No matter how confident you may be about your products or services, when it comes to deciding how much to charge, the likelihood is that you’re similar to most other on-line business owners, and have real difficulty in knowing where to pitch your prices.
There’s a huge amount of psychology behind the issue of pricing.
All you need to do to see this is wander in to your local supermarket.
Every supermarket chain in operation today has invested a huge amount of market research and analysis in to the problem of pricing, and are only just establishing tried and tested ways of increasing sales and making a profit, without slashing their prices to ridiculous levels.
Using Established Strategies For Pricing
As small business owners, we don’t have the luxury of employing a crack team of psychologists to establish our ideal pricing strategy for us.
The good news, however, is that we can piggyback on the psychology used by supermarkets to learn a very good trick for sales, that will make sure that we keep every customer, regardless of what their budget or expectations may be.
Understanding The Pizza Principle
Have you noticed how, in your local supermarket, every store has a range of different brands?
Tesco, for example, has their ‘Finest’ range for people looking to spend a little bit more and get some luxury in their products.
Instead of a cheese and tomato pizza, they’ll sell us a Margarita flatbread with sun-ripened cherry passata, with buffalo mozzarella.
It’s the same old cheese and tomato pizza that we know and love, but uses more expensive ingredients and some very flash marketing to persuade punters to part with their pounds.
Meeting The Needs Of All Consumers
If the ‘Finest’ range isn’t to the taste of every consumer, they also produce a ‘Basics’ range.
The Basics cheese and tomato has less topping, comes in cellophane rather than a beautifully crafted box, and costs much less to produce.
It appeals to people who want a pizza, but don’t want to be swayed by the aesthetics of their dinner.
They just want cheese, tomato, and pizza base.
They’ll spend a minimal amount, and go away happy knowing that they have the most economical pizza available in the store.
For yet others, there’s a third option.
The ‘middle of the road’ pizza, which features nice packaging, a bit of care in the assembly, and a mid-range price tag which suits people who don’t want to spend a fortune, but also can’t quite bring themselves to buy basics.
All three options provide pizza.
However, there is a world of difference between one and the other, if not in terms of the product, but certainly in terms of the psychology behind it.
Pitching Price, Pizza-style
So, how can an in-depth knowledge of mozzarella and marketing help us to pitch our pricing properly?
In fact, it works to the very same principle as the pizza.
When our customers come to us, it’s a known fact that if we charge too little, we’ll immediately alienate half our potential market, as they automatically assume that we aren’t very good at our job.
If we only charge $10 an hour for our services, then we obviously have too much time on our hands, too few customers, and too little experience to be a power player in our industry.
Similarly, if we charge $1,000 an hour, we’ll price most consumers straight out of our market, and give the impression that we are overcharging for services which they can get cheaper elsewhere.
The trick for pricing is to make it like Tesco.
Offer your customers a range of options, and let them decide for themselves what they want to pay, and what level of service they think will best suit their needs.
Offer a basic package for those customers who want what you provide, but don’t care about extensive service.
Provide a completely managed service or exquisite product with every add-on and benefit you can come up with as your ‘Finest’ range.
Thirdly, give a middle option which has more features than your lowest priced option, but without the frills and finery of your ‘Finest’ package.
How Tiered Pricing Will Bring You More Business
A tiered pricing structure brings a number of benefits.
It helps your customers differentiate between different levels of service to work out what they most need.
It stops you pricing yourself out of range of some customers, and it also prevents you from looking too cheap to appeal to clients who gain reassurance from a decent charging system.
Best of all, it helps you differentiate within your service structure to establish exactly what you are prepared to offer, for what price.
This will help you work out just how much your products or services are worth, and have the confidence to pitch your prices at their true value, every time.
If you still aren’t sure about the value of this strategy, consider the wise words of G. A. McKevett:
“There’s very little in the world that a foot massage and a thin-crust, everything-on-it pizza won’t set right.”
What’s your views?
How do you price your services / products?
Please share your views in the comments below.