Friday, June 24, 2011

Are you attracting the clients you want to do business with?

If you are feeling battle-weary from trading in a recession it is easy to fall into the trap of believing price is the only thing that matters—but have you considered how your online prices might affect your reputation?

Thanks to more relevant search engines and price comparison sites (PriceMe, PriceSpy, PriceComparison), comparative price shopping has become quicker and easier. Sites like Ebay, CraigsList and TradeMe have opened accessibility to the secondhand and near-new market, also putting an additional downwards pressure on prices.

To be competitive it is natural you may feel pressured to post the cheapest online price possible but have you thought about the long-term damage you could be doing if you put all your attention on price?

If you are selling on price alone you can easily be matched, and if you have no other competitive advantage you are vulnerable to any competitor who can undercut you. Worse still, you can’t rely on your customers because it is the nature of the cut-price hunters to go where they can to get the best deal. Loyalty is not one of their endearing traits.

If you are pricing low online to attract business, take a good look at your customers: Are they the ones you want to do business with?

If not, take a look at your choices. Your business probably has a mix of customers—clients that appreciate quality items, clients that want convenience, a chat, free delivery, reliable advice, professional product support, ironclad guarantees, a business they can go back to year after year. In other words, clients that value other things you offer, besides price.

While many shoppers do go online to do their research before going in store to purchase, it may not always be price that is the deciding factor. Are you making a hero of those other attributes you do well? Have you got a strategy in place to attract these clients?

Every business should have a top tier type of client that has some, or all of the following traits: easily satisfied, joyfully profitable, nice to deal with, loyal, good for referrals and attracting other customers, an opinion leader or innovator that is in some way good for business.

There’s a joke that’s been going around the ‘net for some time where a printer thanks his client for his business: ‘Thank you, Mr Brown, for your business. I wish I had twenty customers like you.’

Mr Brown replies: ‘Gosh, it's nice to hear you say that, but I'm kind of surprised because I argue over every bill and I always pay late.’

‘That’s true,’ the printer replies, ‘but I'd still like twenty customers like you. My problem is I have two hundred.’

Is it possible you too have customers you would be better off without? Next time you look at your website check that you have catered to the aspirations of the type of customers you want to attract, not just the price hungry!

©2011 Jane Francis is the author of Price Yourself Right: A guide to charging what you are worth (ISBN: 0-595-38601-6) available at Barnes and Noble (USA), WH Smith (UK) or online at amazon.com or amazon.co.uk Her new book 'Price Talks: The Little Book of Price Psychology' is available as a kindle download from the amazon kindle store Just 99 cents!

Jane Francis is available as a Professional Speaker, Coach and Seminar Leader to help sales teams and companies pitch and present their price with creativity and confidence. Email

Price Yourself Right and Your Story

You need to tell customers your story. You need to differentiate yourself from all the other plumbers, hairdressers, gastric surgeons, whatever.

What is your story, and how is that communicated to your target audience? Remember that price is included in your story.

Do you have a story to tell around your price?

Are you midfield - the same as everyone else?

Do you stand out as being cheap - why is that?

Does your price have lots of asterisks and small print at the bottom of the advert or invoice?

Does your price include loads of disclaimers… or is your price backed up with a guarantee (lifelong, money back, 20 years etc)?

The way you communicate your price says a lot about the way you do business – work on getting your story, your product/service and your price representative of your values.

Pricing yourself right is about knowing who you are and what your values are. And if you are selling a product, it is about knowing what qualities and values your brand stands for.


©2011 Jane Francis is the author of Price Yourself Right: A guide to charging what you are worth (ISBN: 0-595-38601-6) available at Barnes and Noble (USA), WH Smith (UK) or online at amazon.com or amazon.co.uk Her new book 'Price Talks: The Little Book of Price Psychology' is available as a kindle download from the amazon kindle store Just 99 cents!

