From My Inbox

August 28, 2019

inboxI thought rather than do a deep dive into a specific topic, I would take this opportunity to answer some questions that you’ve sent in recently. Useful marketing information but served up snack-sized!

We’d like to have a much larger email list. Should we buy a list and start from there?

While there are few absolutes in marketing, buying an email list is rarely a smart strategy. The CAN-SPAM Act makes it pretty difficult to blindly market to someone who has not requested it or given you permission to send them something.

Even if CAN-SPAM wasn’t around, it’s still not a very effective way to build an audience. Think about how many unsolicited emails you receive every day. How many do you ever glance at, let alone actually read?

Everyone’s inbox is so crowded with junk, the SPAM filters are so much better and we’re all pretty good at triaging our emails at the speed of light – so the odds of you breaking through and actually making a meaningful connection are pretty slim.

Ideally, you’d grow your list by being interesting and offering value. If you’re helpful enough – you’ll draw a crowd. But if you absolutely need to jump-start your email list – do it with direct mail.

Yes, direct mail. The hottest “new” media around. With everyone shifting to digital communications, our mailboxes are much less crowded. A well-designed piece with a grabber of a headline can really work wonders. In your direct mail, offer the recipient something of value that they can download off your website. Require an email address and voila – your list is growing!

We’ve been doing an e-newsletter for about a year and we don’t seem to be gaining any traction. Can you look at a sample and give us your feedback?

Drew’s note: You don’t need to see the sample for these suggestions to be meaningful.

Here are some suggestions I would make to increase your e-newsletter’s effectiveness.

Actually publish it consistently, rather than hit or miss: Either do it or don’t do it. Inconsistency demonstrates your own opinion about the content and the value it provides. It should never be an optional activity. Remember, this is a tool for earning the trust of your potential customers. If you can’t honor your own deadlines, why would they think you’d honor theirs?

Less about you: On average, 80% of your content was about you. Your projects, your awards, your specials, and your people. Honestly – your audience doesn’t care that much about you. Create content that is useful to them in their lives and if you must talk about yourself – no more than 10-15% of any e-newsletter. And you should never be the lead story!

It’s not a novella: People aren’t going to read the equivalent of three pages of articles at one sitting. Cut back to 3-4 stories and don’t let any of them run longer than 500 words. Even that is too much, but it would be an improvement.

Be kind to their eyes: Remember, your audience is reading this on their computer, tablet or phone, so be gentle. Give them plenty of white space and make the copy concise. Use bullet points and visuals to make it easier to read.

Let me know if these tips were helpful to you and keep writing!


Low Tech but Effective

August 14, 2019

low techLooking for new customers?

In today’s 24/7 plugged-in world, we tend to focus on the digital marketing tactics that are all the rage. Social media, SEO, and content marketing seem to get top billing of late but don’t let all the hype distract you from some of the simpler, low tech tactics that have worked for decades.

Long before there was any mass media, advertising venues or even town criers – people relied on people they knew to steer them to the best establishments and buying experiences.

Word of mouth and referrals are as old as time and they’re as influential today as they were back then. In fact, as consumers are bombarded by more and more ads, the raves of a friend or colleague seem even more compelling.

Every business, even if you’re running at capacity right now, needs to have an active program to cultivate and earn new clients. No matter how good you are, a certain percentage of customers will always come and go, even if you’re doing an incredible job. So, you must always be adding new prospects to the sales funnel. While I have covered how to leverage your website to feed the funnel in the past, I’d like you to consider a more low tech option as well.

I want to suggest a weekly activity that should go on every business owner/leader’s To-Do list.

I want to warn you. You might read this and think, “well duh, Drew. Is that your big idea? Of course, we should be doing this.” But before you dismiss it as incredibly obvious or so basic that it’s stupid – ask yourself if you’re actually doing it. My guess is, the answer will be no. Which is why I’m writing about it.

Put together two lists. The first list should include all of your current clients that you actually like working with and would gladly welcome another client like them. The second list should be every past client (over the last five years) that you actually miss doing business with.

Starting with your current client list – start scheduling a breakfast, coffee, lunch, drink, etc. with each of them…so you have one meeting each week. Ideally, between the two lists (over time) you could fill a year’s worth of weekly appointments.

At this weekly meeting, your goal is two-fold. First, you want to genuinely let this person know that you and your team appreciate them and enjoy working with them. In the case of past clients, let them know that you miss working with them. Be sure you tell them specifically what makes them such a good client for your company. After all, you want them to help you find someone else with the same traits.

