Feb 13 2011

Free-Sample Services Spark Sales!

Thirty years of 


selling services 


proves nothing sells 


like free samples



Take a page from PRODUCT manufacturers, marketers, distributors, and retailers. Food products are a good place to start. 

The restaurant gets free food product samples from manufacturer sales reps, and in turn will often give you an extra pickle, complimentary, and usually with a smile. You get sample slices of cheese or lunch meat handed across the deli counter, complimentary, and usually with a smile. The supermarket often serves up a variety of taste samples, complimentary, usually with a smile.

Doctors give away sample drugs they get from detail reps who want the doctor’s Rx business. Airlines offer free upgrades to frequent flyers. Car salesmen will tear the shirts off their backs to get your signature on the contract. Every one loves free sample products

What are you giving away?


Yeah, I know, your smile! (and I’ve heard it’s a great one, so pass it on!)

You’re no doubt throwing your hands to the sky and proclaiming you’re in the  S~E~R~V~I~C~E  business, so you don’t have a warehouse or storeroom full of goodies to non-chalently flip at prospective buyers. (Oh, and sure doctors provide healthcare services, but doctors are doctors and –WOW!– who balks at free drugs?)

It doesn’t matter that you sell consulting services, design services, writing services, accounting services, legal services, tech services, cleaning services, entertainment or travel or hospitality services. It doesn’t matter that you deliver packages or newspapers, or that you broker real estate or insurance or market bank loans or investment services. Nothing sells like free samples!

If you’re soliciting a prospective client to engage your services, start providing the services you offer as part of your solicitation.

“You know, I don’t pretend to have all the answers, and I would need some more time to confirm this, but I can’t help but think that it would be very much to your advantage to consider strengthening your media relations efforts (or building an email list, or developing a training initiative for your drivers, or putting your cash flow analysis on a monthly report basis, etc., etc.).”


Start BEING the consultant

(lawyer, accountant, bookkeeper, web

designer, SEO specialist, etc.)

that you want the prospect to engage.


Give ’em a taste for nothin’! Show people a sample of how you would work with them. Don’t worry about telling them too much for free; just tell them. Of course, don’t go too overboard with information, and be respectful and certain of your points before you make them.  


Oh, and stop thinking instant gratification. These days, a sale takes 5-6 attempts to close before the sale is made. And the real sale –especially for S~E~R~V~I~C~E~S  begins AFTER the sale is made.

In the meantime, toss the dog a bone! 


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www.TheWriterWorks.com or 302.933.0116 or Hal@BusinessWorks.US

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!”   [Thomas Jefferson]

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You.

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Sep 28 2010


A to Z and Soup to Nuts


…Maybe. But maybe not.

Are you trying to have your business

be all things to all people?


It’s easy to see why any business owner would choose, or be tempted to choose, a path of omnipresence.

First in the line of reasons is the motivation to survive a continually worsening economy (spawned by the federal government’s continuing business incompetence, and aggravated by its dumb and dumber insistence that the recession ended last June!).

Reasons enough to drive any entrepreneur scrambling up the wall of desperation.

Second, we need look no further for examples of others making “Sales Offering Sprawl” work, than to tune in to the examples offered by many product-based companies.

Traditional product specialization offerings have been sidetracked, integrated, absorbed, and demolished.

In retail and online businesses alone, we can barely keep up as consumers with where’s the best place to buy what.  

We’ve watched drugstores evolve over the past generation from independent prescription pharmacies supplemented by inventories of OTC (over-the-counter) drugs and some limited HBA (health & beauty aids) products, plus maybe a 6-stool soda fountain and some penny candy, into today’s behemoth supermarket and electronic warehouse (even furniture) chains that seem to sell everything under the sun.

Most notable of course is the inclusion of complete in-store professionally staffed medical facilities — and the forerunner of that: tucking entire pharmacies under the same roofs, as a number of industry-leading retail giants have done.

So why wouldn’t it seem appropriate to aspire to include a little bit of everything under your own roof?

Maybe it is appropriate, but don’t just think so and then do it. Entrepreneurs take only reasonable risks. That “Best Guess” path is not a wise or reasonable risk. Take the time and trouble and energy and expense to define, set up and run focus group discussions with target clients/customers to determine what they really think instead of what you think they think.

Design a strategic plan. It need

 not be fancy, but it needs to exist.

The good news is that if the November elections can produce enough upstart representation by people who understand that new small businesses are the nation’s only source of job creation and that job creation is the only way to turn the economic tide, business can be more free-market and free-wheeling and more competitive again.

But the bad news is that until that point actually occurs (probably 2-3 years away at best), decision making about what your business is in business to sell needs to be more cautious and needs to be based on more than opinion.

Service businesses are not product businesses.

B to B businesses are not B to C businesses.

Avoid getting caught in that tangled tidal wave of confusion by sticking to what you specialize in, by developing strategic plans for how to proceed and by encouraging more than SBA lip-service and make-believe assistance to small businesses.

# # #


Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals!

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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May 11 2009

Making Service Business Service Better

Shut Your Business Down!


     Can the service your business provides be better? Are you in a position to MAKE it better? I would hope so, or you wouldn’t be likely to be visiting this blog for business owners and managers. But perhaps you think you need to live with what you’ve got?

     Maybe you feel like you just shouldn’t rock the boat? Or could it be that you might be stepping on someone else’s toes, or that service improvements wouldn’t work, or may create havoc in your industry or –let’s see– you could never get your dollar value back for the time invested?

     Anything like any of those reasons serve you as a quick answer so now you can move along to some other site? Do yourself a favor. Shut your business down tomorrow. You’re likely to have more success selling off your office or site supplies and equipment than you will staying where you are, doing what you’re doing. You find that insulting? Good! Maybe there’s hope yet.

     If the suggestion to hang up your spikes makes you angry, maybe you need to look in the mirror and shake yourself by the shoulders and breathe some new life into the services you’re providing. Making your services better is more likely, FYI, to INCREASE your business than decrease it.

     Why? Because people talk. People who get better quality services tell others, and this works much quicker and much deeper than any advertising can produce. A couple of years back, some shrewd entrepreneurs even invented the word BUZZ as the modern day equivalent of “Word of Mouth”– except that word of mouth is genuine; BUZZ is contrived.

     The point is that THIS– this economy, this time in history, this year, this month, this week– is in fact the time to start making better what you already have. Don’t let the biased mainstream news media, the zero business-experienced government, the monster union-dominated automakers, the moronic 37 trillion bank VP’s who all know less than one another convince you to sit back and take it on the chin!

     You didn’t start and grow your business to shut it down. Don’t let others lead you down the path of status quo. Now is the time to rise, to innovate, to take a fresh look at what you have, and who you have…associates, employees, customers, vendors, affiliates, neighbors, industry, community.

     How can you make more of all that now? What new ways can you pull your assets together to put yourself and your service business in a leadership position? What’s holding you back? It’s a choice. It’s your choice. 

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Send your input anytime: Hal@TheWriterWorks.com (”Businessworks” in the subject line) or comment below. Thanks for visiting. Good night and God bless you! halalpiar              # # # 

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