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The psychological reason why you should sell what you know
Last Updated September 7th, 2016

Before I got started packaging up my skills and expertise as online courses, I had a HUGE mental block standing between me and my success.

I kept telling myself, “Why would anyone buy this? If they just buy these books, read these sites, and start testing things on their own, they’ll be able to figure it out.”

Just writing that today makes me feel like an idiot.


As Sweet Brown would say, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

Reading 1000s of books, research papers, and then spending months (if not years) figuring out how to IMPLEMENT the stuff takes time. And…

“Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

But check it:

There’s a psychological reason why you SHOULD sell what you know.

Even if they can find what you know somewhere else at no cost.

Why You Should Sell Your Expertise

On today’s podcast, I brought Francesca Gino, a Harvard professor and author of the book Sidetracked (aff), on Social Triggers to talk about why people only trust information with a price tag.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

(If you can’t see the audio player, here’s the MP3 download).

Also, if you get a second today, can you please leave a review on iTunes? Reviews are how iTunes rank podcasts – and taking 10 seconds to leave a review will be a HUGE help. Thank you!

We cover a lot more game-changing insights in addition to that, so download this podcast and listen today. You’ll see:

* why people CHOOSE to wait in line for hours for something they can find somewhere else… instantly.

* Why creating “rituals” can help you perform high stress tasks better.

* And more.

When you’re done, since I mentioned a mental block I had about business, I’d love for you to share one mental block you think you have preventing you from getting what you want.

Leave a comment or send me an email at news@socialtriggers

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60 comments Leave a comment
Emenike Emmanuel

Hi Derek.

Thanks for this awesome topic. I just downloaded the MP3. It’s enlightening.

My biggest mental block was that I thought nobody will buy my books when I decided to launch it online to a different audience that have never seen before. But as God may have it, I tried anyway and today, the mental block is gone. I even increased the price and it has never stopped selling.


One of my huge mental blocks is I’m afraid I’ll spend months creating a course and get no attention/audience after I put in tons of effort. I recently started a “Self Help” blog site with a goal towards my type of audience I would target. Now I realize it is not nearly niche enough so i plan to start a new website with a new domain that is way more niche. I’m just worried I’ll get no audience at all like my last website. I see a lot of advice that says they will show me how to get traffic but I still haven’t found anything that really works. That’s my current road block.

Nicolas Puegher

The audios are very popular these days, I think I need to add that to my blog. Very valuable tips mate I appreciate your experience.


Hey D, I enjoy your article but I must tell you the content on your right sidebar is messing with your footer elements when I scroll down. FYI. Cheers.


I am a personal development & stress management consultant and I come across this mental block problem quite a lot.

Recognising that you are experiencing a mental block is the first stage of overcoming the problem, so most of you have taken the first step, well done.

When facing a mental block fear of failure should be accepted. Vulnerability should be embraced and “what if’s” should be replaced with “so what’s”.

Sometimes the simple answer is you are just trying too hard, try stepping away and relax go for a walk, be mindful in the here & now.

Hope this helps


I wonder how this can be associated with crowdfunding. There is this sense of waiting for a quality product in addition you see everyone else who is excited about the same item.

In contrast, Amanda Palmer gave her music away and said pay me if you want to, not only got her product out there but made millions. Now I am even more curious how this relates to this topic.

charlotte crowder

So…Perceived value is directly related to personal investment. On a personal level, I raise the value of anything I do by putting in more time, effort and or money. This is something I was trying to get across just last night talking about volunteers at church. The more time people placed in their service the better the turn out and the greater the energy. When the project became to easy, we lost participation. But it is true even in my perception of myself and my own skills. The more time I spend developing my own skills, pouring into my own product, the more I value what I can do and the more I feel justified asking a price. My own costs give me confidence to ask for more from others benefiting from me, and so the cost/value becomes a upwards spiralling circle. Isn’t psychology amazing?!


I listen to Social Triggers on Stitcher Radio.

Biggest insight is that people have a perception that information is more quality if there is a price tag attatched. I know I have paid for workshops or online classes “thinking” I would learn something new, only to find the information was already available elsewhere for free. It is amazing what people place value on and is helpful for me as I plan my business.


Love the podcast!


Absolutely agree – should sell things you know, even further – things you believe in.


Hey Derek,

Great podcast. I was definitely thinking of Shake Shack before you mentioned it. Also reminded me of spending two hours in lines to get inside NYC clubs. I think the club owners figured this out a while ago.

I subscribe on iTunes and listen to you on the subway.


Hi Derek,

My biggest mental block?

Who on Earth would be interested in what I have to offer? Let’s say I know how to create quality content. Who would want to learn from me when I am nobody? You must be an authority already for people to come and listen to you. You must create the greatest content of all and be better then everybody else. This is my primary mental roadblock.

Have a wonderful day

Fit Missy

My mental block is that I try to perfect everything before going forward.

