The “Freebie” Trap

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Posted in Sales | By

Are you the kind of person who loves to help others, yet forgets that your assistance has a value. Perhaps it’s because it feels so good just to be appreciated? Trust me, helping is great. But, getting paid for it is even better!

For years I have guided and trained business owners in ways to increase sales, get attention, stay focused, and stay in service to their clients WHILE monetizing their gifts. While helping others comes very easily, helping myself was a bit of a challenge. Sure, I had a good “following” and amazing feedback filled with gratitude and success stories. People kept coming back for more!    

While this was exciting and fed my ego, it was doing nothing for my own bottom line. I was struggling to find a way to service a great number of people while monetizing what I shared.  My philosophy had always been that when I give freely, people will see the generosity and want to reciprocate in kind. I still have that philosophy. I believe in giving without expecting anything in return and I believe in the “law of reciprocity”.

The challenge came because I didn’t set limits with those I helped. I just kept giving “freely”. Meanwhile, those who kept “coming back for more” started referring others to get my free advice because they knew I would help and wouldn’t charge. The result was that I found myself spending much more time helping the non-paying clients than I did helping the paying ones! 

When you repeatedly help the same prospective client (at no charge) in hopes of turning them into a paying client, that doesn’t usually doesn’t pay off.  This is because you already set the expectation that you will continue to help…for free!

The exception to the above statement would be if you are trying to obtain a high-value long-term contract in a competitive industry.

For most of the rest of us, my solution is a simple one that business owners (especially those in a service industry) need to implement. Yes, it’s very important to offer something of value at no charge so your prospects get a taste of what you have to offer, but there has to be a limit to this and many of those “freebies” must turn into revenue. You have to stick to your plan, keep the integrity of your services and fees, but continue to do so in a loving and helpful manner. You have to learn to say “this is what I CAN do for you” (within the limits you set). Better yet, say something like:

“I am so excited to help you further and I have a plan (product, service) that will help you achieve your goal.”

When you do offer something informative and helpful (like a free consult, information packet, or free webinar) potential clients can get a sense of how you can help them solve their problem. Here’s the key: When the time comes that they ask you for even more, that is when you have the opportunity to turn it into a sale. In other words, don’t give “everything” away for free.  

If you are unsure about your worth, don’t be.  Always remember that the person who came to you for your “freebie” or advice did so knowing you have something to teach them.  A part of them already knows or hopes that you have the solution they are searching for…and that, my friend, has a value!  It’s time to monetize your gifts, knowledge, and talent…and remember, in business, time is money!

Image courtesy of © Roman Milert | Dreamstime Stock Photos

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