When I was a kid and my Mom took me to the butcher shop when we lived in Germany, I remember that the butcher would slice off a few pieces of deli meat and give them to me and my brothers. He would give samples. This is a smart business practice.
As I get to know my clients around the world in all different industries, I notice that some of them give samples and some of them don’t. And a “sample” could be a meeting, a consultation, a product or anything of value to the potential client or customer.
There was a time not too long ago, when people and businesses were very concerned about intellectual property. Intellectual property rights should be observed, but as we become more interconnected, I believe there’s good reason to loosen up a little bit.
Being tight-fisted regarding your content and services will not serve you or your business well in the long run. You’re actually telling your potential client more about yourself, the way you conduct business, and the type of relationship you’re potentially going to develop with them, than you probably realize you are.
By giving away samples, you are letting the potential client know a lot about you and your business. You’re exhibiting your generosity and starting to develop a “Know, Like, Trust” relationship.
Will some people run with your free, unpaid consulting from time to time? Yup. That’s just the cost of doing business. But people are pretty smart. We all like doing business with people who are generous and a delight to communicate with.
Give a little. Don’t give away the farm, but give value from the get-go with everyone.
What goes around comes around. As you’re going around, give a little more. And you might be pleasantly surprised as to how much more comes around.