Do you give a taster or anything for free?

I'm coming across quite a few freebie strategies lately and wondered if anyone had used these successfully and any lessons learned that you would be prepared to share here.

Sometimes it can be really difficult to sell things for free as there is the risk of this approach taking away or reducing the perception of value the services bring.

If you do this what are the things you would watch out for?

I'm thinking of things such as a free months service, or free payroll, or free ebook etc.

Any thoughts and experiences to share on this?

Maxine

Comments

Nothing is every free    1 thanks

Jekyll and Hyde | | Permalink

You just have to watch the news with Free banking today. Or the insurance 10 for the price of 12. We all know its 12 months paid in 10 monthly installments!

I don't think there are that many clients out there that do not understand the ploys of marketing. They will simply look at the total price quoted and then compare the total price they are currently paying. If you are cheaper and it is a price issue then they will move ot you.

 

Cardigan's picture

Depends on the potential client    1 thanks

Cardigan | | Permalink

Hi Maxine,

In the practice I worked in previously we had a free company incorporation offering (with terms and conditions). Basically, we would set up your company if you became a client.This was advertised on our website.

On the plus side, we received a lot of calls from potential clients wanting to take up the offer and we gained clients from it that we may not have got otherwise.

On the negative side, many of these potential clients were taken aback when we mentioned that this offering was for new clients of the practice. They thought we were forming companies out of the goodness of our hearts!

The bad telephone conversations became all about the fees. The client would ask about the free company formation. We would say we would be delighted to help, ask them about the business, invite them to a free meeting to discuss etc. Then the client would say, I just want a company. So we would explain that the free company was for new clients of the firm. As expected, the next question would be "how much are accounts?" We would then say that we would like to ensure we understand their needs etc. Sometimes they would indeed call in for a meeting, but I found more often than not, they were shopping around on price and were not interested in meeting us.This was fine by us as we were not interested in competing on price. However, these phone conversations were very frustrating and lowered morale around the office.

In summary, although the freebie gained attention it was from the wrong type of client.

In my new practice, I don't do freebies as such. However, I usually give some sort of taster to potential clients to show them that I know what I am doing. For example, I do answer some basic tax questions at the initial meeting without charge as long as there is no tax planning advice involved. I also give out leaflets/pdfs on topics that the client might be interested in to show I know my stuff.

The idea of the free ebook is one I have been toying with. Once it is produced, then that is the extent of your time involvement. It can also be a useful way of gathering emails for your newsletter.

marginal cost is key...    2 thanks

ringi | | Permalink

free ebook can work as there is no per client marginal cost therefore the most value is created by giving them to all clients.

A “free” online payroll system that clients can enter all the data into themselves with you charging whenever they phone you etc may work.   (Likewise for on-line book keeping)

A good example from IT, is that it cost at least 10 times as much to provide “paid for” WiFi in a Hotel then it does to provide “free” WiFi – so the process of charging separately for the WiFi just removes value.

So one option is to give away for “free” anything that does not cost you much to provide but does increase the value to the client of your main high margin service.

 

just a free consultation

LondonBookkeeper | | Permalink

There are a lot of clients who want things for free of course and I find that the better clients want a good service for a fair price. I think the people that want things for free and haggle you down to the lowest possible price for everything are perhaps not worth having as clients.

I wouldn't offer anything more for free as it devalues the service you're offering.

karenreyburn's picture

Webinars    1 thanks

karenreyburn | | Permalink

Totally agree that you don't want to offer your services for free - but there are loads of free things you can supply that will encourage people to engage with you, such as:

- Free reports (white paper, or just a short PDF on a topic applicable to business owners)

- Webinars (hugely successful for professional service firms, and helps distinguish the 'hot' leads from the warm or cold ones)

- Online bookkeeping (great things are said of Free Agent, and justifiably so)

- Diagnostics with helpful report (something that's helpful in and of itself, but also could lead to them engaging more with you)

Hope that helps!

Karen Reyburn

The Profitable Firm

David Winch's picture

Two thoughts

David Winch | | Permalink

There's no need to give away any 'snippets' of advice in sales meetings.  Why would you want to?  If you think it adds to your credibility, why do you need to add to the credibility that got you the meeting?

When you give stuff away for free, like free e-books - a very useful strategy, when done correctly - only give away the 'what' and the 'why'.  Don't give away the 'how' until they are paying you!

David Winch

Make Sales Without Selling and Get Paid What You're Worth

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