Hot Price.

Creative Commons License photo credit: mangee 

 I’ve been reading The Invisible Touch by Harry Beckwith.  I like Beckwith’s books – he’s one of the few writers around who writes specifically for those of us who sell services.  In the book he looks at four keys to selling a service:

  1. Price
  2. Brand
  3. Packaging, and
  4. Relationships

In today’s article I’ll share some of his thoughts on Price.  Over the next week I’ll blog on the other three points.  As I outline some of these ideas, have a think about how they could apply to your business.

Beckwith explains how price is seen as an indicator of how good the service is likely to be.  He says

A price tells us how good a service probably is, then convinces us how good the service probably was.

I’ve read other articles through my MBA studies that back this up.  When you buy a physical product i.e. a TV, you tend to shop based on price unless there are other factors that you see as highly important to the overall deal.  When you buy a service, it’s difficult to compare apples with apples as the service you buy will be slightly different depending on who delivers it.  I’ve spoken before how consumers look for things that make the service become more tangible – one of these factors is price.

Harry uses the example of how in the 80’s Gibson were losing share in the guitar market.  They tried lowering prices and that actually led to a further reduction in sales.  They decided to increase prices and, you guessed it, sales increased.  Faced with a choice, if a consumer can afford to, they are more likely to pay a higher price for a service to gain the benefit of the perceived higher quality.

Harry is also against discounting, arguing that the discount buyer is only buying your price and doesn’t value your service.  He suggests if you offer a discount once, the client will expect it every time.  And the won’t value your skills or abilities – they only value the price.

He speaks about pricing based on the value you create instead of an hourly rate.  My last article touched on something similar.  He suggests creating a tiered pricing structure, where clients can pick from a menu of services that are combined in a set of pre-determined packages.

So have a think about these ideas.  Are you guilty of discounting prices to gain business when in fact you should be increasing them?  Is the service you sell sufficiently differentiated from your competitors that you’re able to charge a premium price?  Are there opportunities for you to change the way you charge and introduce service packages?

Please feel free to leave some comments on this article and let me know what you think.