Free Consultations: Why Giving Away Expertise Helps Conversions


Free-consultations-why-giving-away-expertise-works.jpgWhen you’re designing a direct mail campaign, you need to come up with an attractive hook to entice recipients to contact you. Sometimes, that’s a coupon or a free offer, sometimes it’s a limited time price drop, and sometimes, it’s a limited stock offer.

Another great way to get people to respond to your direct mail pieces is to offer free consultations. Here’s how you can use this, and how it works.

How Free Consultations Work

The free consultation offer is a simple enough idea: offer your customers a free visit to their home or business to offer advice in your field. For instance, if someone owned a physical security company, they might offer a free consultation to assess physical security at a building. A company specializing in flooring could offer to assess and recommend flooring products for your business based on traffic or use, or a web design firm may offer to give you a free assessment of and recommendation for your website.

The goal with the free consultation offer is to get prospects to invite you to their home or business, to give them free advice on a product or service that you offer, and are an expert in.

Why Do Free Consultations Work?

There are several ways that free consultations can help your business, and why they’re a good idea for direct mail (and other kinds of) marketing:

  • Everybody loves free stuff. If you’re genuinely giving away a free, no obligation consultation, then people will be more likely to contact you.
  • Consultations get you face to face with your customers, and get them to tell you exactly what their concerns and problems are.
  • They’re a great way to showcase your expertise, as well as unique products and services that can solve problems faster, better or cheaper than the competition.
  • They’re a great way to find customers who already need your services.
  • Because you’re making an appointment to meet someone, you get to collect their information. Even if you don’t make the sale on the spot, that’s a valuable addition to your prospect list.
  • Because you’re consulting, and not offering a quotation on the spot, you have more leeway to ask questions about budget, other options being considered, time line and so on. Customers will be more willing to provide that information for consulting purposes too.

How to Make Free Consultations Work for You

If you are considering using free consultations for your next direct mail campaign, then there are several ways to ensure your success.

  • Make the offer bold, and consider creating a separate mail piece for it. This type of offer tends to work better when it’s a standalone offer, rather than buried in a corner of a cluttered sales piece.
  • Make it easy to claim. Offer a direct telephone number or email address specifically to book the consultation.
  • Be very clear that it’s a no obligation offer, and mean it. If your sales team confuse the two, you will lose customer trust.
  • Be sure to include a time limit. Customers are more likely to take action on free offers (or any offer for that matter) if they believe there’s a finite time frame or quantity available.

If you combine all of those things with a valuable consultation offer, you should find that customers will take you up on your offer. Remember: direct mail success isn’t always measured in immediate sales. It’s a process, and this is a great step in that process.

Direct Mail Best Practices