How SALES Deteriorate and Devalue Brands & How to Offer Value/Increase Revenue without the Use of Sales & Discounts

by | Jun 19, 2017 | Business Foundations, Growth & Sustainability Strategy | 0 comments

Episode 7 Show Notes

There is one four letter word that deteriorates brands and businesses more than almost anything, and that word is SALE.  When I talk about the word sale, I am referring to offering a global discount on products or services in order to generate income or even as a form of customer appreciation. My goal is to have a heart to heart discussion and explain why I encourage you to throw out the idea of discounting. In this episode 

  • ✔️ I explain how sales have the exact opposite effect of showing appreciation to your customers.
  • ✔️I talk about three reasons why businesses choose to offer sales.
  • ✔️I tell you about nine consequences and effects sales have on our businesses.
  • ✔️I give you solutions you can use in lieu of discounting your products in order to grow your business.

3 Reasons Small Business have Sales

I’ve narrowed down the following reasons for businesses offering sales and discounts to their customers:

  • 1.  As a form of customer appreciation
  • 2.  To get rid of inventory at the end of a season
  • 3.  The business is in need of income to meet some kind of expense

Each of these goals can be met with a different approach outside of hosting sales or giving out discounts.  But before I give you some solutions, it’s important to know the consequences and effects that sales can have on your brand and business.

9 Consequences of Sales

  • 1.  When you have global sales, you immediately decrease your profit, no matter how large your profit margin. A sale can completely wipe out your profit if your products are not priced properly, and can sometimes mean you’re working for free.

 

  • 2.  You run the risk of losing your brand’s individual and unique identity. When every other business seems to host sales, you run the risk of no longer standing out if you follow the crowd.

 

  • 3.  Sales train customers to expect less. It conveys the message that your product is worth less than the listing price.

 

  • 4.  The danger of the gateway drug. You might find yourself thinking that you’ll have just one sale every once in a while, but then when you have that first sale and have orders flowing in, you’ll experience a sales high. That feeling just may be the gateway drug to encourage you to have sales as a habit and they’ll become part of your brand, continuing to decrease your value.

 

  • 5.  Sales deter your loyal target audience from shopping with you, and this is one of the most compelling reasons to stop. Have you ever purchased something for full price and then not too long after you see the same item has gone on sale? Picture your loyal customer who loves your products enough to shop from you regularly and at full price.  How does it make that loyal customer feel to later see your products on sale?  It’s an easy way to lose loyal customers.

 

  • 6.  Sales cheapen the perception of your brand and the worth of your items. To some customers, it appears that you are running a hobby as opposed to a business. If you can continually offer discounts, your product probably isn’t really worth what you ask for at full price. You don’t want to give your customers that perception.

 

  • 7. Customers will perceive your business as unstable. Frequent sales can make people wonder if things aren’t going so well with your business or even that you’re going out of business.

 

  • 8.  Sales will infuriate your stockists. When you have frequent sales you are placing your business in direct competition with your stockist and will deter them from reordering. Making a load of money from a sale today isn’t worth ruining multiple business opportunities and relationships for tomorrow.

 

  • 9.  Having sales causes you to lose the ability to think long-term for your business. Winning entrepreneurs think long term and make choices based on where they want to be in the long term as opposed to being led by what will look and feel good right now. When I began to think like a business owner and think long-term with Because of Zoe, it wasn’t easy to relinquish the word sale.  Sales create a feast or famine business model and nobody wants that.

Ways to Add Value Instead of Having Sales

I suggest we switch the conversation with our customers from sales and discounts to solutions that add value to the customer experience without taking away from our value as business owners. Consider the three reasons I mentioned for having sales and how you can take those and turn them into ways to meet those needs without sales.

  1. Generate income:
  • ✔️ Ensure your prices reflect the quality, the time, and the resources that you put into your products. After you’ve paid everyone involved, including yourself, ask yourself do you have a profit remaining? If you have an income problem, the true source of your problem may be that your prices are so low that after you’ve made sales, paid yourself, and invested back into your business, you’re left with very little. Make sure you’re not cheating yourself in the pricing game, to begin with.

 

  • ✔️ Second, think about who it is you’re marketing to. Are you targeting an audience that is in the position to exchange the amount of money you charge for your product? You may be speaking to the wrong crowd and that may be why you’re not seeing any income until you have a sale.  Think about who your product was created for and learn about your audience so that you can strategically market to them.
  • ✔️ Consider varying your sources of income in your business such as offering a wholesale program or offering byproducts that don’t require much additional resources, such as selling keychains made from the scrap leather from your handmade bags or offering print versions of your artwork on quality paper.

2.  Customer Appreciation

    • ✔️  Give a benefit to your customers as a way to thank your customers through a rewards program where for every dollar spent on your online store. They are still paying regular price, but they’re receiving something for free in exchange for shopping with you, plus it encourages customers to shop more to accumulate more points to use toward future purchases.  During high peak shopping seasons, you can increase the value of the purchase points.
    • ✔️Incentivise early shopping on launch days by giving a free item from your release to a certain number of people within the first hour or two of your launch. This can be added incentive for customers in your Loyal League and let’s them know you value them.
    • ✔️Free can go a long way.  You can offer free shipping to customers who spend a threshold amount.  You can offer a small byproduct as a free gift with orders over a certain amount or offer this free gift for the second purchase from a repeat customer.  Create free tutorials give instruction on how to use your product if needed.
    • ✔️ Create a beautiful unboxing experience that includes a handwritten note addressing the customer by name
    • ✔️Send thank you emails or handwritten notes/cards to customers. 

3. Getting rid of inventory

    • ✔️ Less is more. Avoid overstock of inventory going forward by intentionally pacing yourself on what you offer.  
    • ✔️Take note of what seasonal items you have left at the end of the season and determine why it’s left over and use this as a learning opportunity to better refine what you offer as you move on.
    • ✔️Bundle your current overstock of inventory for a limited time and limited quantity.
    • Use these items as gifts with purchases at the end of the season. Send leftover items as incentives for filling out customer surveys. Send them to another brand to include in their seasonal orders as cross-promotion.  Donate your overstock to a local charity.
    • ✔️Going forward plan your inventory based on demand.

 

Highlights

  • The top 3 reasons small businesses host sales [00:02:46]

    9 consequences and effects that sales can have on your business [00:05:15]

    Where are you driving toward ? [00:25:10]

    Ways to Add Value Instead of Having Sales [00:26:19]

Action Steps

  • Ask yourself what your long-term goals are for your business and find ways to add value to your customer that will help you to reach your long-term goals.  Consider the examples given within this episode and commit to no longer cheat yourself by discounting your products or services.  I would love to hear your #1 takeaway from today’s episode, share it with me on Instagram @shuntagrant.  Chat soon!

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Shunta Grant

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Hi there! I’m Shunta, I work with women who seek success in their businesses, but not at the expense of joy in their lives! I teach them how to build and grow successful businesses that keep customers coming back time and time again. When I’m not helping women run businesses they love, I’m reading a good book, taking a class at the gym or walking the aisles of Target and TJ Maxx with my daughter Zoe. If you believe that both your business and your life can be filled with joy, come hang out with me here on the Business, Life & Joy podcast.

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