Several weeks ago I was in Edinburgh Scotland, walking down the Royal Mile, the famous road that goes between Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. It is a great street, full of fantastic shops, restaurants and pubs, which of course are terrific but very much “touristy.”
It happened to be that while I was there, the famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival was underway, which happens to be the largest of its kind in the world. I had not intentionally planned to be there during this festival, but what a treat is was to experience the festival and the energy. While walking down the Royal Mile midday one day, I heard some beautiful men’s voices singing, and then noticed a large group of young men (found out later they were boys) in a semi-circle singing the most beautiful acapella that I have ever heard. I stopped and listened as they performed a couple of numbers, and then was handed a small brochure advertising this choir and their upcoming performances each afternoon of the coming week.
I made it a top priority to rearrange my calendar so that I could be at the venue they were performing at, at 2pm sharp later in the week to enjoy this incredible choir. This was a real treat, and was one of my highlights from my time in Edinburgh. I managed to get there early enough to get a front row seat, and I was not disappointed.
What is interesting is how I became aware of this choir. During the Fringe Festival, there are literally thousands upon thousands of performances spread out over a few hundred venues in the city, and I was not there to see any of them. However, after enjoying the incredible sample of their singing on the street as I was walking, it became a must for me to take in one of their upcoming concerts.
Marketing and Selling
The point is this – is that in order to attract me to buy a ticket for their performance, I had to experience the value of entertainment they offered me. They offered me (and hundreds of other passers-by), a free sample of their music. This is not unlike when I was in Costco on the weekend and was handed a free sample of a new Tide detergent that they were marketing.
As we seek to sell or products and services, we do need to give consideration to giving something for free to our potential buyers. One of the most lucrative contracts I have ever landed in terms of my daily earnings was as a result of agreeing to speak at an event for free, with the organizer simply covering the costs of my flights, hotel and other travel expenses. Someone who heard my presentation later contacted me to ask me to take on a significant contract for an important national event in the oil and gas industry, which paid very well.
Your Business Strategy
Do you offer anything for free? Do you have a strategy that includes providing some value to prospective clients or buyers that may attract them to make an investment in you and your products and services? The London Boys Choir got 20 pounds of cash out of my pocket as a result of providing me with some free entertainment (value) on the street, just a couple days before.
Cameron’s Call to Action
- Consider your current business and marketing plan, and tease out and identify everywhere you are offering something for free as a way of attracting clients, buyers or investment.
- Evaluate the current return on investment that you are getting as a result of offering something for free – be sure to collect the data you need to quantify this.
- Determine where they may be additional opportunities for you to attract business through giving something for free to your potential buyers – offer it, collect data and evaluate the effectiveness of same. Adjust as needed going forward, to make sure this is an effective part of your growth and marketing strategy.