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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.

Written by: Vickie Sullivan  |  December 12, 2013

Competing With Free

I love a good rant. This Fall New York Times article about working for “exposure” made me chuckle in recognition. As if artists and writers are the only ones who get requests to work without pay.

My theory for why folks continuously ask us experts to work for “exposure”. Because it works for some of us. Every author who speaks for free to get book sales educates buyers that all authors will speak for free. Every industry association who gets kudos for agendas filled with free speakers will not pay for speakers again. ¬†Why would they? Like a child who gets away with lying for the first time, we think “hey, that worked great” and a new habit is born.

Competing with free is our new normal. It isn’t going away anytime soon. So instead of griping about our plight, let’s get strategic. Get clear on your difference and articulate the impact of that difference. Show our value. Then let the chips fall where they may.

Buyers compare free with fee all the time. Our job is to educate them on the difference, what they are missing out on and why it’s important.


About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.