Jane Francis is available as a Professional Speaker, Coach and Seminar Leader to help sales teams and companies pitch and present their price with creativity and confidence. Email

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pay what you think it is worth model

I just received an email from respected Social Media and 'all things new' guru, Chris Brogan promoting a conference where you pay what you think the conference is worth.

This idea is one I have played with mentally, stumbling over the incongruency of a Price Coach not being definite about her own charges!

From my reading and research I understand that this form of pricing can return over the odds but it is dependent on the demographic and psychographics of the customer base. Make this offer to an uneducated, homeless crowd who don't value the knowledge they will gain and you will be out of pocket. Make this offer to people who value knowledge and networking (and anchor the price in the copy with the suggestion that people will pay as much as $1,200, and not less than $99) and you will probably be happy with the outcome.

Perhaps attendance will be higher than expected as they have removed the price obstacle, and longterm that is worth more to the organisers than the takings at the door? However it pans out, and whatever you pay if you do decide to go, I am sure it will be excellent value as Chris Brogan is well worth listening to.

My only other suggestion is perhaps don't try this technique if you run a petrol station, supermarket, or confectionary stall in the school holidays!!!


For more information about the Conference I copied this from their web page:

The Inbound Marketing Summit


Pay now, Pay later, Pay what you think it's worth!

What do the Panera Bread Company, Radiohead, Boston Pedicabs, Reddit and now the Inbound Marketing Summit San Francisco have in common? They all have tried a Customer Perceived Value Pricing pricing model.

We are excited (okay, and maybe a little nervous) to announce our new experiment for Inbound Marketing Summit San Francisco – Pay now, Pay later, Pay what you think it is worth!

Register Here

How this ties into the concepts behind our conference:
We are going to provide you with 2-days of engaging content, we are going to introduce you to industry gurus and expert practitioners, and we want you tell us what you think that is worth to you. Conferences seem to be charging between $1,200 - $99 for similar two to three day programs… we have decided to take the old, traditional, pricing model, and throw it out the window. We’d like you to take the opportunity to tell us what you think the value of our program is.

The experiment:
We would like to experiment with how you pay for the program. We want to give you the opportunity to evaluate the program, think about the value of what we are providing and then pay what you think the two-day program is/was worth to you. You can pay the moment that you register to guarantee your spot or if you want to pay after the program is complete, you are more than welcome to do that.

©2011 Jane Francis is the author of Price Yourself Right: A guide to charging what you are worth (ISBN: 0-595-38601-6) available at Barnes and Noble (USA), WH Smith (UK) or online at amazon.com or amazon.co.uk

Jane Francis is available as a Professional Speaker, Coach and Seminar Leader to help sales teams and companies pitch and present their price with creativity and confidence. Email

Sunday, March 06, 2011

9 reasons to thank your employer today

Not everyone has the entrepreneurial spirit it takes to run a successful business. In fact, there's a lot to be said in favour of being an employee yet how rarely it is heard!!

In case you need reminding, here are 9 reasons to thank your employer today:

1. Your employer takes ultimate responsibility for creating new business.

2. Your employer manages the cash flow and takes the risk of clients that won't pay.

3. Your employer gives you the security of a regular income you can plan on.

4. Your employer takes the biggest hit if there is an economic collapse or some other sensitive market situation arises.

5. Your employer has confidence in you; that should make you feel good.

6. Your employer deals with the legislation, pays the taxes and does the paperwork.

7. Your employer pays to train you, and if they don't send you on training courses, they still pay to train you as they pay for the mistakes you make as you learn on the job.

8. If you are on a salary you usually only have to negotiate your price once and the deal is done.

9. You get to go on holiday and leave the business behind. You can always leave. All care and no responsibility. How good is that?

Employers are everyday heroes and optimists. If you are employed right now, recognise that a job is a very great privilege and go say 'Thank you' to your boss today!

