5 Ways to Increase your Price Without Losing Customers | Marketing and Networking University

5 Ways to Increase your Price Without Losing Customers

5 Ways to Increase your Price Without Losing Customers

It’s probably true to say that everyone would like to be able to charge more and everyone would like more customers: but aren’t these two wishes contradictory? Isn’t it a case of one or the other?

It can be a problem, granted, but it isn’t impossible by any means … and if you do the right things, and do them well, then the world really is your oyster.

To prove the point, here are some examples that need no explanation:

  • Apple, BMW, Waitrose, Lindt

In fact, one of the most impactful advertising campaigns was the one that ran in the UK for Stella Artois lager in the late 1980s – ‘Reassuringly Expensive’. Working in that sector at the time, the demand for that brand was constant and unrelenting.

So: what do you need to do to reach this wonderful ‘Shangri la’: either as an Organisation, a Team or an Individual: what are the ‘secrets’ to getting it right, and how can you apply them (when it’s so clear from all that goes on around us, that their application is woefully rare).

There are 5 simple principles … and these apply to everything: your product quality, it’s presentation, it’s delivery and how you deal with the customer.

  1. Obsessive customer focus: the only thing that matters is how this will affect the customer and make them want to rave about you to their friends. Do this well, and everything else becomes easier, do it badly and you’ve got a major struggle on your hands. This belief starts at the top and goes through EVERYTHING.
  2. People act like BEAR’s! Understand the Customers’ emotional needs as the key drivers (above the physical ones). Yes, there are other cheaper cars than BMWs out there, but only one ‘ultimate driving machine’ brand.
    1. Customers all have a different blend of Beliefs and Emotions: they all like to see Actions and Results to be satisfied, they are BEARs and they need;
      1. Trust: does your brand, service or product, stand for ‘unquestioned trust’?
      2. Attention and feeling good: does your brand, service or product go out of it’s way to pay attention to what THEY want, emotionally? Has it been designed to make THEM feel good? Has it been focused on THEIR emotional needs in your market sector?
      3. An easier and better life: are all the processes and systems around your brand, product or service designed specifically to make life easier for them, to enhance their enjoyment and take away any sort of pain?
  3. Have powerful ‘Lead’ measures of the customer experience (and FUEL your proactive and professional feedback system to gather the information). If you don’t have these measures in place, how on earth can you get numbers one and two right? We believe that Feedback Underpins Engagement and Loyalty – FUEL. If you don’t have a system fuelling your after-sales how do you know what relationship you have with your customers?
    1. So, what is a ‘Lead’ measure? It is a measure of situation or activity that indicates a future result – getting better or worse. A simple example would be a barometer: the measures indicated on the barometer will help you predict what the weather will do in the future: very useful! In the same vein, all organisations need (and few have), simple, clear, powerful ‘lead’ measures in their systems: measures of activities (e.g. calls made) or situations (e.g. Customer reputation and loyalty), that indicate whether sales and reputation will be getting better or worse in the future!
    2. Importantly, these ‘lead measures’ need to become the key drivers of your business, and NOT a ‘second rate add-on’ after the service or product has been delivered. This needs to be a key professional process, measure and relationship building process in itself: it needs to be carefully designed, meticulously executed (preferably by a professional 3rd party), aimed at building the relationship and enhancing customer loyalty in itself, and continually evaluated and improved from the feedback it generates (along with every other process in your system).
  4. Have continual improvement systems, creating consistent cadences of innovation, improvement and customer obsession.
    1. This is a process we call ‘Go the Extra Inch’, and this requires complete team involvement, weekly or bi-weekly continuous improvement sessions, that review the ‘Lead’ measures and the information within them, and agree what to stop, start and continue in the organisation in order to keep improving and innovating. The key here is the small regular steps, driven by the information about what’s REALLY happening in your business , namely YOUR customer feedback.
  5. Apply them rigorously without let or hindrance and keep re-examining yourselves. And, above all, make sure you do this more than ever when you’re at the top of your game: winners beware, when you’re at the top of your game, it’s harder and harder to keep improving, avoid complacency and misunderstanding, that great giant killer that killed the likes of Kodak, Ratners and more recently Bell Pottinger. Keep ahead of the (often more nimble) competition, and the rapid pace of global innovation and change (remember Netscape anyone?).

There’s a lot to be done and very little time to do it: organisations across the globe are fighting to steal your customers at this very moment, and your existing customers are reviewing you on the web without your permission or knowledge.

But customers can also be very forgiving: if you start to develop and invest energy into these powerful, proactive, professional feedback systems, and respond, you can effectively buy enough time and grace to do this properly.

If you don’t do this, however, it’s only a matter of time before they find you out, question your motives and string you up …

And if you doubt the truth of what’s written here, let’s just (for a bit of fun), quickly examine the opposite of what we’ve suggested:

  1. Have a ‘profit above everything’ Mission
  2. Forget your customers, use ‘great marketing’ to drive demand: we can fool the customers long enough to make a pile of money, then we’ll just need to think of something else.
  3. Only have ‘lag’ measures: it’s up to the teams to do the right thing, the ONLY THING THAT MATTERS IS THE BOTTOM LINE AND THE SHAREHOLDER RETURNS: we just need our employees to turn up to work, do what they’re told and deliver the right results if they want to keep their jobs!
  4. Don’t worry about small steps and continual improvement, just milk the cash cow as long as you can, then re-brand!
  5. Don’t worry about rigour: just get a great brand, do amazing marketing, incentivise the sales team, use lots of ‘command and control’ and ‘carrot and stick’ tactics, and then tell everyone to ‘shut up and get on with it’: after all, we’re the managers, we know best!

OK, so it’s funny to the enlightened soul. But actually, it’s really not funny, it’s ineffective: it’s a sad fact that many organisations say they want to do the top 5 actions, but in reality, when the going gets tough, they revert to the five opposites … and, for a time, this delivers short term improvements in results. But then the house of cards begins to fall apart, panic sets in, profit warnings start … and we all know what happens then …

The key is to

  • Understand and take to heart the effective 5 steps
  • Embed them in all your systems and checks and balances
  • Go obsessively public about your desire to deliver them … and offer guarantees to make this rock solid
  • Put some great lead measures in place, and consider profit sharing with “partnership” customers depending on achievement of the Lead measures
  • Keep obsessively developing and promoting this: you need to be VERY clear and VERY firm in all this to prevent people slipping back to the ineffective 5 behaviours.

So, that’s 5 ways to increase your price without losing customers (OK, so the title was a triumph of marketing over reality (as is often the case), and there aren’t ‘5 ways to increase your price without losing customers‘, building and working on your Reputation is only one way that works for the long term … with 5 rules).

We hope you’ve found this article helpful, if so, please share with your friends or leave a comment: if you’d like to know more about our systems, and applying them or licensing them for your own use, please visit Sales Through Service or WayPoint Leisure.

Guy Arnold and Russell Wood are co-authors of “The Reputation Book”, published by LID publishing. [ purchase the book on Amazon ]

 

Reputation book authors page

 

Guy Arnold is the Founder and Managing Director of Sales Through Service and Investors in Feedback.

Click to email Guy

 

Russell Wood is a professional trainer and business advisor, whose background is in the retail, leisure and gaming industry.

Click to email Russell

 

 

November 8, 2017