SalesKillingAre you selling yourself short? Stop it! You may be killing your brand.

Do not read this if you are a discount dealer and your desire is for fast cash at any cost. If you are looking to build a solid sustainable business, then this is for you!

You may or may not know that I have a couple of consumer product companies that I own and operate. Every year, like clockwork, I start seeing the alerts from advertisers and promoters telling product producers to hurry up and get on the super sales train. They come several times a year and they come on strong during one particular time of year. Every year I let that train pass me by.  But why would I do that when it seems like everyone else is doing it. Am I doing the “right thing”? Yes, for me, and let me tell you why I know this. I hope that it can help you answer the question for your own business.

The right thing is situational and it all depends on a great deal of questions you need to answer for yourself. It also depends on the industry. But perhaps the most important question it depends on is; who are the customers you want to attract and serve.  If you have been in my community then you already have worked out who you serve, you know who you are, and you know your uniqueness in the business world.

For consumer products, I can see where this is very tempting and even necessary at times. If they have over manufactured or the products have a self life, they need to move the inventory. With technology, they usually need to make way for the newer technical gadgetry. No one ever wants the phone from 2 to 3 years ago. So consumers and innovation are behind that. For the person selling, it means they are forced to cut into their profits and even suffer a loss.  For consumable products, it is a way to move stock with a shelf life and the “Sell By” date is approaching fast or the labels are off a bit (it happens).

There is an actual grocery store chain that opened up in my state that has the short shelf life as their core business. So you know when you go there, they are the cheapest. In the cyber world, there are several large brand “eTailers” that built their empires based on offering the lowest retail prices for products to the consumer.

As a consumer, I love a good deal and I love saving money when I can. As a consumer, I'll shop bargains so will anyone I know and we will tell others where the cheap deals are. The consumer mindset is “We all work hard for our money and we want to stretch it as far as we can”. As a consumer, I need to feel that the value of what I receive is greater than the money I am spending.

Let's look at this from an elevated vantage point. For a business owner, you need customers. Once you have your customers you want to keep them since it is easier to sell to someone who has already purchased from you. Those who buy from you once, stand a better chance of buying from you again.To gain and secure loyal customers you need to asure them of three key things.

In my lifetime as an entrepreneur and the corporate careers I have held, I have  been directly or indirectly involved in sales and marketing. Suffice it to say that I have a fair number of years in the arena. I can tell you from my personal experience that these three facts have never changed

1) People do not buy products or services. They buy solutions

2) Loyalty is given to those who earn it.

3) The consumers perception of value drives their decisions.   

No matter what your business is (product or service) or the model you operate under (you own it or are in a home business). You are not selling your time, your knowledge, your product, you are selling the VALUE of the result you can deliver for them. This is what they are paying for and value is perception! I rarely if ever run sales or discounts. It's not that I am cheap or miserly, in fact I can be generous to a fault. The reason I never run seasonal slashing sales is because of the value of what I create and my desire to protect my customers perception of that value.

I will find other ways to reward or gift my loyal customers and clients to let them know how much they mean to me. My prices are fair and the quality of what I deliver is very high so my customers and clients know they are receiving a high value return for their investment. You won't find my products or services 50% off. You won't see sales sheets where I pump up and inflate only to offer things at super low bargain basement price. I do love to “bundle' though and this is where I usually give the discounts, but they are discounts in exchange for a deeper or more expansive relationship with my customers.

I had read somewhere, long ago, that high prices reassure the consumer that you are the best and buying the best feels great for the consumer. There is also the fact that those who are more invested (willing to pay more) tend to drive more results (loyalty and future purchases) and are more responsive and engaged (customer feedback and participation). Think about yourself and how you would be if you purchased a Bentley vs a Pinto.

Who do you want to work with?

There is nothing wrong with bargain hunters and bargain business, just know that their loyalty is based on how “cheaply” they can get what they are looking for.  The solution can come from anyone (any brand will do), their loyal to the lowest bidder, and the value is how much money they can keep in their pockets

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