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Why Sell It When You Can Give It Away?

There is something about free that sets us free. Human beings love free and they love to brag about free stuff to others.

I recently visited the new market in town called Plum. High priced stuff but they had little kiosks set up that cooked up tasty morsels. While the store was moderately busy, I had to dart, stop, turn and almost prevent a head-on collision with other carts being driven by gazed shoppers making sure they got their free morsels.

It was pure craziness. Amazingly, it doesn't even matter what kinds of morsels are being served up--if they're free, we want them! The sushi chef prepared its unique roll and handed them out for free. Now I know when I go to a sushi restaurant, people have their favorites and won't try something they don't like. But not at Plum. Free rolls, let me at them!

Never mind that prices were generally 10% higher than the competition and up to 20% higher than Kroger. Hey, free food is a bargain in itself.

We all know that people go to Costco on Saturday for lunch and/or dinner. The poor retired folks can't make or serve the samples quick enough. In some instances, customers get mad that they have to wait or when they run out.

Back in the day, gas stations gave our free balloons. Trader Joe's still does. Some restaurants give away mints, Dum-Dum's and Italian candies.

I was sharing a story like this with Tony who owns a couple salons in Chicago. He was telling me about his color business and how retail sales were soft. I told him about Ginger Lily Farms and suggested that for every color service he gives his clients a shampoo and conditioner for free. He loved the idea.

The first month Tony bought 48 cases. Recently I met up with Tony and asked him about the giveaway program. His smile was huge when he bragged that everyone loves it and he can't keep the products in stock. He went on to say that he raised his price point for color by $10 and the customers don't mind because they are getting free shampoo and conditioner.

What an idea. We know salons have difficulty retailing anything. So why retail when you can give it away for free? Get a manicure, take home the polish for free! Get a pedicure, take home the foot file for free! Get a haircut and take home the hair spray for free! We love free stuff and the best part about this idea: people love to pay for free stuff.

Happy Monday!

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