Your second goal is to ask for a referral. Tell your client/previous client that you’d like another client just like them and ask for their help. It’s amazing to me how eager our clients are to help us grow our business when we take the time to ask.

If you’re successful at booking a weekly meeting at least 40 weeks out of the year and if 25% those people can connect you to a new prospect or two, and you land half of them – that’s five new clients and 40 renewed and rejuvenated relationships.

Here are the upsides of this tactic:

  • New clients who match the profile of your best clients
  • Your existing clients will feel appreciated and some of them will buy more
  • Some of your previous customers will probably come back

Low tech, low risk, and huge rewards. Why wouldn’t you start your lists today?


Convenience is today’s currency

January 2, 2019

convenienceStep away from your marketing role for a moment and consider yourself as an average consumer. Think about how you make buying decisions today. For many people, price is still a significant consideration. But it’s certainly not the only one. Whether it’s true or not, we all feel time-starved. We’re trying to pack in a 40-50 hour work week on top of the time we want to spend with our family and friends, work out time, me time and oh yeah – sleep if we can fit it in. The fact that most of us get too little sleep tells us that the value of time in our lives is significant. If we could get more of it, we’d gladly take it. And that’s where convenience steps in.

There was no such thing as convenience as a product or service before the late 19th or early 20th century, when labor-saving marvels were introduced to the marketplace. My grandma never baked from an instant cake mix and when I was a kid, my parents had to use a travel agent to buy plane tickets. That all seems ludicrous to us today.

Amazon is the perfect example of this. Go to the store? Why would you do that when you simply say “Alexa, order laundry detergent” and depending on where you live in the US, it’s delivered right to your door today, or if you’re not in a major market, you might have to wait until tomorrow.

We talk about the importance of buying local, but the truth is, we will often choose convenience over anything else.

If convenience is the currency that buyers covet the most, then we need to be mindful, now putting our marketing hats back on, of how we do or don’t appeal to that need.

We worked with a client recently that sold products online. It took twelve clicks to purchase their best product. Sales were lagging because we’re wired by Amazon’s 1-click purchase convenience. We couldn’t get them down to a single click, but we were able to reduce the twelve to three and saw an immediate jump in sales.

What kind of friction does your marketing or sales process create for your buyers? Do they have to sign contracts in person? Do they have to wait for delivery? Are your customer service people only available during bankers hours?

For many businesses, the first point of friction is difficulty in getting the information the buyer needs early in their consideration process. Anytime the buyer thinks “is this worth it,” they’ve hit friction.

If your website’s bounce rate (check your Google Analytics) is high, that tells you that people are coming to your site looking for something they can’t find. Our attention span just keeps getting shorter so make sure your navigation is clear, and the ten questions you are asked most often are answered on your site.

Buyers want to do their early stage shopping without talking to a salesperson. Make sure you don’t lose them by not providing the information they need to move from consideration to purchase.

There are some other key friction points that you should focus on correcting:

  • Poorly trained or unenthused staff members
  • Rigid customer service policies
  • Inaccessible customer service reps
  • Negative or no reviews
  • Slow delivery of products/services

We are being trained by the Amazons and Ubers of the world. We barely think about needing something, and voila, they’ve delivered it. We don’t have to pull out a credit card or even type in our address. They’re almost always fully stocked and ready to serve us in an instant.

That’s who your competition is. That’s who is setting the bar that your customers are expecting you to scale. Think friction-free or think going out of business sale.


Do you ask better questions?

October 24, 2018

questionsGiven the amount of competition out there, the challenges of landing a new client and the struggles with keeping the clients you do have – I totally get the hunger to have the right answers. But, it’s not about the answers we provide, it’s about the questions we ask.

We want to think that after all, what our clients are paying us for is our expertise, our years of experience and our guidance. I want to suggest that while all of that is true – our expertise, experience, and guidance should show up in a different way.  The more we can put aside our cookie-cutter solutions and assumptions the better our questions will be.

And ultimately, that leads to better answers. As Voltaire was credited with saying, “Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.”

When we are meeting with a prospective new client, the sentence I love to hear more than any other is “I’ve never been asked that before.” That means I am adding value. I am taking them in a direction they haven’t been before or coming at their issue from a different perspective. And odds are, the closer I am to getting to the best answers.

