Tag Archives: marketing consulting

Coke in a Can

10 Guerrilla Selling Tactics to Sell at Higher Prices

Coke in a CanYou’ve done it.  You buy a can of Coke® from a vending machine for a buck. Order that same Coke in a restaurant and it comes in a glass, with ice, and a straw, and it’s $3.75. Are the glass and the ice and the straw really worth $2.75?  Apparently.  People do it all the time, and never whine about the price.

Here’s a list of ten ways you can bring more value to your offering.  Find three that you can apply right now.

1. Quality

People will pay more for quality.  The Maytag repairman isn’t just lonely.  He’s old and lonely.  Show your prospect that the lifetime value of your offering is far superior to your competitors’.

2. Service

People will pay more for superior service.  Why do you think people pay twice as much for a suit at Nordstrom’s then they would at Men’s Wearhouse?  They value the service – expert tailoring, multiple fittings, free monogramming – and all this makes up for the additional money they will spend.

3. Authenticity

Authenticity means the real deal – the genuine article.  At the Louvre Museum in Paris, you can gaze upon what is perhaps the most famous work of art in the world: Leonardo Da Vinci’s portrait of Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo, commonly known as the Mona Lisa.

For all the hype, it was quite a disappointment. The painting hangs alone in a large hall in dim light, cloistered behind thick plates of bullet-proof Lexan.  And it’s small; only 21 x 39 inches.  Mrs. Gherardini has not aged well over the past 500 years. The paint is cracked and the colors are smoky and faded.

However, scientists have analyzed the pigments and digitally recreated this masterpiece just as it would have looked standing wet on Da Vinci’s easel in 1506.  The reproduction is ascetically superior in every way, and you can buy the poster-sized print in the museum gift shop for only twenty Euros, while the original, of course, is considered priceless.

4. Stability

Company stability means a company that’s been in business since the landing at Plymouth Rock.  Do you tell the story about how your Grandfather came from the Olde Country and started the business with his brother and cousin in the back of their barn?  You share that history because people put a high value on stability and longevity in business.  No one wants to be a beta test.

5. Reliability

People are busy and when they find a vendor they can count on, they buy from them again and again. How do you demonstrate to your customer that you’re reliable?  Does someone answer the phone on a second ring? Do you show up for appointments exactly on time?  Everything you do (or don’t do) sends a message about your reliability.

6. Social or Ecological Values

Do you recycle? Do you use recycled paper in all your packaging and correspondence? Are you running alternative fuels in your fleet?  These issues have become more and more important in recent years.  Seventy-eight percent of consumers said they would pay $2,000 more for a car that gets 35 miles per gallon, even though that only makes economic sense if gasoline is in the range of $4.00 a gallon (that’s more than I pay for wine!).  Meanwhile, the Prius was voted Number One Most Ecologically Sensitive Product of the last decade.

People routinely pay hundreds, even thousands of dollars for a nick-knack at a silent auction raising money for a scout troop, church group, or political cause.  At this year’s Cigar PEG celebrity auction, the three-day elite speaker coaching package I donated raised $22,500.00 for the National Speakers Association Foundation.

7. Delivery

This is why you pay fifteen dollars for FedEx instead of 52 cents for first-class mail. People want the product in their hands immediately.  Whether it’s delivering a customized pen in less than the time promised, or completing their project a week ahead of schedule, people don’t just want what they paid for when it’s expected, but BEFORE it’s due.

8. Financing

Even Time Magazine, offers “Three easy payments of $9.95.”  So, when you have a good customer who’s shopping for terms, you can say, “Well, we can give you 2% net 30, or 90-days net. Take your pick.”  This also proves to the customer that you value them enough to be flexible on terms.

9. Local Sourcing

Eighty-two percent of people surveyed have consciously supported local or neighborhood businesses.  People like to be a part of a community, and will pay higher prices to support local vendors.  Need proof? Compare prices at your local farmer’s market with those at a big-box store.

There’s a two-pump garage and gas station in the tiny Colorado mountain town where we live called Carl’s Corner.  I’ve been buying gas from Carl for more than 20 years, and my wife is always giving me a hard time about it.  She says, “Why buy gas at Carl’s when we can get it cheaper at the Conoco in Boulder?”

