Lead With Generosity

Yesterday I wrote about how the ethical path to be taken by digital services is to demonstrate utility with a generous trial mode. From there, if the product really delivers on the promise, it will have long-term customers.

The waters get muddied somewhat when there’s a human being involved, putting hours in. But they needn’t be. Even as a person offering a service, it’s possible to build trust before asking for cash. I used to offer coaching (and stopped doing so because I didn’t want to commit with more people that I could responsibly serve) and my line was:

“Look, you can read my free material and apply it and that will get you 90% of the way you want to go. If after that you still feel I can contribute to your journey, I’m happy to take your money!”

The effect that this had was that when my clients were ready to pay me, they had already had results and knew I was the real deal. Conversely, if someone tried the material and it didn’t work for them… Well, why would they want to be my clients?

The key here is that they had the possibility to find out if we were a match or not before money changed hands. Of course, not every business model is amenable to this approach – but I believe most are.

Painting: “The Hermit, or the Distributor of Rosaries” by Jean-Baptiste Greuze