“Fix Your High-Price Image Problem With These Eight Time-Tested Small Business Marketing Strategy Tips”

Try these eight ways in small business marketing strategy to dispel a “high price image.” These small business marketing techniques have been tested.

Do you get too many indications high-price image is holding your store back? Notice we emphasize the word “image,” as opposed to reality. If customers simply feel your prices are too high when they’re not, you’re failing to communicate properly with them.

We commonly hear smaller merchants complain their prices are actually lower than Walmart, yet their customers don’t know it.

Consider using these guidelines.

Small business marketing strategy #1.
Give examples of both lower
priced and higher priced
merchandise in your ads

  • You keep your reputation for quality when you state, “Blank’s is known for high quality XXXXXs. But we also feature XXXXXs at (give low price)”.

  • If you want to feature your lower priced merchandise, lead with it. But, then add a point about your better merchandise. “These gizmos at our everyday low price of just $00. We also offer better quality gizmos made of solid steel.”

  • Maverick employs a whole art and science in small business marketing strategy for making ads sell hard for you. If newspaper advertising is part of your marketing strategy, just click here learn more about how to make killer ads with the Newspaper–Plain & Simple technique.

Small business marketing strategy #2.
Display lower priced merchandise
at the front of your store so
customers see it first

  • This marketing strategy demands prospects get an “impression” your prices are affordable to them. So, feature lower priced merchandise at the front of your store.

  • Then, as prospect moves a little further into the store, show your higher priced merchandise.

  • Very important: Offer your lower priced merchandise at regular price so your customers do not get the impression they can buy at lower prices only during sales. That impression defeats your purpose.

  • If you find your regularly lower priced merchandise still fails to sell, determine if your total price range is too high for your clientele.

Small business marketing strategy #3.
Teach your employees to show
a range of price points

  • Teach your staff to present both your higher priced and lower priced pieces as part of your standard sales presentation. Start with the higher priced item and progress downward to the lower priced one.

  • This method stems from a proven psychological selling principle known as “selling up by selling down.” Your customers plan to invest less in an item. However, once they see and appreciate your better quality item, they can opt for higher quality. Show them both. Your customer is more satisfied and you increase your size of ticket.

  • Teach your staff to ask questions of the customer first to find out if she is comfortable with the price range. “Is this the price range you were thinking about?” Once known, the salesperson can then adjust as needed.

  • Make your goal to show your customers you have lower priced as well as higher priced merchandise. You’ll have more satisfied customers who never leave with an incorrect impression about your price range.

Small business marketing strategy #4.
Never let your merchandise
set in one place too long

I know . . . I know. Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? Well, it is. And it’ll make you a lot more money.

  • Unless yours is the type of store people shop very often, like a grocery store, this strategy applies. Where customers shop intermittently, like clothing stores, don’t let your merchandise set too long in one place. If customers feel your products are old, such a mental impression creates lowered respect in their minds for your business.

    You lose on the “value versus price” equation each customer carries in her head.

  • Move your product around based on the bulk of your customers’ spacing of average visits. For instance, you should move women’s clothing every two weeks because good customers shop you about every two weeks. Furniture stores at least every two months – even once a month.

  • As you move your stock around, when your customer returns she will notice things unseen before – even if those items have been in your store for months.

    Even grocery stores follow this practice with their end-aisle displays. Their purpose is to feature, bring attention to, certain items to promote their movement.

    New displays give the store a fresh, inviting look.

  • Obviously, this practice is hard work. However, it pays off in changed perspective. Every time the same customer enters the store she sees something new. She feels your selection is always fresh, therefore more valuable.

  • Your customers are smart. They see and remember merchandise. Once they see the same item several times, they begin to feel it’s old and therefore, all of your stock is old.

Small business marketing strategy #5.
Watch your costs

  • Rather than buying lots of new merchandise, buy a few pieces and mix them in with your current merchandise. Then, move it all around regularly!

  • This practice limits your investment in stock, yet keeps customers interested.

  • To repeat point number 4 in another way, customers often see very little when they walk through your store. When you move and re-display product elsewhere, you’ll be amazed how often they remark, “Oh, is that new?” about goods that have gathered dust for months.

