Three GOOD ways to discount

Is it possible to discount without damaging your brand or training customers to wait until there’s a sale of some sort?

How can you position a “discount” without creating the perception that the item is “only really worth” the lower price, which motivates customers to wait until it’s on sale again? Or causes them to hold back until you hold a predictable “40% off on your entire purchase” kind of promotion, at which point, they finally buy.

The Answer is YES!

But your options are limited. There are three approaches you can take that do not devalue what you sell, or train your clients customers and patients to wait for the inevitable promotion or sale before they pull out their credit card.

Here are three ways to discount:

  1. The first rule is to make the discount period very short and hold sales very infrequently. Think about the timing: would it be in your best interest to run a promotion for a few days at the beginning of a “season”, if your business has one, to gauge what the most popular items are so you can be sure to have them available as the season progresses?

Might you need a feel for how many extra staff to bring on to handle certain aspects of a new service you’re planning to introduce? Or if you’re launching a new product or service, you might consider a one-time only pre-launch price to ascertain how well it will do in the future.

  1. The second rule is to have a credible reason for the sale. There are myriad possibilities, and you’re limited only by your imagination. You could play it safe and use your birthday, the anniversary your business started, or to “honor” a holiday particular where you live.

Depending on the kind of business you’re in or who your target market is, you could add some humor, like it’s your dog’s birthday, or find an oddball National Something Day to “celebrate” (google weird holidays). This opens up unlimited possibilities for marketing, which is fun for your clientele, gets you noticed by prospects, and will be fun for you!

  1. The third rule is be creative regarding the way you structure it. You could hold a one-day Good Customer Appreciation Sale (please try to be more creative with the actual title). Tie a “bonus card” for $XX.00 to the purchase of specific items or services, or to a certain minimum purchase. Limit redemption to a set time frame.

Appeal to people’s desire to be compassionate while at the same time get a deal, and donate the difference between the regular price and the discounted price to a specific charity, either a local group, or one set up for a major tragedy like Hurricane Sandy or the Oklahoma tornadoes. And you could probably take the tax-deduction yourself! (check with your accountant)

To sum up: use promotions infrequently and unpredictably; have a very valid “reason” or a silly one that will make people smile; or design it creatively to serve a specific purpose or enhance your brand.

How might you use one of these three strategies?

Maybe a great idea leaped into your mind the second you read one of them! Then again, perhaps nothing came to mind at all, or something did but it’s not fully formed and needs some creative tweaking. Or it’s possible you could use support with the execution.

I’d be delighted to brainstorm with you about it for an hour.

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