In this episode we look at how to avoid customers trying to beat you down on price.
I’m going to be showing you how to make more conversions by selling the results of what you offer instead of simply telling people what they’ll get.
Listen now to find out about:
- How to lead with the results of what you offer.
- How to make your copy more influential.
- How to guarantee more confidence and less scrutiny from your customers.
- How to ensure your perfect customers see the value that they should in what you do.
I’ve thrown in some examples of how this can play out in real life situations so that you can see exactly what I’m getting at – the story of my dad and the offensive scone will hopefully act as a reminder to you in future not to waste time trying to convince someone who is never going to pay the price that you deserve!
When you have a customer focused on cost instead of value, it can be really, really hard work. This podcast will show you how to write sales copy from the right kind of angle so that your customers have confidence in you and the value of what you are offering.
Please feel free to post any comments or queries below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can always find me on Twitter @HarrisonAmy, I always reply.
- Write with Influence course https://writewithinfluence.com/course/
Hello and welcome to another episode of the Write with Influence podcast where I share my writing and messaging techniques to help you make more sales. Today we’re talking about why and how to sell the results of what you offer instead of simply telling people what they’ll get and this was inspired by a real-life letter to the show that I may have received or may have been written entirely by me. Either way, let’s hear from our listener in need:
“Dear Amy, I work as a life coach and my struggle is that potential customers keep coming back to me and trying to beat me down on my prices. I’ll get an inquiry and I make it clear what they get, I offer a 1 hour long coaching session via Skype, a 2 page personality report and a follow-up 15 minute consultation for £100. Customers seem keen until I mentioned the price and then they try to ask what I can do for cheaper, but this is my most basic package. Can you help?
Your avid listener, Amy . . . I mean, Jane.
P.S. Your show is amazing, I’m so glad you’re back.”
Well Jane, thank you for writing in with your problem and don’t forget as a listener yourself, you can get help from me also, simply drop me a line at email@example.com. OK, back to Jane, well it sounds like she’s falling into a common trap of trying to sell based on what customers get instead of the results that they’ll see and in writing terms, this is what I would call ‘functional copywriting’. We know from Jane’s letter that she tells people that they will get; a 1 hour session, 2 page report and a 15 minute follow-up session but what we’re hearing is a message that’s all about the building blocks. What we’re not hearing about is what the final building is that those blocks make.
So, functional copywriting is where you explain to people what they get and what they will have and this is important for someone buying. We do need to know at some point what we’ll receive, but this should come after our customer has resolved in their mind to pay the price that we want them to pay. What I mean by that is, explaining what people get is an essential component in making customers feel comfortable about buying, but it’s not the driving component in converting people and making sales. It shouldn’t be a primary factor in making a decision to buy from you.
Here’s a quick example from my own experience – about 10 weeks ago, I managed to fracture my ankle playing netball and when I say fracture, that is really just for sympathy because what I actually did was, I rolled it, I sprained it really badly and in doing so, managed to ping the tiniest splinter of bone from my ankle. Still incredibly painful and it still classes as a fracture, but fracture sounds better than ‘bone splinter of the tiniest variety’. Anyway, I’ve just started to play again and I know that I’m going to need new trainers so I went to the sport store (which has specialist netball shoes) and picked a pair that’s going to help support my ankle. So, the idea is that I don’t roll it again and that I have some good support so I can feel confident on the court. Now when I was shopping, I didn’t ask the price of the trainers when I was trying them on, and I’m kind of pleased about this because I would have wept. They weren’t the cheapest trainers, but that’s not what I was looking for – I wasn’t simply buying trainers. I can pick up a pair of trainers very cheaply if that’s my only criteria, but it wasn’t. I wanted something specific, something that made me feel safer on the court and that was my primary concern, price was a secondary concern to the results that I wanted to get.
