I came across a situation today that had me thinking about sales and the small business. I blogged about it on SoHo Savvy.
The situation is all about how people perceive you and your products and services when you give them away.
I tell everyone that they should never give away their own products or services.
When you give away your own products or services you are saying “this has no value”. You may not be overtly devaluing your goods but you are sending this signal to everyone who knows that you are doing something for free.
You are also setting a horrible precedent. If you give it away once, you can give it away in the future. Someone will be smart enough to ask why you can’t give it away “like you did last time” or “like you did for Johnnie”.
Here is how you provide a “sample” with out giving something away:
There are times when you may need to do some work for free (or provide a product sample). Here are some ways to do it without sending the wrong signal:
Trade – Get something, anything, in return. Getting something back for your efforts at least signals that your product or service has value.
Get “someone else” to pay – Let the prospect know that a friend has “sponsored” your services today. You can approach the friend and ask if they will pay (or trade). Worst case, offer the friend a “two for one” deal as long as the second item goes to the person who wants the Freebie.
Have someone else give your stuff away. If a complementary business gives away your goods or services they are offering something of value. No one knows what they paid you (and no one should ever know). The other business can offer your services as a package deal with theirs and you can help them win the client over while selling yourself.
Raffle off your services – If someone wins your services in a contest, your services must have some value. Hold a contest or raffle and pick a winner. Always make sure you include the value of the prize in all advertising or communications.
I know these tips sound like a matter of semantics. That’s because they are. The way you phrase things makes all the difference in the world when you are trying to establish a long-term relationship with a customer.