Every embroidery business owner and apparel decoration business owner has had this happen – you have a customer who looks at you and says, “I can get it for less down the street…” It does really happen – it is unavoidable – and it does feel pretty darn lousy!
The good news is that it is OK. There is NO reason to panic. And more importantly, there is NO need to make excuses, or worse, to drop the price for your work.
It is normal to have customers experience sticker shock if they have never ordered custom embroidered products before. How could they know that they would need to get their design digitized and that it costs money to create that custom computer program? How could they know that you do not have a whole warehouse of shirts sitting right behind you, just waiting for them to select what they want?
They might say things like:
“Why should I pay for that?”
“They do that for free at the other place.”
“Why do I have to pay for ditiz…what did you call it again?”
“Why do I have to pay for shipping?”
Here is the important part folks – you have no control over how people react to your price. The only thing you can control is how you respond their objections. How you respond is what can turn a reluctant customer into someone that is pleased, even relieved to place their order with you.
Many business owners respond with a justification for the quoted price, saying something along the lines of this, “Yes, it is expensive, but – blah blah blah…”
That is a mistake. The moment that you agree with the customer that your prices are high, it reinforces the customer’s objection. And when you then follow your agreement with a “but…,” you just cemented their position in their mind.
The customer is reacting this way to the price you just presented because they are only thinking about how much money they need to give you, and how that amount feels like a LOT. They are not yet thinking about what they are getting – completely customized apparel, that exists nowhere else on the planet until it is created, by you, just for them, to accomplish a specific desired result.
It is your job to rearrange their thinking. There are two ways to try and redirect someone who is reacting to the price with some sticker shock.
Both approaches use a technique known as “anchoring,” which is an effective persuasion technique that puts the price for their order in context, so that it feels less scary and much more reasonable.
Strategy # 1 – Anchor to the desired result.
Remember, your customer is not walking around naked (thank goodness)! He is currently wearing clothing, right? The key thing to recognize is that they are NOT buying clothing from you! The product is just the vehicle of delivery for what they are really trying to buy. What they are trying to buy is a specific result, such as recognizing their employees for hard work, identifying their staff to make it easier for their customers in their stores or restaurants, rewarding someone for a job well done, celebrating a milestone, creating a cooperative environment by dressing like a team, etc. And all of these results are achieved simply, efficiently and elegantly with one move – ordering logod or decorated apparel and products from you.
This approach really works well because it is positive. You can change the customer’s mind about your price just by painting the picture of what is possible when they use the products they are ordering. Ask the customer what they are ordering the products for, and then paint the mental picture of how your products can make the desired results a reality.
Strategy # 2 – Anchor to a more costly alternative.
This approach is simple to implement as well. Think of the other options your customer might consider, including going to another shop or not placing the order at all. Then you explain why placing the order with you is the best investment.
Talk about the quality of your work and cite or show them a folder full of thank you notes and emails from ecstatic customers. Talk about how you go the extra mile to ensure that they will get their order by the delivery date. Explain how once their design is created, they now have a whole universe of products to consider.
The cost of not doing business with you does not have to be just the dollar costs. Chat with them about how you keep their company colors in mind and will send them a quick email when you see a new product that would work well with their logo or further their message well. Talk about how by working with you, they added a branding partner to their business. Most embroidery professionals and apparel decorators (your competition) are just people selling shirts and stuff. You, on the other hand, you are a branding specialist and you would be pleased to work with them.
Chat with them about how you’ve helped other business owners in the community increase awareness of their brands, their companies by letting you help them. Let them know, that while yes, you create and sell logod apparel and products, your specialty is really about helping your fellow business owners build their businesses through the effective use of their brands, their messages on products and apparel.
Talk about how you work to save them time. Once you have their design, they can simply call or email you and get something else. If you offer delivery, there’s another way that you make their life better, easier.
When you use this approach, you need to demonstrate that doing business with you is their best option, a choice clearly above and apart from their other options. The customer will feel relieved to be doing business with you, as the other options will feel much less inviting by comparison. By doing business with you, they will feel that they’ve made the smartest choice, and they feel like they will be getting the best value available.
Try both of these anchoring techniques, as they appeal to different sorts of people. As you get more comfortable with these strategies, you will find it effective to build them into your sales conversations and even into your emails.
At the end of the day – remember – never apologize for your price!
It is your company. The prices you set to hit your target profit levels are just fine! Shift the focus off the price and onto the value of doing business with you. You may be surprised at how often this not only wins the order, and establishes the foundation for a loyal customer relationship that continues for years.