Firms hope free goods, services will pay off later

05/1/2009 | USA Today

A few businesses are taking an unconventional tactic to keep their names in front of the public and generate good will with their best clients: They're giving their goods and services away for free. "There's a whole bunch of this stuff going on out there," says National Small Business Administration President Todd McCracken, whose organization received five free computers from a technology vendor hoping to maintain a long-term relationship. Business professors say that giving out free services and goods now may lead to long-term relationships but could also generate conflicts when clients are charged for those same goods and services again.

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