In my previous post about why you shouldn’t be afraid of charging premium prices (on the contrary, in some situations you must), I mentioned that there is a catch to being able to sell high-ticket products (or to sell high-ticket services), and that I’d be going over it today.

In this post we’ll see the value selling trick that savvy marketers know about, and which can help us selling… well… just about anything, really. In fact, it seems to be the number one tool on the fake gurus’, and other smoke and mirrors sellers’ marketing toolkit. 

Nonetheless, even if it’s sometimes used in some kind of shady situations, it IS an absolute must for selling premium products, even if they’re really good, especially if we’re already talking about selling high priced products in absolute terms (so… not premium groceries).

And what is it, you’re wondering? Well, if you’re potential customers’ reaction to your price tag right now is “that’s expensive, there’s no way in hell”, and you’re trying to move them to “that’s expensive, but worth it”, the thing is… you’ll have to sell a different thing.

Not a different product or service! We’re keeping those. And the price. But we will be selling them… differently.

Because if you’re trying to sell a run of the mill, acceptably priced product, you might get away with selling it based on its features. You might do better using a different strategy, but that one will probably do.

And if you want to step that one up a notch, you might try selling it based on its benefits. That’s a very popular advice: you have to sell benefits.

Unfortunately, none of these two is likely to get your very far, since they’re not great for selling a high-priced product or service. To achieve that, the strategy to go for, is to sell the attainment of a goal, or a dream that’s related to a basic human need

What we want to communicate, is that our product or service will help our clients becoming the person they aspire to be, or acquiring something that they dream of having. 

Let’s see what I mean by that, and how it works.

High-priced product value selling step #1: Identify which basic need our product can help fulfil

And if you’re wondering what those are, I’ll include here the list according to the “Human Givens approach”. Now… this is the approach that makes more sense to me, but there are many motivational/drivers/needs theories out there, so feel free to use the one you prefer. I just happen to like this one, but I’m in no way an expert on motivation or psychology, so... I just like this one. 

Anyway, according to the Human Givens approach, we have 9 emotional needs:

  • The need for security 
  • The need for attention (both to give and receive it)
  • The need for a sense of autonomy and control 
  • The need for emotional intimacy
  • The need for feeling that we are a part of a wider community
  • The need for privacy (including quiet time, and time alone)
  • The need for a sense of status within a social group
  • The need for a sense of competence and achievement
  • The need for a sense of meaning and purpose

And this is the link to the Human Givens Institute in case you want to dig deeper into this. 

Now… which of these needs can our product help satisfy? Because identifying that is the first step to develop our value communication strategy for our high-priced product or high-priced service. 

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This is why the car industry advertises status and freedom in big bold letters, and the actual car’s characteristics in tiny little print.

Or why people selling high-ticket online courses don’t communicate the benefit their course will result in (and certainly not the curriculum)

They don’t communicate for example that the course will result in an optimized amazon FBA strategy, optimized SEO, efficient Facebook ads, effective online sales funnels strategy or e-mail marketing strategy, improved data-driven YouTube or Instagram growth strategies…  no.

What people selling high-priced courses usually communicate is “make six figures and escape the 9 to 5”. And yes, I’ve found this specific message to advertise high priced courses about all the previous; and these are just a very small fraction of what I found when looking for products using this particular message (which is brilliant, by the way).

Now. You may think that “show off a luxury car” “make six figures” or “escape the 9 to 5” are obvious, easy to sell value messages, and that your product or service does not have anything like them. 

And it’s true that products or services that have a potential to be shown-off or to increase income are easier to sell at higher prices. But, don’t dismiss the idea of finding your product’s needs satisfying ability before giving it a solid try

Maybe your product or service can’t increase income or be publicly displayed, but can provide peace of mind, free time to enjoy what people really value in life... I mean… we value a lot of things in life besides making money and showing off in an obvious way.

So, looking for that need-fulfilling characteristic is the first step of implementing this strategy.

