Buyers have an unconscious need to feel as though they have "shopped around". They want to feel as though they didn't just buy the first thing they saw. They want to feel like they considered all the options before they bought.
This post is about how to give them that feeling, by positioning your offers against each other..to stimulate your sales.
It's better if the buyer feels they have shopped before they see you...that can be achieved by your advertising, or your web presence. But let's assume you are talking to a prospect cold, and they haven't been doing any research on what you are selling.
I'll use two examples from my businesses. These can easily be tranfered to any business.
In my retail store, I have about 75 different vacuum cleaners on display. And to any casual shopper, it looks like we sell them all. But the reality is...95% of our sales are from 5 different models at different price points.
And they are positioned on the floor so the comparisons can easily be made.
For example I have the single most expensive upright vacuum cleaner at the end of a display line...and it's price is $1,399. I have the second most expensive upright vacuum at $999...and the third most expensive vacuum next to it at $899.
This is all to sell the $999 vacuum, and allow the customer to feel they shopped around, and got a bargain.
And it works like this.....the features on the $899 are great, but the $999 vacuum has several features that make it more desirable for most shoppers. The $1,399 vacuum has little advantage over the $999 vacuum, but it priced to not be sold, but to give a favorable comparison. And although the $1,399 vacuum has a few features that set it apart, they aren't features that most people care about, and they are minor.
And so, when I show the three machines together, almost always (assuming they buy one of them) the customer takes the $999 model, confident that they have comparison shopped and got a good deal.
The truth is, the $1,399 model is at suggested retail, and the $999 model is discounted by $200. The $899 model is at suggested retail as well.
So why do I want to sell a discounted vacuum cleaner? I have learned from years of sales experience that it's far more likely that the shopper will by right now (which is my main concern) if it looks like a very obvious..brain dead decision. And they are far more likely then to buy the $999 vacuum cleaner, than say a $499 vacuum cleaner.
We have three price groupings in our upright vacuum cleaner section..at these price points..
All of these groupings are designed to sell the middle machine....and give the customer feeling that they have shopped around.
When I sold my own advertising (for small business owners) course in front of groups of business owners...
I had three offers that I mentioned. One for $499, one for $599, and one for $799.
All of these were designed to sell the $599 course. The $499 course had everything they needed. It was the complete written course. But it didn't include the CDs of the written course material. And of course, almost nobody will read 300 pages of course material...but listen to 6 hours of CDs? Sure.
The $799 offer? It was the same, but included an hour of telephone consulting time.
Honestly, I had that offer just to give them something to compare the $599 course to.
But about 20% of the buyers elected to get the $799 package. Eventually, I raised the price points to $699-$799-$1,299....and included two hours of consulting time (that I really didn't want to do) in the highest priced package. That cured them. I think I only had one guy decide on the $1,299 offer.
Raising the price didn't affect the percentage of the audience that bought.
But if I just had one offer at $799, the people would be deciding if they wanted to buy. I just wanted to change that discussion to "Which one is the better value for me?"
If you give the customer three options, and make the middle option the most attractive..they are far more likely to buy that middle offer than to buy nothing.
What you want to completely stay away from however, is what I like to call (in my store) "The tour". If the customer starts asking questions about 8 different vacuum cleaners, and I allow that to happen. they never buy anything...too much information to process. And they never build a desire for a specific vacuum cleaner.
It's why I don't list more than three closely related offers when selling or when advertising.
I have tried making three offers where the top or bottom offer was really the one I wanted to sell, but selling the middle offer is easier and is more likely to conclude in a sale. I have my suspicions as to why this is true, I just know it is.
I hope this helps someone.