April 2016 – Letters From Lisa

’P’ for price

Pricing is one of the four P’s of the marketing mix, the pillars that support and sustain your business. The first is Product; the second is Place (distribution); the third is Promotion and the fourth is Price. All four of these factors must be implemented before you can succeed in business.

I am going to focus on price, which some people consider an afterthought to the other three. But, I argue price is the most important factor, and it’s critical to your business that you get it right. Remember price is the only element in the marketing mix that produces revenue; all other elements represent costs.

Without proper pricing, your gross margin will suffer and that will translate into less profit than you deserve and ultimately limited cash flow. Limited cash flow will eventually impact the sustainability of the business.

One trap that is easy to fall into is thinking that the price must be as low as possible to get any traction with sales. This just isn’t true. We routinely survey our end-user customers to see what matters to them in their purchasing decisions. What they say about price and its importance will surprise you. The following is a list of the top 10 factors to provide proof and understanding of the definition of value, or in other words, why you don’t need to assume your prices need to be kept to the lowest number possible to close the sale.

  1. Product makes a difference in animal’s health & performance.
  2. Product is easy to feed.
  3. Product is consistent in quality.
  4. Knowledge of product by sales personnel.
  5. Reliability of product supply.
  6. Personnel respond quickly to requests.
  7. Ease of contacting the right person for help.
  8. Product is packaged in useful quantities.
  9. Problems are resolved quickly.
  10. Ease of doing business.

So, instead of worrying about keeping prices low, worry about the items highlighted in yellow. Focus your energy on educating, having inventory, responding quickly and making doing business with you easy. If this is your focus, you can use value based pricing, which means believing that you can sell at our suggested retail price plus the freight to get the product to you. No smirking without giving it a try.

To end, I’ll quote Lawrence Steinmetz who wrote a book on sales called “How to Sell at Margins Higher Than Your Competitors.” “The first thing you have to understand is the selling price is a function of your ability to sell and nothing else. What’s the difference between an $8,000 Rolex and a $40 Seiko watch? The Seiko is a better time piece. It’s far more accurate. The difference is your ability to sell.”


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