Problem: My printer contacted me and informed me one of his new employees accidentally processed an order I placed back in February to restock ALL of my publications. That order was enough to not only support the Winter, Spring and Summer conference samples, but also all of my recent Fall sales. This is A LOT of books! Yikes.
Not really my problem, right? Well, sort of.
True, I didn’t order them…thus, I don’t need to buy them. But to recycle all these would be a BIG waste. And to have the printer “hold” these is a big expense for a fellow small business.
I discussed the situation with my coach. We discussed the positives and negatives for quite a while, brought in the printer, and eventually came up with a solution that we all believe is pretty neat.
Solution: Sell this new inventory at a huge discount!
Sure, some existing clients will “bulk-up” their orders to take advantage of the lower price. But I believe this will open the door for new business. Think about it. Prospective clients that just haven’t been able to “pull the trigger” because of cost, or perhaps some other reason, will now have a new incentive to reconsider their purchase. Worst case, its a way to re-engage those prospects.
Right or wrong, I’m moving forward with this. Here is how it will play out:
ALL BOOKS (until this stock runs out) ARE NOW $12.50 EACH! No minimum, no maximum. This includes: Life During College: Your Guide to Success; Life During Community College: Your Guide to Success; Life During College: The Online Learner’s Guide to Success; Life During College: The Veteran’s Guide to Success; Camo to Career: The Veteran’s Guide to Career Success; Backpack to Briefcase: Steps to a Successful Career; and Life After Graduation: Your Guide to Success
These all retail for $38.95 – and even when purchasing 1000+ copies, the price wasn’t this low. This is almost a 70% discount!!! I’m sure this will get some attention, right?
We also offer clients the ability to customize their books. So what about them? Well, the printer didn’t bind the books. Thus, if a client wanted to customize the cover – that is possible. Sure, there is a little more work (and some cost) with design/printing custom covers, but why not offer the option.
Results: I started an initial campaign to a small segment of clients and prospects. A LOT of new clients did take advantage of the opportunity as I thought they would. Only a handful of existing clients jumped in. But surprisingly, I got a handful of clients that responded back stating they found the sale announcement “annoying” and a “skillful sales campaign”. Interesting?!
I, in fact, followed up with each of these negative responses by phone (at least the ones that would accept my call) and discussed it with them. All of them apologized, and a couple even placed orders.
What I Learned: It’s about relationship building. Consumers are cautious. If it sounds too good to be true, they instantly think that its a gimmick and put up a wall. But most of my clients/prospects didn’t think that.
When I looked into the buyers vs. those that responded negatively. The buyers were people I have been actively communicating with for some time. And the dialogue wasn’t just one-sided. We have been conversing. Thus, they found the sale to be REAL. However, the negative respondents haven’t been highly engaged and thus, were hesitant/resistant to believe.
I’m all about streamlining, automating, and online engagement…but this situation helped me value the importance of personalization. Just because its an email or post doesn’t mean it has to be generic. Be honest, be truthful, and be real. Long term relationships are built between people, not email. Thus, let your clients (and prospects) know that you are a person.
BTW – if you want to order some heavily discounted books, here is how to do it:
1. Go to my online order form HERE
2. Select the publication(s) you want to order
3. Select the “1-24 ($38.95)” option from the Standard Edition drop down menu
4. Put in quantity you wish to order (yes, even if its more than 24….trust me, it will work)
5. Enter “PrintError” into the promo code section and apply discount