If you live in the U.S., at the end of October you'll be preparing for a stream of young children to come to your door on Halloween. One by one or in groups of friends, they'll ring the bell and shout, "Trick or Treat".

To avoid having them actually play a trick on us, you bribe these youngsters with a selection of mini candy bars. You could offer them healthy treats like apples or small boxes of raisins or you could try something novel like telling them a favorite joke, but most young children are on a mission. They want to fill their plastic pumpkins and pillowcases with candy as quickly as possible.

You may not be a fan of sugar-based diets, but if you enjoy seeing all those undersized fairy godmothers and ghosts and goblins on Halloween, you'll indulge them and dole out one candy bar after another. Your costumed customers know what they want. If they don't get it from you, they'll go next door.

This Halloween strategy can also help you grow your business. Want to get a steady stream of customers coming to your door? Want to avoid having potential clients go next door? Offer them a free treat! It works to get children ringing doorbells and talking to adults whom they barely know, and it will work for your business.

What kind of treats will bring in your prospects? Probably not Snickers Bars or Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, delicious as these are. The answer depends on what you sell and what your prospects want. For example, if your prospects want

- Improve their finances - offer them a free guide or a workshop on ways to make more and save more money.

- Sell their home - give them a guide to maximizing their profits.

- Increase their physical mobility and avoid pain - give them tips on ways to improve their posture and strength.

- Get better results with their advertising - give them a guide to writing ads that get a better response.

If you know what your prospects want, you can pull them in like kids at Halloween with the right treat, free report or workshop. Using this strategy on the Internet, you can attract hundreds of qualified prospects each month to your business.

Over twenty thousand people currently subscribe to my weekly marketing newsletter. Each of them signed up in response to my offer of a free marketing guide. And this free marketing guide continues to attract over a thousand new subscribers each month.

Marketing Tricks to Avoid
Some companies think that tricking people into trying their services or products is a clever way to attract customers.
phone companies and credit card companies offer low introductory rates that are subject to steep increases a few months later. Some small businesses make wild promises that their services and products don’t live up to.

No one likes to have tricks played on him or her at Halloween or any other time. Strong s.ales depend on trust. Violate trust and good will with marketing gimmickry, and you've lost your prospect for good - and probably several of the friends they tell about you as well.

Marketing Treats to Use
Offer prospects a treat to get them to contact you, to stay in touch, to visit your showroom and to thank them for making a purchase. Not sure what to give away to prompt prospects to contact you and visit your store?

In the 1930s, Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota built a reputation and their business by giving away a glass of ice water. Before cars were air-conditioned, the promise of a cold glass of water was enough to pull a steady stream of hot and thirsty travelers off the highway and into the store.

Today people are hungry for information and ideas that will solve their daily problems and simplify their lives. A Stamford, Connecticut financial firm used a series of free workshops for wealthy investors to pull in prospects and quickly added millions under management.

Make your free offer something your prospects won't want to turn down, whether it's a report, article, workshop, or educational CD. It doesn't have to be big but it does need to target the interests of your market and be related to your products and services.

With the right freebie, the right treat, you'll attract prospects by the thousands and see your sales skyrocket.

2005 © In Mind Communications, LLC. All rights reserved

Author's Bio: 

The author, Charlie Cook, helps service professionals, small business owners and marketing professionals attract more clients and be more successful. Sign up to receive the Free Marketing Strategy eBook, '7 Steps to get more clients and grow your business' at http://www.marketingforsuccess.com