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I was advised by a very wise woman that if I ever had to speak for free that there were two things I needed to be sure of before doing so:

  1. Make sure the people in the room can hire me to speak or as a consultant, and
  2. I can sell stuff in the back of the room.

I shared on a recent radio talk show that there are times you’ll do what you love for free.

Yes, that’s right. You’ll give it away for free.

And this practice is not completely absurd.

Big companies do it all the time.

Couponing and Sampling

Go to your big box retailer on any given weekend and you can leave the store stuffed. Why? Because on every other aisle, someone is giving away free samples of some delectable dish. Why? They want you to sample it, love it and buy it.

Fast food restaurants even give away free food in order to get people in the door and hopefully gain a new patron.

Ever been to the food court in the mall? There’s lots of food on toothpicks being given away with the hopes that you’ll opt to eat their cuisine.

And if you don’t get a free sample, you just might get a coupon offering 2-for-1 or some dollar amount off your purchase.

All these methods are tried and true and should be expected to be employed to some degree when launching a new service or product. Remember though, sampling and couponing eventually come to an end.

Like, Know & Trust

The old adage is true, people do business with people they like, know and trust. So while you’re building like-ability and trust, you’ll likely to have give away samples (do some stuff for free or at least at a discount) in order to build your business.

Jacqueline Ani of Women Empowering Women Magazine shared the story of when she launched her mentoring program, only a handful of people signed up for the program. She made the decision to do it for free for one full year for a group of ladies. Well, those ladies became her evangelists so to speak. First the change in their lives spoke volumes and the women became walking billboards for her program. Now she’s able to charge for her program and has no problem enrolling students because of the original word of mouth. She no longer has to give it away for free.

Don’t Believe Me Just Watch

One of my favorite lines in the hit Bruno Mars song Uptown Funk is, “don’t believe me just watch!” That sentiment was shared with me by a few sales veterans. They suggested that for the right client, you may even offer to do the work for free. After I finished coughing and choking they explained that you save this tactic for the client where the stakes are high and you have a lot to gain by doing business with this person or business. You offer to do the work for free and should you deliver on your promises—reach or even supersede the goal, then that’s when you get paid (and handsomely I might add).

So for the right client you can create opportunities that benefit the both of you.

As a brand new business, don’t be afraid to give away some of your work for free in order to build like-ability and trust with your audience. You won’t always have to give it away and like Jacqueline, have clients beating a path down to your door.

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