Discounting is a Drug

No-one wins long term when discounting becomes your primary sales tactic. Unless it is used strategically, it becomes a drug you cannot stop and customers come to expect, even demand discounts every time they purchase.

How do you increase sales per customer?

These examples overcome the ‘discount’ mentality. They give customers something extra while making them feel valued or special. Many thanks to for some of these ideas:

  • Stock brokers offer occasional initial public offerings (IPOs) to select clients.
  • Clothing stores offer “by invitation only” events for preferred customers.
  • Auction houses and jewelry stores also hold “by invitation only” events for their client lists.
  • And, of course, we all know about frequent flier points offered by airlines.
  • Just try to count the number of retail stores offering loyalty cards e.g. ‘Buy 9 and get your 10th free’!
  • Ethics aside, Miles Laboratories published a small cookbook filled exclusively with spicy recipes and gave it away for free. Why? Miles Laboratories is also the maker of Alka-Seltzer an antacid digestive pain reliever!
  • Meat & Wine Company restaurant’s VIP Club members received $100 voucher when their new Sydney Circular Quay restaurant opened.
  • Yoghurtland – is a US serve-yourself concept, new to Australia. They give away free yoghurt on their opening day in a new location. Using mailbox drops and other ads to reach the local area, this announces their arrival & location with a powerful incentive to try.
  • Limited use of buy-one-get-one-free tokens can boost sales or introduce new customers. In the take away food or coffee shop market it generally means you have to bring a friend to use the offer. The spin-off sales of other food or beverages can also increase average transactions. Use it too long however and it becomes an expected ‘discount’.

None of these are random ideas for increasing business. Each example represents a well thought out, documented, income increasing principle or leveraging strategy.

Selling isn’t just for the ‘sales’ team

How can you increase your own business transactions without discount sales? Often the answer is in ‘selling’ at all levels of the business.

But my role isn’t in the sales area!

I’m in accounting or human resource, quality control or production department!

Think again, the fact is everyone is in sales!!!

The overall impression of your company or brand is built on communication at every level. Accounts often deal with customers, supply deal with vendors and transport companies, the production department work with external suppliers etc. In each area you can ‘sell’ towards better deals or more profitable working relationships.

How does this help overall sales?

Remember YOU are the intangible, personal product your company sells. People buy into your personality, purpose and passion before they purchase your product (even expressed though social media or on a website)

It stands to reason that better involvement and ‘sales’ by staff at each level means a much more productive and profitable company overall.

Peter Irvine
Peter is Co-Founder of Gloria Jean’s Coffees, author of ‘Win In Business’ and ‘Building your Business, your People, your Life’ and keynote speaker.

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