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Tips on Selling

What are you offering your customers?
What are you offering your customers?

Tips for creating an irresistible offer

All businesses have an offer but not all offers are equally effective. RICK SEGAL discusses how to attract shoppers with offers that are irresistible and that will ultimately boost boost sales.

What is your store’s most important asset? It’s not what you think. Let’s go through the regular list of possibilities – your location is important but that’s not what it is; your merchandise or service is also important but still not it; your people are the core of your business but still not your most-important asset.

Management also gets a no as do your core beliefs, your mission statement and your vision. I could go on and suggest logos, business cards, your ability to negotiate and even your financial resources but none of these would come close to your most important asset.

Okay, enough with the suspense. Your most important asset is your offer. What are you offering in return for your customer’s money? Every business has an offer and some are better than others – an ice-cream truck offers tasty refreshment in exchange for money; a bank offers credit in exchange for interest.

Even the government has an offer to provide essential services in return for taxes.

Irresistible offers

Having an offer is not enough to succeed; offers must be irresistible. For example, claiming to have the lowest price is not a strong offer.

Anyone can claim to be the cheapest and many businesses do yet it often has little to do with price at all. The same can be said of quality.

Perhaps the best offer comes from a company in one of the most competitive industries in the world – food, specifically the pizza business. US pizza chain Dominos made the simple offer of pizza in “30 minutes or it’s free”.

"You may be the biggest jewellery store in Sydney but that is not an offer that will convince anyone to buy now."

Dominos never mentions the quality of the pizza in its offer nor the price and yet the chain sells approximately $US2.5 billion of food annually.

Many companies have included time as part of their offers but few as successfully as Federal Express: “When it absolutely has to be there overnight.”

Department store Nordstrom went a different route, offering a new level of service by stating, “If you’re not satisfied for any reason, we’ll take it back without a receipt – no questions asked.” At the time, the offer was revolutionary.

This is the perfect segue to explain that businesses must periodically update their offers. Why? Simply put, if your offer is good, it will be copied.

In my store, we made an offer that put us on the map and helped us become a leader in our industry. We chose to specialise in mother of the bride dresses even though we were not a bridal shop.

“Mothers are our specialty” was the offer and no one at the time was offering a specialty in that niche. In retrospect, however, it was the next line that made the offer irresistible. It said, “We make you look special, not typical.”

It worked perfectly as mothers of the bride back then were considered dowdy and their dresses boring.

To this day, I still believe defining your specialty to a specific market is one of the best moves you can make but you still must ensure there is a strong offer attached.

Not so great offers

The market has changed. No one cares that you’ve been in business for 20 years. No one cares about your size, either.

You may be the biggest jewellery store in Sydney but that is not an offer that will convince anyone to buy now. The goal of your offer is to make people feel they can’t live without you or your merchandise.

Here are four questions that prospective customers ask themselves whenever they hear an offer:

  1. What are you trying to sell me?

  2. How much is it?

  3. Why should I believe you?

  4. What’s in it for me?

The first three questions appeal to a person’s logic but the fourth question is all about their emotions. Logic makes people shop but emotions make people buy.

The other quote I love is, “People make their decisions based on emotion and then justify it with logic.”

The best guide to creating an irresistible offer is the greatest headline ever written: “Get rich quick.” Everyone wants something and they want it yesterday. That offer tells the reader very clearly what they will get – they will get rich.

It also tells them when they will get it – quick. Do you think the offer would have the same success if it were, “Get rich slowly”? Try it and find out.

Rick Segal

Rick Segel is co-founder of retail training and services business, Rick Segel & Associates. Learn More:

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