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One of the best ways to attract clients to your business is to give something away for free. Doing so provides a no-risk experience so prospects can learn your value for themselves.

There are two situations in which you can most benefit from giving away free stuff:

  1. Generating leads (getting people onto your mailing list)
  2. Converting prospects into paying clients 

Let’s talk about the purpose and some examples of each one.

1. Generating Leads

I’m sure you’ve seen a contact form at a website asking you to sign up for a mailing list in exchange for an eBook, audio recording or other free thing. You can also do this if you have a physical location or appear in person at a speaking engagement.

When clients ask me how they can grow a targeted mailing list, this is one of the main steps. Although it looks like you’re giving something away, you’re actually asking people to “pay” for it with their contact information and permission to contact them. 

Busy people are unlikely to give up their contact info unless they are truly interested, which is one thing that helps you filter out the “freebie seekers.”

So, what can you give away to generate leads?

I’m all about communicating your marketing message (brand), so I’d like you to think of something that expresses the unique way in which you help your clients.

Then, put that information into a video download, special report, eBook, audio, teleclass, presentation or … whatever you feel will  communicate it best and entice your prospects.

2. Converting Prospects into Clients 

Once you have someone’s interest, the focus moves to what is called “conversion,” or taking them from being a prospect to a client.

This is not actually marketing but selling, the part where you explain to your client what you could do specifically for them.

The promise of a no-cost, no obligation consultation will attract some prospective clients to your business. The key here is to give a valuable experience that persuades the right prospects to work with you. What’s important is that your clients know they can “try before they buy.”

It may seem crazy, but you actually have to market the free consultation as if it were a paid product. 

  • Give the consultation an appealing name. “Free consultation” is generic and boring. “17-point Site Evaluation” or “Get out of Debt Strategy Session” sound like they’re worth paying for.
  • Place a dollar value on it. How much is your “Relationship Preparedness Evaluation” worth to your client?
  • Structure it carefully so you can deliver outcomes. If you just wing it, you may find yourself falling into the pattern of simply coaching your client. That’s not an effective way to enroll them.

Instead, you want to take them through a format that helps them to see what it would be like to work with you but without solving their specific problems. General guidance is free; specific answers and how-to are part of the paid service.

  • Prepare a call-to-action. This is the part of the consultation in which you “ask for the business.” What will you do or say to take the person from prospect to client? (One of my favorites is, “When would you like to get started?”) Be sure to practice this so you don’t feel awkward in the moment.

Giving is Exhilarating and It Works! 

The best part of this strategy is: it feels nice to offer a small taste of what you do and to benefit so many people. Plus, with careful effort, you’ll find the number who go on to become paying clients will increase.

Photo gifted by asenat29 via Flickr