When closing a sale, price is often a major consideration. In fact, it’s often the biggest factor when it comes to making a sale or losing a customer out the door. But plenty of businesses price their products very highly, and do quite well at selling them. In fact, marketers have developed some effective techniques to sell more of these items, despite their relatively high prices. Here are a few of them:
1. Play with perception of high prices. There’s a reason most prices end in “9” or “95”: They seem less expensive than rounding up to the next full dollar. There are several ways to manipulate perception to make your high-priced product or service a little more accessible. For example, it’s helpful simply to remove the “$” from the price tag.
2. Introduce a new item that’s priced even higher. Providing a higher price point for comparison, sometimes called “anchoring,” makes the original item’s price seem lower. Anchoring works because the new, higher-priced item changes customers’ expectations and perception of value where the original product is concerned. A classic example, which appears in this book, is Williams-Sonoma’s difficulty selling a $275 bread maker, which it solved by offering a similar product priced at $429. (For the greatest success, do not support the highest-priced item with a lot of inventory or marketing effort, because it may languish on store shelves.)
3. Break the high price into incremental payments. Another way to make a high price seem lower is to frame it in smaller increments. For example, $324 per year may seem like a lot to pay for a yearly Wall Street Journal subscription. That’s the actual price, but when it’s sold as $26.99 a month, it comes across as more affordable.
4. State the high price in tangible terms. Make a high price seem lower by expressing it in the context of tangible goods your prospect is likely to appreciate and value. For example, compare the cost of your high-priced item to the cost of a new suit, an airline ticket, or a three-star hotel room. The idea is to bring your product into your prospect’s “comfort zone,” right next to products and services he or she already deems worthy.
5. Repackage the high-priced item to increase its perceived value. Make your product seem more like a bargain by packaging it in a way that increases its perceived value. For example, an expensive lawnmower could be bundled with a rake, a clippings basket, and a bag of fertilizer as a “total lawn care system.”
Don’t want to create a bundle? Provide “social proof” that your price is reasonable. Gather and display testimonials, laudatory product ratings, and favorable data about your product— on the box, the shelf, or your website. If your price is slightly lower than the competition’s, display the prices side by side for comparison. All of this tends to “normalize” your high price and make it seem less onerous.
6. Tout the high-priced product’s long-term value. Many higher-priced products have more long-term value than their cheaper competitors. For example, vehicle-battery manufacturers tend to market their products by specifying both the price and the length of the warranty (which nearly always works out to be almost exactly how long the products last in service). So, a $100 battery that normally lasts for 60 months ($1.66/month) is a better value than a $75 battery that normally lasts for 36 months ($2.08/month).
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