I was at a networking event recently and when it came time to share strategies about how to develop a relationship with existing customers, someone stated that they give away free web design. Yes, they would develop, test and implement a full functioning website for the customer and would charge them nothing for this service. By the way, web design was not their primary business. They were in app development for your phone.
Does anyone else, besides myself, see something fundamentally wrong with this? To name just a few:
- Not their primary focus of business
- Giving something away with no expectation of any return
- Taking time away from the primary focus to do unpaid consulting and work
When I pressed this person, particularly to the above three items on a very extensive list, as to why this may not be the way to go, here is what I got:
- If we do this then they may come back for some more apps.
- When I pressed them for how long it took them to actually develop and implement a full functioning website they advised me that it took only three to five hours.
- My response: “That’s three to five hours that you are not working ‘in’ your business. Three to five hours, that you are not contacting prospective clients. Three to five hours that you have given your competition free reign.” Silence.
- Then I got told that they asked for a testimonial if they did the website.
- However, here is my thinking, which I was happy to share with them: “You are creating something which is not your main area of expertise and therefore, may not be as good as someone who does it as their primary business, without any enforceable expectation of a return. Do you not see a problem with that strategy?” Silence.
If we look at it from the client’s point of view, how much value do they think they are getting? Are they thinking about how much more ‘free’ stuff they can get instead of paying for services? They will also question how you value yourself. Do you really want them to do that? Therefore, there are a lot more costs than the ‘free’ item and one of those costs can be, reputation; which is something that you may not be able to ever recover from.
It’s never ‘free.’
When we work together, we will develop the knowledge, knowhow and tools to make sure that you increase and solidify the relationships with your current clients. We do this together in The Action Suite where the talking stops and the doing gets done.