In terms of marketing, we have evolved from a black and white world to a world of iterations. I don’t care how right your solution is for today, given the rapid rate of change in our world, it’s not going to be spot on forever. Some solutions, like a company’s brand and product promises, need to stand the test of time. But today, most of our marketing tactics have a shelf life. Customer behavior, needs, and expectations are a moving target and we have to keep up with them.

If you don’t feel like the quality of your questions is where you want it to be – how do you up your game?

It helps if you’re naturally curious. Is your brain wired to wonder? The very trait that I am sure drove my parents crazy when I was a kid is one of my God-given superpowers as a professional. If you’re not naturally curious, then practice the art of curiosity. Like anything, you can create a habit around curiosity. Beyond that, try some of these techniques:

Keep it open-ended: Try to keep the conversation going by asking questions that require a longer response than a yes or no. Certain words trigger definitive answers and actually add a bias into the question. Avoid using the words “should” or “would” when you formulate a question. Don’t start off with “do you think” because you’re giving them license not to actually think about their answer.

Follow the rule of three: This is a digging deeper technique. Ask at least three follow-up questions to your original question before you move onto the next topic. This will require you to listen carefully and not be ready to jump in with the next question. Especially in a business setting, the first layer of questioning has been asked and answered a million times. You want to go where most haven’t thought to dig.

Beware of assumptions: One of my favorite questions is “if we had to prove that was true, how would we go about it?” So often, we make assumptions along the way and start speaking them as if they’re the absolute truth. But we have no basis for that other than our opinion or it may be a long-held belief that no one questions anymore. Remember that even if it was true in the past, it does not necessarily mean it’s still accurate.

Better questions make our work more collaborative and more accurate in terms of actually finding the best solutions for our clients. So, fire up your curiosity and ratchet up your Q&A sessions.



A bird in the hand

April 18, 2018

bird in the handShort of your employees, there is no one more important to your business than your current customers. We give this incredible lip service but our actions suggest we don’t actually believe it. Think you’re different – check your marketing budget. What percentage of it is spent on your own bird in the hand – your existing clients?

There’s a level of excitement in chasing after and winning a new customer. I get it — the thrill of the hunt and all that. In many organizations, that’s where the emphasis and rewards are loaded so it makes sense that for many of us, it’s where we gravitate. But whether you own the business or are just responsible for it hitting its marketing and sales metrics – if you want to exceed the goals, focus on the people who have already demonstrated that they’re willing to give you money. It turns out they’re the most likely ones to give you even more.

Consider these facts from both a Forrester Research study and a Harvard Business Review research project:

  • Acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than satisfying and retaining current customers
  • A 2 percent increase in customer retention has the same effect as cutting costs by 10 percent
  • A 5 percent reduction in client defection can increase profits by 25-125 percent (industry specific but seriously – 25% is the low end!)
  • On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their initial purchase
  • The cost of bringing a new customer to the same level of profitability as a lost one is up to 16 times more

As companies ramp up their business development efforts sometimes their best customers feel a little less special. After all, you’re investing all of your time and energy into catching someone else’s eye even though they’ve been loyal to you for some time. When I review an organization’s marketing plan, if their current customers appear at all, they’re almost always an afterthought or certainly occupy the smallest portion of the budget. Given their importance – that seems a bit off.

Here are some ways you can make those valuable clients feel valued.

Listen when they complain: Whether it’s in person, over the phone or on a review site, when your client airs an issue – listen and learn. It’s easy to dismiss a complaint as an aberration or someone having a bad day. Don’t make that mistake. Ask a couple questions. Acknowledge your mistakes if you see the truth in their feedback and ask for an opportunity to re-earn their trust. Make them feel heard.

Give them exclusivity: The more of your smarts and insights you share with the world at large, the more you should offer your clients something you don’t give to anyone else. Hold a client-only event, create a special ebook or do something like what we do at McLellan Marketing Group – create a holiday that honors them every year. MMG’s “Who Loves Ya Baby Day” is one of our favorite days of the year.

Ask for their opinions: Don’t wait for them to speak up. Regularly solicit their feedback on your product/services, how you service them, what else you might be able to offer them that would be valuable to them. Promise to report back what you learn from the inquiry and how you’re going to change because of the input. Then, make sure you do both. Show them you will respond and they will keep helping you get better.

