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Old 05-18-2016, 12:44 AM   #1
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Default Free gift for prospects? Marketing tactic

I've been listing to the "I Love Marketing" podcast and one of the hosts (Joe Polish) offers his prospects a free room carpet clean to get his foot in the door to show the potential customer his value and what he can bring to the table before the decide to go ahead with the job.

I'm looking to do this myself but can't think of anything that doesn't involve too much time or labour.

What do you offer to your prospects (if you do) for free without using too much of your time and money that shows them your businesses value?

Lets get the ideas rolling
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Old 05-18-2016, 03:06 AM   #2
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I still give free estimates but nothing else.
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Old 05-18-2016, 03:46 AM   #3
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Free can work, but you STILL have to prequalify customers. I have seen some offer to paint a door, buy x rooms get 1 free and so forth.

The only people who should receive freebies are those who can legitimately afford the larger job, but are on the fence about pulling the trigger.

If you do t prequalify your freebies, your going to hemmorage $$ as everyone will be more than happy to let you work for free.
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Old 05-18-2016, 04:12 AM   #4
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I offer a free set of steak knives with every exterior paint job.
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Old 07-02-2016, 12:41 PM   #5
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Maybe you could do a "Charity Paint" for a needy family. Contact the local news to see if they want to do a story. You might be able to get donated materials. You could also use the event as training for inexperienced employees (if applicable).
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Old 07-02-2016, 08:14 PM   #6
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Guess I'm fortunate that I don't need to resort to gimmicks to "get my foot in the door". Working primarily through referrals, most of my potential customers are interested in a professional bid and work done in the same manner. As chrisn said, giving them a free bid is more than enough.

A few years back, one of the other companies in our area did a "paint it forward" job as a means to generate publicity. Guess it didn't work out too well since they never repeated it.
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Old 07-03-2016, 07:42 AM   #7
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Free estimates and that's it. Don't know anyone that doesn't do them.

I do have a couple of customers who constantly try and grind you down for free stuff. It's draining and gets to the point where it's borderline embarrassing. I've gotten to the point where I find it virtually impossible to even be tactful with them. I'm not rude, but I've taken the attitude I learned when I worked in prison. Firm, fair and I've cut out being friendly.

My wife is surprised they keep calling me back. Tomorrow I'll be painting for the worst of the bunch. She even begs me to give her some kind of discount where I only charge her the same rate I did 8 years ago because she's a repeat customer? At this point, I'm borderline mean to her but she keeps calling.
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Old 07-03-2016, 12:55 PM   #8
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Free estimates and that's it. Don't know anyone that doesn't do them.

I do have a couple of customers who constantly try and grind you down for free stuff. It's draining and gets to the point where it's borderline embarrassing. I've gotten to the point where I find it virtually impossible to even be tactful with them. I'm not rude, but I've taken the attitude I learned when I worked in prison. Firm, fair and I've cut out being friendly.

My wife is surprised they keep calling me back. Tomorrow I'll be painting for the worst of the bunch. She even begs me to give her some kind of discount where I only charge her the same rate I did 8 years ago because she's a repeat customer? At this point, I'm borderline mean to her but she keeps calling.
Just curious, what type of work did they have you do? And was the experience helpful after you were released?
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Old 07-03-2016, 01:32 PM   #9
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My perspective has always been nothing is free. So even if you offer free painting of a front door if you paint 3 rooms it seems to me that the 3 rooms were over charged by the cost of the door. By three get one free all that stuff is gimmicks in my opinion. If you can make that work for you more power to you but I avoid it.

I wish I could charge for estimates but it would be difficult since no one else does.
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Old 07-03-2016, 02:43 PM   #10
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My perspective has always been nothing is free. So even if you offer free painting of a front door if you paint 3 rooms it seems to me that the 3 rooms were over charged by the cost of the door. By three get one free all that stuff is gimmicks in my opinion. If you can make that work for you more power to you but I avoid it.

I wish I could charge for estimates but it would be difficult since no one else does.
Some time ago, one our erstwhile members talked about giving out gift cards to potential clients as a marketing tactic. As you mentioned, it's pretty obvious that such costs get paid for somehow. I think that's apparent to a good percentage of the general public.

