If you want to sell more of your products and services, the logical thing is to try and sell them to more people.
But sometimes, it can be more profitable to actually try to sell to fewer people.
The idea of being “one of the privileged few” is very attractive and can be a compelling reason for some people to buy your product/service.
Think of all those country club members who pay a gazillion dollars to get in. They do it because it means they've arrived. They're a picture of success. They're big shots.
It doesn't have to be something unreachable because of the price tag. The appeal can come from the sheer difficulty of getting your product. Like those whale watching boat trips where you're never sure the whales will ever show up. You'll take it anyway!
When I was entering university, I picked a course because the brochure said that it was very difficult to get into, and the university only accepted a limited number of students into it.
I thought, “Oh, it's difficult to get into, is it? I wonder if I could…”
So I applied for that “exclusive” program and, lo and behold, I got in!
The course? Computer engineering with a double degree in physics.
If you really knew me, you would know that course isn't exactly my cup of tea. I soon realized that as I fought back tears every time I was in physics class and eventually transferred to the communication program. (Where I finally found peace and happiness)
The idea of belonging to a special club, an elite group, the un-hoi polloi can be an intense desire in some people.
This is the universal desire to belong — but not just to belong to ANY group, but to belong to THE group of the coolest kids. It's also linked to the human desire for recognition and status.
Here are some ways you can add an element of exclusivity to your product/service:
A high price tag automatically excludes prospects who can't afford your program. Fortunately or not, price is a status symbol. Why else would women pay hundreds of dollars for a pair of shoes when they can get similar ones at Target for far less?
Identify a set of standards and create an application form for your prospects to fill up — and be assessed before they can be accepted. Yes, this contradicts the common marketing rule that you should make it easy for prospects to buy your stuff.
However, it's also a good way to pre-qualify your prospects. Think about it. Only those who are truly interested in your offer will apply and subject themselves to the possibility of getting rejected.
And then those who do pass your selection process will feel better about themselves, just like I did when I got into that challenging university program. This is one of those situations where we break the rules and end up making more money.
Give your customers a club name, and set up a virtual clubhouse (such as a Ning group). Provide club content and organize club events available exclusively to “members only.”
This approach won't work for any product or service. However, if your target customers are the type who have a strong desire for status and exclusivity, then adding these elements to your offer may be your ticket to selling more of your products/services.
That said, you can always confer a touch of status on your customers, even if your product/service is one that has more of a mass appeal.
What do you think?
Lexi Rodrigo is a communication and marketing professional for multimillion-dollar businesses, co-author of Blog Post Ideas: 21 Proven Ways to Create Compelling Content and Kiss Writer's Block Goodbye, and host of "Marketing Insights LIVE!." Connect with Lexi on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.
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