Your current clients helped you get to the level of success you enjoy today. They’ve earned your loyalty and attention. Don’t overlook this bird in the hand.  Serve them well and they will help you create even more success down the road.


The Like Element

April 4, 2018

LikeWe’ve talked several times about the concept that no one buys anything until they know, like and trust the company who is doing the selling. If you aren’t on their radar screen, they can’t possibly know you exist. So marketing’s first job is to identify the right audience and put us in front of them on a consistent basis until we get noticed.

Of course, getting noticed isn’t enough. Once you have their attention, you need to do something remarkable, given how many people are trying to earn their attention. You have to be relevant. And not just once — but on a regular basis. You have to matter to them long before they understand that you can help them solve a problem or achieve a goal.

This week, I want to focus on that middle phase – the like element. Our likeability is completely within our control and yet, I don’t think most businesses or marketing/sales people consciously think about how they can earn that reaction from someone. We also probably don’t give enough thought to how we taint or damage that reaction without meaning to do so.

How do we increase our likeability?

Walk a mile in their shoes: The more you can demonstrate that you understand their struggles, worries, hopes, fears, and desires – the more you can connect with them. This, by the way, does not mean asking them the irritating questions that feel canned and insincere like, “what keeps you up at night?” It’s about truly understanding it because, as best as you can, you’ve put yourself in their place.

Actually be selfless: There’s nothing more annoying than someone pretending to care or help when really what they’re trying to do is figure out a way to get to your wallet. You need to help and serve because it’s the right thing to do, not because it will benefit you financially. Many of the people you help will never spend a dime with you. But some of them will. Enough of them will to make it worth your efforts and along the way; you’ll earn the reputation of being an organization that genuinely cares about the people it encounters.

Let it get personal: You know that sales technique where they teach you to notice pictures or mementos in someone’s office and then try to connect based on those? “Hey, you like golf too?” I am definitely not talking about that. I’m talking about letting people get to know you by sharing the other elements of your life. That might be connecting with business colleagues on Facebook or weaving some personal elements into your blog posts. But being personal is all about being human.

You’re always on stage: That said, be mindful of how you present yourself because who you are does matter. There are some topics that are polarizing by nature. I’m not saying you shouldn’t post about it on your social accounts, support them with your dollars or have a strong opinion. But recognize the cost of that choice.

Don’t shy away from your mistakes: Whether you have a business that is reviewed online or just had an unhappy client express themselves in public – it’s an opportunity to show that you take good care of your customers and are willing to admit when you’ve made a mistake. Owning and fixing that mistake in public is actually one of the best ways to boost your likeability. Perfection isn’t believable. They know you’re human and are going to mess up. They just want to know you’re going to do something about it when you do.

While this all seems like common sense, you and I both know plenty of examples of businesses that definitely do not live by these principles. Why not earn your prospect’s business for the long haul by being genuinely likable?


The best use of your time

February 7, 2018

timeNow that we are a month into 2018, are you still looking for ways you can kick-start your business successes, sales and marketing wins?  One of the best ways is by really being intentional about where you spend your time. I truly believe in Jim Rohn’s “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” philosophy and we’ll dig into that next week but for this week, I want to step out a little further and think about the events we attend.

When you think about it, for most of us, the most finite professional resource we have is time. So being smart about where we spend that resource just makes good business sense.

My mom always used the phrase “chat, chat, love your hat” to describe events where everyone air kissed or shook hands and then had conversations that stayed on the surface with people they didn’t know very well. Think the neighborhood barbeque or typical mixer events for business.

The truth is, for us professionally, there are a ton of “chat, chat, love your hat” kinds of events that are available to us as marketers, business owners, and business leaders. Some of them have an educational component, like a professional association monthly gathering with a speaker. Some are business development driven, like a networking event or rotary type gathering and others are really more of a see and be seen sort of opportunity. Every one of them can be valuable. But you also need to dole yourself out judiciously or else you won’t have enough time and energy to actually accomplish what you need to get done.

Like most marketing tactics, these events yield far better results if you do a little pre-planning. As you decide which ones to attend, ask yourself these questions:

What three things am I looking to walk away with from this event? This could be a new connection, new insights or spending time with someone you already know. But if you’re going to spend an hour or two, shouldn’t you know there’s something specific in it for you?

What can I offer the other attendees? How can you add value to the other people who attend the event? Have you recently read something that you can refer them to? If it’s an event or a gathering you know well, can you go out of your way to make introductions for the newcomers? Can you go and ask better questions that really get beyond the small talk?

