How to Use Free Bonuses to Increase Perceived Value

“I knew I’d been living in Berkeley too long when I saw a sign that said ‘Free Firewood’ and my first thought was ‘Who was Firewood and what did he do?'” – John Berger

Remember the old Ginsu knife infomercials? Remember how the pitchmen would pile on the free bonuses to get you to order? It went something like this:

“But wait, that’s not all! If you order in the next 30 minutes … I’ll not only send you the entire 36-piece set of Ginsu knives, I’ll include a second set absolutely free. And, you still get the free fisherman’s friend fillet knife, the free indestructible cutting board … and … etc., etc., etc.!”

Anyway, the reason they did that is … it worked! That is, it increased sales … sometimes massively. And all you have to do to see this technique used to perfection is tune in to late-night television and watch a few infomercials.

These people have it down to a science. They have to. It costs so much money to make and test an infomercial (easily $100,000 or more) that there’s no room for error. If you see one of these 30-minute spots over and over and over, pay close attention. It’s a winner!

Now, how do you apply this information to your business (or to your client’s business)? Well, since I don’t know what business you’re in … I’ll cover a few different examples.

If you sell information, you can add more information. Free book. Free tapes. Free videos. Free teleseminars. Etc.

If you are in a service business — dry cleaning, for example — you could offer extra free cleaning. One shirt free for every two the customer pays for — or something like that.

Are you a chiropractor? Offer a free exercise ball to strengthen your patient’s back. A dentist? Give the patient a free cleaning with his first paid appointment. In computer sales? Tempt your customer with a free deluxe office chair when he buys a computer from you. In industrial sales? Howsabout a free one-year service contract with the purchase of one of your widgets?

Whatever business or industry you’re in, you can use free bonuses to increase sales. Just be sure the bonuses have a high perceived value … and are easy (and cost-effective) to fulfill. (See the caveat below.)

CAVEAT: Be wary of tail. What’s “tail”? This: Let’s say you are selling a book and you offer a 30-minute free consultation to people who buy your book. That consultation is tail. You have now sold your time — time you are going to have to make good on down the road. Here’s a better idea: Offer a similar or complementary free report with the purchase of your book. You can easily fulfill that promise … and then you are free and clear. And your customer still gets increased value for his purchase. Use your imagination. How many ways can you think of to use free bonuses to increase sales for your business?


Word to the Wise: Pulchritude

“Pulchritude” (PUL-kruh-tood) is something that pleases the eye …

beauty. For example, “feminine pulchritude.”


ETR, LLC, 2003


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