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January 27, 2005

Comments

Sean D'Souza

It's always interesting to read what's being said about you on the Internet. Jim's comment is interesting when he says: "Sean D'Souza's example of 16 weeks of educating prospective customers only to find that those that were already customers purchased from him again…just proves Sean is a poor salesperson. He didn’t convert one prospect in 16 weeks!"

Obviously, you've missed the point Jim. The point was that FREE is highly overrated. The point was that you're likely to get customers with higher value when you don't offer something free. Even a small ticket item is often better than free.

Does Free not work? I've said quite clearly that it does. And if you go to my website at http://www.psychotactics.com , you'll find FREE information. In fact, you'll be inundated with a lot of free stuff. But there's a point where you draw the line.

I'm obviously a poor salesman. We sold only 33 seats at $2000-$3500 each (from our existing clientele). Damn! I guess we should have made more.

Jim Logan

Reading your post several more times, there's another comment I'd like to make.

I've had similar customer experiences as the ones cited, not is the profession of law - in business consulting. I've "given" too many details in a go market strategy, advertising campaign, sales plan, etc., allowing my prospect to believe they now "get it" and can implement on their own. It’s a delicate balance, exploring an engagement and convincing your prospect of the value you offer, without unintentionally leaving them with the perspective you’ve already solved their problem.

Your post raises the thought provoking issue of how much is too much and how little is not enough. Add in a little controversy and it’s a great post! Thanks!

Jim Logan

If you give your services away for free, you're customer is sure to place a low value on them. But we're not talking about giving services away for free...we talking about consultations.

Consultation is a different way of saying sales meeting. You shouldn't charge for sales time.

Sean D'Souza's example of 16 weeks of educating prospective customers only to find that those that were already customers purchased from him again…just proves Sean is a poor salesperson. He didn’t convert one prospect in 16 weeks!

There are only three ways to grow revenue – get more customers, increase the vale of your average sale, and get more repeat business. That’s it. Consultations get more new customers; it’s the professional’s time to explore the opportunity with their prospective client and earn their business.

David Giacalone

I had a divorce mediation practice for more than six years, and every initial consultation was free. I never had a couple fail to appear on time -- even though one spouse almost always was far more interested in getting divorced and being there than the other. A very large percentage of those who heard my presentation decided to use my mediation services (at times, I told them that one of the spouses did not seem ready and they should call me at a later time, if circumstances changed).

There is no one answer to the issue of offering free consultations. Giving away trinkets to attract an audience to a seminar is far different than a professional offering to help potential clients learn at no charge about a new service, and about whether they feel comfortable with the service provider, before making an important commitment.

Matt, knee-jerk applause whenever some "expert" in fields other than law talks about "value" and charging more for a service is not a persuasive way to convert those who are skeptical of your approach to clients and fees and the lawyering "business".

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