Sampling products, especially food and beverages, is a staple of retail sales and marketing.
Until people can have a nibble or a sip, they really don’t know what that snack or juice tastes like. And until they know that, then they are much less likely to take a chance on purchasing the entire bag or bottle of your item.
But does this generations-old principle from the supermarket have cross-over relevance to publicists and marketers who are looking to expand their clientele?
Should we break down our services and value into smaller, free pieces for prospects to chew on these bits of wisdom? Or would doing so somehow undermine the value of what we have to offer—make it seem too ‘cheap’?
Those are important, and tough, questions to answer.
Important, because they go to the heart of what kind of customer or client you want to attract. Tough, because when executed with the right touch, you can give away plenty and still not undermine your value; and when executed poorly, you can barely give away anything and create an aura of cheapness and unprofessionalism.
Several years ago, World Wide DreamBuilders (WWDB) made the move to provide free tickets for guests to major conferences like Spring Leadership and Free Enterprise Days. It is an effective way of removing a relatively minor financial barrier ($100-$125, roughly) to enable looking into a business-development organization that has the potential to generate profits in the thousands and, over time, millions of dollars.
The message that WWDB sends, along the way, is an open invitation for thorough review and reflection before reaching a decision. It’s a gesture borne of confidence, and contrasts with the high-pressure, timeshare-sales style brand of customer engagement that is such a turn-off for so many.
In meeting with a prospective client for public relations and marketing in Chicago, one of my favorite moments is when I emphasize they should be sure to make an informed choice that includes exploring whether another firm is a better fit for their needs.
Now, of course, if they have any common sense, it’s not the first time the thought has popped up. But because it is me uttering those words with conviction--in essence expressing doubt that Inside Edge PR is their best fit--I am demonstrating confidence in my firm's ability to compete, security in my current and projected volume of business, as well as concern for their organization being served well.
At the same time, I offer plenty of free counsel and tangible resources to prospective clients and Looky-Lous alike. They are found throughout my website in the form of news release samples, training columns and blog posts spanning a wide spectrum of relevant topics.
It gives a taste of what I could do for them, but it hardly gives away the store.