Sunday, June 7, 2009

Offering Your Services as a Gift

Sometimes in order to create interest in our services we offer a them as a gift. Perhaps you are a virtual assistant and offer a day's worth of services for free. A life coach might offer a free one-hour session; a productivity trainer may offer a free two-hour consultation; a web designer may offer a free report filled with strategic ideas to implement so your website gains a better search engine ranking.

However, we sometimes find that prospects don't take us up on these offers. Here we are offering something for free and no ones wants it. But is it really free or is there a string attached? Perhaps it's the way we package the free offer that's really turning prospects away instead of attracting them.

Recently a service provider offered one free day of services. However, there was a string attached. To accept the offer the prospect had to agree to provide a testimonial about the work. Now this business owner had the right intentions. This person wanted to educate prospects and felt that by giving away the service the prospect would have a much better idea of what this particular service was and would be more likely to purchase the service. The intention was great. The execution of the idea needed improvement.

What if the prospect doesn't feel as excited as you think they should after receiving your free service and doesn't want to write a testimonial? Then what is being offered isn't really free; it has a string attached. I'd ask instead for honest feedback so you can have information to improve your services. Then if the feedback is great, you can ask if you can use it as a testimonial.

I've found that people always feel there's a catch when we offer something for free and that if we are offering it for free, we must not value the service much ourselves. What I have found works better is to offer a special discount. My starter package is 2 hours for $75 with no long-term obligation. That way someone can try my services without further obligation and very little cost to begin and find out if we're a good match or not.

Also, your offer should be obvious. It should be clearly stated and in a prominent area of your website. Don't make people look for it.

Part of what my husband and I do is mentor and coach virtual assistants. We've had many years experience marketing several businesses; so what I've offered here comes from our experience. We've recently written a book aimed directly at virtual assistants.

Read a sample chapter of the book, The Commonsense Virtual Assistant—Becoming an Entrepreneur, Not an Employee, at our website.

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