High-priced product value selling step #2: Define an objection handling strategy

Because we’re likely to hear back at least the “that’s too expensive!” sales objection. Because let’s face it, when selling a high-priced product, regardless of its value, that one is going to come up.

So, we have to prepare to handle the price objection, as well as other objections to purchase that we know we typically get (or that we’ve learnt from market research that we’re likely to get once we launch if we haven’t already).

Now… I don’t know what the objections to purchasing your product or service may be, but regarding the very common price objection, we can use two strategies to do deal with it. 

However, before we jump into handling the price objection, first we must make sure that the price objection really is a price objection. Because “the price is too high” is often just an excuse not to think about the real reason behind not wanting a product or service.

So, before we can jump in to defend our price, we must make sure that the price really is the reason why the potential customer does not want to buy our product or service. That’s why we must start by understanding:

  1. Whether they would be interested in buying if price wasn’t an issue (if they wouldn’t, we’re working on the wrong sales objection), and
  2. Why do they think that the price is too high. What is the reference they’re using to judge our price against? Because it’s often a lot easier to convince people that they’re using the wrong reference to compare the value of something against, than to convince them that they should accept a much higher premium vs. a low-priced reference that they have in mind.

But anyway, assuming that price really is the objection, and that the price/value reference is a reasonable one, we can move on to addressing the “the price is too high” objection.

Two strategies that we can use to address the “the price is too high” objection:

Strategy #1: Identify the pain that our potential customers risk suffering if they do not achieve the dream that our product will get them closer to.

The goal here is to be able to remind them of what they risk missing out on if they do nothing, or if they select a non-optimal product or service solution (I’m assuming yours IS the optimal one, of course). 

Strategy #2: Identify on what your potential customer may be spending high amounts of money, and which isn’t getting him or her any closer to fulfilling any goal or dream.

The point is to use the expenditure in that alternative product or service as a reference, against which investing in our own product or service seems like a reasonable (if not a much smarter) thing to do.

So, that completes the second step of our value selling strategy to sell a high-priced product or service. But, don’t forget to prepare to handle the other common objections to purchase. Those will be specific to your business, and you must have a strategy for all of them.

Now. Apart from all we’ve already covered, we also have to keep in mind that selling a high-priced product is just harder. 

We need to be better at value communication and objection handling, but we also need to be prepared to:

  • Answer more questions.
  • Be able to reassure the potential customer that investing in our product or service is an intelligent thing to do.
  • Possibly be able to provide social proof regarding the value of our offer (in the form of recommendations, testimonials, previous body of work… or whatever is relevant in our industry). And,
  • we are likely to need more touch points before the potential customer feels confident enough in his decision to buy from us. 

And then, even if we’re not professional salespeople, I personally think it’s a good idea to learn some tactics used by sales professionals, and which may be valuable for our particular situation.

There are a lot of great books out there on tactics to close sales, and which can be of great help.  

Anyway... this whole strategy mentioned in this post will only work if you don’t sabotage yourself by limiting your achievable prices through a poorly devised overall business strategy.

And that’s what I’ll talk about in my next post. Next week I’ll go into: 

  • What sets the limit to what you can charge for your product or service. 
  • What REALLY is beyond of your control and what isn’t (because you probably have more control than you think).
  • What you can do to avoid having to sell your products for dirt cheap prices.

But if you already have a sound business strategy, this sales strategy should help you communicating to your potential customers that your high-priced product or high-priced service isn’t an expensive purchase, but a sound investment that will transform their lives for the better.

And hopefully, you’ll be able to turn that “there’s no way in hell”, to a “that’s expensive, but worth it”.

So, I hope you found the post helpful! See you in the next one! Bye!

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About the author 

Andrea

Hi! I'm Andrea, and I specialise in incorporating market research and marketing strategy into product development, in order to make sure that the final result is a product that target customers want to buy at a profitable price.

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