Let me tell you a story.
A friend of mine launched a travel guide, priced at $47. He guaranteed that anyone who purchased the product would save $500 in flights within the first six months of using it. If they didn’t, he promised to refund the entire cost of the purchase. That’s a guaranteed $450 return on your investment or you get the book for free.
Yet he kept getting complaints that the product was too expensive.
Unfortunately, this is a pretty common problem. The number one complaint most people hear when they launch a new product is that it’s “too expensive.”
But the truth is, it’s never really about the price.
Price is generally just what people latch onto when they’re not convinced of the value they’ll get from a product. And, in the case above, not only did they doubt that they’d get $47 of value from the product, they thought they’d get so little value out of it that it wasn’t even worth going through the hassle of asking for a refund.
So, what can we do about it? That is, how can we adequately convey value, so that more people understand why it’s worth our asking price (and then some)?
Let’s start with your sales copy.
Creating Sales Copy that Overcomes Price Objections
Good sales copy is one of the most important (and most influential) places to convey value. It’s your chance to clearly show you understand the problem someone is facing, the goals that they want to achieve, and can provide a solution to help them solve their problem and reach their goals.
The standard way to do this is with a three step formula known simply as “Pain, Dream, Fix.”
When using this template, you start by stating the pain someone is feeling — you say I’ve been there too; I went through this problem and know where you are. You describe either visually, with words, or through examples how much life sucks right now… and then you send them into the dream.
In this second section of your copy you share what their life will look like after they’ve overcome all of the issues you described earlier in your copy. You help them picture how great life will be.
Then, after you’ve gotten them to that happy place, you describe how they can get there…. What it takes to fix those pain points and achieve those dreams.
Which, of course, is usually by purchasing your product.
If the problem you’re helping to solve isn’t one you’ve faced, then you can use testimonials or a client story to help illustrate the pain points your product can cure. The key is not, at any point, to claim that your solution is a miracle worker… instead, you’re simply showing the amazing things that have happened in your life (or John’s life, or Mary’s…) because of your product.
Of course, when I share this concept with clients I often get pushback.
“But Keith, shouldn’t I underpromise and overdeliver?”
My answer is that of course you want to overdeliver… but it’s important to recognize that over delivering does not help convey value or overcome price objections — because you can only over deliver to people who have decided to purchase in the first place.
Delivery, your refund rate, and, ultimately, customer satisfaction have nothing to do with your sales page. That’s like trying to figure out what you’re going to sell someone, before you actually have any leads. It’s putting the cart before the horse… you’re not going to get very far that way.
I’ll talk more about over delivering in a future article, but for now it’s just important to recognize that it’s a separate issue.
Your sales page has the job of convincing someone that this product can solve their problems… and that it can help them achieve their dreams.
Using Stories to Convey Value
Generally, if someone objects to the price of a product, it’s simply that they don’t understand or aren’t convinced that the product will over enough value. However, sometimes the issue is a bit more complicated.
They may understand and believe that the product is valuable… for some people. But they aren’t convinced it can offer that value for them.
That’s where a good story can go a long way.
This concept, in fact, is the core reason why New York Times bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell has been so successful. If you mention Gladwell at a conference of statisticians and data analysis professionals, they’ll pull out the pitchforks, because his analysis is not always scientifically sound. But despite being loose and fast with the facts, he is incredibly successful.
Why? Because he wraps his data in a story.
He tends to wrap it in a story of something that happened to him or tells a story that has a human element that people can relate to, where they can see themselves in that story.
When the reader can see themselves in the story of a person who has solved their problem, then they are convinced of the validity of the story.
In Influence: The Science of Persuasion by Dr. Robert Cialdini, calls this like “Liking Principle.” To boil it down to its simplest form, we like people who are like us.
This is true even in the extreme.
A friend of mine, Patrick McKenzie (@patio11), ran a software product called Bingo Card Creator. During its prime, it was a very successful product that allowed school teachers to create online bingo cards for their students. That means 45 to 60-year old women were his target demographic.
Now, Patrick had some excellent testimonials from a few male customers — they lauded how great Bingo Card Creator was, shared all of its features and their benefits, and how much the children enjoyed it.
He also had one from a woman, let’s call her Mary, that just said, “I like Bingo Card Creator. It’s great.”
Which do you think converted more people?
As it turns out, he ran a A/B test to determine exactly that, and overwhelmingly, using Mary’s testimonial converted significantly more people than using the testimonials from the men.
Why? Because Mary was someone his target clients could identify with.
It didn’t matter that the content of the testimonial was objectively worse than the other ones — it was the fact that this was someone like the reader, who believed in the product.
Another Approach: Using a Benefits Calculator
Of course, different people are convinced by different things. While stories are generally very powerful because they tap into our emotions, there are also some people out there who just want you to give it to them straight.
They want cold hard numbers. And this is where a benefits calculator can be especially powerful.
For example, imagine you had a product that was meant to help people negotiate a higher salary. Let’s say people who use your product saw, on average, a 10% raise… but even people who saw a low rate of success generally got at least a 2% raise.
A benefits calculator lets people plug in what they are making now, and calculates the difference that someone in your situation would see at both that low rate and high rate of success — it shows exactly how much money someone will be missing out on over the next 5 years if they don’t buy the product. What this actually does is show the very specific benefits someone will get in their specific use case — that is, showing them how it will benefit someone like them.
Do you get complaints that your prices are too high? If so, how have you overcome this in the past? If not, what do you think it is about your marketing that has allowed you to avoid this issue? Let me know in the comments below!