The old adage “you get what you pay for” makes for a good sound bite, but it is simply a myopic perspective based upon a misinterpretation of the value of “Free”. The ultimate marketing hook has always been, continues to be, and will remain the “Free” trial or give-away. Free does not diminish value, nor is it beneath a premium provider or brand…Rather “Free” is simply a very intelligent way to leverage your strengths. In today’s blog post I’ll examine the lost art of how to use “Free” as a strategic marketing advantage.

Brand snobbery is not the key to success, and in only the most rare circumstances are companies built upon consumers make a purchasing decision solely based upon a positioning strategy of demonstrated arrogance. A key focus area should be in establishing a bond of trust and engendering credibility with your target market. Moreover anything you can do to remove barriers and shorten the selling cycle is time very well spent. Nothing gives you the chance to demonstrate competency, overcome objections and communicate unique selling propositions better than a “try before you buy” strategy.  It is a very rare occurence that I speak with an executive or entrepreneur where I can’t reach an agreement so why wouldn’t I want every possible chance to do so?

If you believe free offers are for discount providers or brands, or that they are not used by busy or successful professionals, then I would encourage you to reevaluate your thinking as it may be resulting in lost opportunities. Our firm has a premium brand and we use free give-aways as a key component of our marketing strategy…I am a very busy executive with numerous operating responsibilities at the corporate level as well as maintaining a personal consulting practice and yet I take the time to author this blog and in the right situations will give away snippets of time at no cost or obligation.

You will find that the most sought after professionals will always invest their time as they have nothing to hide and everything to gain in doing so. From my point of view, the best thing that can happen is for prospective clients to speak with other firms and then for them to speak with me…I certainly don’t want to do anything that would stand in the way of letting the client compare me with my peers. I’m reminded of an experience I had many years back while shopping for an automobile…I had narrowed my options down to three brands, of which two, gave me the normal 10 minute test drive and one said take the car for the weekend. The dealer that gave me the 72 hour test drive was confident in his product and as it turned out rightly so…

Bottom line…free consultations, free access to white papers or articles, trial offers, performance guarantees, discounted, tiered or bundled pricing models, rebates or any number of other incentives that incorporate a free offer will result in an increase in sales and customer loyalty. Still not a believer? Call me and let’s see what happens…