The Tiny Shoes Story (And Why You Need To Know It)

Posted by on Sep 27 2006

I heard a good metaphor from Fred Gleeck that I want to share with you. There is a clear distinction between using the “info guru” marketing technique and having little shoes shaken out of your head. Read on:


Many years ago I used to tell a story when I did consulting seminars. To illustrate an important point, I’d like to share it with you.

Let’s assume that for the last 20 years you’ve bought your shoes at Thom Mccann. Let’s say that tomorrow you go into one of their retail stores, pick out a couple of pairs of shoes and bring them up to the cashier. You place them on the counter and when the clerk looks up at you, you say:

“Since I’ve been buying shoes here at Thom Mccann for the last 20 years I think I deserve these two pairs of shoes for FREE today . . . what do you think?”

If this were a New York City store the cashier would look at you and say: “You can put your shoes rightoverhere!”

No dice!

When you are an expert in your field, people will try and “extract” information from you for free. When someone contacts you by email, over the phone, or when they meet you in person, people will make their best effort to get FREE STUFF from you.

Inside your head there are racks with lots of tiny little shoes – your inventory.

Just like Thom Mccann, you sell something. You sell your knowledge and expertise. That’s your inventory. Giving away your inventory on a regular basis will land you in bankruptcy court. It may be prudent to occasionally give away a pair of shoes in hopes of getting a large order. But you must be VERY careful when and how often you choose to do that.

So WHEN this happens to you I want to imagine that the person who tries to do it to you has grabbed you by the lapels and is shaking you. While they are shaking you, they have their hands open under your ears as they wait for the tiny shoes (your inventory) to fall out of your ears and into their hands.

They are looking to STEAL your inventory!

Don’t let them do it.

If your knowledge and expertise is what you sell, don’t let people steal your inventory. It’s how you make your living. Instead, answer people very directly when you get this kind of routine.

Tell people that you know what they’re doing. Bust them. Say something like: “I would love to give you the answers to some of those questions and will be happy to do so once you are a paying client . . . . how would you like to pay for my services? Would a check work or would Paypal be better for you?”

Stop giving your services away for free.


Fred Gleeck is an expert in the field of Information Marketing and Seminar Marketing. He’s the author of 10+ books and is an accomplished coach and consultant. Fred is known as the “King of Content.”



2 comments for now

2 Responses to “The Tiny Shoes Story (And Why You Need To Know It)”

  1. Debra Carr

    The timing of this article is absolutely perfect, as I just had someone today that wanted information without buying it. In the consulting business, information is your ONLY product so you have to be careful of the ones who will ‘drain you’. Thank you for the article!

    05 Oct 2006 at 10:48 pm

  2. Anonymous

    I am a singing teacher and I get this all the time. People are asking me about their singing problems and wanting some answers, but I am getting better at catching it and stopping it. Enjoyed the story. I also have this problem with less experienced singers, wanting to know how to get all the work, but not willing to do the leg work to get it! That one is really annoying, so I tend to keep stum, but they can feel like they are shaking me at times.

    03 Nov 2006 at 9:42 am

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