Current Issue
Published on July 16, 2001

Get value from discounts you offer

Are you receiving full value for the discounts you offer on products and services?

After all, you provide a discount in order to:

Create excitement in the customer's mind;

Show a better value;

Convince prospects that your products and services are worth more to them than their money.

It doesn't matter how big a discount you give if your customers don't see and understand the value they receive from it.

One day while visiting a client's store, I overheard a customer ask the price of a large tapestry displayed on the wall above our heads. My client replied: ``The sale price with the 15-percent discount is $529.'' The customer, without even a moment's thought, merely continued browsing other items in the store.

A few days later, I was with another client who sells exercise equipment. After being asked the price of a stationary bicycle, my client took out a piece of paper and, while writing down the figures, said: ``The price of this stationary bicycle is $299....'' He paused there momentarily in order to let the customer mentally digest the $299 figure and then continued: ``...less the discount of 15 percent-which amounts to $45-thereby reducing the sale price to only $253.''

Notice that he did the math for the customer not only on paper but also verbally, and also rounded off the discount to the next highest dollar amount.

Always make it easy in this manner for the customer to understand the savings.

This savvy salesperson knows that:

Customers don't take the time to figure the math. You have to do it for them and make the details easy for them to understand;

People comprehend things better after viewing them in writing than when they have to picture them in their minds; and that,

When you have more direct contact with a customer, you build a relationship that leads to sales.

Much the same also can be said of price tags showing a discount:

State the regular sale price at the top, less the discount with a minus sign in front of it. (If you use a percentage, also show the actual dollar amount.) I like to use black for all the pricing except the final lowest price, which is in red.

Or show the regular price with a line crossing it out on top, the resulting savings in dollars, and then the final lowest price-which I write in red.

The important thing is always to make sure the customer understands the increased value they are receiving when they purchase your products and services at a discount.

Here are the four most important steps to improving the impact of a discount:

1) Give the customer the regular sale price in writing and verbally. (Such as: ``The regular sale price of this exercise bike is $299....'');

2) Show and tell the customer the discount in percentage terms. (``The discount is 15 percent...'');

3) Tell and show the customer the savings in dollars. (``...You'll save $45 on your new exercise bike.'')

4) Do the math on paper then show and tell the customer the final sale price. (``The sale price on your new exercise bike is only $253.'')

Bob Janet is a professional marketing consultant and conference speaker living in Matthews, N.C.

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