Who can I take with me who would also benefit from the event? There’s something to be said about tag teaming these sorts of gatherings. Is it a mentoring situation? Could you bring someone who is new to the community? Or an old sage who hasn’t been as active lately and everyone would love to re-connect with?

Can I go and be completely present? Are you going to be distracted by your phone, texts, emails, or have something pressing on your mind? Can you leave your phone in your pocket and really tend to the people you meet, the content being presented and the opportunities that may present themselves? If not, maybe it’s not a good use of your time.

What’s your capacity to follow up? You always meet or re-connect with someone at these events. But ideally, that’s not the end — it’s just the beginning. Do you have time to reach back out and take the next step?

You’re going to have to pick and choose where you invest your time. When it comes to these sorts of events, be sure you choose wisely and make the most out of every time investment.


Business development by the numbers

January 10, 2018

business developmentLast week we started to identify some key financial metrics that you need to have a handle on as you plan your business development for the upcoming year in a smart way. If you did the math I outlined last week, you now know:

  • How much of every earned dollar you actually get to keep to spend on your business (salaries, overhead, and profit)
  • How much you can expect to produce per employee
  • If you have capacity with your current staff or if you get new clients you’d need more help to support them
  • If your business is profitable and if so, by how much

Those are the facts you need to make the following decisions:

  • Are you content with your business being the size it is now?
  • Are you happy with your current net profit (amount and percentage)?

If you decide you’re good where you’re at, it’s just a matter of trying to increase efficiencies to be even more profitable or trading up to better-fit customers who will also be more profitable.

But if you think there’s some room for growth, then let’s talk about what you really need.

I want to provide a caveat here. I am really simplifying this process. There is lots of averaging and rounding going on. I want you to understand the concepts and have some ballpark estimates of where you want to take your business and what it will take to get you there. My goal is not to make you a CPA. My goal is to give you some simple tools and metrics to use so that your business development planning isn’t just a shot in the dark.

When businesses set annual growth goals, they usually just pick a number based on historical trends or an impressive milestone they’re trying to reach. “Hmm, we grossed $3 million last year, so how about $3.5 million this year?” Have you already set growth goals for 2018? How much was it? 10% growth? 25% growth? More important than the number – the goal was based on what?

The truth is that most businesses set a growth goal but they rarely know what that actually means or what it’s going to cost them to get there.

This year, I’m going to suggest you do it differently. Let’s use the numbers we discussed last week to put together a projection and a plan that actually has a financial foundation under it.

You’ve now got a significant advantage. You know how much in gross revenue you need to generate to earn (approximately) whatever profit increase you’d like to have. You also know how many additional people, if any, it’s going to take to support that new opportunity.

Let’s assume you have decided you want to grow your profits by 10%. Do the math to determine what that means in gross revenue. If that means you need to have another $250,000 in client work to make that happen, we now know your 2018 gross revenue goal, right?

Will you need to add staff to support the new revenue goal? If so, don’t wait until you’re stretched too thin. Start looking for the right additions now.

Usually, when a business goes through this exercise, they discover that they don’t need as much new business as they feared. It puts the effort into perspective and allows them to build a business development program that’s tailored to their actual need without throwing them into an unnecessary panic.

I’m not suggesting that these are the only financial metrics you need to monitor. But in terms of understanding how to set realistic growth goals, even these basics will give you a factual foundation to put you on the right path.



How many customers do you need?

January 3, 2018

customersBy now, it’s occurred to you that the holidays are not coming back, it isn’t getting warmer any time soon and you’d better get at it. It’s about this time every year that businesses really get serious about attracting and winning new customers.

What happens next is as predictable as the gyms being packed in January. Businesses put together these elaborate, grandiose plans that come with Gantt charts, calendars, and color-coding.

But even with all that planning, two key questions are rarely asked or answered.

How much do we need? And of course the follow-up question should be: and how much could we even handle?

Most business development plans fail because first we get all excited about them but we behave as if we’re trying to create the Mona Lisa and second because we have no idea how much is enough. The truth is most businesses create plans that, if they actually executed on them consistently, would bring too much opportunity their way. They bite off more than they could possibly chew and then they choke on it.

Why are the gyms empty again by February? Two reasons. First – the New Year’s newbies tried to tackle too much and couldn’t sustain it. Second – they didn’t have realistic goals. If they did, they would have been able to scale back their plan to better bring them what they actually needed.

