Do you ever find yourself tempted to purchase something online, and even with a money-back guarantee, you’re still not quite sure about handing over your cash?

Well, some of your prospects will feel the same way as they read your sales page for your product or service. Your offer sounds great, the right guarantee eliminates their risk, but they still wonder if whatever it is they are considering purchasing is right for them.

If you want to increase the likelihood that they will take out their wallet, simply offer them a free or paid trial! Haven’t you loved it when you’ve been given the option to try something out for free or very little cost to make sure it’s what you want?

By offering a trial to your prospects, you’re doing two things of value for your business-building. One is that you are showing that you are confident in the value of your product to offer a trial, and the other is that you are essentially eliminating the last lingering question in your prospect’s mind: "What if I don’t like it?"

Allowing your prospects to decide for themselves whether or not your product or service is for them answers that question for them.

So, what kinds of products and services are best for free trials?

1. Downloadable products

If you’re offering information products, like ebooks or how-to guides, you can offer a sample chapter as a free trial. If you’re offering an e-course, you can offer one lesson as a free trial. If you’re offering an audio program, you could offer a 15-minute clip as a free trial. You could also create an introductory component to any of these that gives solid information, but that also leaves your reader or listener wanting more.

2. Membership sites

It’s common practice to offer a free, $1 or $4.95 trial for a membership site. And it’s common practice because it’s a very effective way to convert your trial member to a paid member. Just like your local fitness club’s trial period – it’s much easier to sign up for a month for a couple of bucks than to pay the entire gym membership in one lump sum or to be bound to a contract for a certain length of time before you even know if the membership is for you.

3. Physical products

Offer to send your product to your customer for a small processing fee plus shipping and tell them they have 30 days to test it out. If they don’t return it within those 30 days, bill them the full price for the product (minus the processing fee, if you’d like).

4. One-on-one services

I want to make it very clear that I am not in favor of complimentary 1:1 session for any service professional. However, if you’d like to give a free 15-minute consultation to see if there’s a good match between you and your prospect, that can increase your client base.

A better option is to offer a free or low-cost group session. Give an introductory talk about your services and answer questions, perhaps even offer a discount to those who sign up with you right then. This way, you’re truly leveraging your time and talent by allowing your prospects to self-select themselves out without your having to go through that process individually.

Just make sure that along the way and at the end of the trail period, you convey the benefits of the paid version in all these cases. Having a quality product or service and following up effectively to convert your trial customer to a paid-in-full customer will increase your overall sales.

So, which of your offerings can you give a trial on? Choose one, create the trial, and see what happens to your bottom line.

© 2006, 2007 Alicia M Forest and

Alicia M Forest, MBA, Multiple Streams Queen & Coach(TM) teaches self-employed professionals how to attract more clients, create profit-making products and services, make more sales, and ultimately live the life they desire and deserve. For FREE tips on how to create wild abundance in your business, visit