Free gifts, free offers, free services. These things might be attractive for food sales and consumer goods, but I honestly think it’s insulting to the clients in our industry. Nothing is really free. Organizations offering “free” stuff really just move the cost of whatever they are allegedly “giving” you over to something else and roll that up into the pricing for some bigger or more critical thing they want you to buy. I’d rather someone show me up front the value I’m going to get for the investments I make, they can keep their “free.”
Someone might offer to give you a free network assessment, but they won’t let you have the documentation that got produced. You gotta pay for the thing that actually has value. And why shouldn’t you? That’s fair and honest business practice – if someone performs a service that requires proprietary effort, they ought to be compensated for their work. Giving you something free (especially in our industry) is either a way to elicit some sense of reciprocity where you feel like you “owe” them some business … or the free thing they are offering you really isn’t that valuable – it’s just a gimmick to get a meeting with someone who signs the cheques.
In the IT industry, “free” is something to avoid. Value is what you should seek.