Today I’m going to give you my take on having sales, giving discounts, pay what you want, and pay what you can in your business.
I know there’s a lot of contentious opinions out there (it’s very divided in the online business world), so I thought why not weigh in with my opinion.
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Let’s get started!
There seem to be two very opposed, very extreme views on the whole idea of discounting, having sales and doing things like play what you want/can. It’s really interesting to me to see that there are so many concrete thinkers out there.
Either you never discount it, or you always discount it.
I wanted to give you my recommendations as a business strategy person.
It doesn’t relate just to your strategy in business, it also comes down to a matter of mindset.
Here are my five key pieces of advice when it comes to discounts, sales, and all those other fun things:
1. Let’s be honest, everybody loves a bargain
We love to think we’re getting something at a discount or jumping in early.
Sales can be very appealing from a buyer behaviour perspective, so for that reason, I’m not one to say I’ll never discount or I’ll never do sales, because I know that sometimes that little discount, extra bonus, or something that incentivises behaviour can be the difference between someone purchasing or not.
As long as I feel like I’m doing it in a way that feels really good for me and them, then I’m okay with doing some discounts and having sales.
One of the big things I do at least once or twice is run an auction, and it’s so much fun for me to run these. People definitely tend to get some big bargains when they come and purchase at these auctions.
I’m not opposed to discounts, but I want to make sure that we’re on the same page regarding the reasons why and the strategy behind it.
2. It comes down to your energy and your intention
This is where I see a lot of mindset specialists saying never discount because you’re going to be putting out that energy of “I’m someone who doesn’t see my own worth.”
If you are feeling tempted to do some sort of discount or sale, have a think about what the energy is behind it.
If the energy behind it is that it’s fun and exciting to do, then I’m all for it. “It’s going to be fun, I’m going to incentivise some big shifts in behaviour! I’m so excited.” Do it.
If it comes from a space of “No one wants to buy from me. I need to discount my prices. I accidentally priced myself too big. AHHHH!” then you’re in panic mode. Of course, that is the energy you are going to bring to that sale, and it’s probably not a great idea.
We need to make sure we’ve got a really strong, centred sense of self-worth and aligned energy before jumping into those sales and discounts.
Have a think about that from your perspective. Is your desire to have a sale or run a special coming from a space of fear? Do you think no one will buy from you, or that you are overpriced?
Or is it coming from a space of abundance? A space of fun and lightness?
Be honest with yourself, because even though I might not be able to tell the difference between whether you are being honest or not, the universe definitely can, because it all comes down to the energy that you bring.
3. If you run a sale, you will not devalue yourself forevermore and break your business
I see a lot of those high-level coaches who talk about VIP-level offers and how you need to be a premium service or that it doesn’t count if you don’t charge $5,000.
I see them saying that if you discount your services you will devalue yourself forever, and it’s too hard to come back from that, so don’t ever try it.
You know my opinion on business: Everything is a practice.
I find it fascinating that those coaches rely on the whole “It’s valued at $25,000,” – they’re just plucking some random number out of thin air – “but I’m selling it for $4,997!”
That to me is the same type of behaviour – it’s just on a whole other spectrum.
One of the things we need to be aware of in Australian Consumer Law, in particular, is that if you say something is on sale or discounted, or valued at x but you’re charging y, you need to be mindful of some of the legal restrictions.
For example, there was recently some information that was shared by the ACCC that if you want to say something is on sale, it needs to have been offered for a significant period of time at full price.
If you’re saying that your product is valued at $2,500, but you’re selling it for $197, have you actually had that thing available for sale at $2,500 for an extended period of time?
What I have seen – and I’m no legal expert, please consult legal advisors – it’s something like six weeks for their definition of “an extended period of time.”
Make sure to inform yourself of what you can and cannot say when it comes to offering things and saying they are discounted. But honestly, everything is possible to figure out and solve, you can learn from it and move on.
Everything is a practice.
Your audience will never be as small as it is today.
Don’t freak out and be afraid of putting something on sale in order to stimulate some purchasing. Don’t buy into the rederick that you are going to break your business and not be able to recover.
I’ve seen a lot of people experience the opposite where they keep increasing their prices and completely dry up the sales in their business until the point where it’s very hard for them to recover.
They’ve triggered big mindset stuff for themselves and priced themselves out of the entire audience that they may have spent years building.
You need to be mindful of what’s going on. Approach it gently, approach it as a practice, but trust that you can’t break your business.
You will be able to recover.
It’s so easy to just put your prices back to what they were when the sale is over, and establish whether or not you’ll discount it again in the future.
You will be okay, we will figure it out.
4. Be mindful of people waiting for a sale if you continuously put things on sale
This was one of my big lessons from 2017.
