A lot of products and services come with free trials and money-back guarntees, which sets the bar pretty low for those who don't/can't provide either. Obviously, the trick is to establish value and show a good fit ahead of time... but if you make the mistake early on, the question/objection still comes up.
How do/have you address/overcome the fact that your product/service does not offer a free trial or no-cost evaluation?
I would try to overcome these objections by stating up front that you don't offer a free trial, and why. If there is a truly good reason, being honest with the potential customer can create a little bit of trust. Also - if you can't offer a free trial, be sure to give them something that gets them into your system as a lead (a white paper, freebie piece of functionality, or whatever).
Having said that, if a trial period is at all possible, it is a great way to build trust in your company and your product, and won't cannibalize your business nearly as much as you might think. -e-
Do you provide a BtoB service in which you go for a moderate number of big orders or is it more of an iTunes BtoC play? Assuming the former, I definitely believe that you want to avoid giving away free service.
One way to accomplish this is to enter a trial service agreement. State that the cost of the trial service will be applied to the cost of future orders so that the trial will effectively be free to the customer if they continue using your service. Charging them for service in this way will cause both you and the customer to place more value on the service (e.g., they are more likely to use it if they paid for it).
If you absolutely can't get the first customer to go for a trial service agreement and you agree to a free trial, be sure that the parameters are fully defined and require minimal work on your part.
From a customer perspective when evaluating a product/service, I want to know if it will fit my needs, solve my problem and is easy to use/learn. If I buy something and if I am not happy with it, I would like to have my problem resolved or get a refund if it cannot be. From the company’s perspective I believe giving the refund is preferable than to have the unhappy customer tell anyone and everyone how unhappy they are with your company. I think if you do not offer a free trial having a satisfaction guaranteed refund is important as it establishes trust that you really do believe you have a great product. If you do your best to ensure that your product is a great fit for the customer and do your best to handle any questions, concerns and problems that come up you will give out few if any refunds at all.
If you do not give a free trial or a money back guarantee, then it will require a lot more work to establish trust with the customer that you will ensure that the product will work for them and you will take care of all problems that come up. If these are existing customers who are happy with other products or services this will not be an issue. For a potential new customer, some things that may help include:
For brand new customers who are unsure, I believe though it will be a very tough sell without either a free trial or a money back guarantee to overcome the “free trial” objection.
If there is some actual reason you can't offer a free trial, you need to explain that reason and offset the lack of a trial with something else. Maybe customer testimonials, or something else appropriate to your product or service.
But always remember that if you are accepting credit card payments for your service or product over the internet (card not present) you are offering a money back guarantee. Any customer can complain that your software or service did not work and do a charge back. It costs you less to refund than to endure the charge back. (And if you get enough charge backs you will loose your merchant account.) To really answer this question rather than speculate, we need to know why you can't offer a trial or money back guarantee.