When free pizza didn’t work, he charged them.

Archie’s job was to sell a pricey piece of business equipment. To get the potential buyers interested in “Product XP”, he invited prospects to lunch. He bought everyone pizza and did his product presentation. After doing about a dozen of these, he made almost no sales.

One day he talked to a business consultant. Having nothing to lose, he decided to test a totally different approach. He put together a three day training course for the product.

Here was his next ad:

Product XP boot camp: $1500

7 people showed up. Several months later, Fortune 500 companies were sending him their employees so he could show them how to use the system he was trying to sell (!).

Each one paid $1500.

What happened here?

He had repositioned himself as an expert offering information. Versus a salesman. (Thanks, Perry).

Can you do something similar in your business? How would you do it?

Use the comments below…

About the author

Kim Klaver


  • People definitely do not value what they get for free. I sell my product through nutrition education at free Wellness Seminars. Getting people to show up is a challenge. I think I may try charging for the privelege of attending and see how that goes.

  • Michelle —

    You write:
    “I think I may try charging for the privelege of attending and see how that goes.”
    Why not? You’d want to do a “bootcamp” type presentation though, not just a sales pitch for the product. So you could indeed be the expert, and not just a sales person for it.

    Anon —

    You write:
    “I need to reposition but how and where to begin???????”

    First ask yourself, what do you know that can add value to a person’s life or business as it relates to your product or business? Other than telling them how great it is, could you come up with a 3 hour or three day “bootcamp” to show someone how to use it and benefit from either the business or the product?

    That’s where it starts with you being an expert re your product or business, like this guy was.


  • Kim, there you go again challenging my sacred cow of thinking! LOL!

    Experts in our Network Marketing Profession like Doug Firebaugh recommend being a giver of information because people would be more inclined to receive your product message at a later date.

    My evidence would be yourself. You give the free recorded “Your Great Thing” podcasts and these can lead to sales.

    Maybe I am seeing a disconnect.

  • Thanks Kim, your insight on this is so true. I do fitness training and I know that when I go to “free events” it brings in that type of clients.
    When you have to pay, people seem more interested since they have a monetary investment.

    I keep telling my friend to charge more for her training services, she says really just wants to “help others” and some people can’t afford it. I say, they would pay double for what you charge if they really want you as a trainer so try it.

    Thank you Kim!

  • Hi Griffin—

    Re the “disconnect” you feel?

    I do offer info at no charge, yep. Online. And I sell stuff too, often to those who like the no-cost tips they see. The product “training” in this story was a live event.

    Many people do live talks on the house, to try and sell their services. Demos sometimes work, like with Chiropractors looking for business and offering demos. However, for other kinds of products, like health supplements or weight loss programs, or office equipment or software, a paid approach might be a better option.

    That’s if you can offer information of value, not just s longer sales pitch.

  • Am i missing something here? You say he got 7 people to the presentation, who paid $1500 each – but it seems he didn’t sell any of product XP.

    And that the Fortune 100 companies wanted to know how to get people to pay $1500 to attend a bootcamp, rather than get x sales for their own Product XP.

    So that the cost of telling them about product XP is covered, and more, by the prospects.

    And this is exactly what LOTS of people ARE doing in MLM at the moment.

    They are selling people a system/membership site/whatever to promote their MLM business, and the sales of that system/membership/whatever provide the income to support the MLMer even if he never makes any product sales, or sponsors any new distributor.

    Just like this salesman, his “cost of sales”, and more, is covered by selling a “how to sell product XP” system/membership site/whatever.

    It’s called a Funded Proposition, and I don’t like it.

    Seems to me you are saying “I’ve got this great business, selling XP’s, but it’s so hard to be successful at selling XPs that what we really do is sell a system/membership site/whatever that tells you how to sell XP’s.”

  • Shelagh…

    You write:
    “Seems to me you are saying “I’ve got this great business, selling XP’s, but it’s so hard to be successful at selling XPs that what we really do is sell a system/membership site/whatever that tells you how to sell XP’s.””

    Hmm, that’s not the impression I got from this story…

    First, he was not selling a membership site or a business opportunity. It was an expensive piece of equipment that did certain things for companies in a certain kind of business.

    The companies sent their people to his workshop, and peid for them to go, so they could learn how to use the equipment. That was versus getting no one to come unless they got free pizza, and then they left without buying.

    I’d guess quite a few of them bought the equipment he was selling. And whether they bought or not, he stopped wasting his time and buying pizza for people who were really just “lookers” or freebie seekers.

    Actually, now that you mention it, charging for bus opp meetings, and showing how the business works and what it takes, instead of hiding all the difficulties until AFTER they pay in, resulting in massive numbers of POd quitters, might be a very good way of disqualifying the wrong ones. You know, those who came to see a fast way to make big money.


Leave a Comment