If you’re a small business owner, you are probably the rainmaker for your business. This means if you aren’t around, no one is meeting with prospective customers and bringing some of those prospects in as new customers.
It can feel like a huge and heavy responsibility.
And yet there are ways to lighten the load. In fact, it’s the business owners who find effective ways to lighten the load that tend to succeed fastest.
I’m Not Suggesting You Hire Salespeople
At some point hiring sales people may make sense but in most cases, especially if you’re a solopreneur or independent professional, you probably don’t have the revenue let alone time and energy to hire a dedicated sales person.
Nope, I’m talking about something a lot smaller and simpler that can nonetheless be extremely effective: a free information product.
How Free Products Operate as Your Sales Force
In the very best case, a free information product be it a step-by-step how to guide, a report, an assessment, etc. represents your business and what your business can do for customers.
- A free product which helps prospective customers solve a painful problem, gives them a direct experience with how your business can help.
- Prospective customers get a sense of your values and style and can decide if your approach is a good fit.
- Information products which prospects download from your website are available 24/7. If they have an Internet connection, they have some access to you. They don’t have to wait to set up an appointment.
- Free products in some ways are better than a sales person in the sense that there is limited commitment on the prospects part. There’s so much noise and pressure in our environment to “Buy Now or Else!” and when done right, a free product provides a safe place to try out your solution with no fear of hurting someone’s feelings or being pressured into buying.
- When your free product has helped a prospect solve a problem, it’s only natural for them to want to take the next step and buy from you.
The key phrase here is “in the very best case” because not all free products are created equal. But there are 6 things you can do to make sure that your free product is one that provides value to your prospective customers and helps them take the next step to becoming real customers.
Keys to a Free Product that Works as Your 24/7 Salesperson
#1. Provides Real Customer Value.
Your product should solve a problem or alleviate a situation that your customer really wants help with. The more urgent and painful the problem, the better.
#2. Proven Effective.
Your solution is based on what has really worked for you when helping customers.
#3. Focused on One Problem Only.
Your product solves one, specific, concrete problem. The purpose of a free product usually helps with a symptom. Your paid products and services address the real cause of the problem.
#4. Represents Your Values.
Your product is your representative in the larger world and who you are as a human being needs to come through in the language you use, humor, visual elements, and more. Although you can’t be present in person, a well-done product still communicates your genuine caring for those you help.
#5 Stands Alone.
Your product needs to be something that works without requiring your direct presence. If someone can get great results while you’re in bed asleep, you’ve got a good information product.
#6. Clear, Appealing Call to Action.
If your product works, your prospect will naturally want more from you. So you want a clear call to action that makes it easy for your prospect to take the next step for becoming a customer.
This next step will vary depending on the cost and complexity of your products. For example, if you sell organic snack foods, it makes perfect sense to include something like a “get $.50 off your next online purchase” coupon.
If you’re a technical consultant and typically charge $2,000+ per engagement, a good next step is inviting your prospect to subscribe to your ezine or invite them to a low cost teleclass series.
Imagine having hundreds a sales representatives who are available 24/7, anywhere in the world as long as there’s an Internet connection, and who are enabling you to help thousands, possibly tens of thousands of prospects.
When you have a well-done free information product, it acts very much on your behalf as a kind of sales representative.
If you already use a free information product, I invite you to assess it using the keys mentioned in this article. If you are not yet using a free information product, this should give you a real incentive to start working on one.
Remember, people need what you offer, begin using free products to help them know who you are, how you help, and how to they can become real customers.