“I want to charge $399 for my audio CD album,” a small publisher told me.
“But Nightingale-Conant also sells several audio albums on the same topic for $79,” I pointed out. “What makes yours worth 5 times more than theirs?”
The answer most people would give is “because mine is better”.
Well, maybe it is. But “better” is a difficult proposition to sell through a direct mail package or e-mail.
So how can you charge a premium price to buyers to whom the greater quality of your product is not immediately obvious?
Here are 7 ways to ask for and get the price you want:
1) Vertical niche. The more vertical or specialized your product, the higher the price you can charge.
Your total audience will be smaller, but their need for a specific solution to their problem will help them rationalize paying your premium price.
Example: a “Selling Techniques” album priced at $399 is difficult to promote, but you might be able to get $399 for “Selling Techniques for the Automotive Aftermarket”.
2) Supply and demand. It’s always easier—especially when selling your services—to hold out for more money when the demand for your service outweighs the supply.
If you market to the point where you are generating more potential business opportunities than you can handle, you can raise your fees, because you can afford to have some of these potential buyers who balk at the higher fees walk away. (For service providers, the surest route to financial security is a full pipeline of leads.)
3) Add value. Add value to your product or service until the buyer perceives that the price you are asking, however high, is a drop in the bucket compared to the value he is receiving.
One way to add value is to offer a premium that is inexpensive for you to source but has a high perceived value.
Example: Ron Popeil gives away a set of steak knives free when you buy his cooker on TV.
Mike Bell at Phillips Publishing suggests you give premiums whose total value is greater than the cost of the product.
That way, even if the buyer doesn’t love your product, he may keep it just to own the free gifts he received along with it.
4) Become a guru. Make an effort to build your reputation and establish yourself as a guru—a leading expert—in your field.
Whether it’s Tom Peters, Alan Dershowitz, or Dr. Ruth, people can’t get enough of gurus.
When you are a guru, people will pay a premium price for your seminars, speeches, videos, audios, books, newsletters, software, and products.
5) Demonstrate Return on Investment (ROI). Buyers are less reluctant to pay a high price when you can show that they will get a rapid—and significant—return on their investment.
For instance, a direct mail package selling a $149 newsletter on employee hiring says, “Hiring the wrong person costs you 3 times their annual salary.”
The reader figures that if his average employee makes $50,000, and the newsletter can prevent even one hiring mistake, his return on investment for a subscription is 3 X $50,000 = $150,000 divided by $149, or better than 1,000 to 1—which makes the $149 asking price an easy sell.
6) Unique system. Despite the glut of free stock tips and financial information available on the Internet, a direct mail package from Agora Publishing successfully sold a $59 a year newsletter with this headline, “Unlock Wall Street’s Hidden Logic.”
Why did it work? It offered the reader something he felt he couldn’t get from all the free Web sites and e-mail newsletters he was offered: the secret to how the stock market really works—Wall Street’s hidden logic.
If the customer perceives he cannot get what you offer elsewhere, he will pay a premium price for it, provided the product offers benefits he desires.
7) Guarantee. A guarantee overcomes buyer resistance, including price resistance.
When you your product is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, you can offer a “no-risk trial” or “risk-free 30-day preview” rather than just say “buy my product”.
In essence, you are not asking the reader to buy anything; merely to try it—to accept your offer of examining it for a month in their home or office, with no risk or obligation of any kind.
Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.
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