"I thought ‘free’ would work…"

not true

So said a gal who had a big group of folks tell her they wouldn’t click on her Orange Ad (see right side of the page there on the NMC site). It said something like:

Free DVD
New Nutrition

The gal told the group she figured “free” would work. But the audience didn’t agree.

“I get CDs and DVDs advertising stuff free in the mail, and throw them out,” said one. “I don’t have time…”

“Why would I stop everything I’m doing and sit and watch a 7 or 10 minute DVD of someone trying to sell me something? And I don’t even know them?”

Plus, all but the most naive of us know that “Free” isn’t really free. Consider:

A “Free sample” pitch…But, uh, shipping is $5.95.

It gets worse. When you do respond to a “free sample” ad, the sales person is trained to try to upsell you right on the spot. Anything to avoid having to send that costly free sample.

I’ve talked to a well known NM trainer who promotes that very thing: They teach networkers to advertise ‘free’ samples, then when the person responds, they follow a very sophisticated script to upsell prospect on the spot and never send that sample.

And if you DO actually get a ‘free’ sample, well now you’re in for lots of follow up calls, trying to sell you something more. The cost? Dealing with the annoyance of a pesky sales type.

These are some reasons why ‘free’ doesn’t work anymore. It isn’t.

So try something else.

About the author

Kim Klaver


  • Great point Kim. BUT…it does depend on the integrity of the FREE offer. For example, we offer Mentoring For Free.

    As many here can attest to, it really is FREE. We have 10 free training calls per week. They are all totally generic. No one ever tries to recruit anyone into their “deal”.

    Now, don’t get me wrong – some people are LOOKING for another company or a company to begin with and those people ASK about my company and I show it to them, but only AFTER they get educated on what to look for.

    We spread the word that gifting programs and pyramid schemes are illegal. A company needs to be structured properly for the REP to make money. If the company doesn’t pay part time people, the majority of people will never make it.

    Sometimes free really is a good thing.


  • Free DVD’s sound great to us because we already know about and love our product. We assume everyone else is looking through the same glasses we are. They’re not. Some of the products I sell are nutritional products and this is how I read this:
    Free DVD/video = infomercial
    New nutrition = snake oil
    breakthrough = hype
    Imagine what the lay-people are thinking.

    So you have a great product, cool. What did it DO for YOU? Why do YOU take it? Lead with that.


  • Oh that FREE word. I personally run at full speed from it anywhere I see it online because it never IS free.
    When I didnt know any better I would click on something FREE and have gotten on sooo many lists I have had to abandon an email address to get some relief from spam.
    So FREE does not work for me ever.
    I agree with Connelly… just tell my story and if that isnt good enuff they are not in my niche.
    Roxanne.. your MFF calls, etc are great and informative and are everything you say and are free. But, in my opinion, this is very unusual.
    Remember when I first contacted you I said, “OK, whats the catch?” or something like that? And only my belief in YOU led me to sign up.
    I really am not a suspicious or cynical person, but in this one FREE area I am because of my experiences.

  • Hi Kim…
    Yep, I hate the here’s something for free but you pay the shipping… and wow, sometimes the shipping and handling charge can knock you over. That was something even ebay had to correct. There were many sellers with low cost items with outrageous shipping and handling charges…well ebay stopped that quick.

    With my company I do offer 2 cards, 2 send, 4 free including the postage and it is for FREE.. really for free. And I feel great about it! For over 30 years I have been a lover of cards, I love to send them, get them, and I’ve even designed them.

    It’s just so nice to just help someome put together a card to send to someone. In the short time it takes to put together the card online, we have the time to get to know each other, to laugh, talk about who they’re sending it to, etc, etc… Once they get the card, they call me or I call them and then we talk more.

    I love giving something to someone with no charge. Would I love them to be my customer… sure I would.
    But I have learned thru the years that not everything is for everyone.

    I got into NM because as a freelance artist, working in my studio, you can tend to be isolated. I wanted more people contact… I realize now, that it wasn’t so much about the residual money, or the products, that really attracted me to NM, for me it was about the people contact.

    And when my last company upline kept saying go thru the numbers, look for the ace, look for the ace. it went totally against my grain…We are not numbers, we are people.

    So do I give away free cards, yes I do!
    Is it for real, yes it is!
    Do I give it to numbers…no!
    I give it to nice people, who want to touch other nice people with a card to show they care… just like me!

    Here”s to new friendships thru NM!

  • Thanks for the good responses, all…

    And Rox, I understand your feeling about your mentoring program…it’s kind of like the good infomercial that shows people things they didn’t know before, and then they can buy something from you or not.

    I did free talks for two years on how to eat better, and offered all sorts of tips, including the product I was marketing. I had groups each week from 10 to 100.

    In those situations, so long as people feel like their time was well spent learning something they had an interest in, they almost expect you to offer your special thing without feeling like they’ve been misled. Or they’ll ask what YOU do…

    Sometimes I don’t like to accept “free” because I don’t want to feel like I owe the other person. Sometimes I’d rather just pay for something and be done with it.

    It’s the law of reciprocity, you know?

    Very interesting social rules and pressures we all live with…different for different people as well.

    Most people realize that free lectures, talks and seminars are done because someone cares about something, and the audience expects the speaker/leader to have a program they can join if they’re interested, or a cause you can contribute to.


  • Hi Kim
    When I read this post it opened my eyes fast. I had an orange ad pending, I used free in it and had to rethink if I could really offer something for free. No, I couldn’t without them signing on then the item would be free in their packet. I cancelled the Orange Ad. Thank you for posting this before I made a huge mistake. Thank you for teaching me the right way to do my business. I’ve been in Network Marketing 3 months and have learned so much from you, more than my upline. I’ll reword my Ad, thank you.

  • You attract what you think. If “free” doesn’t work for you, than it will not work. In my company we are giving DVD’s away for FREE. No shipping, no handling, no cost, nada, free, free…

  • Vincent –

    A free DVD still requires time to watch, and for me, unless I were interested in the topic to begin with, whether the DVD was free or not wouldn’t matter. My interest level would decide. Not free.

    But some people have the time and do much more free than others, true enough.

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