Explain everything you know!

photo of one person explaining everything to someone else

Watch this video. It's less than 5 minutes long.

What was your response?

Ok, I'm not talking about how expensive all that gear was. Think about the video you just watched another way. Answer this question.

Would you rather:

  • Hire him to set up things for you
  • Go buy all the things and set it up yourself

I don't know about you, but as I watched this, I just kept thinking, “Can I just hire you to do it for me?”

Did you have that response? Or better yet, have you ever had that response?

Want more clients?

I have attended all sorts of training. Video training. In-person training. I've bought books. Manuals.

All of it for the same reason—to learn things.

And every time I do, I get about halfway thru the material and start having the same exact wish: I want to hire the author or instructor and just have them do it for me.

Now, most of the time I can't afford that. So I end up learning how to do things myself. But if the price is right—I'll pay and leave the work to the experts.

Think about this in tons of different situations:

  • Wedding Photography
  • Filing Taxes
  • Creating and Editing Videos
  • Designing the eBook Cover
  • Making BBQ
  • Assembling IKEA furniture
  • Writing Blog Posts (never fear, I'm authoring this and every other post)

All of these things are things I can do. But none of them are things I want to develop expertise in.

And so, I would rather hire someone. But not just anyone.

I want to hire the person who just explained everything to me in a way that made so much sense that I just wanted it done asap!

Explain Everything

If you commit to this process, to explain everything you know, you'll find that it does three things right away.

You learn more about what you already know. It's that way every time. I start explaining stuff and discover tiny little gaps that I probably should know but didn't. So the explaining part helps me fill in the gaps.

You'll quickly find out what you need to learn better. Each time I explain something, I get questions. And while many of the questions are simple to answer, some stump me. And that's when I discover that there may be things I know at a high level but may need to dig in a little deeper. Explaining things creates a nice feedback loop for my own learning.

You demonstrate mastery that leads to trust. Maybe the most important part of this dynamic – for freelancers and digital agencies—is that as the person teaching, you're ascribed an additional portion of trust simply by being the one sharing knowledge. This trust can help you get hired more often (among many other benefits).

When you explain, remember these five tips!

1. Remember to start with why this information is important.

Sometimes we jump into the details so quickly that we forget that while we may have the proper context, others won't. So start with the context and make sure you explain why what you're explaining is important.

For me, that means I always start with the pain. I want to explain something so that you can get past something. Skip past something. And more often than not, that something is pain.

2. Remember to follow up with the results or upside.

If people know and acknowledge the pain that we're trying to mitigate, then the next thing I want to do is highlight what happens if you learn this. It's another why. This why is the, “why should you care?” And if people understand and agree with both the pain and the gain, then I know I have someone who is paying attention.

If the person I'm explaining something to agrees with both the pain and the gain, they're going to start wondering if they want to know the steps and details. That's when they realize, this person knows it and maybe I can hire them to do it so I don't have to learn it.

So don't skip past the gain.

3. Remember that you need to make an offer.

This sounds silly but if there's a chance that people can hire you to do the work instead of instruct, make sure they know that. I can't tell you the number of times people just assumed I wasn't able to be hired for something until I explained that it was a possibility. I'm not saying pitch your services. But I'm saying that you need to make it easy for someone to know, one way or the other, if you're available.

4. Remember that the decision calculus is often driven not by your value but by the value of your audience.

If I am listening to someone explain everything about building a new BBQ and they take me thru each step, in detail, I start wondering how long this is going to take. First I wonder how long the instructions will take to listen to. Then I'll start wondering how long it will take to assemble the BBQ. At that point, and long before the instructions are done, I'm going to ask if there's a fee for assembly.

I'm comparing that cost to the value of my time. Not anyone else's.

This is why sometimes we freak out about the price we're going to charge for something, while the customer doesn't stress at all. If they're worth way more than us, we're doing the math in our head wrong.

5. Remember that what I want is the end state

I think sometimes we get confused by what someone else wants. As I teach someone how to build an online course or membership platform, it's easy to think they want to know all the little details and tricks.

It finally took an executive many years ago to interrupt my monologue on what I was doing. “Do I need to be here for this?”

And he wasn't being rude. I was. By wasting his time. And I did it because I thought he wanted mastery over what I knew (which had taken a long time). He didn't.

He simply wanted the site, the solution, to exist. That was his end state.

People know there's more to know

Here's the good news. As you're explaining everything you know about something, people know that you're likely skipping past stuff you know but even forgot you knew. Because you get it. You know it. And so they know there's more to know.

And that's why they hire you. Because they know the phrase, “You've forgotten more than I'll ever know.”

But it's your generosity as you share that builds trust and causes people to want to work with you. The stinginess of not sharing sends all sorts of red flags.

So share and explain everything you know. And watch what happens.