Trust me when I say that your customers are the same, unless they are bargain hunters and you offer bargain goods, it’s unlikely that your customer is making a decision based on what they get and how much it costs alone. So what are they basing their buying decisions on? Well first I want to make it clear that this isn’t to say your customer doesn’t have a budget in mind, many customers will. What I want to talk about today is 2 different ways of approaching the sales messaging around your product. One way really makes your customer focus on the price and the other way encourages them to focus on the value. The difference in these two approaches boils down to whether you are selling components or whether you’re selling results. If you’re only selling components, and by that I mean you’re focusing on what a customer will get rather than the results they get from your product or service, you are going to find yourself in a constant battle to try and justify your prices and that’s a rubbish battle to be in – it’s a David and Goliath battle except that you don’t have your little Slingshot or you’ve only got some teacakes or hot cross buns instead of stones in your Slingshot and Goliath just ends up crushing you. It’s not a battle you want to be in. You don’t want to be spending your time and effort twisting someone’s arm to become a customer and pay you what you’re worth and what your product’s worth. You want them to want you and you do that by leading with results.
I’m going to give you 3 simple ways to do this in your copy so that your writing is more influential, but before I do that, I need to explain one thing – some customers will always see a product in terms of its components and these people, like I say, unless your focus is to offer the lowest possible prices, these people are probably not your customers and it’s good to recognise that so that you don’t waste time trying to convince someone who is probably never going to pay the price that you deserve. Let me give you another example; a few years ago, my parents travelled down from Yorkshire in the Northeast of England to visit me where I was working and where I now live in Brighton on the South coast. Now, if you’re an international listener, there’s a couple of things you need to know for context. One is that Yorkshire folk are very careful with their money and two, everything in the South costs more than in the North! So, I decided to treat Mum and Dad and invited them to this lovely little cafe for a cup of tea in the afternoon and it was very typical of the sort of place you’d find in Brighton – artisan cakes, exposed brick, chunky country cottage style tables etc. We go in and I know Mum’s going to like it. She’s ‘oohing’ and she’s ‘aahing’ at the decor, Dad’s a little bit more reluctant – he’s a bit more at home in a snooker hall with a pint of bitter than he is in a cafe, you know, having a fancy cuppa. So, we’re getting settled at a table and this place isn’t very big so you know, it’s noticeable that there are some new arrivals. We’re just about to sit down, Dad’s halfway to taking his jacket off when he stops dead and he stares at the cafe counter behind me where all the cakes and the pastries are displayed. “That can’t be right,” he states rather loudly for the relaxing ambiance and he is frozen rigid to the spot. So much so that I feel this obviously needs my attention, so I turn around and wonder what has caused such grave concern but I can’t see anything. “What is it?” I asked him and now my mum senses that he’s going to get a little bit difficult and she just says, “Douglas!” in a way that says, I know you’re about to complain about something, but stop it. Unfortunately that didn’t work. My dad looks at me again, and then looks past me again and he says, “That over there!” with more urgency. Something has really rattle him, he’s very unsettled. So, I turn around again, I can’t see anything and he looks at me and he just says, “The scones.” Now I want to pause here and say that I know some people pronounce a scone as a scone, but in my story, a scone is a scone and if you don’t know what a scone is, it’s like a cross between a biscuit and a cake. It’s simple, but it’s tasty and I must reiterate, it’s a pretty simple baked good . . .and that’s when I see what my dad has seen. There’s a pyramid of scones in the display cabinet and the offending article is the sign that is sticking at the top of the scones that says, “Scones, £2.50 each”. Immediately I understand the problem, my dad is beyond disgusted at the cafe charging this much for what, at a component level, is flour, baking powder, butter, milk and sugar. In my dad’s head, he’s quickly doing the sums of these components and it adds up to about 40p and yet, here is this cafe charging more than five times as much! I couldn’t help myself but respond with, “Do you even want a scone?” as I’ve never known him to want one before, and he just looks at me and he says, “No, I don’t want a scone but I don’t want to drink in a cafe that charges that much for one.” With that, he fastened up his jacket and left. Now, for some people the price of the scone wouldn’t matter, they would sit in the cafe, soak up the atmosphere and have already sold themselves on the idea of having some kind of indulgent refreshment. The scone would be part of the overall experience rather than a cluster of low cost ingredients. Regardless of the sum of the parts, having a scone as part of an occasion would be more valuable than the individual ingredients. To this day, my friends still send me photos of sausage rolls, pork pies, cakes etc, with what they believe are slightly higher than normal price levels and they just send the message, ‘What would Doug think about this?’ and Doug would be mortified. Now, as I mentioned, some people just aren’t your target market. My dad was not the target market for this cafe, but if your copy tends to focus more on the components instead of the results, what you can find is that even someone who would make a perfect customer for your service doesn’t see the value that they should in what it is that you do.
