Last updateTue, 11 Feb 2020 10pm

Free - The word FREE is one of the 3 most powerful words in advertising and very profitable when used correctly

Even though everyone knows there is NO FREE LUNCH, the word FREE almost always catches our attention. And when used for the correct purpose, almost always helps the marketer increase their sales and profits.

Of course the correct purpose of using the word FREE in marketing is to make a sale at a profit. The profit you need and desire.

If using the word FREE in marketing automatically ensured sales and profits, everyone would be giving away FREE products and services. Plus there is an old rule in marketing saying, “Never give away something you sell, unless you have a surefire plan to make profits doing it.”

I learned that rule the hard way. During a slow sales week in my electronics store I decided to create some excitement and conduct an in-store promotion featuring the giving away of a free 20 inch color television. Everyone entering the store came face to face with a big sign announcing the FREE giveaway. We had plenty of entries and everyone was excited about the prospect of winning a television set. At the end of the week we drew a name and one of our present customers, Bonnie Yost, won the television. We telephoned her to inform her of her good fortune. The next day she arrived in the morning to claim her prize, and as we were loading the television in her car she said, “I sure am glad I won this television. I was going to come in next week and purchase one for my mother.”

I not only did not make any profit, I lost a future sale and profit, because I did not have a plan to make a profit.

So how do you make a profit giving things away? Make sure the giveaway will induce a sale of one of your products and services. For example: In our appliance business we would give an extended warranty, one on only the burners of an electric range, one on only the motor of a washing machine, trash compactor and dishwasher, to induce the prospect to not only purchase the appliance, but also to purchase a larger, full extended warranty on the entire product which increased our net profit 10% to 20%.

In my tire store we gave 4 services away, tire rotation, flat repairs, front end alignment inspection and tire inspection, to get the customer back in our store as often as possible. While we performed the free services we discovered products and services the customer needed and almost always purchased from us.

It was very easy to take customers away from our competition in our video rental business by simply giving Sundays FREE. Rent a movie on Saturday and return it Monday for the cost of only a one day rental. We were not open on Sunday anyway.

For my speaking/sales training business I gain speaking and sales training jobs by being noticed and remembered. By getting myself and my books/CD’s in the prospects hands.

You are my prospect so I am offering you, as a reader of Southern Jewelry News and Mid-America Jewelry News, a FREE copy of my book or CD (reg. $12.99) “99 Of The Greatest Sales Tips Of All Time.”

Go to www.BobJanet.com, click on products or the books at the top of the page, go to the yellow book, “99 Of The Greatest Sales Tips Of All Times.” Use discount code - 99FREE. All you pay is the shipping.

3 things to remember when giving things away FREE


  1. Try and find items/services that you do not sell to give away, but they must relate to the products and services you sell. Do not give away pens if you do not sell something related to the pen or its use. Only give away coffee cups if you sell coffee or water or something the recipient can put in or on the cup.
  2. If you give away a product or service you sell make sure it will cause the recipient to purchase more of your products and services or at least help you be better noticed in the market and remembered.
  3. After you give something away FREE, whether it is your product/service or not, follow up with the prospect in some manner or form. Make sure they see or hear from you or about you.


PS: The other two most powerful words in marketing are Sale and Guarantee.

The guaranteed method for increasing business by giving prizes away for a contest/drawing

Almost every business I see having a contest/drawing, no matter what the customer/prospect has to do to enter their name in the drawing, does not take full or even near full advantage of their opportunity to get traffic to their business. They fail because they only give away one to three or even ten prizes. When I run a contest, everyone wins. Especially me. See, there is one grand prize winner, and everyone else wins the runner up-prize. I have been told by retailers and wholesalers that this is genius. It virtually ensures everyone entered in the contest will return to your business, whether it is a brick & mortar business or not. I give away a nice, very highly perceived-value grand prize and everyone else wins a low cost runner-up prize. I have used economy wine, silver plated dishes, low cost clocks, etc. as runner up prizes. One of my favorite suppliers is Morry Dickter & Associates, Inc. 1-800-521-9935.

At the end of the contest you contact the first prize winner and then telephone or send everyone else with this message:

You’re A Winner!

Dear {first name},

Congratulations you’re a winner! You’ve won 2nd prize in our recent drawing. The grand prize went to {winner’s name} and {he/she} was delighted. Sorry, you didn’t win.

But, there is good news! You’ve won the runner-up prize. You’ve won a {free service or discount on product/service}. You’ll really enjoy {service/product} because it... {explain benefits}.

To claim your prize just come in the store (contact the business) anytime between {your hours} and before the end of {month}.

Thanks for entering our contest and we look forward to seeing you soon.


{Your Name}

P.S. You’ve got to hurry. If you don’t claim your {free service/discount} by {date} it will be awarded to the next runner-up. So don’t wait, bring this letter in today. (contact us today).

Note: This is sent to everyone who enters a contest you put on (except the grand prize winner). Running a contest is a great way to add names to your mailing list plus generate a lot more business by using this letter. Lots of people try contests but they forget to harness the most important information they’ve gathered - the names!

Giving your products and services away FREE works if you have a surefire plan to make profits doing it.

Bob Janet - Sales consultant/trainer, speaker, author of “Join The Profit Club” combines 40 plus years as owner/operator of professional, retail, manufacturing and service businesses with his unique teaching and storytelling ability to motivate, educate and inspire business professionals of all levels and all industries for increased sales & profits. Contact Bob at 800-286-1203, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..