10 December 2013
A stranger paid for my Starbucks last week. He didn’t want anything in exchange other than the implied social contract that I’d pay it forward to someone else soon. He’s probably glad I drink black coffee. 🙂
I’ve been selling stuff on craigslist recently. For a week I’d been trying to sell a fake Christmas tree and I’d almost given up when someone excitedly messaged me about it.
I arranged a pick up time for them, made sure I was going to be home, and then gave out our address when they said they’d be leaving soon. Still feeling the holiday cheer from my free coffee I thought this was the perfect time to “pay it forward” and let them know…
Ninety minutes passed when it should have been a short drive over. So I texted to see if they were still coming and received the following reply:
“I want it badly, but I live (20 minutes away) and its dark outside. Any chance you make it over here anytime?”
Sorry – a free tree doesn’t come with free delivery.
Feeling frustrated I realized that I created this mess. I took away all the value by declaring it was going to be free. Now this wasn’t something of value they needed. Maybe there was something wrong with it. Maybe it was just junk.
Either way I had removed the incentive to pick up something of value and replaced it with FREE. Free doesn’t lead to effort.
People don’t respect the price of zero and tend to believe it comes with strings attached. The people that ARE attracted to “free” aren’t generally the ones you want as customers anyway. They’re always looking for another way to save money at the expense of the time and resources of everyone around them.
This is why we charge for KickoffLabs. It has value. It saves time and creates opportunities for people who actually place value on their time.
They just don’t. We’ve recently started letting our free customers use their own website domains to launch their businesses. The stats don’t lie. People that aren’t paying us just don’t have success with their sites that they paying customers do. It’s effort they aren’t investing because they, themselves, aren’t investing in their own success.
They probably spend so much time looking for the next FREE way to save a buck that they don’t have the time it takes to promote their business, their own success, and truly take advantage of the free opportunity, or christmas tree, in front of them.