It is such a setback!


I’ve just recently improved at removing my mental block. Reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad has really helped me see the forest for the trees.

Many folks find that they can “fake it to make it”. If you act like you’re an authority, that is about half of it 🙂

Ferdinand Magyar

Hi Derek,

I can’t wait to start listening to this episode as soon as I get home from work. It’s a really interesting concept, to convince people to pay for something they can get for free elsewhere… and why they choose it anyway.

Thanks so much for providing all these helpful podcast.



Found you on Pat’s podcast. I enjoy how you approach things from a different angle. Looking forward to reading and hearing more from you.


Since authority is subjective, I think the biggest hurdle most people have is simply respecting their own expertise. You don’t have to be the best in the world. You just have to have something of value in order to sell. Most of us still seem like we’re looking for approval from someone else. When that approval never comes, we just sit on the sidelines. That’s not helping anyone either.


My biggest mental block was “are my prices too high for people buy my product?”. But now with the help of social triggers; I’ve gained a lot of confidence, and yes I’m making good sales with even higher prices to my products 🙂
Thanks a lot Derek


Hey Derek & all the commentators,

What should one do if someone’s son/daughter/brother has got stuck in a mental & emotional block & just refuse to do anything in life even earning a livelihood & doing daily chores…when in reality that person has got all the genius brains to become very successful…has all the knowledge of computers,programmes and stuffs but just refuses to live..simply killing time and wasting years and years and years…..
What could be done for such person??


I kept telling myself, “Why would anyone buy this? If they just buy these books, read these sites, and start testing things on their own, they’ll be able to figure it out.”

WOW, WOW, you just blew my mind. I’ve been asking myself that for the LONGEST time…

You sir have given me so much motivation!

Sandy Neumann

Most of the time I get a mental block…when I don’t have a plan.
(particularly when I’m writing blog content or articles)

Lou Johnson

I listen to these on my laptop on home.

Barbara McKinney

My biggest mental block is when I’m thinking of some things that I can add to make my product stand out from its existing competitors.But I always end up doing nothing because I don’t know where to start.


Selling is Serving


It took me a minute, but I grew comfortable with my pricing. Like you, I considered time spent in learning, laboring & perfecting.

If you don’t believe it when it rolls off your tongue, the customer prospect will follow in your unbelief. Thanks for this podcast & post.

MJ Bush

You forgot to add the links promised within the podcast. =)

I can’t say how much I appreciate this. It’s range is wide enough that I’m still trying to process it.


Shake shack everyday? 10 days?!


    I was thinking the same thing, Sarah. But Derek is hilarious. I was running while listening and laughed when he said he couldn’t eat another burger or he’d throw up.

Desiree East

Great interview! The most challenging thing for me is pricing and putting a value on programs that I develop. This couldn’t have come at a better time…Thank you Francesca and Derek, for putting things in perspective!!

Mike C Smith

It would seem that those of us working on the internet have become used to the FREE stuff and yet as you say in the podcast, people give it little value as opposed to what we pay for.
It is unfortunate that so much FREE stuff is on offer and is cheapening the internet in general. As an example, Amazon kindle has thousands of FREE books available, authors think it gives them exposure and branding, it’s a miff, they are giving away many hours of hard work for little return.
It’s the same with email subscribe offers, to entice people to sign up, you now have to offer them lots of FREE stuff. Perhaps it’s time to change.

Jordan Coeyman

Thanks for this. Great content, as always. It’s given me an extra boost to push out the next few things I can do to spread awareness for my new “business”. I never put together a freelancing / consulting site until now.


More concrete accomplishments is what I meant to write


Mine is simple, I mistakenly think that everyone knows what I know. I am a crazy curious person and spend a vast amount of time researching seemingly unrelated topics and finding instinctual connections. Then when speaking to folks I realize few are curious and most don’t follow through with the research. Funny though, they also get a lot done in ways that I don’t . My concrete accomplishments !

Bonnie Andrews (@HobbytoHOT)

Left an itunes review! Thanks for always giving us something to think about and act on – great content.

My biggest block – perfection. My constant battle is that nothing will ever be perfect, but who cares, just get it out there (and then test it…)

Thanks again!

Sarah Dizney

Yep… it seems so many of us have the same mental block. I’m no different… I feel there are so many copywriters out there already writing for the industry (racing) that I want to write for… is there room for me? Or… other writers are more knowledgeable than I am, why would anyone hire me?

Time to throw off those doubts and dive in anyway! I ALSO believe if you have a passion for something, and a strong interest, it’s inside you for a reason! You need to let it out! There IS room for you… people DO want what YOU have to offer… otherwise you wouldn’t have the desire to offer it in the first place! (Yes, that pep talk was as much for me as anyone else.) 😉

Hannah Ransom

I love listening to stuff like this because it encourages me to value myself more and CHARGE PEOPLE. Sometimes I still consult for free. I know, terrible.


been listening and watching your vid for a while and each time u come up with something that blows my mind

    Brad Castro

    Awesome, Al – and there really is a long line!


