The Fastest Growth Tool on the Planet!
If you want to grow your company really fast, you’ve got to get your message out to a lot of people and fast. One of the best ways to do it is what I call “The Free Trial Offer.” This concept gives your prime target market the opportunity to experience your product or service before purchasing it. In the best case, it is an actual sample of the product or service.
For example, Chick-fil-A began to offer a free samples in the malls. Now everyone does it. I met Dan Cathy, the CEO of Chick-Fil-A at the Ziglar offices, and he gave me a business card with a a Free Chicken Sandwich Offer on the back.
The night before, he received the Zig Ziglar Servant Leadership Award before a crowd of 2,000 people. He closed his acceptance speech with” “Come up and see me and get a card for a free chicken sandwich. And when you go to redeem it, bring somebody with you that will pay for theirs!”
This generated laughter of course, but think about this – here’s the CEO of a multi-billion dollar corporation using the Free Trial Offer. He’s not too good to promote his company, and neither should you be.
I call the Free Trial Offer the fastest growth tool on the planet because I’ve learned that the money is in the list. Not just the size of the list, but the quality of the list – and the experience you provide for the list.
In the old days, you generate a prospect one at a time, make a presentation and close the deal. There’s nothing wrong with that, and you should continue to do that, but a better way to do this is to put a massive number of people on your list and allow them to experience some form of your product or service, even if it isn’t an actual sample.
I mentioned earlier that “marketing is everything you do to attract prospects to your business” and that phenomenal marketing is creating an experience that engages, educates and entertains. A phenomenal marketing system duplicates results consistently.”
A Free Trial Offer system can do this for you. This system reaches out to suspects (people who fit the profile of your prime target market) and moves them to prospect. If someone is searching for a business in your industry, you can capture more prospects by having a Free Trial Offer.
For example, if someone comes to your website and you don’t have some way to get them to stop and give you contact information, you’ll be at the mercy of only getting those who are ready to buy at that moment, and you’ll be relying on someone to remember to come back to your site. By getting contact info with some kind of free trial, you build a valuable contact list that you can now engage, educate and entertain.
Another example is in-person. When you meet someone who seems interested in your product or service, you simply offer them the opportunity to either get on your list, or to go ahead and schedule their Free Trial.
Here’s how it works:
You offer a Free Trial of some sort – it could be a free sample of your service or product, a free report, e-book, video, CD, audio book, a class, a consultation, or anything that will add value to your target prospects.
Your free trial offer allows them to “experience” your product or service, and or to learn more about you and your offerings. At the time of this writing, I offer free business building tips by e-mail, a free CD, and my first book on audio.
Once someone subscribes on my e-mail newsletter, we send videos, webinar invitations, and ongoing tips and news. This helps my audience get to know me, like me and trust me. I provide an experience by educating and entertaining my subscribers.
Those that resonate with my message and want to learn more will then move to the next level by getting my Home Study Course or attending an event, and eventually join my coaching membership program.
Of course, not all do, but it gives prospects a way to learn about us as I give them valuable information on how to build their business. By having a Free Trial Offer and getting a large number of interested people on a list, you’re no longer begging individual suspects to try you out, you’re communicating with a large number of people at once.
The money is in the list. Not just the quantity on the list, but the quality of those who you invite to subscribe, and how you communicate with them.
I was coaching a marketing consultant a couple of years ago and asked him how many people were on his list. He had several thousand people on there from many speaking engagements. He offered an opt-in sheet at his presentations which was smart. Even smarter, he diligently put them on the list.
Then came the big question. “How often do you communicate with your list?” I asked curiously. He sheepishly admitted that he hadn’t communicated to the list in months! If he was phenomenally successful, that might be understandable, but he wasn’t.
Incidentally, I know a very good marketer who has a HUGE list that doesn’t communicate very often with his list either. The difference is that he is very successful. His interests lie in other areas currently.
Did you know that even Lexus has a free trial offer? My wife and I have owned Lexus automobiles for many years. When I was considering my first new one, I was in the showroom looking at a specific model. Noticing that I wasn’t a hundred percent sure it was the car for me, they encouraged me to take it home for the weekend. “I’m not sure I could get it back on Sunday”. I replied. “Don’t worry, bring it back Monday”, the salesman insisted. “Well, I’m driving to Austin Monday afternoon…” I continued. “No, problem! We’ll fill it up with gas. Take it with you!”
What’s happening here? Why would Lexus want to let someone take their car home without first paying for it? They want you to take that car home because they know that once you “experience” how it drives, you’re going to want to keep it! And when you see how it looks in your driveway, now you really fall in love with it. But the kicker is when your neighbor come over and begins to ooh and ahh over it—there’s no way that car is going back! Especially if you’re a male! You know how that male ego is!
Zig Ziglar called that the “puppy dog” close. You bring a cute little puppy home and fall in love with it. That little dude ain’t going back for sure!
Make sure your Free Trial Offer addresses the biggest pain point your prime target market has. My good friend and phenomenal marketer, David Frey says “every industry has 3 top problems that are never solved”. Find out what those problems are and offer the solutions. If your product or service fulfills a big desire, talk about that.
Make your Free Trial Offer as informative and emotional as possible. This is a wonderful way for them to experience your product or service in action.
Instead of trying to take someone from suspect (someone who may or may not be a good prospect) straight to a paying customer, the free trial offer takes them from suspect to prospect and allows you to do something very important—collect their contact information!
Now you’re in control of the follow up, not them. Plus, they have “raised their hand” for more information so to speak. They are telling you, “Hey, I’m a prospect! I’m interested!” All too often, prospects are skeptical and they want to “check you out.” The free trial is the perfect way for them to get to know, like, and trust you.
What if people take advantage of your free trial? What if you have a free trial offer and it costs you money to provide the free product or service, or if there is a cost in delivering or installing the product? This becomes part of your marketing budget. Most likely it will be less expensive than advertising and you’ll get better returns. If you find that you have a lot of people that take advantage of your free trial and don’t buy, you can change it or discontinue it. But don’t do that until you’ve checked to see how many are buying as a result.
Special note: Don’t confuse the concept of the Free Trial Offer with a discount! This is a completely different concept. Using a discount to generate a prospect is attracting prospects based on price, and that is not what you want to do unless you are in the value market. When you attract prospects solely by price, you are already training them to discount your service, therefore assigning a lower value to the product or service.
A discount or promotion is something you can do once they have already become a prospect. And you can do that immediately after they become a prospect if you like. Special promotions or discounts are used as a tool to generate more business, but make sure you understand how much more you need to generate in order to make your desired profit. (Remember the raise and lower your price formula I shared earlier).
There is certainly a time for special pricing, promotions and discounts. I use them all the time. But only after I have established the value and you have generated the right prospect. And when you’ve done that, you probably won’t need to offer a discount. Just create a sense of urgency in other ways (discussed in the section on Phenomenal Marketing Copy).
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