Do you ever feel like giving someone one of your books (or other goods you might be selling) for free? I have handed out a copy of my book without charge on multiple occasions. I no longer think that is a smart thing to do. In fact, I have learned that it actually can have the opposite effect of what you might be trying to accomplish. Instead of encouraging people to get on board with your product and spread the word, you may be diminishing its worth.
But I feel like it will help them . . .
If you are like me then it is easy to let emotions lead the way. Sometimes I feel like a person I am talking to could really benefit from what I have written, and I want to get it to them with as little resistance as possible. What better way than a complimentary book?
A couple of weeks ago I went out to grab a burrito with a friend of mine. This friend is a young man who is currently looking to meet the lady of his dreams. My first book, Christian Babe Alert, just so happens to be all about finding that special someone. I had a stack of about ten copies sitting in my car.
So I . . . Suggested he check out my book on Amazon. Why didn’t I just give him one? I mean they aren’t doing anyone a whole lot of good laying on the floor mat of my Toyota. Actually, there are a couple of reasons I didn’t give him a free book.
Lessons learned the hard way . . .
First, I have learned that people don’t really value what they didn’t have to pay for. We intrinsically understand that something good should cost us something. I was just talking to a respected, mentor friend of mine who told me a related story from when he traveled to Europe. My friend was talking to a gentleman in a store in Europe that told him about a coffee company that was started by a couple of sly entrepreneurs. They preyed upon the fact that people associate cost with quality.
The coffee makers crafted a completely average blend and sold it at an extremely high price. Of course, people want to try the best so the coffee sold like crazy. My friend tells me that, to this day in Ohio, people will invite him over and boast about having some of that same brand of coffee he heard about years ago in Europe.
I am not saying we should overprice our work, but when we are given a book for free, even one that has beneficial content, it is hard for us to appreciate it. When it comes down to it, I would rather have a dozen people that paid for my book and value its content than a hundred that own it, but see it as a throwaway freebie. My wallet usually agrees.
Secondly, If you give your work away for free, people probably won’t read it anyway. People are busy! If a person doesn’t have the motivation to spend some money and pick up a book, then they most likely aren’t going to spend hours reading it. Although our books might look more appealing on someone’s bookshelf as compared to our car’s trunk, this is a good opportunity to exercise patience.
We need to learn how to sell our work. We deserve to get paid for our labor. That doesn’t mean it will happen right away. Not freely giving away all of our product is the place to start if we really want to learn how to sell.
Of course, I am all for promotions to garner interest, but try not to make it a habit of devaluing your handiwork.
Daniel Vasi is a speaker, writer, and math teacher. Dan's column, Relational Selling, can be found at Locoblog. You can also read more from Daniel by signing up for his email letter at: http://eepurl.com/bpdNQP