Free Isn’t Necessarily A Good Price

free-starter-kitI was an image consultant in a previous life. We used to give away free makeovers as a way to generate business. At first, I thought this was a great idea, and I found it pretty easy to book these appointments. What I often found, however (probably more than 50% of the time), was that people either cancelled, rescheduled, or just plain didn’t bother to show up for the actual appointment. Sometimes they didn’t even bother to call and say they wouldn’t be there. It just wasn’t important enough to them, because the perceived value of what they were getting from me was zero and they had no investment in the appointment.


Do you ever wonder why people sign up for your business, buy a starter kit, and then never do anything? It happens for the same reason. The average price for a starter kit in our industry is less than $150.00 (and some companies make it easy to earn the kit for nothing). We proudly tout the fact that you can start your business for under two hundreds bucks. It’s a blessing and a curse.


The perceived value for someone making such a low investment is virtually non-existent, and so their commitment to their business can easily follow suit. Several years ago I was working with a Direct Sales Leadership Accelerator Coaching Program client who is a founding leader with a direct sales company called Miche Bags. She’d been with the company since it first began and had had great success. Her company abruptly moved from a distributorship model (where new representatives had to make a sizable investment in inventory in order to get started) to a pure party plan model, where the starter kit is $199.00. She was very concerned about how she’d build a strong team of intentional leaders without the commitment that comes with a large investment and she ended up quitting after diligently trying to make it work for over a year.


Turns out it was a fair concern. A few weeks ago, Miche closed it’s doors. From what little I know about the failure of the company, it started with that transition from high investment to low investment. The problem, as I see it, was that Miche never educated (or re-educated) their field about what they were actually selling. Whether it’s $99.00 or $1999.00 doesn’t matter because what you’re selling in any direct sales opportunity isn’t the starter kit.


It’s the business and the earning potential that’s represented in that kit. Most people who say “yes” to your opportunity don’t have a clue about what they’re truly getting when that box arrives on their doorstep. It’s your job, as their recruiter, to really communicate to them the true opportunity they’re holding in their hands as they begin their business.


Not sure how to do that? Here are a few ideas:

  • Ask them some general questions about what they love and what’s most important to them in their life so you become more familiar with their dreams and passions.
  • Ask them questions (based on that information) about what they’d like to change or improve in their lives, which gets you (and them) clear about their “why.”
  • Ask them what would change in their lives if they could improve the area of their life they’ve identified (helping them really see what’s possible with your opportunity).
  • Share with them your own and others’ success story, including pay stubs and specifics about how your opportunity has been life changing.

You have to create the value for those brand new representatives, and that starts with understanding where they’re coming from. It takes some time, but if you’re serious about building your business and growing a team of committed people, it’s essential. Get clear about what you’re really offering when you share your opportunity, and start selling that instead of your starter kit.


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Julie Anne Jones is a direct sales corporate consultant, coach, and trainer, and the CEO of Julie Anne Jones, Inc. She is known for her authentic and easy-to-use scripting and specializes in specific systems, language, and tools for success in direct sales. To learn more about Julie Anne and her products and services, and to read her weekly blog posts, visit her at