Small business marketing strategy #6.
Use the “Good-Better-Best” pricing
formula to find price ranges at
which you can sell most effectively

  • More than fifty years ago, a major retailer discovered this amazing pricing guideline. The company developed it into a major marketing strategy. This strategy still proves true in the 21st century!

  • At the most productive price range, 20% of customers buy the “good” price range, 60% buy the “better,” and 20% buy the “best” quality. Ratios like this generally hold true with most products and services.

  • Rather than try to sell your customers what you want, find out what they want. Check your ratios. If a larger percentage buys your lower end, it can mean your price range is too high for your type of customers.

  • If more than 20% percent of customers buy your higher end, it means you may need to raise your quality and price range across the board.

    Bring in some higher priced merchandise than your current highest to test. If it works, clear out your lowest end products until your ratios come into balance.

Small business marketing strategy #7.
Never assume just because you or
your employees would not buy
above a given price point that
your customer will not

  • Once in a while, you hear salespeople say, “Our customers can’t afford that.” That may sometimes be true but more often it’s not. The real problem? Can the salesperson, who often earns less than his/her customers, afford it? If not, she may assume others cannot as well and try to steer them off the product.

    One of my friends, who is considerably wealthier than I will ever be, related this story: In a gift shop in Telluride, Colorado, a bracelet struck her fancy. My friend would have bought the bracelet (for cash) without a second thought. However, the saleswoman entered a long harangue about how the bracelet was simply too expensive. My friend left disgusted – and empty-handed.

  • Train your salespeople never to tell customers what they should want unless they specifically ask for guidance.

    Except for a few complicated purchases, customers can best judge what they can afford and what they like. Caution your staff to to trust their customers’ judgment. They should never equate their own financial circumstances and likes/dislikes with those of the customer.

  • We serve customers best when we help them get what they want.

  • If a salesperson does not follow your guidance, you may have to terminate her. Some cannot overcome this bias. If so, you do your associates a disservice to keep them because they will be unhappy with their achievement . . . and so will you.

How pricing policy
works in practice

Your product may be too high priced or too low-priced for your area. Lay aside your own biases and test your marketing strategy.

Example: One of Maverick’s client furniture stores viewed themselves as a mid-price store. (Personally, they knew high quality furniture and bought it for themselves.)

However, with research, they discovered customers viewed their store as high-priced. Prospects considered the store pricey because management displayed mid-priced sofas (by industry standards) of around $2,000 plus other higher-priced merchandise at the very front of the store.

It’s good to remember, your value is always in the eye of the beholder.

  • To counter this image, the manager searched out a good, high quality sofa for a low, regular price of $395.

  • The store displayed these $395 sofas around the front door and moved higher priced sofas back a little so customers would see those a moment later.

  • They set up merchandise signs to point out specific construction features and benefits of the lower priced sofa’s high quality construction and lower price.

    Their signs alone, using Maverick’s Benefit Sell guidelines, increased sales substantially. Maverick Benefit Sell signs use a template form to construct signs so customers see certain points in a certain order. We created the method from professional sales rules.

  • In addition, the store displayed less expensive, but good-looking, accessories around each sofa to create a room grouping. With accessories, customers visualize better how the item will look in their home.

  • Then, my friend injected more power into all his advertising. He incorporated Maverick Marketing Method’s “Benefit Sell” into them. Click here and learn more about Benefit Sell.

  • The store featured their lower priced sofa and highlighted its features and benefits, point by point. Feature-benefit selling came to dominate their ads. Most important, this store maintained higher gross margins. They never sold the lower priced sofa at a discounted price.

  • Then they tackled their sales presentations and taught salespeople how to determine customers’ comfortable price range level.

  • Finally, they adopted an inventory planning system that performed wonders. I’ll tell you about it in a minute . . .

What happened? Within a year, new research revealed customers had revised downward their view of the store’s price range even though it still carried the same better, higher-priced merchandise in stock.

Traffic rose. They sold more of everything because more customers felt they could afford the merchandise. Sales ballooned substantially – in fact, 25% to 35% per month.

