If you love somebody, set them free. -Sting
I have been reading (and re-reading) David Meerman Scott‘s new book World Wide Rave. It is an awesome source of information on how to use the World Wide Web for innovative marketing ideas.

In it David introduces the 6 rules of the ‘rave’: 1. Nobody cares about your product (except you). 2. No coercion required. 3. Lose control (!) 4. Put down roots. 5. Create triggers that encourage people to share, and 6. Point the world to your (virtual) doorstep.

It is this rule of ‘losing control’ that has me fascinated! The notion of using the internet to give yourself away, to educate customers (rather than to sell them) and to make fans for life through sharing your wisdom is inspiring. For many this may be a new concept that takes some getting used to, yet, it makes sense.

I listened to a tele-class yesterday that was really well done and very intriguing. Towards the end of the call the facilitator was interrupted by a colleague who came on to deliver the company’s sales pitch. This was so out of content that I lost my interest and got off the call. Otherwise, I would have probably stayed on to find out about the company, so I could later roam and explore their website on my own.

Putting content first and sales second is energizing! It takes the pressure out of the sales process and it allows customers to choose with freedom and pleasure from what the market has to offer. Doing business this way is focused on service, and, what I love best, it is very creative.

Now, I want to take it even further: How about putting your clients first and yourself second? Everybody is talking about ‘clients first’ but is that really what’s going on in the market? Isn’t it about us, first? In a way this is a paradox because it is about us and it isn’t. The minute we want something for ourselves and ask ourselves “What’s in it for me?, or “What am I getting out of this?”, we are lost.

In his wonderful Book of Secrets, Deepak Chopra talks about the fact that every cell in our body knows this principle of giving and operates by it. Cells, he says, don’t hoard. Cells work for the welfare of the whole and have total trust on being provided for. Total commitment to giving makes receiving automatic. Selfishness is not an option.

Note: Out of control does not mean out of balance. Balance is essential for any system to function well. Out of control does not mean you should operate without a plan, either. Having a structure is essential for your success.

Losing control in action:

  • A teacher at my daughter’s school told me that one of her students learns much better when he is allowed to read books during class. So she lets him.
  • In coaching, letting go of control is essential. If I control the coaching process, I completely miss the point of serving my client. If I am consumed with thinking about what’s right for the client, I can’t see what she really needs. This is hard and at the same time most fascinating. The power is in not knowing and in taking yourself out of the equation. It allows magic to occur. By losing control we put others in control of making their own choices.

How about you? How are you losing control in your business? I’d love to hear your stories and if you want to share them, feel free to add them in the comments section.

As always, thank you for reading,