“Because we need more than just gas,” I remind her.  “We need Carl.  We need him when we have a flat.  We need him when we have a dead battery.  We need him when we slide off the snowy road and get stuck in a drift.  We even need him when we run out of gas for the grill.  And if we don’t keep his garage open, then we won’t have a mechanic in the canyon at all.”

10.  Fun

Regardless of what someone is buying, or how much they pay, they want to have FUN and feel good about their purchase.  How can you add a fun factor so your buyers enjoy the experience and keep coming back?

You’ve seen this guerrilla tactic in action if you’ve ever bought fish at Seattle’s Pike Street Market.

What can you use from this list to justify your higher price?  Many of these are things that you’re ALREADY doing, but not taking the proper credit.  Make certain that you explain ALL the aspects of your product or service that makes you more valuable to your customer.  Focus on your uniqueness and what you bring to the table that your competitors are ignoring.

This is only part of a list of 31 Reasons Customers Will Pay More.  Watch the new seven-part video, “Guerrilla Tactics to Sell at Higher Prices,” at:  http://vimeo.com/user6769112/videos

 

 

Guerrilla Selling: Attracting the Right Sales Staff

Help WantedIn any business, people are your most important asset.  A great location, great name, great merchandise, a great display and great promotion can all be undone by less-than-great people. Your staff is the most expensive item in your budget and the most important business investment you’ll make, so take time to choose them wisely.

The most universal complaint I hear from business owners is, “We just can’t find good people.”  Well, let me encourage you. They’re out there, and your mission is to track them down and then persuade them to join your team.

Guerrillas know that their team is the glue that holds their business together – from their sales associates to their cashiers, bookkeepers and delivery drivers. So you have to put the same effort into recruiting a stock clerk as you would when hiring a merchandising manager. Although the specific example we’ll illustrate here refers to sales guerrillas, these techniques will work to help you hire the cream of the crop for any position.

Because the best predictor of future sales behavior is current sales behavior, guerrillas are always on the hunt for good people. You’ll find them serving you in restaurants, shops, hotels, spas, museums and cafes. Whenever someone really impresses you with their sales or customer service skills, ask for their name and number. Let them know that, while you may not have an opening right now, you’re always looking for good people, and you’d like to have permission to call them if something opens up. This way, you’ll always have a backlog of qualified candidates.

This is also a good reason to regularly shop your competitors. We know it sounds a bit mercenary, but you would be appalled at how poorly some companies treat their best people! And when you hire away one of their best, you win twice – you gain a skilled employee at your competitor’s expense.

When screening sales applicants you need to give them an opportunity to showcase their sales skills before putting them in front of customers. By seeing how well they sell themselves to you, you can predict with remarkable accuracy how effective they will be at selling others.

Here’s a simple system that can streamline the screening and ensure that you are getting the best of the best.  Set up a voicemail box on a DDE (direct-dial extension that only goes to voice mail; ask your phone company).  Then run your classified ad outlining the basic qualifications for the job, but do not mention the name of your business. Instead, in the last sentence of the ad use the phrase, “To schedule an interview call (the DDE phone number).”

The outbound recording should say, “Because of the overwhelming response to or ad, we’ve had to automate our screening process.  At the tone, please leave your name, a number where you can be reached, and a brief summary of your qualifications.  If your background matches our requirements, we may invite you for an interview.” BEEEEP.  Let it run for a day or two to accumulate messages.

When playing the messages back, be prepared with a pad and pen.  You’ll want to take notes.  Start by really listening to the voice. Is it warm, friendly and intelligent? Is this the voice of someone who you would feel comfortable representing your firm? If not, delete it and move on.
Then listen to the message a second time, and check:

• Did the candidate follow directions?

• Did they in fact leave their name, an after-hours number (or better still, several)

• Did they leave a summary of their qualifications, and in that order?

This will predict how easy (or difficult) they will be to manage.  Did they just rattle off their resume, or did they couch their experience in terms of skills? “I’m very good with computers,” or “I’d do a great job because I love working with customers.”

And finally, did this candidate close with some sort of call to action, “asking for the order” (or in this case the interview).  If they pass all four of these tests, then call back and interview them initially by phone.  You don’t want their physical appearance to bias your choice prematurely.

This process will give you a better idea of each candidate’s strengths before you waste time brining in people who are not a good fit. Implementing some sort of system to streamline the screening will help weed out the lazy and unqualified. This strategy will help you build the best possible retail team that will only improve your team morale and your business as a whole.