Doing it Yourself is Very Different Than Figuring it Out Yourself

    Posted by Peter Caputa on Aug 14, 2012 10:47:00 AM

    People hire experts because experts can help them overcome challenges more efficiently and effectively, usually at lower overall cost. Experts have figured things out before and are good at applying their expertise in similar situations. Yet, every day, people decide to try and figure things out themselves. How much money and time are you losing by trying to figure things out yourself?

    The Difference Between "Doing it Yourself" and "Figuring it Out Yourself"

    At HubSpot, we started by selling a "do it yourself" approach to internet marketing, where we taught small business owners and in-house marketers how to do inbound marketing themselves. We packaged training on our inbound marketing methodology with our software, so customers didn't have to figure out internet marketing on their own and could benefit from all of our experience and data packaged up into a simple step-by-step process. A popular phrase amongst sales people at HubSpot is "You can do it! We can help!", which we obviously borrowed from someone else you've undoubtedly used to try and figure out how to do a home improvement project yourself. We still offer this approach. It's the approach that most of our direct sales team pitches, even though they've referred $6M+ worth of marketing services business to our agency partners. Since our marketing team publishes loads of educational material on "how to do internet marketing", we tend to attract an audience that wants tihs approach. As you can see from our internet marketing case studies, it works.

    Our partners, who tend to get much of their new business through a combination of networking, previous clients and their own inbound marketing, tend to sell to companies who are a bit less educated about internet marketing and a lot less eager to "do it themselves". They typically secure new clients who want the "do it for me" approach; they typically sell marketing services retainers.

    A Story of a Small Business Owner Who Chose to Try and Figure it Out Himself

    A few months back, I joined a call with an agency partner and their prospect. As a relatively new company, the prospect had balked at the agency's retainer price. I suggested that we identify whether a hybrid approach would work for the prospect where a) the client did a lot of the work and b) the agency did the heavy lifting and coaching. Many of our partners take this hybrid approach when their clients have in-house staff who can create content, man social media and learn how to use parts of our software to do things like building landing pages and sending email campaigns.

    On the call, I asked the prospect, "What does your day look like now? What do you do every day?" He proceeded to tell us that he spends 2 hours per day reading blogs about internet marketing. I asked him, "How that's working for you?" He didn't appreciate me challenging him and that's when I started to think that he wasn't going to buy anything. I then asked him, "Do you think that hiring an expert to advise you on what to do 1st, 2nd and 100th would be more effective for you vs trying to read lots of blogs and figure it out yourself?" He said that he had considered it and that's why he was talking to us. I then asked him if he understood that the more quality blog content he produces, the more qualified traffic he'll get to his website. He said he would run out of things to write about. I informed him that our partner has ways of helping him come up with content and that if he wanted us to, we could do some searches right now to come up with ideas that he hadn't considered. I then said that "Our partner has done this for many clients. I can assure that you coming up with content ideas will not be a problem after doing some basic keyword and market research."  He then pushed back and said he wouldn't have time to write more articles and that he'd be worried about the quality of the content.  I addressed this partially, but not to his satisfaction. He wasn't really open to the conversation. To fully disqualify him, I then switched to budget qualification and asked him, "If we could define a program where you do more of the work and our partner does some of the work and guides you, what could you invest?" He didn't give me a straight answer. I left the conversation with, "I don't think this is a fit for you. There's certain things that we know must be done in order to be successful. And if you can't invest atleast $1,000 per month, our partner can't help you." He didn't like hearing that either, but at this point it was safe to say that he wasn't ready to get any help.

    In this case, he wanted to not only 'do it himself', he also wanted to figure it out himself.  He wasn't really open to hearing how to do inbound marketing effectively from an expert. I checked out his site today and he hasn't done any of the stuff our partner suggested during the sales process. He hasn't created more content, has no calls to action, no educational offers behind landing pages, and he doesn't have any marketing analytics tracking code installed. He's probably still spending 2 hours a day reading about internet marketing, instead of doing it. He's trying to figure out how to do it himself, but in reality, he's not doing anything much. In my experience, most people who try to figure it out themselves, end up making very little progress towards their goals. They end up just researching and thinking about it. Even if they do something, they're often doing the wrong things in the wrong order.

    How Much is "Figuring it Out on Your Own" Costing You?

    There's a lot of small business owners and executives with this same problem as the guy above. The problem isn't unique to selling internet marketing services or to small business owners. Every day, people decide to try and figure stuff out themselves, instead of relying on an expert who has done it 1,000s of times before. Usually that costs them lost time and lost money.

    Do you run into prospects like this? What is it costing them? Are you like this? How much time and money are you losing trying to figure stuff out yourself?

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