times daily with key information that used to be shared among only a select number of people. Company LinkedIn pages often list key managers. It’s all OUT there already. Why should we pay for it? 

I regularly speak with other PR’s about who they pitch, what I should pitch….in the old days we called it “lifting our skirts”. In today’s world, there’s no way one person can “own” enough information to be more competitive because of it. We have to collaborate and share…and our boats will all lift with the tide as a result. Experts like Daniel Pink and Seth Godin often talk about the power of collaboration internally. Small businesses, entrepreneurs and freelancers need to think the same way externally.

Of course, don’t collaborate with idiots. That’s a given. But the next time a colleague reaches out and wants to “brainstorm” don’t try to charge her for your time. Don’t try to collect commission if he gets a deal. Find the people who understand that we have to collaborate to succeed these days. The old days of competing by “what we know” are over.  Don’t you think? 

13 Comments
  • Rufus Dogg
    Posted at 17:13h, 10 November Reply

    It has always been the access that was the valuable thing. If you have a reporter or producer’s phone number, it generally meant you had access because you had to be “in the know” to get it in the first place. Now with everything knowable all the time, any idiot with an Internet connection, a full pot of coffee and more time than money can find out anything about anyone.

    But knowing that information doesn’t mean you will get your call/email answered or returned. Chances are, when the phone rings, it may get a glance over to the caller ID and go into voicemail if not recognized.. or email goes to junk folder.

    The relationship is the value part of the “information.” Always has been, probably always will be.

  • smith
    Posted at 04:33h, 11 November Reply

    very nice post…

  • brian
    Posted at 05:06h, 11 November Reply

    provide great information

  • La tienda del espia
    Posted at 10:00h, 11 November Reply

    information is most valuable thing these days

  • Jacki @ Mirasol Homes
    Posted at 10:59h, 11 November Reply

    We used to be very secretive with how we did business. We’re very successful in our market, especially when it comes to marketing online. We didn’t want our competitors learning how we did things or what venders we use. Until one day I was speaking to a competitor and realized at that moment, no matter what I tell this person, they won’t go back and implement the things I tell them.

    And that’s exactly what happened. I revealed many things about our business but still have not seen any rise in our competition.

    Great thought provoking article!

  • Juan
    Posted at 23:49h, 12 November Reply

    Very interesting your point of view. Congratulations on the article!

  • Rob Thomson @ River Homes
    Posted at 08:30h, 14 November Reply

    Information is just that, INFORMATION. As I see it, information is out there for the taking. You need the right tools to harvest that information. But it is what you DO with it that makes a difference. If you are not taking the time or the actions to cultivate that information to sales, then that information is useless. Thank you for the great article.

  • high intensity focused ultrasound
    Posted at 20:00h, 14 November Reply

    It kind of makes you miss the olden days, huh? Where you can’t just get information anywhere, but now it is all over the web. While I do agree with you on some parts, I still think the choice of selling or sharing information is debatable. Depending on how high the demand is for that kind of information.

  • Frank
    Posted at 13:35h, 15 November Reply

    Truth! Good post. I’m a rather competitive individual, so this sort of thing takes getting used to. That is to say, it doesn’t come easy.

    I found information about distant relatives by looking on Facebook for people with my last name. Now my family is much larger as a result!

    What CAN’T be found on the internet? Nothing! Welcome to a brave, new, transparent world…

    Frank

  • Husnain
    Posted at 08:15h, 17 November Reply

    thanks for providing info

  • Carin
    Posted at 04:32h, 22 November Reply

    Good post and thanks for sharing…

  • Joao
    Posted at 09:49h, 23 December Reply

    I used to work in a company where internal collaboration was essential. Because people are all different and one sales person might connect better to a certain type of client than another. I fully agree with the Blog

  • I Am alive
    Posted at 05:56h, 10 March Reply

    O yes that’s great post, Thank you for sharing informative post

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