Let’s go back to our letter writer Jane, because she’s breaking her offer down into what customers get, people are more likely to focus on the cost of those things as a whole rather than the value that they receive as a whole. For example, let us say that you’re a copywriter and you offer to write a sales page for £2,000. So, in your discussions with your potential customer, you tell them what they’re going to get, you explain they get 2000 words of copy for £2,000. You also explain that this includes interviews with up to five customers as part of research and also two rounds of revisions. And this isn’t specific to copywriting, this can happen in any service business where you make the primary focus of your message what people get. Here’s what’s likely to happen, your customer is going to start focusing on the fact that they get 2000 words, two rounds of revisions, five customer interviews, and when they start to focus on those things, commonly you get one of two outcomes – either they come back and ask you, for example, ‘How much cheaper would it be if you only write 1500 words or just do one round of revisions?’ So, they try to whittle down the services and suddenly your revenue is being eroded. The other possible outcome is that your customer accepts the price, but then they become very focused on you delivering exactly the quantity of service you promised. Notice I didn’t say quality because let’s say our copywriter does three interviews with customers and they get all the information that they need, because the price is for five there’s a good chance the customer would want all five doing even if it adds no extra value simply because it’s been included and it’s been promised for the price.
When you have a customer focused on cost instead of value, it can be really, really hard work.
So, what can you do instead?
Instead, you want to sell the results, not the components. And I have three ways to help you think about this. I call it the ‘Do, Be, Feels’ and whilst that might sound like the name of a funky barbershop quartet, it’s actually a way to remind you to sell the results when writing copy or creating a sales message. The ‘Do, Be, Feels’ relates to how your customer’s life changes for the better once they have your product or service. What you want to start thinking about in your copy is explaining how you help your customer do something they couldn’t do before, be something they weren’t before and feel something they didn’t before – hence the ‘Do, Be, Feels’.
So how does this work?
Well, let’s look at our copywriter, once they’ve written a sales page, a cracking sales page, what can their customer do with it? You really, really want to be focused on the verb here so, you don’t want to think about what your customer will have or get or receive by working with you. Put them at the centre of the action – what can they do because of what you have delivered? In the case of a sales page, this can mean that they can make an offer to their audience, they can show, communicate and express the value of what they have. They can reach more people with a compelling message about why customers should buy from them. What about ‘Be’? Well, this might mean that they can be taken more seriously as a business owner by promoting a professionally crafted sales page. Maybe it means that they can be more visible or they can be more effective in their marketing by using persuasive copywriting techniques on the page. And how might they feel? When it comes to feel, you want to be moving people away from a negative emotion or towards a positive emotion, so they might feel less shy or nervous about launching a product or they might feel more confident that their launch is going to be a success. When you focus on the results, it’s not that you don’t have to explain how you are going to get there, what people get is still important, but when you lead with a conversation or sales message about results first, customers tend to have more confidence and are less likely to try and beat you down on price or scrutinise every little thing that you deliver, not on the basis of the quality of the work, but on how much they’ve paid for each particular service or deliverable. And this can also be a challenge if you price a service based on the time it takes. My husband Malc builds banjos and for a while he used to do banjo repair work, but he had to stop taking on repairs because people would judge the repair on the time it took him to do it rather than the results of the work. Many customers would say (this was always a red flag), “Oh, this won’t take you very long.” What they really meant was, “Oh, this won’t cost that much, will it?” and it’s the wrong way to look at it because a repair that fixes a problem in 30 minutes is not 30 minutes’ worth of work, it’s 30 minutes plus all of the years and thousands of hours of learning and experience and practice that gets you to the point of knowing how to fix that problem. How long it takes is really secondary to that. I’m not saying that you should never price by the hour, what I’m saying is that you want to be able to explain the true value of that hour and that is done by focusing on what your customer can do, be and feel as a result of your service.
OK, that wraps it up for this episode! If you would like to subscribe, you can do so over at iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. Please also feel free to leave a review and a rating and let me know what you think of today’s episode. If you have any follow-up questions, feel free to leave a comment on the episode page or email me at hello@writewithinfluence and you can always find me on Twitter @HarrisonAmy, I always reply – feel free to tweet!
Until next time, keep believing.