One of the interesting differences between selling products or services is how one deals with promotions such as give-aways. I remember back when cigarette companies could advertise openly, they would hire people to stand on street corners giving out small sample packs of three cigarettes to passers-by. The idea was to get you hooked on the brand. They must have understood how addictive these things were to limit the pack to three. Seriously, though, the concept of try before you
buy works well for products, but what about services?
It's hard to imagine getting a free haircut or auto inspection. And the idea of a free cleaning at the dentist seems totally bizarre, but wait (as they say on TV), that may be coming.
I happen to be a fan of HGTV and I watch Property Brothers
, those guys who take an outdated home and using computer-aided design technology, show the reluctant home buyer what the finished renovation will look like before they buy. Plastic surgeons do the same thing, modeling the new look for the prospective patient before making the sale, and it is common for architects, designers and engineers to put together renderings, representations of the final product or project outcome before beginning work. But what about actually doing the work first?
My grandmother was a pattern maker. She would make a sample dress based on a designer's drawings, and then from the pattern she created to make the one dress, others could be made. Technology is making pattern-making, template-making and prototyping a whole lot easier and more cost effective than ever before, so it is highly possible to show your client what the finished product will look like rather than try to explain it. Professional services can work the same way.
Recently, my wife and I decided to go to Cafe Mozart in Mamaroneck, where tables had been set up outside so patrons could enjoy the music of the Free Lunch Rock Band. Since I know the band members, I brought along my camera. Why not record the event and throw together a sample video for them? Yes, it takes time and yes, it is giving something away, but it is an example of what I do, and I love what I do, so why not keep working on my craft so I can keep getting better?
The interesting thing about creative concepts is they are hard for someone other than the creative artist to envision or comprehend. A musician has no choice but to write a song before anyone can or will buy it, so why not do the same thing with other creative arts and services? It is not much more work than a traditional storyboarding and yet so much easier to grasp. When I show a prospective client a few designs that were created from their content, I get an immediate reaction. The conversation is about likes and dislikes, followed by ways to make it better. It is much more enjoyable to begin a relationship with that type of experience than to wait for a response to a proposal, wondering if it will ever come.
I know I will put my heart and soul into the assignment, no matter what. I just find it so much more rewarding to get a head start. By-the-way, it also cuts the time to deliver, since most of the hard work is already complete.