We ran quite a few different auctions and had some fun with that, but what it did was put my business back into a short-term income focus, and whenever I promoted something on a webinar, someone would ask if there was going to be an auction.
I had to make some big boundaries by saying that the Take Off program would not be auctioned off again for the remainder of 2017, because it was something I was focused on launching at that time, so I haven’t auctioned a spot on Take Off until very recently because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t creating a tribe of people who were just sitting and waiting for the next auction.
I also didn’t run an auction for the entire first half of 2018 and that has been a very solid decision for me from a business perspective. It has helped me to move back into that long-term versus short-term balance and really addressed that mindset among my tribe that it will just be on sale in an auction.
I don’t do discounts on the Take Off program, but I was mindful that I had created this environment where people were waiting for auction because of how many we ran in 2017.
No regrets – we had so much fun during 2017.
I’ll run auctions again, I was just mindful of the behaviour I was encouraging in my tribe by running them so consistently.
In 2018, only twp auctions will be happening: The 30k member’s party and the mega-Christmas auction. I’m leaving it at that, and I’m very comfortable with that decision.
In 2019, who knows if I’ll run another one. A lot of people have spent the first half of the year waiting for an auction and missing out on their opportunity to get started straight away.
But again, I didn’t break my business. I learned from it and adjusted my strategy, and I moved forward.
For number four, be mindful of people waiting for sales. This happens a lot with Udemy. Udemy courses are almost always on sale, so people will wait for a sale. That’s okay, Udemy have built their model based on that, but we need to be mindful of it because the chances of you selling a Udemy course at full price these days are pretty slim to nil.
Udemy is aware of that, so they’ve adopted it as their continuous business model and they’re making it work. You can make anything work, seriously.
5. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes
One of the big things I’m mindful of is (for example) when people paid $995 for the Take Off program if I then go and run a flash sale on the Take Off program for half price, am I going to be upsetting people who have just paid $995? Yes, I am.
I don’t do big discount sales on Take Off, I think $995 is a discount in and of itself – it probably should be a little more expensive than it is right now.
I trust that $995 is the appropriate price for the Take Off program and I don’t do discounts on it. What I do is I might offer a bonus that is available for all the existing Take Off peeps and new people if they jump in before a certain date.
That incentivises the behaviour I want people to take, rather than discounting the Take Off program.
If I then choose to auction off a couple of spots on the Take Off program, then the people who have purchased it already tell people that it was worth it at full price. They say this in the comments box when it’s on sale!
“You won’t regret it, even if you pay $995! You will love it!”
I think that’s a really beautiful reflection that people don’t resent the Take Off program being available in the auction. It’s limited spaces, the bidding is furious and the final bid usually isn’t that far off the full price.
Plus they have to come to the auction, bid on it, and go through the rest of the process just to get the spot. They also risk missing out on that spot since other people bid as well.
I put myself in my customer’s shoes. I know the existing Take Off peeps won’t be upset if I put a couple of spots up for auction, but I don’t do them regularly.
Do you want to wait six months to grow your business for the chance at a discounted spot on Take Off? Maybe you don’t. You might want to just jump in and get started now. What’s it worth to you?
It’s a great way for me to know that I haven’t upset the current members. I apply this to all of the services that I offer.
Will the current customers/participants be upset?
Those are my five hot tips. They are my opinions about sales, discounts, pay what you want, and pay what you can.
A quick note about pay what you want and pay what you can: People will generally choose the cheapest or the second cheapest option.
When I’ve done those types of sales before (I used to do them on an old program I don’t run anymore called Get With the Program). It was normally $495, and when I did my big flash sales I sold them for $50, $100, $200, or $300 and people could choose which one they would pay.
Most people chose the cheapest, next was the second cheapest. The other options were rarely chosen so be wary of this.
Be 100% clear that you are willing for people to choose the cheapest option. If that is going to make you cranky at people, then you are not in an energetic space to be doing a pay what you want/can special.
People will go for the cheapest option, and you need to be okay with that.
Alright, those are my special tips and I have a special little offer you today as well.
Tashmas is coming! Twice a year (my birthday in March, and Christmas) for the first 12 days of the month I run a special thing called Tashmas, where I release a podcast episode every day and every day there’s a special offer, freebie, or something that’s not normally available for you to grab.
We run competitions as well so you have a chance to win something with me.
Tashmas runs from December 1st to December 12th and I’ll run it again in March 2019, and as part of that I will be running an auction, as well as giving away free things and special offers.
If you have any other insights and “aha’s” from this episode, make sure that you use #podcastaha and the episode number (166) when talking about it in the Heart-Centred Soul Driven Entrepreneurs group, and I always love seeing any questions or aha that come up from each episode.
Until next time, I cannot WAIT to see you SHINE.