In my first corporate role as an account manager I sold software solutions.
Discounts up to 10% could be used at our discretion, anything more required management approval.
I sat next to the sales manager on the key accounts team where all the FTSE 100 accounts were managed.
As each month would draw to a close, an influx of people would come over to his desk and attempt to justify why they needed to discount the services by margins up to 30%.
Then the next month would roll around, and the same faces would appear seeking the same approval.
Over time, they would become exhausted and frustrated by their customers and their role.
Whereas the sales people who sold at full price always had a sustainable pipeline, respected their customers and always made their targets.
Clearly there was no correlation between discounts and increases sales – in fact it had an adverse effect.
Discounts are like an easy button – they may fix a temporary pain point by injecting cash flow into a business, but they’re not a mechanism for sustainable success.
Over time, discounts can erode the confidence and trust you’ve worked hard to build with your audience.
Whilst ups and downs are inevitable in business, and it’s natural and healthy to offer your customers incentives to stay engaged with your brand, discounts and special offers only resolve short term cash flow problems.
Not only do they cut into your profit margins, they distort your customers perception around the worth of your products.
In short, they’re not a sustainable way to the long term health of your business .
The good news is though, as a conscious business that provides high quality products and services – you don’t ever need to drop your prices.
Instead, there’s a method of promotion you can adopt based around shared values.
Be creative and innovative with your promotions
Promote your purpose not your price.
This shows your customers that you understand their core motivations for spending money with you.
After all, this is a free exchange and you’re provide value in exchange for money.
For example, instead of discounting a pair of shoes, why not donate a pair of socks to the homeless with every pair sold?
Or keep an impact chart on your website showing exactly how they’re investing in social change with every dollar they spend with you.
Not only will this help help people feel connected to your mission, it will make sure you’re communicating from a place of purpose.
When someone invests in a purpose-driven business like yours, they’re buying with their values, not their money.
So understanding why your customers buy from you is far more important than what they buy.
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Dig deep and ask questions to uncover what connects you to your customers.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how willing people will be to provide you with guidance around how they feel you can best serve them.
This will make them more likely to support you, advocate for you and show loyalty towards you regardless of the competition.
Over time, your cause will become theirs, and this creates a deeper desire to take action than any monetary discount can.
By establishing commonalities in why people buy from you, you’re better able to position your brand away from price promotion and towards purpose and the positive impact your brand has on society.
Build campaigns around your shared values
Being transparent around where you invest your customer’s money is a great way to foster a strong sense of community.
Plus, it’ll ensure your sales are sustainable in the process.
Look up meaningful dates in the calendar, share relevant news stories and promote the essence of your business and the change you want to make in the world.
After all, people buy with their hearts not their wallets and guess what?
Your customer’s are rooting for you to succeed with all their hearts!
So the next time you feel the need to drum up sales just pause and consider what your ideal customer would think.
Consider what will lead the the best outcome over the long term and what will best support your mission as a purpose-driven business owner.
Now over to you, what creative campaigns could you launch to promote your business that don’t involve discounts?
Drop a comment, I’d love to know.