Small business marketing strategy #8.
Adopt an inventory planning
system . . .

  • If your business is now well established and has grown larger, consider carefully an inventory planning system idea.

  • Better yet, engage a professional inventory planner, at least to start, to help you determine how much inventory to buy – and when.

  • An inventory planning system should include an “open to buy” plan, which guides you in amounts of inventory to purchase when you go to market.

  • With inventory planning, you make happier customers and more profit.

    The system accurately forecasts an amount to invest in each category of merchandise, based on how fast it sells.

    This means you more often have enough on hand to satisfy customers. You avoid disappointing them. And you end with less leftover inventory.

  • Have you noticed we’re not talking about counting inventory. We’re talking about planning it! Anybody can count. Few know how to plan.

  • “But, I know my inventory by just looking,” say many managers. In the beginning, when business is small that’s often true. But, as inventories grow, a time comes when even the most intelligent merchant can no longer track it in his head. Have you reached that point?

    An aversion to inventory planning usually amounts to a “head (ego) problem”. My friend, a very bright man and long in the furniture industry, couldn’t believe he was unable to judge his own inventory. Somehow engaging inventory planning seemed almost an abdication of manhood!

    But, when he finally consented to start, he discovered outdated merchandise all over the store. Says he, “Every month, year-old . . . some even two-year-old . . . pieces popped up. They had sort of fallen through the cracks.”

    The result? He cleared the old merchandise, and stowed his cash in the bank. Suddenly, inventory loans began to evaporate. He had real cash – his own – to buy more new, saleable product. The most telling point . . .

  • His net profit increased to 10.5%! (The average furniture store nets 2.75%).

Do this one right and you’ll stop running into cash shortages every whipstitch.

How to check your
own situation

For most retail businesses, their most profitable small business marketing strategy revolves around inventory planning. A friend of many years, Jack Robinette at Robinette Retail Service in Dallas, has clients ask these questions of themselves:

  • Do you have too little money in the bank?

  • Is too much money tied up in merchandise lying on your store’s shelves?

  • Is your gross margin (the percent remaining after you pay for the merchandise) too low?

  • Does merchandise lay on the shelves a little longer than it once did?

  • Is your advertising bill too high?

  • Is retailing less fun than it once was?

If you answered ‘yes’ to five out of six of these questions, it’s time to look closely at your own inventory planning because it probably costs you far more money than you dare imagine.

How inventory planning can
create profits you never knew
were possible

  • Once they start inventory planning, manager after manager relates tales of how each “discovered” thousands of dollars in “dead” merchandise, which he or she could sell to get cash back in hand

  • How she increased sales by learning how to keep more wanted merchandise on hand.

  • How chronic cash flow problems disappeared.

All these benefits flow out of good applied marketing strategy.

Jack’s clients commonly add an additional $30,000 to $35,000 per year in cash flow on $300,000 worth of yearly sales. The cost to do it is minor.

If you came up with negative answers to the questions above, Jack will be happy to talk with you free of charge about hidden problems that may be stealing profits from you. Just click here to get Jack.

How to determine the price
you should charge

Finally, if you have a problem in deciding how to price a product you want to sell, a nice fellow named Ken Evoy has developed a very sophisticated method to determine price called Perfect Price.

With this new tool, he shows you how to go on the Internet and present your product. In under an hour, you learn the optimum price potential customers suggest you charge for your product.

You get a suggested price at which you should sell the most product at the highest gross margin. Ken calls it Perfect Price. If you’re in a quandary about pricing a product, this may be your magic bullet. Click here to learn more about Perfect Price.

When we first enter business, everything seems like it should be so easy. Only later do we realize how much headwork must go into a small business marketing strategy that works.

If you’d like more tips and ideas on small business marketing strategy and small business marketing technique, cursor to the top of this page and subscribe to our monthly Maverick Strategy Newsletter. It comes to you at no charge, we never share your name with anyone else, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

I wish you well.

Rod Rademacher
Maverick Strategy
4148 S.W. Emland Drive, Suite 7
Topeka, Kansas USA 66606
Phone: 785-783-7756 or
Email us here

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