In these unsettling times, I know that many small business owners will feel tempted to slash their prices with a discount strategy. But this might not be the best strategy if you want to sustain your small business.
Let’s set the record straight. Discounting can have a negative impact on your business in a number of ways. Mostly because it can damage people’s perception of your brand. Although a discount strategy might seem intuitive, so that you can bring in new business, it attracts “bad apple” customers, affects your cash flow and it trains your audience to wait for your special deal.
So, if you’re tempted to use a discount strategy in this current climate, I’ve got some alternative strategies for you.
1. Improve your sales processes
Let’s get that money flowing! First things first, I want you to look at your business from a birds-eye view and improve your sales processes. When you go to a restaurant, usually there’s a process that every customer experiences — the waiter greets you, you ask for a table, they take you to your table and share the menu with you, you order food and then you ask for the bill. So, what are your sales processes in your business?
If you’re a service-based business, it’s likely to look like this:
Book a discovery call > discovery call > follow-up email > send contract and invoice > send welcome pack > schedule first session
Now, is this sales process smooth sailing? How could you improve/speed up the process?
By improving your sales processes, you’re improving the client experience and they’re going to be more likely to recommend your service to others.
2. Make it easy for people to pay you
This one sounds like common sense, but so many business owners create barriers from receiving payment. One day I discovered payment errors on one of my email marketing ebooks. Basically, a few people had tried to purchase my ebook but the payment system had an error on it, so I missed out on a few sales.
Another time, someone was about to purchase an ebook but because I didn’t include a Paypal button, they didn’t purchase it. They said that they didn’t have their husband’s credit card, otherwise they would have bought it via Paypal. These are things that I overlooked and didn’t pay enough attention to.
Plus, if someone is paying in another currency, they’d much prefer to pay via Paypal to avoid the hefty conversion charges. So, include Paypal options in your CRM and your sales pages. Test your payment processes and make sure everything is working smoothly.
3. Check-in with past clients
It’s much easier to bring in business from a previous client rather than acquire a new client. This is because they have first-hand experience of working with you and they’ve achieved results. So, they’re likely to trust you as a service provider.
Instead of using a discount strategy, can you check in with previous clients and see how they’re getting on? It might be that you continue working with them through your signature service, or you can offer them a “lite” version of your signature package.
Ideally, you want to check-in with clients every 3, 6 and 12 months. So, make sure that you revisit your CRM system and touch base with past clients.
4. Create a “lead offer”
This one’s my favorite! Instead of using a discount strategy and slashing your signature offer, (which you’ve put your blood, sweat and tears into creating), offer a lite version. I like to call this your “lead offer” because instead of solving 4 problems, you might solve one problem at a lower price point.
By having a more affordable package, you’re opening the door for more customers who might not be able to afford your premium offer. Plus, if they enjoyed working with you and need more help, they’re likely to purchase your premium offer.
For example, your signature offer might be a 3-month package priced at £2,500 helping people to launch their online course or program. So, your lead offer might be a 2-hour coaching session mapping out their 14-day launch priced at £500.
Essentially, you’re helping them to solve their immediate problem (e.g., planning a launch) rather than solving their entire problem (e.g., managing their launch). Does that make sense?
Just make sure that when you create your lead offer you put a very specific deadline and boundary around it. Your time is your biggest asset in your business and you only have a finite number of hours. Plus, your value isn’t determined by how much time you put in, but the value that’s included in your offer and the results you help them create.
5. Promote your offers
Lastly, if people don’t know about your offers, how do you expect them to buy them?
Make sure that you’re presenting your offers left, right and center, so that people are aware of them. Some of the best places to present your offers are:
- At the end of a lead magnet
- On your “work with me” page
- Sales page
- At the end of a blog post
- In the P.S of your email newsletters
- In your automated welcome email sequence
- At the end of a webinar
It can be easy to get caught up in the hamster wheel of content creation, but it’s so important to get your offers in front of your audience. Are you sharing your offers to your email subscribers? Are they buying? How can you increase your conversions? Could you include testimonials of your products and services?
Another thing – is your work with me page clear? I see so many sales pages where I’m not sure who their ideal customer avatar is and the problem with this is that confused people don’t buy. So, cast an eye over your sales pages and make sure your copy is clear.
6. Offer a money-back guarantee
One of the best ways to reduce perceived risk is by offering your customers a money-back guarantee. So, if you’re launching a course you might create a 30-day money-back guarantee. If your students go through the course and they don’t get results, they can apply for a refund.
If you’re confident in your product and you know that it delivers value, then offering a guarantee should be a no-brainer. It tells your audience that you’re confident about your product and it inspires them to take action.
7. Create a bundle
Rather than discounting a single product, as part of a discount strategy, create a bundle or package that supplements what you’ve already created. So, instead of giving 20% off on your social media course, offer a bundle where you give your email, Instagram and podcast course combined for a lower price.
So friends, I hope this sparked some inspiration and reignited your entrepreneurial streak. I urge you to think of other creative ways to serve your community without using a discount strategy. Don’t slash your prices or shy away from sharing your offers, because the world needs you right now!