Can you really get something for nothing? On face value, of course you can. Buy one get one free offers, (or BOGOFs as they are affectionately known), deliver what they promise, don’t they? Buy a packet of biscuits and you get a second packet without having to pay for it. Seems obvious. But deep down, you know it’s not being done out of the goodness of the supermarket’s heart. It’s being done to obtain your loyalty and because they probably have too much stock. It’s also being done to hope you spend the money you saved on the biscuits on something else in the store. Often, we tend to set a subliminal upper budget in our minds and usually go to that budget limit when we shop. If we usually spend £150 week in week out, then the chances are we will spend £150 next time. It just means the 99p saved on biscuits will go towards the purchase of another item. We get a cheap extra packet of biscuits worth 99p for our money – the shop still gets our £150. It’s a simple, but effective, hook and it works. Most of us accept it for what it is and will take the plunge – even I can’t resist two packets of plain chocolate digestives occasionally! But what about offers that use the words “No Risk, No Obligation”, or those offers you see in the newspapers: You too can make £££ and retire before you’re 50, without having to spend a penny. If it doesn’t work, I’ll even give you £50. You can’t lose”. You know the kind of advert – it’s usually accompanied by a professionally looking, mega-photo-shopped individual, sporting a set of teeth so white you’re almost blinded by the reflection. Some vulnerable folk may be duped and that in itself is scandalous. The majority of us are likely to skim over it and wonder why on earth these companies/individuals would try to prey on the vulnerable and needy by offering, what we have already labelled in our minds, “a scam”. And that’s because the chances are it IS a scam. It’s these kinds of claims that have contributed to what I see as a growing sense of ’potential customer’ cynicism; that feeling that something is too good to be true. I mean, we used to hear our grandpas say it, didn’t we? “You don’t get sommit for nowt!” And it does tend to stick in our minds. Customers are human too, with those vulnerable emotions of greed and cynicism. If you believe in delivering an honest service and building a trusting customer relationship, then marketing it needs to be plausible and deliverable. It needs to be enough to entice the customer in, but not too much that it drives them away. It needs to work on a level that the customer can relate to; that the customer can rightly trust. Admin Saint prides itself on honesty to its customers. For example, we are running a prize draw and an introductory discount. In a particular instance, in asking a customer why they had chosen us, the response was, “Some of the others just seemed too good to be true. Yours shouted honesty”. That made me feel incredibly proud; that we were not doing anything particularly outstanding on the offers/deals front, but that we just had a small, deliverable and plausible promotion. I suppose the moral of all this is summed up in a saying I recalled from the back of my mind: ’If you promise the earth, don’t deliver a grain of sand’.