15 Principles Of Selling A Premium Product
One of the top drivers of shopping is our intent to increase the quality of life. To do so, we buy into experiences that we enjoy or remove some pain that adds even a drop of negative into our days.
Often, merchants that sell products that fit into this bucket (luxury, premium, value-add convenience goods) do not see how such quality-improving thinking drives consumer behavior. Here are 15 principles to look through their lens when shoppers consider a purchase, get it and rethink it of the experience imagined prior falls flat.
1 Deliver Quality
Before going out into the world with your product, make sure it does give the quality of the experience you claim. Without having a good product, it does not make sense to be in business, for long-term at least.
There is a reason why startups focus on product first. If you meet the expectations and claims you market to your users as close as possible, you will not have to think much about lowering your price.
The feedback from the first users will make it a validated shopping decision. The more expensive your product is, the more priority I would weigh into making sure product quality reviews show up first.
If you already have a quality brand with one key promise make sure you stick to it through the evolution of the product. Otherwise, you could kill the only thing that matters while adding new features and racing the competition.
One example would be Polar heart monitor, a brand of sports watches known for accurate heart rate measure for avid athletes and fitness savvy consumers. I loved their simple FT7 product that worked no matter watch, required simple button push, and you go with your workouts.
Now, with 20 other features resembling Apple watch, it does not even deliver on the core value – easy and accurate heart rate monitoring as you work out.
It will take you an hour to go through all the new settings and realize this function does not seem to work, making this $150 product look like junk and pushing me to stick to all model that works just fine since 2010.
2 Differentiate Your Product
When you expect to sell your product at a premium, make sure you communicate how different it is from all other alternatives. Think about what you can increase in an end user quality of life as part of your product ownership.
Inspect the differences in quality, service, functional features, design, availability or promotional offers for your products and what is available. If you fail to differentiate and market your product the same way as your competition, you might not convince a prospect to buy because they will opt for the other alternatives easily and will not want to think much about your product.
But if they can buy what you sell only from you, you have got a sale. Consider Tieks shoes, that owns its brand completely, and since I can only buy direct on their site, they take own all the profit from the sale. My favorite quality shoe by the way!
That means that you need to take the results of this exercise as an opportunity to educate your market on what makes your product or service unique. Develop content and copy that speaks about the differences. Because when your prospects shop, they care about only two things: what is better about your product and how different you are. Everything else not relevant.
3 Make Your Site Design & Experience Communicate Quality, Luxury & Amusement
Premium is something that we see and perceive before we hear words or read web copy. It is also something we sense as we experience the environment in which it is packaged for display.
Make sure you communicate with every pixel online or in your app that your product is a luxury to be desired since quality is palpable. Take the example of Tesla. You go to their site online or offline, and you know it is a luxury item to experience.
It is a UX job where you build a unique experience for a particular kind of a user, especially when he or she is already conditioned through extreme personalization and customization experiences of Amazon and mobile shopping apps with instant one-click gratification.
Think through the visual color palette of dark blue, gold hues that scream exclusivity and use simple lines as cues of luxury. A few core principles of conversion optimization such as a rule of 3, limited choices, less text more visual will work well. To think yours through, check out examples from Smashing Magazine, devoted to such a challenge.
4 If New To The Market, Educate & Sell, Do Demos For Both Reasons
Demand generation means education for both potential buyers and people who will want your product, will try it but cannot afford it (aspirational shoppers). However, it does not mean you turn your face away from them once they are disqualified.
You need that word of mouth; you need those conversations of aspirational shoppers who took an effort to try or to explore your product. So, let them enjoy the experience of trial for promotional value. Tesla does just that. One can test drive a Tesla, whether for educational purpose or as a new buyer.
Turning aspirational shoppers into ready-to-transact buyers is a fine art, yet not rocket science. Part of selling is education. It is all about infusing a special meaning into an owning the product. You have to know their values and shape the story of your product into their current situation. What you do here is you connect the known to the unknown and create new scenarios in their minds of what is possible.
A specific way to make this connection is to use nested stories.
It might sound like manipulation, yet it is something we do want to experience. It is human to enjoy the seduction by a dream we have, which connects to some other story which solidifies our beliefs. So, do tell stories we can relate. Give us what we see as badges of our identity, which could mean having access to luxury product or service of yours.
5 Make The Demo & The Experience A Multi-Sensory Experience
A buyer’s perception is shaped more strongly if you appeal to many senses so that he or she has a more lingering memory of a full experience and the excitement of potential use and ownership.
How to do so? What happens if I touch the material? What do I see and hear and smell when I enter your showroom? If I watch a video, what do you show and say that ignites sensor-driven memories of a particular smell, touch, and feel?
Studies show that the more senses are engaged, the faster you are sold. It is no wonder a real estate agent makes her show smell like homestyle freshly baked cookies.
Online you can use video, HTML5, and well-crafted copy to reach similar results. Go through the ads of luxury cars, clothing, jewelry pieces and you’ll pick up on what is possible to express visually and audibly.
6 Focus Your Messaging & Copy On The Value Of The Product
When you are selling at a premium, focus on the value of the product or service and outcomes the user will have as a result versus the transactional details.