©2011 Jane Francis is the author of Price Yourself Right: A guide to charging what you are worth (ISBN: 0-595-38601-6) available at Barnes and Noble (USA), WH Smith (UK) or online at amazon.com or amazon.co.uk

Jane Francis is available as a Professional Speaker, Coach and Seminar Leader to help sales teams and companies pitch and present their price with creativity and confidence. Email

What do your online prices say about you?

If you are feeling battle-weary from trading in a recession it is easy to fall into the trap of believing price is the only thing that matters—but have you considered how your online prices might affect your reputation?

Thanks to more relevant search engines and price comparison sites (PriceMe, PriceSpy, PriceComparison), comparative price shopping has become quicker and easier. Sites like Ebay, CraigsList and TradeMe have opened accessibility to the secondhand and near-new market, also putting an additional downwards pressure on prices.

To be competitive it is natural you may feel pressured to post the cheapest online price possible but have you thought about the long-term damage you could be doing if you put all your attention on price?

If you are selling on price alone you can easily be matched, and if you have no other competitive advantage you are vulnerable to any competitor who can undercut you. Worse still, you can’t rely on your customers because it is the nature of the cut-price hunters to go where they can to get the best deal. Loyalty is not one of their endearing traits.

If you are pricing low online to attract business, take a good look at your customers: Are they the ones you want to do business with?

If not, take a look at your choices. Your business probably has a mix of customers—clients that appreciate quality items, clients that want convenience, a chat, free delivery, reliable advice, professional product support, ironclad guarantees, a business they can go back to year after year. In other words, clients that value other things you offer, besides price.

While many shoppers do go online to do their research before going in store to purchase, it may not always be price that is the deciding factor. Are you making a hero of those other attributes you do well? Have you got a strategy in place to attract these clients?

Every business should have a top tier type of client that has some, or all of the following traits: easily satisfied, joyfully profitable, nice to deal with, loyal, good for referrals and attracting other customers, an opinion leader or innovator that is in some way good for business.

There’s a joke that’s been going around the ‘net for some time where a printer thanks his client for his business: ‘Thank you, Mr Brown, for your business. I wish I had twenty customers like you.’

Mr Brown replies: ‘Gosh, it's nice to hear you say that, but I'm kind of surprised because I argue over every bill and I always pay late.’

‘That’s true,’ the printer replies, ‘but I'd still like twenty customers like you. My problem is I have two hundred.’

Is it possible you too have customers you would be better off without? Next time you look at your website check that you have catered to the aspirations of the type of customers you want to attract, not just the price hungry!

©2011 Jane Francis is the author of Price Yourself Right: A guide to charging what you are worth (ISBN: 0-595-38601-6) available at Barnes and Noble (USA), WH Smith (UK) or online at amazon.com or amazon.co.uk

Jane Francis is available as a Professional Speaker, Coach and Seminar Leader to help sales teams and companies pitch and present their price with creativity and confidence. Email

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Psychology of Price

Have you noticed how petrol pumps are priced to the third decimal place?

If petrol goes from $1.999 to $2 per litre that extra .001 cents means that if you purchased 100 litres, it would cost you ten cents more. A mere ten cents!

So why bother pricing to the third decimal place?

Psychology.

Studies have shown that consumers perceive prices to be cheaper if they end in odd numbers such as 95 or 99 cents.

One reason suggested is that we have learned to associate ’99 cents’ with sale prices. Another is that, at a glance, a price that ends in a few cents creates the impression that every last effort has been taken to ensure the product is being offered at its skinniest price.

There is also a theory that, as the eye reads from left to right, we pay more attention to the digits on the left. We know that the whole numbers on the left are the ‘important’ ones so, in our haste, we dismiss those on the right—creating a rounding down effect.

To make a distinction, many high-status brands make a point of using even numbers and display round ‘00’s to differentiate themselves from their more desperate cousins.

When it comes to price, perception is reality.


