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If It’s “FREE” to the Customer, Are You Really Selling?

April 7, 2015

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I’m amazed at the number of times I get asked this question.

I’m at the point where I want to respond by saying, “I don’t answer stupid questions.”

Come on!  What do you think? The answer is no!  You are not “selling” if what the customer is getting is “free.”

If we have to sell something for free to a customer, then what we’re selling for free doesn’t have any value to the customer. Think about that for a moment.

If something is of value to you — meaning, you see a need for it, and it was “free” — then of course you would take it. If you didn’t see any merit in it, then you wouldn’t take it.

The selling process is about helping the customer to see value in what you’re offering. If you have to ultimately give the customer what you’re selling for free, then I have to question how good you are in creating value.

This does not mean that you can’t give the customer something for free. You can, if it makes sense in the overall scheme of developing the customer.

Simple example of this is you may give away a razor for free, but then charge for the blades.   Blades have to be replaced, so you know if the razor delivers value, the customer will buy blades from you time and time again.

My problem with giving away something for free is there is no engagement on the part of the customer. If the customer doesn’t have something invested in the “free,” then there is less potential for the customer to fully value what it is they received for free from you.

Example I’ll use are books authors send me asking me to review. Sure, I’ll take a book for free, but that doesn’t mean I’ll necessarily get to reading it or, more importantly, read it in the timely manner the author is expecting.

The result is well over half the books I receive I never read. Now if the author sending me the book has me engaged with them in some part of the launch promotion, then I will quickly get to it.

If you’re going to use “free” as a key part of your selling process (which I don’t recommend), you must only use it with the condition you have the customer engaged with you either with money, time or expertise.

Copyright 2015, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price.

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