That’s true of the business development patterns of most organizations. We try to do too much because we don’t know the answer to the “how much” questions.

To get to those answers, you need to make some decisions and gather some data. It’s not difficult but it will take a little bit of time and requires us to do some simple math. But if you hang in there with me, I promise it will be worth the effort.

Gather up the following facts from your 2017 financial data.

  1. Total gross billings (Everything you billed/charged your customers)
  2. Cost of goods (All the hard costs you incurred on behalf of your clients. This does not include any costs related to your employees or your overhead. COGS are hard costs like raw materials, what you paid a wholesaler for what you sell retail or if you act as an agent for your clients – buying printing or some other service on their behalf and then charging them for it.)
  3. Your net profit (What’s left over after you pay out all your expenses, including your staff and overhead.)

When you subtract your COGS from your gross billings, you get your net income or adjusted gross income. That’s the number we’re going to focus on. You’ll want to know what percentage of your gross billings turns into net income. Let’s say you bill $1 million dollars and $500,000 is COGS. That means your net income is 50%.

Now, figure out how many FTEs (full-time equivalents) you have on staff. Divide your net income by the number of FTEs you have. That tells you how much net income you earn per employee.

If you’re happy with your net profit number, then your employees are producing approximately as much net income per person as you need them to. If you’re not profitable or the profit number is too low, then you need to increase that per person average by helping your people be more efficient or by re-thinking your pricing model (or one of a million other things).

Next week, I’ll show you what to do with these numbers (I figure you need the week to gather them up) and what decisions you need as you define just how much business development you should be doing.

Gather the facts and next week we’ll use them to get realistic. I think you’ll be both relieved and surprised.



What does your pricing say about you?

November 29, 2017

pricingLast week, we explored some of the key considerations that a business should take into account as they set their prices. But this week, I want to take a look at what your pricing strategy says about your offerings.

I believe that pricing is a part of positioning and branding that is often overlooked. How you think about pricing may depend on whether or not you’re introducing a new product or service or just rethinking how an existing product or service is brought to market.

Here are some of the most common pricing strategies and what they say about your brand:

Penetration pricing is typically an entry strategy. This is usually used when you’re bringing something new to an existing marketplace or you’re trying to lure people from an existing provider. Think of the types of offers that DISH and Direct offer to get you to switch. This kind of pricing can’t be profitably sustained.

What does it say about you? It says that you are willing to buy your customers and that you’re confident that if they give you a try, they’ll stick around long enough to be profitable. Or it says that they know switching is a big pain, so they need to make it worth your while, hoping you won’t decide to go through the pain again and switch back.

Premium pricing is exactly what it suggests — your product or service is at the high end of the range.

What does it say about you? When you have premium prices, it implies a level of quality and service that the lower priced options can’t match. There’s also an exclusivity to your offer if there are plenty of lower priced options available. To maintain this brand position, you’ll need to work hard to meet your customer’s high expectations.

Economy pricing is being the bargain in the bunch. Think Wal-Mart or generic products. If you can buy and sell in volume, this might be a decent option to consider.

What does it say about you? Depending on how you position it, it can either say you are very committed to helping your customers save money or the items you sell are of low quality. To reassure your customers that you’re watching their pennies, you’ll want to make sure you explain how you can offer such bargains.

Bundling pricing is when you combine items you sell at a special price. It might be a 99 cent dessert with dinner or send one person to a workshop and you get the pre-workshop session for free or at a discounted price. You just need to be careful you don’t give away the farm with this strategy. It’s ideal for recurring revenue where the profits rise after the first couple months of sales.

What does it say about you? This is a great strategy for businesses with long-term customers that might be in the market to buy even more from you. You can bundle complimentary items to tie that customer even tighter to your organization. That gives you more time to sell them even more.

Bracket pricing is the idea of always offering three different options, with the middle priced option being the one you want your customer to select. Research shows that if you offer only one choice – people object to the price. If you offer two choices, the buyer will choose the lower priced option most of the time. But if you offer three price points, the vast majority of buyers will choose the middle option.

What does it say about you? This pricing strategy is all about giving your customers control and choices. By letting them decide which bells and whistles they want, they feel like you’re not trying to force them in a particular direction.

As you can see, there’s a lot more to the underlying messages that come from how you set your prices.