As the famous cowboy Will Rogers once said, "Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there".
So what does that have to do with "FREE"? Quite a lot really.
Firstly, business is a constant evolution - a process, you simply cannot remain still even if you are in the lead. You need to be constantly improving, constantly evolving and constantly looking for ways to differentiate yourself from the other guy.
There are essentially three types of customers:
? Type 1 was going to become your customer no matter what.
? Type 2 will never become your customer no matter what,
? And then there is Type 3...
Type 3 customers are sitting in the middle, they're on the fence. They need a little nudging - sure, some will require more nudging than others, but nudging will be required. Type 3 is your target market customer. Type 3 customers represent about 75% of the population so don't worry about missing out on the others.
Now, let's think about this for a moment. You do a great job. You offer fair prices, you excel at what you do and you advertise this. The problem often faced is that the bad companies can hire good marketing consultants and present that same great image - and type 3 customers know this.
Type 3 customers are naturally distrusting of the claims made, so you include proof and other objection defeating tactics and this of course works just fine. However, even with the proof, even with the objections all nailed down, there are still some folks who require "more proof", more nudging. The kind that says, "Don't tell me... SHOW ME!"
So how do you show them? That's easy; you give them a sample, a demonstration, a taster of just how great you really are. You offer them a chance to come and see for themselves - at no risk to them.
Now pay close attention here ? this is critically important. You're taking away ALL THE RISK so that they can "try before they buy". In other words... it's FREE.
The largest corporations do it. They've found FREE so successful they use risk reversal as often as possible, they even offer unconditional money-back guarantees too!
The strongest offers are always "try first, and if you like it then pay" and for you this might be a "Free oil change", or a "FREE tire rotation", or a "FREE 21-point seasonal inspection", or some other 'risk reversal' strategy.
With this lead generating, 'loss leader' strategy you're taking a big picture approach and you're buying customers by showing them what they'll get when they become paying customers.
Moreover, if any of your colleagues make strange comments, just remember, this is a risk reversal program. You are giving customers the chance to "TRY BEFORE THEY BUY".
In addition, if anyone says something like this to you, "Is this really the type of customers you want?" I'd say that sounds like a typical Type 1 customer comment (remember type 1's were already in your camp) and more importantly you should answer a resounding "Yes!"
Just because someone is skeptical, just because someone wants you to make it easy for them to try your product or service before they commit to you doesn't make them a bad customer or a cheap customer. It makes them normal. It's a bit like dating without all the embarrassing bits?
And when you 'trust' them with a 'free' introduction, the law of 'reciprocity' begins working - people will want to 'pay you back' for your trust in them. Remember, people only deal with other people they like and trust ? and this is a great way to start that relationship off on the right foot.
That is why "FREE" Is The Most Powerful Marketing Word You Can Use ? because it's all about - risk reversal.
AUTHOR BIO: James Burchill is a freelance marketing consultant and publisher. James helps people 'Sell more stuff, and make more money!' He also publishes informational and Internet products and his main website is http://www.JamesBurchill.com James' newest product shares his insights into the exciting world of freelancing on Elance at http://www.ElanceExposed.com