Are you giving things away (e.g. samples, demo equipment, free sessions) as a means to build business? Do you ever wonder if you’re wasting money? Would you like to be more effective and get a better return on your investment?
There’s certainly a time and place to use giveaways as a means to build business and being strategic about it will greatly increase your R.O.I.
In the past few months, I’ve received a ton of “free” samples from people. All of them unsolicited by me. People come up and place them in my hands and tell me to call them if I’d like to know more. As much as I appreciate their good intentions, this is such a waste of money. For those of you doing this, stop it immediately. The same goes for people telling everyone they meet that they can have a “free” session.
Shouting from the rooftops “free” or shoving things into the hands of people who haven’t asked for it is sending the message that your product/service has zero value. When people don’t understand the value of your product/service, they’re not going to be willing to pay for it later. Also, how much time and money are you spending on all of these “free” samples and “free” sessions?
It’s the people in the direct sales model that I worry about the most diminishing the value of their products. And I often wonder if their companies are pushing them to give out handfuls of “free” samples because samples make up a significant line-item on their balance sheet as a source of revenue. There’s no judgment about it being right or wrong, it just is – companies are in business to make money. If “samples” are a huge source of income for the company, of course, they’re going to encourage their reps to buy them to give away for free.
Building Value Into Your Give-AwayThis is not to say samples are a bad idea or that you shouldn’t give them away. You absolutely should, you just need to do it in a way that builds value and connection with the person receiving it.
Instead of just randomly handing them out to people, engage with them first. Build some interest and rapport. Once you have that, invite the person to try your product. When a person agrees to try the product, hand it to them and say, “Here’s a gift for you so you’re able to try it. Let’s get a time and date on our calendars to circle back. This way we can talk about how it worked for you, answer any questions that come to mind and talk about best next steps.”
This same language should be used when you’re giving away sessions, sending out demo gear, etc. The purpose of the language above is to set the stage for a closing conversation. You’re pre-framing to the person that it’s implied they’re actually going to try the product and a discussion is going to happen to discuss next steps – meaning an opportunity to buy.
Without setting up a follow-up appointment, the person is significantly less inclined to ever even use the sample. It will sit and gather dust until they decide to throw it away. Hence, a total waste of money on your part.
Also, when you don’t have a follow-up appointment scheduled, even if they do try the sample, you’re unlikely to get their business. They’ll wait until they meet someone else who sells what you sell and buy it from them.
Be strategic, build value into your samples and minimize using the word “free.” They’re not free to you so instead call it a gift.
Wishing you continued success.
Nikki Rausch is the founder of Sales Maven. She works with solopreneurs and small business owners who are passionate about their products and services and need additional skills to build rapport with potential clients as well as how to “ask for the sale” without feeling pushy or fearing rejection. She is the author of Six-Word Lessons on Influencing with Grace.