In one of the early scenes in the pilot episode of House, M.D. (the old TV show featuring Hugh Laurie) he is examining a brain scan with his team of underlings.

"It's a lesion," one of the young doctors states.

Dr. House retorts:

"And the big green thing in the middle of the bigger blue thing on a map is an island. I was hoping for something a little more creative."

"Shouldn't we be speaking to the patient before we start diagnosing?"

"Is she a doctor?" House asks.

"No, but..."

"Everybody lies."

"Dr. House doesn't like dealing with patients," one of the other doctors tells the first. To which the younger doc replies:

"Isn't treating patients why we became doctors?"

"No," House replies. "Treating illnesses is why we became doctors. Treating patients is what makes most doctors miserable."

There are lots of parallels here for freelancers running their own business and working directly with clients, not the least of which is that we're here to treat the "illnesses" of our market, and that, sometimes, "working with clients" is what makes us miserable.

Unless, that is, you learn to cultivate your prospect list so that only the best ones filter through and decide to purchase from you, while simultaneously repelling the PITAs into unsubscribing and leaving your righteous world in search of someone else to annoy.

But that's not the point I want to make today.

The point today is: Everybody lies.

Which is why asking your customers and prospects what they prefer is a one-way ticket to nowheresville.

People's stated preferences rarely align with their actions.

For example.

If you ask someone whether they prefer daily emails or a once-per-week digest, they'll almost certainly tell you that once-per-week is better.

But if you took that preference to heart and started only sending emails once-per-week, those same people would probably start to skip over your emails, or they'd end up in the promotion tab in gmail, or some other "sub-optimal" outcome.

Almost certainly you'd make fewer sales than if you emailed more regularly.

As the inimitable "email player" Ben Settle says:

You Don't Ask The
Deer How to Hunt It...
You Ask The Hunter

I'm not saying you should never ask your prospects for their input, opinion or perspective...

...I'm saying you should take that feedback with a Pakistan-sized grain of pink Himalayan sea salt before making any decisions.

And that you should strive to impart YOUR opinions and perspectives onto your prospects, so instead of coddling them and hoping they buy from you, you let them know exactly where you stand and where you're coming from, and let them decide if they want to stick around.

It's your world, after all.
They're lucky to be in it.

When it comes to my opinions and perspectives, I go into more philosophical depth in my novel, My Time With Simon.

It's a treatise on the mosaic of personal identity, a guide to living a better life... and a love story.

You can get a digital copy (including a Kindle version and instructions on how to send to your device, should you prefer that) right here:


Rantin' and ravin' my way on a mission to make marketing your expertise-driven freelance business fun, easy AND effective.

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