There is so much competition on the web that it becomes almost too easy for entrepreneurs to become the low cost provider. That choice seems like that fastest, easiest, and most logical way to gain marketshare. But it’s a scary path to take and it’s one that can be hard to come back from once you’ve started in that direction.
If your business sells products or services that are more expensive than your competitors, you don’t have to lower your price to sell more! Instead, here are some ways to sell even when you are higher (or even the highest) price provider in your market.
Incorporate these ideas into your marketing activities and content, into your copywriting, into your advertising, into your sales, and even into your overall brand image.
- Specialize. In my opinion, the easiest way to charge more is to narrow your focus and become an expert to a small group of people. Tighten up your niche so that you are not longer the high priced service provider in a competitive market but rather the ONLY service provider in a small market.
- Keep the conversation focused on value. There’s a reason your charge more and it is probably related to the value you provide. Chances are, you provide a higher value or a better experience or premium service compared to your competitors. Get your buyers to stop thinking about the dollar figure and to start thinking about what they end up with.
- Educate the buyer. I’m starting to see this as a marketing technique among photographers and wedding planners (and a couple of other service providers). When buyers choose the low-cost provider, they do so because they don’t know what goes into the price. But let’s be honest: Those low-cost providers won’t be around next week, will they? Probably not. I saw this when I was a freelance writer. At first some people balked at my higher prices… until they learned that the low cost provider was also holding down a full-time job to pay their bills. Then people realized that they could pay slightly more to hire me — someone who is a full-time writer. Educate your buyers by telling them about what goes into the price… and even warning them that the lowest cost providers appear and disappear overnight.
- Gather horror stories about low cost providers. These are almost “anti-testimonials” (and they don’t even have to be about your direct competitors) and include them when presenting your price.
- Promote exclusivity. Make it appear difficult to visit your store, keep fewer products in stock, have customers jump through hoops to buy from you. Yes, this might sound counter-intuitive if you’ve been serving a mass market but people are attracted to things they can’t have or that are hard to get. So play hard to get!
- Become the luxury provider. Elevate your brand to position yourself as the luxury provider for the discerning and wealthy buyer. You’ll work with a smaller segment of people but they’ll be willing to spend more. (Note: This choice has its own challenges; you’ll need to invest in a higher level of consumer experience and, if possible, get endorsements from top tier celebrities in your category)
- Don’t bring your competitors into the conversation. Maybe businesses set up a comparison between them and their competitors by saying things like “we’re the low cost option” or “we’ll beat the competition”. However, depending on where in the sales funnel that your customers are thinking about price, you might be able to avoid talking about your competitors at all. Instead, just position what your price could be (i.e. much higher; perhaps have you’ve charged in the past) and what it is.
Brand new entrepreneurs tend to think that their prospective buyers are solely focused on price as the make-or-break element of a sale. I used to think that too. Now I realize that it’s pretty far down the list and, the more effective your marketing is, the less important price becomes.