Stefanos and I have struggled with CollegeLink’s business development for the past 15 months. It’s not a huge, neither an insignificant amount of time. But at that time period we have tried many things, failed many times, succeeded a couple of them but we always learn from the outcomes. Our last experiment on that front was one of the most educative ones.
In the middle of February we were feeling really confident about our momentum, so we removed Free Trial from our default pricing options for new prospects. We kept it only for hard leads that needed an extra incentive to use our service.
Well, after 32 days of that experiment we can tell for sure that it didn’t work. We learned however some really valuable things that every first-time founder should know about Free Trial in our opinion.
1. Free Trial is the bridge between “Your Actual Value Offering” and the “Value Offering that your clients understand”
For first-time founders like us, it is a bit difficult to communicate in a proper way the full value a client can receive from our services. This is even more difficult when you are trying to sell an innovative product or service.
2. Free Trial, also bridges the trust gap that comes from a new company of semi-experienced and known founders. Especially if you are a new non-founded company with young founders, it is pretty difficult to persuade a client to pay in advance for a “black-box” service.
3. When you are new to a market and making your first business development steps, growth, registrations, traction and engaged users are more important than revenue. Don’t get us wrong, revenue is extremely important - actually proving that you can charge for your services is extremely important - but you should focus on converting trial users to paying customers instead of acquiring them from the begging as paying customers.
4. Offering Free Trial by default is actually cheaper for your sales team. If the takeaways 1&2 apply to you, then you will eventually get to the point that you will offer a Free Trial to the most of your leads in order to convert. So you will be at the same point but you will have an extra communication cost with each lead to even start their Free Trial.
Long story short - Free Trial is not a disaster, it is actually a great selling strategy that can overcome the trust and “value perception” gap between you and your clients.