Affluent people do not like to deal with details; they usually have someone else handle it. Time is a precious thing, so the faster I get the service, the better my day is.
Stick to the value promised and delivered. This is what they want vs. a discount. In fact, a discount can only kill the moment. Thus, I if I were selling $200 gym memberships, I would stress the examples from enhanced life quality, specific to each user vs. stressing the need to lose weight. Here is what Equinox does with their copy and a supporting image.
“Epic workouts demand unexpected luxuries. Exclusive Kiehl’s products.
Eco-chic amenities. Spaces that inspire and ignite.”
7 Tap Into The Psychology of Ego To Help People Feel Richer, Better & More Powerful
People buy expensive stuff not so much for quality (although it is a must), but for other reasons. Such reasons include a feeling of making it to the status level they always aspired or being like someone else, feeling accepted, or appearing more influential or even expressing love to self or others.
These are the stories you should lead them to tell you indirectly if in a direct sales situation. These are the stories to play as videos to plant the seeds of wanting to own your product and have them re-live such stories in their minds and imagination. Also, something to reach for a good copy or creative (video, image, Instagram stories).
8 Make Sure Post Purchase Experience (Delivery & Service) Feel Premium & Extraordinary
This sounds like a no-brainer. Just making a purchase is a start of your customer relationship with you. So, the next steps are critical as he or she is still evaluating the experience against the price and time spent.
Make sure each touch feels like a confirmation of making the right choice. There is a big difference between the experience when every little detail reminds you of the luxury, creating the pamper feeling and confirming the choice vs. the one when you start noticing the lower than expected nuances that should not be even part of the deal.
For example, when you are a customer at Equinox gym, you enjoy the smell of the bath essentials and find the ambiance just right every time. When you go to a similar price range facility that just claims the experience, you notice the funky smell of the old conditioner. It is always the little things that count and make up for a big difference in the premium product experience.
9 Teach Your Prospects Something New
It is common that if you sell a luxury buyer, it could be their 1st time of considering such an item. Hence, they might come without much knowledge of the little details that make it worthwhile.
It is your opportunity as a seller to educate them regarding such details. Educating is a way to sell premium products.
10 Inspire Them With Possibilities; Let Them Play With Them
Stirring prospect’s imagination is key when you sell a new quality experience of a premium product. Play the game of getting to know your prospect’s lifestyle early on to share ideas how he or she will embrace the new experience.
Tell or show stories of how their life would change. Give examples how other buyers’ lives transformed from the ownership. Fantasize together with them, in other words.
11 Help Them Narrow On What Fits Them, Works For Them
Once you have covered various scenarios of use, the possibilities above, focus on the one experience that strikes the most cord to close the deal. It seems we decide on many benefits, but it is usually just one or two things which eclipse everything else. Those are the value-add experiences that fit us and can be discovered in conversation.
For example, my choice to pay extra $130 per month for a gym I need to drive 30 minutes to, not the facilities, the pool or the towels. It is good sauna available to me every day and stable wifi to go through my workouts on video app. Something that makes my weight and stress management easy and adds to the quality of life no matter what. So, if any of the two is missing in the offer or starts declining in experience, I am out of the conversation and patronage.
12 Give Them Time & Space To Decide
Getting to the point of closing a sale takes some time and a few interactions. Ultimately, you want the person to want your product before you get to have such conversation. Buying a luxury takes some extra time on top of it.
People who sell it well, know the value of the “brewing time.” What it means for online shops is to have a good strategy with re-engaging content that completes each step in the getting ready to buy. Use analytics and feedback from the successful funnels to have timely reminders in your follow up marketing during this stage. Do not rush, nor disappear into the dark hole. Give space, but keep telling the story. Stay in the conversation that is.
13 Make It Real, Paint The Picture of Being Affordable
When you have part of your prospects coming from the aspirational group, share with them how affordable what they desire can be. Break it down. Show that owning your service can be rather easy and does not have to be an upfront full payment. Reframe the monthly cost of the product into something they are familiar with. Use the word “imagine” as direct command and away to paint that picture.
As you do so, plant a few undeniable truths, the facts which are easily observable and believable. Doing this will smooth the envisioning process and build rapport at the same time. As you continue, reduce the price to the ridiculous. Some services or products might cause a price shock from even affluent buyers. If you break the investment into years long enjoyment and compare to other current possessions, visible to you, ownership of the luxury item might become very much reasonable.
14 Make It Easy To Make A Decision
Suggest a click away options to buy. Ordering should require no complex thought or any deliberation on how to properly place it. The faster I go through purchase, the better. Eliminate all possible distractions and extra steps. Make the ownership experience instant to enjoy right there.
15 Bundle Things Up; Partner With Others To Offer An Inclusive Experience
Adding on top of what they already bought into might motivate your prospects to close the deal faster. Bundle up your product with other services (preferably also luxury) to make the experience so much more appealing and a no-brainer. Stacking up extras reduces prospect resistance.
At the same time, make sure the add-ons are of great value. A rule of thumb is to add something you would be able to sell on its own. Add-on junk is easy to spot. Your prospects are not stupid.
The above list should serve well in making sure your premium offer sounds good and reasonable to give in.