Why do companies offer anything for FREE? Ever wonder? I mean, how can they make back that time, effort, and how do they use the free consultation as a marketing tool, or do they? If a company offers a FREE anything, sure it's a marketing tool and should be treated as such. A FREE consultation, FREE estimate, FREE sample, FREE trial, FREE anything is a great way for a business to promote itself in the market, solidify its brand, and get face to face with (hopefully) the decision maker.
If your company has more to offer than can be illustrated on a brochure, or on a website, then FREE consultations are for you. They give you a unique opportunity to add value to your product or service for the client. Obviously anyone who takes you up on your offer of a FREE something is probably pretty close to making a buying decision. This opportunity to get in with that decision maker just before a decision is made - and by decision, I mean a decision to buy from WHOM, not just a decision to buy at all... you now can take advantage of the following:
- Make the appointment CONVENIENT for THE CUSTOMER - show you're flexible
- BE ON TIME for the appointment - show you're reliable
- BRING MORE SUPPLIES or EXAMPLES than you think you'll need - show you're prepared
- DO RESEARCH BEFORE the meeting - show you're knowledgeable and resourceful
- Provide just enough FREE information to satisfy the customer, but DON'T GIVE AWAY THE STORE - show you're genuine, but serious
A one-on-one opportunity to begin building a relationship with a potential client is a fantastic marketing tool that more companies should be taking advantage of. Of course, it also gives you an opportunity to qualify the customer as well. If you pay attention, you can see from the initial meeting if this is a client that's going to require "extra care" or if this client's going to be on your top 10. NOT ALL CLIENTS are CREATED equal! There are some you'd like to refer to your competition!
One note of caution. FREE anything is not for the unreliable businessperson. It's not for the person who can't think on his/her feet. It's also not for a sale pitch. The FREE consultation is just that... FREE advice from your business experience that is designed to be FOR the client. If you can't do FREE in a way that benefits the client and your own reputation, then DON'T do it. It's a fast way to build a good, or a bad, reputation. Inspired 2 Design, LLC