Price creates expectancy. The same way there is a placebo effect in medicine there can be a placebo effect in pricing. Consumers buying an anti-wrinkle serum for $99 may well expect that cream to be much more effective than the $18 lotion purchased in the aisle of supermarket, even if there is no real scientific evidence to back it up.

Our perception of a product or service creates ‘price points’. Price points are the points at which demand changes. For example, demand for a bulk standard, no lettuce, hamburger may drop off when it passes the $3 mark. However, demand for a ‘gourmet’ burger may have a price point somewhere between $7.95 and $12.95 depending on the institution that serves it, and its relative merits compared to the rest of the burgers or meals on the menu board.

Price points

Different price points create different perceptions.

There are psychological price points e.g. $9,999 looks a lot less to the purchaser than $10,000.00. As a general rule when you are the vendor, and you want to make the cost look minimal, you compress the number of numbers to as few as possible e.g. $195.

Conversely, when you have a promotion and you are adding in extra bonuses you will want to advertise $100.00’s and $1,000.00’s of dollars extra value—you make the deal look as big as possible by adding in lots of zeroes.

Different price points attract different types of customers. For example, when listing your house for sale online the difference between $499,000 and $500,000 will put your house into two different price bands exposing you to different customers.

Price points occur within industry categories e.g. Used cars $2,000 and under, Cars under $10,000 (often phrased as cars under $9,999). At the top end there are cars ‘$250,000 and above’ which often slip into an elitist category of their own ‘POA’—Price on Asking.

Conveniently, price points may be used to separate customers into categories. Online electronic stores allow you to search for TVs by price bands e.g. TVs $400—$500, $500—$600 etc

In addition, price points can be used as part of a customer acquisition programme. For example, ‘free’ might be the price point that entices the customer into reading a chapter of your book. They later buy the $9.95 book and then attend the $499 training course.

For existing customers, price points can be aspirational. Pandora™ bead lovers well know the different price points for glass beads versus silver or gold beads.

Similarly, once you’ve bought an entry-level Porsche Boxster™ and you have adjusted your price radar to Porsche’s price points, it might lead you on to total commitment in the form of a 911 Speedster™—POA of course! The law of relativity comes into effect, by their standards, an extra couple of hundred grand starts to seem like real value for money.


Flat rates

In some instances, price points can be a marketing point of difference in their own right e.g. the $2 shop or the ‘all you can eat buffet for $14.95’. Prepaid holidays, such as those offered on a cruise or at Club Med, provide consumers with the security, convenience and peace of mind knowing that they have paid for all the food up front and that they are not going to have a budget blow-out later.

In general you can count on two things: People prefer a flat rate, and people don’t like to think too hard. Phone companies know this when they package 60 minute plans, text 2000, anytime minutes, free neighbourhood call plans and the like. Banks, gym memberships, infomercials and insurance companies leverage this when they divide the total owed into repayment plans of ‘just $xx per week or month’.

You can take this a step further and show your customer how minimal the pain will be e.g. ‘Buy this credit card insurance plan for less than $3.00 per week—less than a cup of coffee’.

Studies done in the car industry have shown that consumers are more sensitive to the size of the repayment rather than the duration. Hence, you may find consumers respond more positively to a repayment plan of $99 per month over 48 months ($4752) rather than $129 per month over 24 months ($3096)—the appeal of the lower monthly repayment (and instant gratification) over-ride the better option for the bank balance.

Likewise, in the consumer packaged goods world we have seen manufacturers avoid price hikes, instead reducing the size or volume metrics. Have you noticed how much smaller your favorite candy bar and biscuits have become lately?


Versioning and Bundling

Whenever a new version of software comes out it creates the opportunity to change the price. Not so long ago, you had to pay more for a mobile phone in pink—another example of versioning whereby you provide the ‘same but different’ product and charge a different price.

Bundling is a price strategy that plays to the consumers’ desire to ‘get a deal’. It also makes it hard for consumers to make ‘apples with apples’ price comparisons as the components vary in each package. Computer companies especially like to bundle software, games, printers, modems, headphones and scanners into packages at various price points. Typically: $999, $1,299, $1,599, $1,999 and so on.

