Why you should never offer for FREE!
How often have you been tempted to offer your services for free to entice new potential clients through the door? Certainly when starting out or when you see the inquiries start to drop it may have entered into your mind.
I’m not talking about physical products but more your services and as tempting it is to do this, then stop now and read these two true stories that will make you reconsider doing this (plus a third story of the man who got it spot on)
Story of the Tarot Reader
A good friend of mine who is an excellent tarot reader wanted to boost his online readings and so via Facebook, he posted out that he will be offering free readings. To make matters worse he posted out “who would like a free reading from me, please PM” and consequently ended up with over 200 responses.
These people then started to “demand” that their readings be sent to them (let’s face it 200 free readings would take about a year to do) which ended up with him having to delete his account, remain off Facebook for about 6 months only to go back on under a different name and start all over again.
Story of the web designer
Facebook (again) groups can wok well for some people but not when offering your services for free. In this case, I saw a post from a web designer who announced that he was “offering free websites in order to build his portfolio…”
Within the hour he had over 40 people “claiming” their free website and leaving this poor chap with a mountain of potential free websites to build, losing time, money and energy.
The real issue is the type of “clients” you will be attracting – if you offer something for free, you will attract and gain the wrong clients. People who want things on the cheap or free will tend to be those that always have issues with you, demanding more of your time and continue to ask for more free services from you, disrespecting your integrity and eventually diluting your brand aka BRAND BURN!
More often they will let “others” know of your “free” services and you continue to the cycle, as these people come to you also.
So instead of offering “FREE” try these options instead:
- Discount coupons with a limited number of people to apply or limit the applying timeframe.
- Competitions and limit to a maximum of two winners
- IF you want to offer something for free then a report or even a webinar (use evergreen techniques for this), BUT use it to gain people’s email addresses for future marketing.
- Offer a sneak preview – (see an example here)
Finally the story of how to do this right – the Custom Jewelry expert…
A custom jewelry guy from Cape Town offered these unique and beautifully designed bracelets online and had a lot of orders and interest from those that saw them. Each bracelet was selling for around R500 each.
One morning he got an email from a lady that said she would love one of his bracelets, but she had calculated that the material costs to make them only came to R200 and so she wanted one of his bracelets for that price – he agreed and she paid the money.
A few days later a parcel arrived for her and inside was all the materials for her to make the bracelet herself with a note that said “Here are the materials for R200 to make the bracelet. If you want me to make it the fee is a further R300. The materials may only cost R200 but that does not include my time to make it – let me know how you get on!”
This man is a hero…