* Use psychology to have clients lining up to pay you premium prices.
* Leverage assumptions to position yourself as an industry expert.
* Reduce your sales cycle because you have zero resistance.
Traditionally and logically it is the buyer who has all the power. But for selling your services to be easy, and the price to be irrelevant, the sales person must take power away from the buyer.
The seller has to be perceived by the buyer as having all the power.
How can this counter intuitive logic be achieved?
We need to leverage psychology and investigate where power comes from.
There are many sources of power but here are three to get us started
- Exclusivity: People want things that will make them appear superior.
- Scarcity: People want what not everyone can have.
- Expert status: People follow the advice of perceived experts.
Exclusivity – The Velvet Rope
People want things that will make them appear superior
A young lady played a minor role in a feature movie ‘Separation City’. Her parents were invited to attend the ‘World Premiere’. Naturally they felt ‘special’.
All was fine. The parents watched the movie, sat in their ‘special’ seats with their friends and then headed upstairs to buy the ‘special’ drinks after the viewing.
But when they got upstairs ‘special’ came crashing down.
They could see the ‘velvet rope’ sectioning off a special VIP area. Inside the ‘VIP’ area people were laughing, smiling, looking attractive and receiving free champagne and nibbles.
They were standing on the same floor but some people were allowed to stand to the right of the velvet rope and feel ‘extra special’ while the rest of them looked in to see who was ‘deemed worthy’.
Now ‘special’ was worthless.
They wanted to be in the ‘extra special’ zone and started plotting ways to get in.
Could they talk their way in?
Could they buy their way in?
Could they sneak under the ropes without being seen?
It was ridiculous and they felt silly – but they still wanted to be in the VIP area.
If you want clients to fight to work with you, offer an area where they can be seen publicly as being ‘superior’, ‘preferred’ and ‘exclusive’.
Other examples: The airlines have their First class, ‘Gold Elite’ frequent fliers clubs with windows so ‘outsiders’ can see those on the inside. Casinos have high rollers areas. Concerts and cinemas will now provide VIP areas with large chairs and a waiter to bring drinks and food.
ACTION: Create a ‘special’ category of client who gets superior status. Price resistance will dissolve before your eyes.
Scarcity – ‘We select you, you don’t select us’
People want what not everyone can have.
This strategy is nothing new.
By reducing the supply of diamonds De Beers have been able to command premium pricing for decades.
Up until the late 19th century diamonds were only found in a few riverbeds in India and jungles of Brazil but when huge diamond reserves were discovered near the Orange River of South Africa they were soon being scooped up by the ton.
The sellers of diamonds realized they needed to control production and perpetuate the illusion of scarcity of diamonds. So in 1888 the industry was incorporated into a company called De Beers Consolidated Mines, Ltd.
While other commodities like gold silver copper fluctuate wildly, De Beers proved to be the most successful cartel arrangement in modern commerce.
De Beers is a monopoly for fixing diamond prices. There is no world shortage.
ACTION: Create a category of service that is limited in its availability and where people will miss out.
People prefer to follow the advice of perceived experts
Expert Symbol #1
Question: What happens if your GP is away sick?
Answer: You go see the locum who takes over the GP’s clients for the day.
The General Practitioner is not a specialist expert, hence the term ‘general’. So she is usually overworked and underpaid.
The ‘Specialist’ on the other hand is an ‘expert’, He wears a suit or casual clothes – whatever he feels like wearing – and charges outrageous fees for small pockets of work. You travel to him, wait for him (he always makes you wait,) see him sometimes months out on a date that suits him and thank him profusely for every morsel he dispenses.
Experts wield power, get paid better and get better compliance from people than almost anyone (except celebrities). If you are in business dispensing information or advice then getting yourself positioned as an expert should be priority # 1.
Here’s the catch – when it comes to buying professional services the general punter has no idea who is an expert.
How will we ever know if one lawyer is better than another unless we commit two murders under the same circumstances and go on trial for both.
The same applies to a real estate agent. Unless we have two agents competing side-by-side on the same house we will never know.
So how do people find experts?
They look for symbols of power and expertise.
The symbols of expertise are things like price, whether you have written a book or not and whether others interview you in public media platform.
Expert Symbol #2 Price
When a friend was buying a pen the other day, nothing significant, just needed something to write with for the day. He did not buy the most expensive pen at $80 but bought one in the mid price range. It looked just like the cheapest pen but was more expensive.
Why pay more?
He assumed that the higher price means ‘it must be better’ than the cheap one. This is ridiculous, but in the absence of knowledge price was the ONLY gauge he could use. In fact price is used as a gauge of quality far more than people care to admit. Who wants to be serviced by the ‘cheapest brain surgeon in town’?
Putting your price up is effortless. Yet most people hyperventilate over the idea, thinking their clients will run for the hills.
Here is how to do it with zero risk.
Offer a new super duper deluxe version of your service as an up sell.
Expensive enough that even if no one takes you up you still have an expert credible expensive service to boast, parade and quote. This expensive level of service has the double benefit of making your regular service look cheap.
Expert Symbol #3
Writing a book these days has never been easier. If you were going to get your brain operated on then why not use the guy who wrote the book on it.
Our perception of authors as experts is 100% flawed but, while it does exist, why not capitalize on it?
Publish your book with a printer or on Kindle and bingo you are an author and instant ‘expert’.
AAA Phone On Hold hasn’t written a book about on hold messaging, but our blog contains hints on how to create on hold messages with impact.