As a business owner, we are always looking for ways to boost revenue and traffic with our products and services. We will do almost anything to get our business noticed and the register ringing. We will even go as far as discounting our products and services...
Have you done this recently?
What if I told you this could tarnish (and even destroy) your brand?
The recognition you have previously received and the following you have earned could hang in the ever-delecate balance because of discounting...
Let's talk about the reasons why this sales tactic only produces short-term gain and long-term damage.
It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.
1.) Brand Devaluation
Your business's brand is the foundation of the who, what, when, where, and why of what you do. It's the values and beliefs that you have instilled with your fans, which means there is an expectation that your customers have regarding your business.
However, the overall value perception of your brand could deteriorate quickly when discounting the products or services that you provide.
Are you not confident in the product or service you're offering at the original price you've set?
Devaluing your items leads the consumer to believe that you simply don't believe that these things are worth the price tag you put on them. Why should they if you're lowering the price?
Discounting also gives the sense that you won't stand behind the products that you sell. You obviously did not stand behind the original value of the product or service, so why would you support it in the long-run?
Let's face it, discounting is only good for one thing: Burning to the ground the brand you spent your time, sweat and tears to build.
So why would someone want to buy from your brand at a discounted rate?
2.) Setting An Expectation
Whether you're discounting the first time or this will be your tenth, there is no way to backtrack on the action that you have committed to.
What's even worse is that your customers will do one (or even both) of these things:
• Expect to see the same discounting practices throughout your business
• Wait until a discount to purchase with your brand
Setting the expectation of discounting is not only bad for your business, but can cause catastrophic damage to the integrity and subconscious trust your consumers have with your brand.
It sets into motion a negative thought process with your customer that shouldn't ever happen.
Of course, they're excited to get a deal at first... Who isn't excited over a good deal?
But during the post-purchase thought process, they then wonder what could be wrong with your business, or better yet the product they just bought.
Your customers begin to question their purchase, and even go as far as returning it or asking for a refund in fear that the product or service isn't what they're looking for.
They feel lied to. They feel like the wool was being pulled over their eyes for the sell. They now question the integrity of your brand and how they perceive it.
Shouldn't your customers feel valued? Like the purchase was one that would benefit them for years to come?
Instead, discounting sets an expectation for future customers that prices will fluctuate.
It provides the customer with a sense of bargain shopping, which ultimately lowers your profit margins and decreases your brand value.
3.) Reputation & Perception
It's human nature to practice two simple things:
• Build a reputation that is viewed positively
• Perceive and judge things to protect ourselves and our loved ones.
Here's a challenge for you:
Think of what you would consider a "discount" brand and a "value" brand. Write these down on the top of a piece of paper, forming two headings of a column.
Now... write the good things that you can think of immediately. Take 15-seconds for rapid fire.
Finally, write the bad things that come to mind for each. Take 15-seconds for rapid fire.
See anything? I'm willing to bet that the bad thoughts are mainly listed in the discount column, and the awesome things are listed in the value column.
It's crazy how we perceive a good ole' discount.
It's a fact that you want your brand to have the best reputation possible. You dedicate your valuable time and money to building this reputation.
So why tear the reputation down by discounting? Why create a perception that you don't care about the products or services you have?
I know exactly what you are thinking at this point! "My products and services aren't selling because the price point is too high for some."
My answer: You shouldn't care! Why would you want to be targeting the wrong audience?
When you built your brand, you were building it for a "perfect person", someone who you would love to do business with every single day. Someone that would appreciate the reputation of your brand and feel proud to be a purchaser of your products.
By devaluing your products and/or services through discounting, you are ignoring this and doing business with those who simply weren't meant to do business with you in the first place. You create a hostile purchasing environment that only spawn unnecessary critiques, adverse reviews, and an embarrassing tarnish on the reputation of your brand.
Interesting enough, discounting services is also a direct correlation to the health of your products and overall business in your consumer's eyes.
So the simple question to you is this: Do you really want your target market to think that your business is failing?
So What Can You Do Instead?
There are many things that you can do instead of discounting to produce long-term success in your business, while also building the name and reputation of your brand.
Try one of these today! The following proposals are simple and easy to roll out immediately in your business.
Unexpected Added Value
There is nothing more impressive that when a business owner adds value to any product or service. It creates a sense of care, and builds brand loyalty at the same time.
It's as simple as writing a personalized postcard to your customer, thanking them for purchasing with you. Or sharing extra secrets or uses for the product they purchased.
In the service industry?
It's going the extra mile and providing an add-on that wasn't expected. Give an extra add-on that wasn't requested, but highly impressive.
Amazon randomly upgrades shipping from standard to a faster timeframe. Not only does this cost them chump change, but it is also very impressive and shows their consumers that they truly care about them by going an extra mile. Hey, that's what sold me on Amazon Prime!
Give It Away!
Have you ever been walking through the mall, not really interested in the food choices?
Then a nice lady/gentleman approaches you and says, "Hi, here's a sample of our signature dish. It's on us. Enjoy!"
You taste it, and then find yourself in line before you realize where you actually are.
Letting someone see your product or service in action is giving them proof that your brand can be trusted, and that you're no discount dealer. As long as you're honest about the obligation, your consumer is making the decision to go forward with the trial.
Trying to promote your social responsibility? Give away your product or service to your market in support of the cause you are supporting.
Hey, I'm not saying give away the farm. What I am saying is to provide that extra value and confidence in your product. This will show your customer that you're so confident in letting them try it, that you know they'll be back to purchase soon.
Create Supporting Content
How can you gain recognition and be seen as an authority in your field?
Supply information of course!
In today's business arena there is no hiding ideas, techniques, or ways of doing things. However, very few people are sharing the secrets and behind-the-scenes look at their businesses.
The information that you have is valuable, and it will help your consumer use and enjoy the product or service without any regrets of purchasing!
By writing blog posts, creating video guides, or even supplying a tip sheet with your products/services, you are creating a bond of trust.
Your fans will look to you first for the information regarding not only your products, but also parallel products and services that are offered by other brands.
Let us know what you're doing to add value to your brand without discounting! Comment below!