Back before RRP, we considered borrowing a marketing tactic from a famous roofing company. In an effort to show clients how careful we are about cleanup, my idea was to give them a measuring cup when we started the job. If they could fill up the cup with paint chips we left on the job, they would get $100 discount on the job.

Obviously, that $100, plus the cost of a branded measuring cup, would be included in the price.
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Old 07-03-2016, 03:00 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by jacob33 View Post
My perspective has always been nothing is free. So even if you offer free painting of a front door if you paint 3 rooms it seems to me that the 3 rooms were over charged by the cost of the door. By three get one free all that stuff is gimmicks in my opinion. If you can make that work for you more power to you but I avoid it.

I wish I could charge for estimates but it would be difficult since no one else does.
As I've said before, we can all blame the first prehistoric tradesman (Thagg Painting; Serving the Tri-Swamps Area Since 5023 BC) who said, "Sure, I can give you a free estimate for a painting job."
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Old 07-03-2016, 03:07 PM   #12
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I'm assuming that if you had started adding the hundred dollars back you would have rarely had to pay it since you clean up well.
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Old 07-03-2016, 03:15 PM   #13
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I'm assuming that if you had started adding the hundred dollars back you would have rarely had to pay it since you clean up well.
Part of it was for the sheer pleasure of watching cheapskate clients spend hours crawling around trying to collect enough paint chips to save $100.

That was before I learned about the concept of firing clients, not to mention having the confidence to do so.
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Old 07-03-2016, 03:25 PM   #14
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Just curious, what type of work did they have you do? And was the experience helpful after you were released?
Pre-release planning, case management, general counselling for related criminogenic factors, etc. Last few years I worked out of only the maximum security prisons and worked with the guys in the community post release. Spent a lot of that time down on the skid row of Vancouver's Downtown East Side.

Yep, the day I got laid off did feel like I'd been released. I was burnt out. Had started to hate my job. Over ten years I only had my life threatened a few times.

One thing I will say is that the experiences I learned in prison are something I pretty much use on a daily basis on the outside and dealing with customers.

An old guard told me once his rules that kept him going for several decades working in the maxes. Be Firm, Fair, Friendly and don't ever let anyone F with you. An adage all painters should subscribe to.
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Old 07-03-2016, 04:42 PM   #15
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Pre-release planning, case management, general counselling for related criminogenic factors, etc. Last few years I worked out of only the maximum security prisons and worked with the guys in the community post release. Spent a lot of that time down on the skid row of Vancouver's Downtown East Side.

Yep, the day I got laid off did feel like I'd been released. I was burnt out. Had started to hate my job. Over ten years I only had my life threatened a few times.

One thing I will say is that the experiences I learned in prison are something I pretty much use on a daily basis on the outside and dealing with customers.

An old guard told me once his rules that kept him going for several decades working in the maxes. Be Firm, Fair, Friendly and don't ever let anyone F with you. An adage all painters should subscribe to.
Yep - same with my teaching career. In fact, our experiences were probably pretty similar.
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Old 07-03-2016, 06:04 PM   #16
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Yep - same with my teaching career. In fact, our experiences were probably pretty similar.
No way. At least in prisons there is a light at the end of the tunnel
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Old 07-03-2016, 07:03 PM   #17
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No way. At least in prisons there is a light at the end of the tunnel
Temporary, and not for all. Just sayin'

I had a very low success ratio. Tho.
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Old 07-16-2016, 01:20 AM   #18
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Joe has a great Podcast!! I enjoying listening as well. I don't usually do anything but the estimate for free, but his concept has got me thinking outside the box. Let us know if you come up with anything creative.
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Old 11-29-2016, 04:41 PM   #19
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I use to go to Joe Polish's Bootcamps with my husband. My husband owns a carpet cleaning business. The bootcamps were great!
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Old 11-29-2016, 04:58 PM   #20
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Honestly, I just tell them I am going to add their before and after to my website. I don't know why people are excited about it, but I get more jobs because people want to be on the website.
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