Providing Things For Free Can Lead To Long-Term Success

There is an entitlement thinking that permeates many people which ultimately can limit the potential of an individual or business. That line of thinking is that you must be paid for all the work that you provide. Examples of this, would be authors not agreeing to write a book without a signing bonus, refusing to start a business or take a 100% commission job, or going dutch on the first date.

Yesterday, my wife and I went to our local butcher Eggers to pick up some bratwursts for lunch today. Normally I’ve just gone to the local grocer, but because of the perceived (and hopefully true) higher quality and reasonable price we’ve been trying the butcher. It was only my second time at the shop and on my way to the checkout I noticed some tasty looking beef jerky.

I really didn’t want to buy the jerky because it was a bit of an impulse buy and didn’t have a need – but I asked if I could just try a real small piece. The employee was happy about giving us a free sample and even stated, “How else are we going to get you hooked.” Well on the short drive back to our house we scarfed down the jerky and absolutely loved it. My wife would not stop about how every road trip we need to get this jerky because it’s so good. In fact, we are heading out to Seattle soon and will likely stop by Eggers to get some jerky for the road.

The butcher was taking a risk – he was providing something for free with no guarantee of future profit or success. But he knows he has a good product, he stands behind it and he figures the short term loss will turn into long term gains. Lucky for him, that good will has led to me promoting his products online.

Essentially when you provide something for free you are shifting the risk from the buyer to the seller. In most situations the buyer will recognise this shift and develop the perception of good will toward the seller. This process can help create rapport between the buyer and seller further enhance the business relationship. In addition to developing good will, the buyer will feel more confident with a seller that is in good financial status which can handle minimal loss.

While, providing things for free can lead to success it is very important that the buyer is aware what they are getting is at a loss to the seller and is not the norm. If the buyer ever perceives the value of what you are providing as zero, then it will be difficult for the you to charge for your products/services in the future.

It is your responsibility to determine if the long term gains are worth the short term losses. However, you may find that if you only look at the tangible actions of the process, the payoffs will not be as high. Ultimately, we are all humans and there are intangible opportunities that cannot be measured, seen, or expected. That is why a good friend of mine, Mark Burrell, will treat all prospects/clients equally and with the utmost respect. After all, you never know when that small prospect will land a new job and become the elephant prospect on your list.

Opening your mind to the value of free can further enhance opportunities for growth in the future. Do not be quick to discount an action because you are not being immediately compensated. Take the time to realise any tangible and intangible long term gains. Create good for others and you will find success.

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