For many business owners, linking price and product seems natural. Consumers, however, are often willing to break this link and pay more for a product or service, if given sufficient motivation.
Put it this way: If product and price were tightly linked in consumers' minds, companies such as Starbucks Corp. or Rolls Royce Motor Cars would never sell their products over the cheaper generic equivalents on the market. But Starbucks isn't just about coffee and Rolls Royce isn't only about transportation. Instead, these products are about a brand identity that adds to price, but adds little or nothing to intrinsic value.
The point is that the association between your product and the price you've assigned it most likely is not fixed in your consumers' minds the way it might be in yours. Business owners can and should think creatively when it comes to pricing their products and experiment with various price points that are different from what they initially think they can charge.
The sooner you break free of rigid pricing models, the easier it may be for you to sell more to affluent customers and, ultimately, make more money. Here are three ways to charge more for your products or services.
1. Target more affluent customers. Who is buying the product is an important factor when it comes to pricing a product. Different people often buy the same product or service at different prices because of who they are, rather than what the product is. For example, an ambitious mid-level executive might prefer to drink Starbucks coffee at work rather than a coffee from a less-regarded brand. Some people refuse to shop at stores like Walmart even though it likely carries the same brands they purchase elsewhere for considerably more money.
Another factor is life stage. For example, parents often spend more money on their first baby than on their second or third. Price is automatically separated furthest from product if you are selling to them while the couple is pregnant with or raising their first child compared to later children.
2. Become a leader in your field. Who is selling a product or service can makes a big difference to many customers. A seller's reputation, financial stability and leadership position in its market have been made more valuable as competitive assets than they were several years ago. Customers often prefer trendy, talked-about restaurants over others to the extent that the prices at those restaurants, and the prices at other restaurants, are sometimes made irrelevant. In the financial services sector, recent investment and banking fall-outs have caused a number of customers to seek out trustworthy institutions over those that only claim to be able to make the most money.
As a business owner, your goal should be to make your company the go-to authority in your industry or area.
3. Upgrade your venue. The importance of context when it comes to buying can't be underestimated. The difference in price between a face cream sold at a Walgreens Co. store and one sold in the home by Mary Kay, or at a cosmetic counter at higher-end stores such as Saks or Neiman Marcus, or at an exclusive Parisian boutique can be disproportionate to the difference in the product's ingredients. The price is governed by the expectations of the consumer largely based on where they are buying it, the brand and the expertise of the salesperson -- not the product.
Also consider changing presentation. A chiropractor, for instance, relocated from a small, messy office to a well-appointed professional office, and switched his attire from casual to conservative clothes. These two minor changes allowed him to increase his average fee from $2,000 to $5,000, with no change to the end product.
Considering these three aspects can help you separate price from product -- and hopefully make more profits in the process.
Dan S. Kennedy is a strategic advisor, marketing consultant and coach in Phoenix. Jason Marrs is a pricing and marketing strategist who coaches entrepreneurs and professionals in overcoming price reluctance and resistance. He is based in the New York City area. Kennedy and Marrs are the co-authors of No B.S. Price Strategy from Entrepreneur Press.