Why You Should Never Offer a 1 Month Free Trial For Your Agency or Consulting Services
Written by Joe Soto on November 8, 2017
When new agency owners or consultants are first starting out, they tend to lack confidence selling their services for their full fee. I listen to them and I hear limiting beliefs and lack of self-confidence that is preventing them from starting with the momentum they need in their business.
I hear limiting beliefs and excuses, disguised as questions and statements, such as:
“I’m new, so why would they hire me.”
“I don’t have any (or many) clients yet, so offering a free monthly trial will help me get my foot in the door.”
“I lack experience so this is the easiest way to get my foot in the door.”
“If I offer a free monthly trial, I can get results and they will want to hire me then long-term.”
“I should prove myself to them first since I’m new at this.”
Remember, you are your most important client. If you aren’t sold on the value you bring to the table (even to your first client) why should they be sold on it?
If you believe your lack of experience will stand in your way of success, it will.
Let me ask you a question. Do you believe that offering anything for free sets the frame for the relationship where the client prospect sees you on the same level playing field they are on? Do you believe they will see you as an authority? As a trusted advisor they look up to for advice because you’re the subject matter expert?
Of course not. And that’s one reason why you shouldn’t offer a free month.
If you offer the free month, you’ve now trained them on how to treat you when it is time to negotiate on fee going forward. They’re in the position of authority – after all, you’ve almost begged for their business by offering a free month trial to ‘prove yourself.’ The value is in the results, and you need to quantify that value to your client so their mouth starts to water. I share how to do this in my latest webinar.
You aren’t a gym membership. You are a professional service provider. You’re a trusted advisor with expertise in an area that can help another business owner grow his or her business exponentially.
You’re a specialist who deserves to be fairly compensated for services rendered. Especially when those services can dramatically help another business owner grow. Whether you’re selling Google PPC, building out an e-commerce sales funnel or running FB advertising campaigns, you are well worth your fee.
Another reason? You are in the business to make money. By giving a free month away you aren’t just saving them your monthly retainer fee of $1500 – $10,000 (or whatever fee range you charge). You’re costing yourself that fee as well by doing the work for free. That money is yours because you’ll earn it. But you’e willing to leave it on the table because you don’t believe you should have it or you believe you need to prove yourself first to them?
You are good at what you do. You know more about them regarding your subject of expertise. So, act like it.
How about another reason? Clients who get ‘free’ for a month could, even unintentionally, make it difficult for you to have success. After all, they have no skin in the game so they aren’t as eager to help you, to assist you with whatever it is you may need from them to help you and your team be successful on their behalf. And you’ll need collaboration from them like any other client. When someone pays you your fee (and hopefully a premium one) they are much more eager to help ensure success because now you’re dealing with their money. They have skin in the game.
Get honest about why you really believe you should offer the free month. Get honest about the stories you tell yourself, what you choose to believe and reinforce through actions. Stories and beliefs that may be limiting you. We do it to ourselves. You’re slowing yourself down.
The greatest lesson one of my mentors taught me?
You have to learn how to get out of your own way.
What about an exception?
With all this said, there is an exception that I could live with. If you are new and don’t have any clients yet, then the exception is this: offer a free 1 week (NOT a month) campaign so they can see the campaign results of just one small effort. If you are doing Google PPC, then offer a campaign for a week so they can see some stats and possibly even get some leads from your effort. If you’re offering Facebook, you can do one campaign and show how your Ad campaign generated more results (engagement and conversion to email opt-in for example) than anything they’ve ever done before you.
If you do offer this, get their agreement to move forward based on the metrics and expectations being met from even one campaign. In other words, it’s conditional and agreed to ahead of time. “Mr. Jones, If we run this one campaign and generate over 100 new opt-in emails, do we both agree this would be a success and justify moving forward together as partners?”
Make sure they pay for the advertising expense, a budget for the campaign up front you both can agree to. They would have to pay that with or without you.
Lastly, most consultants and agency owners also have their pricing model all wrong and undercharge for what they deliver one. You may not even realize you’re undercharging your clients. Perhaps you’re selling them bundled service or packages, and if this the case you’re throwing profits out the door. I explain more in my most recent online masterclass where I show you how to get your pricing right and how to triple sales for your agency or consultancy. Click here to schedule yourself into the next masterclass that I’m holding.
Wait…there is one other exception where I’d offer a free month. If they paid 12 months in advance, I’d be willing to give them the 13th month free. If that seems crazy to you, it’s not. Clients have done it. Get your belief level right, and this will be much easier to digest.