Asking customers for a small commitment can end a cycle of “maybes” and get you to “yes.” One way to encourage customers to say yes is to offer a free trial. This can work for both products and services, and can be especially effective for subscriptions.
A mattress retailer offers a 30-day, in-home trial of their mattresses. After sleeping on the brand new mattress (instead of that lumpy, misshapen thing they had been tossing and turning on) for thirty blissful nights, customers have a choice: Keep the mattress and pay for it, or call the retailer to come and pick it up.
Which do you think the vast majority of customers choose? Once customers have tried the new bed they want to keep it. Offering the free trial got them to say yes and give it a try.
An Internet marketing expert offers a free 60-day trial membership to his online coaching club when you buy a $97 ebook from him. The coaching club expands on what customers learn in the ebook, offering video instruction, teleseminars, and interaction with the expert.
Many people would resist paying $97 a month for the coaching club without first experiencing it. After getting the free trial, most choose to continue and pay the monthly fee once they discover the value they receive.
A way to offer a free trial of your services is through a free consultation or assessment. Meeting with a potential client can make them more comfortable with you, and gives you a chance to show them what you know and how you can help them.
It is important that you provide useful information, even in a free consultation, so that customers have confidence in your ability to solve their problems; however, you do not want to give them so much for free that they believe they no longer need you. When I do free consultations, I give a few tips the customer can use, and provide suggestions for next steps. They come away with something of value, and trust that I can do the rest for them.
Some businesses choose to charge a token amount, such as $1 – $5 for a trial. This further qualifies people receiving the freebie as good prospects. After all, even paying $1 requires more commitment than simply taking something that is free. It also requires them to set up a payment method. With a valid credit card authorization on file it becomes easier to keep them saying yes, because you can bill the credit card for the remaining payments or recurring subscription fees.
Getting payment information from customers up front should always be done ethically. Make it clear how much they will be billed after the initial trial. Make it easy for customers to cancel if they decide it is not for them. And remind them when the trial period is almost up.
Often, a trial can be the perfect way to demonstrate to customers that they can not do without you.
As the Idea Lady, Cathy Stucker helps entrepreneurs and professionals attract customers and make themselves famous. Get free marketing tips at IdeaLady.com