I want to revisit the concept of providing free advice, or free services.
When I have the opportunity to be introduced to a new potential client, I normally will schedule a call to discuss their needs, and their current situation. I find these calls to be great fact-finding calls, and during the conversation it helps me better understand exactly what challenges the potential client are facing, and how we might be able to help them.
During this first one-hour call, I always try and throw out some ideas and some suggestions that they can use immediately. I want to emphasize that I'm not simply sharing basic information that I've shared with others in the past, but instead I tend to provide specific answers to their questions that they have today that pertain only to their business.
I do this at no cost, and if they choose not to retain us as their marketing consulting group, they just received some meaningful free advice. Other consultants that I know think I'm crazy, and they say that I'm just giving away knowledge which ultimately devalues my work.
I think just the opposite. First of all, if I have to worry that I am giving away the majority of my knowledge in a one-hour call, I have bigger problems than a reduced revenue stream. I hope I have more than a simple hour's worth of intelligence and insight.
Secondly, I am a big believer in Tryvertising. In my book (no I haven't written a book yet, just using the phrase), there is no better advertising vehicle than people trying the product or service for a short period of time, giving them a taste of what they can expect, and then following that up with a proposal or offering. It puts the prospect in the position of anticipating your proposal or offer, and being eager to receive it.
Its like sampling yogurt in the dairy aisle in the supermarket. Let the customer have a few spoonfuls, and if they like it, they might purchase 3 cups to take home with them.
Think about this in your business. What can you share with your customer, client, prospect for free? How can you whet their appetite for more?