“Free” In and Of Itself is Not a Benefit

in Sales Vocabulary, Unique Value Proposition

A guy working a booth for the US Airways VISA card at the Phoenix airport stood in the middle of the concourse yelling to anyone who would listen, “Free stuff!”

He apparently was giving away some type of t-shirt or stuffed animal for signing up for their card. I wasn’t quite sure, since I, like everyone else, went out of my way to avoid him and not make eye contact. (I already have the card anyway.)

A radio commercial the other day offered a special report on preventing some physical malady, and at the end said, “Call right now! The phone call is FREE!”

What’s my point? “Free” is not a benefit in and of itself.

However too many marketers and salespeople must think so, and use it often.

Here’s an important point: if the product, service, or thing that is the main deliverable is not desirable, it doesn’t matter if it is free.

Here’s how you know if free is good: if they ask for it for free. Then you have some leverage to get what you want.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Russ Salo October 17, 2008 at 10:12 am

I’ve been running a FREE GPS Rental for a week off of my website to attract new prospects comming to Canada’s Canadian Assoc of Broadcasters Convention here in Ottawa this Nov. & the results have not been stellar – so FREE may not get em busting down the doors – -As well I’ve got a new prospective TV station in MO that I’m giving them a free month of our all in one GPS Nav & Track to try it out, airtime data -GPS & everything -I’m doing it to try to break into the US market & need a centre of influence -but do not plan on giving these away once we establish some momentum –


George Barnum October 17, 2008 at 5:10 pm

Hello Russ,

If you give it away you are only hurting yourself and your company. A better way would be a free trial for a specific period of time, and a complete removal of the system or allow them to lease it monthly at a fee that will be 3x more expensive than an outright purchase. This will give them reason to purchase and allow you to increase revenue without increasing sales.

The Vegas Connection


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