      Thanks Al for posting the link. They do have a crazy long line. Amazing how demand plays tricks on our brains but it’s understandable.



Great episode! Francesca is a great guest with some great insight. It absolutely made me reconsider my consulting fees.

One problem: where is the Shake Shack camera?



My block is mostly funds. And time. Waiting for the copyrights to be done is killing me but December is the soonest I’ll know that everything is good to go. Then also because I work around a dayjob, that makes it hard to complete my other products that require a lot of time (ie, knitting) so I can’t pump out as quickly as I’d like.

The money thing slows me down from doing things like buying a booth and table and tablecloth so I can do shows or afford a smartphone so I can use the Square service to process credit cards at shows. Getting a helper? That ain’t happening if I can’t even get the previous items taken care of.

Just have a couple billion dollars fall from the sky and land in my lap. 🙂

Julie Negrin

Hi Derek, Thanks for sharing this information. I’m curious how you reconcile Francesca’s advice with Marie Forleo’s suggestion that we give away free content. (That’s how I found you – I took her B-School course earlier this year.) I believe she said to give away 75% of our content for free. Would be great to hear your thoughts on Marie/Free vs. Francesca/Paid.

p.s. I listened to your podcast on my computer while I was formatting a document.


My mental block is the same as others!

Because something comes easy for me, I take it for granted that it comes easy for others and diminish its value.


I love the podcast. I have to say that my biggest ah-ha came from the magician. The examples of creating a situations where people feel like their needs are being met were very telling. I decided that I need to create more of a customized experience for my clients and I can’t wait to see what happens.


Hi Derek, very informative episode. Suggestion: Maybe you could post the guest’s photo as a post pic. Not that there is anything wrong with your photo of course, just to give the listener an idea and make it stick.

Melissa Breau (@MelissaBreau)

LOVE the insider podcast … and am very happy you brought it back. I listen to it most of the time while cooking. I like turning on a podcast while fussing about in the kitchen because it means both my hands and brain are engaged. I also sometimes listen while driving or walking the dog. 🙂

I left a itunes review and actually tend to listen from there rather than from here on the page.

As for something I’ve got a block about … like most people, I’m hesitant to really call myself an expert—I always figure there are other people out there who know more about something than I do. I’ve made strides in overcoming this (I’m giving my 2nd in-person presentation later this week on content marketing), but it wasn’t until a client raved about how valuable my insights were that I really started to think, “okay, maybe I don’t give myself enough credit.”

Alexander John

Easy enough trick.

I will do a air fist pump. I do the fist pump when I reached my goal. So why not before I reach a goal to get me in the mood.

Yeah! Just did it!

Bilal Ahmad

At one stage I was in the same state but then I decided to speak out about my experience and skills in an ebook format. The only block for me was that “Why someone will want to hear me, when bigger names are already talking the same”


I don’t have problem with selling of what I know. If someone is interested, who am I to tell him “nooo, don’t give me the money” 🙂


My mental barrier is that no one wants my knowledge. I travel around holding talks and pride myself in being able to engage the audience and communication well. But for some reason it feels like there’s no demand for it, no courses can be designed for it and people have no interest in it. That’s my mental block.

    Dylan Jones

    You might not be appealing to the right motivations, what is it that you offer?

    Paul Back

    Hey Dennis what field are you in?


      Hi Paul, sorry for the late reply. Didn’t check back if someone had replied. I’m currently in education, but I want to reach out to other potential customers.

      It’s not that I don’t think there’s a demand for it, it’s that my mind tells me “whatever you have is not good enough”.


My mental block is the same.

Why would people buy this from me?

Don’t people already know how to do this?

What if my work/program doesn’t work for them?


Great timing on this podcast!

My biggest mental block is that I’ll research methods for doing something and think “what am I missing”. The thought that I’m missing a step (in my mind it’s always the one step that guarantees success) keeps me from even starting.

    Sarah Dizney


    I do that too! I research, read, learn, etc, etc, etc. I feel like there’s something ELSE I NEED to learn before I’m qualified to do the work. I need to just JUMP IN sometimes! We probably ARE more ready than we realize!



One mental block that I think prevents me from getting what I want is the fact that there’s a lot of work divided into small steps when it comes to success and I always thought that success is this ONE big event.

I listen to your podcasts on my android phone. That’s pretty convenient! Thanks for all the insights you share with us!

    Jim Wang

    And part of that mental block is that we often don’t see all the little (and big) failures along the way, thus erroneously thinking there was never any failure along the way.


    Same here,
    I had this for a long time and I didn’t know I had it
    Until I listened to eben pagan’s “seeds of Success”
    Made my life so much easier.

    Success emerges.

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