3 Thoughts About “Free”

by Paul Castain on March 6, 2014

As many of you know, I’m a big advocate of giving, upfront, unconditionally and without a scorecard but its important that you know that it can get complicated at times.

Here are 3 things for you to ponder when it comes to “free”

1) Sometimes (and please note that I said “sometimes”) you need something between free and “fork over your money”. I found that out the hard way 2 1/2  years ago when I tried to launch a $1400 per person training program. Basically I went from free to $1400. That’s a big step when you go from safe to risk without something in between!

Suggestion: Is there a way for you to offer an “inexpensive date”? That’s what I did when I started offering my webinars and when I authored my E-Book.

Suggestion: Could you offer some sort of trial period or something that you can reduce the risk?

Suggestion: Could you require payment on a service that you will waive if they go ahead with a higher level commitment within a certain time frame?

2) Free Can Condition An Expectation Of “More Free Please”

Initially I caught some push back from people when I first started charging for my webinars back in 2011. I was told that people were used to getting webinars for free and wouldn’t attend.

My response was (and still is) “Those aren’t the people I’m targeting” I mean if someone isn’t willing to part with $39.99 for one of my webinars, they’re going to have a sh*t fit when they see how much I charge to come train their team or speak at their sales convention. No disrespect intended . . . they’re just not the type of people I want to focus my efforts on.

Time Out: This is where every content marketer gets their panties in a bunch so let’s act out a dialogue I’ve had with a few of them.

Content Marketing Dude: “But Paul, if you do a free webinar, you’ll get a ton of leads”

Paul: “I bet I will but most of them will continue to want free things. If that’s the case, let them chill at my website, listen to my podcasts, watch my youtube videos, download all the free e-books I offer etc. Oh, and my leads have a higher conversion rate because anyone I target from the list of people who have already bought have . . . wait for it . . . wait for it . . . already bought” :)

3) People Place A Higher Value On Things Where They Have A Financial Investment: I’m offered free books from authors on almost a weekly basis these days. While I’m really flattered and on the surface love the idea that I’m not paying for the books, I now respectfully decline the books for a really silly reason;

I typically don’t read them.

I know . . . what an idiot. Right?

I don’t read them because I place a higher value on the books I buy and trust me, I’m not parting with even the smallest amount of cash to have a book sit on my shelf and collect dust . . . but the free one, well that’s a different story. I get to them, when I get to them.

And now a confession . . .

As a thank you for some of my on site training clients, I have sent them free passes into some of my webinar programs only to have some of them never enroll but meanwhile . . .

They participate and give me rave reviews on the follow up programs that they’ve paid for.

They simply place a higher value on the things where they’ve made an investment.

Alright Castain . . . What’s the point already?

The point is that free is great and you should absolutely consider offering free things but . . .

You must understand that there’s more to it and you had better think it out.

Your turn . . .

What are your thoughts when it comes to “free”?

Did you know . . .

That our online sales course begins in a little less than a month on April 2nd? Click here to learn more, see a course outline as well as pricing. Please email me for special pricing on 2 or more participants. paul@yoursalesplaybook.com

  • Cy Khormaee

    Great post Paul – I think this makes a ton of sense. This reminds me of the foot-in-the-door concept that is popular with fundraisers. The best way to get you to give (or buy) a lot is to get you to give (or buy) a little first! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foot-in-the-door_technique

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