Ultimately bundling serves to sort consumers into groups either by price or product.


Your Pricing Strategy

The strategy you adopt when pricing your product or service begins with how well you understand your customer. Is your customer a bargain-hunter or a seeker of ‘the best quality money can buy?’ Will your customer object more to an increase in price or a decrease in quantity?

Psychology does comes into play with respect to how you price your products and services but it is important to remember that putting ‘99’ at the end of your price will not change your business a great deal if you fail to offer your customers good value.

You may choose to offer customers a price ending in an even or odd number, a bundled package, a different version, a flat rate plan or let them pick a plan that suits them, but in the end it is wise to remember the words of the late, great, advertising guru, David Ogilvy when he said: ‘The consumer is not a moron. She is your wife’ [or best friend].



© Jane Francis is the author of 'Price Yourself Right: A guide to charging what you are worth' and 'Price Talks: The Little Book of Price Psychology'. Jane has over 25 years’ sales and marketing experience, including winning awards for creating successful direct marketing campaigns. Jane is available as a Speaker at your next conference or sales meeting, go to www.priceyourselfright.com

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Price Yourself Right and Dynamic Pricing

Have you segmented your client base into A, B, C, D clients? On what basis are they segmented – contribution to revenue, profit, good looks, clever wit, political influence, or the kind of car they drive?

In a free market you can charge what you like, to whom you like and when you like so long as you stay within the law and remain solvent.

The thing is though citizens of our democracy have some notion of ‘fair’. People don’t like it when you play favorites – if they are not considered one of your favorites, that is.

People don’t like sitting on a plane knowing that their fare was $500 dearer than the person beside them. Similarly, if I knew my dentist charged you less than me I would no doubt get huffy.

How you present your price is important. Did the person on the plane leave it to the last minute to book? Is my dentist rewarding you for more dental work over the last year?

It’s not always what you charge that’s important – it’s how you charge. You need a credible reason for charging people differently.

Take a look at this interesting blog post by J.C. Bradbury, author of ‘The Baseball Economist’.


©2010 Jane Francis is the author of Price Yourself Right: A guide to charging what you are worth (ISBN: 0-595-38601-6) available at Barnes and Noble (USA), WH Smith (UK) or online at amazon.com or amazon.co.uk

Jane Francis is available as a coach, speaker and workshop leader to help sales teams and companies pitch and present their price with creativity and confidence.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Price Yourself Right and Freelancing

Following on from my last post about being a commodity, here is a nice article by marketing guru, Seth Godin, on why a freelancer should aim to be more than a commodity in the eyes of their clients.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Price Yourself Right: Are you a commodity?

"There will never be another YOU. Be you!"

"You are unique", is the message of many self-help books BUT in the marketplace you are a tool, a solution, a product, call yourself what you will but rarely are you eligible to be paid for your uniqueness.

There will nearly always be another plumber, accountant, doctor or fitness trainer you can go to. She may not be your preferred supplier, Deirdre Dare To Be Different Dumbell, but that other person can still fix your problem.

How special are you really?

The only time you are not a commodity is when it is only you who can do what you do, and will be valued for that uniqueness. (Like in your role as a mother, brother, husband, daughter, friend etc).

Unless you wield the brand franchise power of J K Rowling, Miley Cyrus, Venus and Serena Williams, Hugh Grant (who according to the May 2003 issue of Vanity Fair commanded a $3 million fee for a ‘barely’ 20 minute speech to a conference meeting of thoracic surgeons) you are, in the marketplace of life, a solution-provider. You are in other words, a commodity... humbling, isn’t it?


©2010 Jane Francis is the author of Price Yourself Right: A guide to charging what you are worth (ISBN: 0-595-38601-6) available at Barnes and Noble (USA), WH Smith (UK) or online at amazon.com or amazon.co.uk