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s a business owner, sales define your success. You’ve probably evaluated your prices many times in a smart effort not to leave money on the table. If, however, your pricing strategy is to survey the shops around you and sell at similar prices, then you’re not using the best available option. It’s time to start selling your shop on value, rather than price. Shifting the conversation away from pricing, by showing your clients what you bring to the table is your best bet for growth and developing a great reputation.  

It’s easier than you think for decorators and distributors to fall into the trap of selling on price, rather than on value. It’s easy to sell on price alone,” says JP Hunt, co-founder and president of InkSoft. “It takes more effort to market and sell benefits, but then you enjoy enhanced profit margins," Hunt says.

"The false assumption that your customers are primarily motivated by and concerned with the lowest price, leads entrepreneurs and salespeople to fixate on low price points. Rather than assume, asking questions about goals, branding, budget, and ideal outcomes helps guide product and price point decisions—and serves your customer’s best interests.”
- JP Hunt, co-founder and president of InkSoft

What’s the Difference Between Selling Based on Price vs. Value?

Let’s start by talking about why selling based on value is so important. It’s relatively easy to figure out a price point, when you’re only looking at the price/cost to produce the product. If you print a shirt that costs you $10 to make and you want to earn 25% profit, then you set your price point at $12.50. But that’s just looking at the raw cost of the shirt. It doesn’t consider the value of the product to your customers at all.

Ask yourself this: “What benefit does a customer get from purchasing my product?” That’s what should really guide you when it comes to setting your price point and selling your product. It all comes down to how the customer feels about what you’re producing for them. It’s true, some people are always looking for the lowest price, but most people are looking for value, as opposed to a lower cost. There are two main reasons people want value over the lowest price.

Emotional Attachment and Problem Solving

If you’ve ever been to a rock concert, amusement park or vacation destination, you’ve probably lined up to buy t-shirts and other memorabilia. Have you ever asked yourself why people spend $30+ on a t-shirt that anywhere else would probably cost $10 to $15?

The answer is simple: They’re making an emotional purchase as a reminder of the concert, event or memorable trip. They want something tangible to take back with them that connects the emotions of that event in their minds. Most people have plenty of t-shirts and other decorated apparel. They don’t really “need” another one.

So how do you get them to pay more for apparel from you? You appeal to their needs and desires, like the desire to have a stress-free purchasing experience. If they know your shop offers an easy ordering process, unique solutions—and delivers the exact high-quality products they need to meet their goal on time, they’re going to be excited to work with you. If you show your value, they won’t mind paying more for a solid marketing partner they can trust.

5 Steps to Start Selling on Value

If you’re selling t-shirts and apparel hoping to get business simply because you’re the cheapest, then you really aren’t establishing yourself as a brand worth valuing and following. Here’s some ways you can establish your value to the customer.

1. Start with a major mindset shift away from selling on price.

It all begins with a commitment to serve your customers at the highest level,” Hunt says. “This requires a deep understanding and appreciation of what your customer really needs to make their branded merch program as successful as possible. You must ask them questions to develop a complete understanding of their goals and needs. Knowing what success means to them will drive all subsequent decisions.

This commitment will also make a big impact on positive reviews, repeat business and referrals for you. It’s a win-win.” Learning how to ask the right questions will give you the ability to provide unique solutions for customers in a way the competition focusing on price won’t be able to.

“Develop a questions-based selling approach to ask the right questions, that will unveil what your customers value most.”
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JP Hunt, co-founder and president of InkSoft

2. Create a solid order-taking process your staff can follow. 

To help your employees get the right answers, create a complete set of questions they should be asking customers to get all the pertinent information you’ll need to create the best solution for them. The info they gather should also include the item they’re ordering, the date they want the product in their hand, any special art instructions if you’re creating the artwork, and logo placement. 

Making this an essential part of the ordering process ensures you get it right the first time. If you must redo an order, not only are you losing out on the production cost, but you probably won’t get a second order from that customer. That’s what makes this so key in providing customers with the best experience possible. 

3. Show how your production process ensures they’ll get the best results.

Demonstrate to potential customers by walking them through the order completion process. 

“Ordering can be a major stress point for customers. Showing you have a good ordering process and good communication skills can make you worth your weight in gold.” 
- Kristine Shreve, director of Marketing for LynniePinnie Designs

Once you have an order from a new client, update them with emails to inform them of each stage in the production or add that functionality to your website. Finally, include all this information on your website so potential customers see how organized you are. This step will make it evident how much value you put into your work. 

4. Put together an online portfolio of your work.

Find a way to easily show potential customers the solutions and final products you’ve provided for previous clients. After completing an order, check back in with clients to see how everything worked out for them and ask for photos of people using your decorated apparel, if possible. This will help you created a library of work from satisfied customers that you can show prospects.

“Never underestimate the aspirational pull of customer-supplied photos. Customers may not have the imagination to understand what they can do with the items you make, so seeing pictures of others using or wearing your work can be inspirational.”
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Kristine Shreve, director of Marketing for LynniePinnie Designs

With the client’s permission, you can even develop short blog and social media posts breaking down a campaign you worked on for them. “Talk about the client, their needs, and how you solved their problems and delivered real results,” Hunt says. 

5. Get written and video testimonials from your former and current clients.

Highlight these testimonies on everything from your website and social media posts to your marketing emails and proposals. Social proof is the best way of showing your value to customers. It’s why websites like Yelp and Tripadvisor are so popular today. Customers are looking for reviews from peers and real people, more often than ever before, to find good places to eat, shop and do business with. That's why building up your "social proof" is key to showing people the value you bring to the table.

Create Value, Then Set Prices Based on That Value

When it comes to winning over customers, it’s not always about being the cheapest shop on the block. The reality is that more value comes from attaching emotions to your prices rather than focusing on how much that shirt or item cost to make. 

“The most successful shops have developed a sales and marketing mastery of selling value and benefits,” Hunt says. “There are so many resources available to help businesses better integrate product service benefits and value into their marketing and sales practices. Seek out podcasts, books, consultants, agencies, and online courses to learn more. What’s at stake here? Just your profit margins, customer satisfaction, word-of-mouth referrals, positive reviews and repeat business.”

Posted 
Sun
Nov 27, 2022