A Lack of Value

When I see the word FREE, my attention is always diverted to the offer at hand.  Give me a coupon where I get something for free, and I see that little piece of paper as something of value.  When someone offers to help me with something and is not charging me, I see the value in that favor.

Yet, I have been testing that theory lately in a few ways when it comes to motivating clients to make purchases.  I recently offered up the chance to receive a Free Training Physical as a way to introduce my consulting services.  It is not like I’m giving away the store, I have made it a drawing and will do one a month.  The kicker is I have yet to get a single company to even fill out the entry form.

I asked one company why they had not entered the contest, and I was told that if I was doing it for free then they didn’t see the value.  I said I normally charge X dollars for a company their size and yet if they won, they would be saving that money.  It peaked their interest, so we shall see if it prompts action.

Another company that I just adore is a vendor partner that has fallen on hard times.  A couple of weeks ago I made an offer to do some free work for them as a way to keep things moving forward.  They have discussed it, in fact the term used was “mulling it over”, and yet a decision has not been made.  I am left to assume that they too see no value if it is Free.

Most companies that sell things have either reduced their prices, offered discounts or credits on future purchases.  Everyone seems to be trying to figure out what the magic formula is to prompting buying decisions.  It makes me wonder if I can’t give a service away for free and get a taker, what is going to prompt someone to purchase another product or service at a discount rate?  If two weeks can go by without a decision about something that is free, why should we expect companies paying for things to respond any sooner?

Maybe the solution is to increase the hourly rate, or item pricing to the shock level.  If we all start charging astronomically high for things, will companies start to see value?

For me, price is a consideration in determining value.  For instance, some brands to me are just not worth the extra money.  And yet if the price is reasonable I will look at the other factors to make a buying decision.  If it is Free, I will almost always take you up on the offer, because there has to be some value in exchange for zero dollars.


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