Are your direct marketing offers unfair? They should be.

unfair direct marketing offersBy all appearances, Charley Hill was an average, ordinary guy.

He lived in a mid-sized town with his wife, two children, and a dog. He went to church on Sunday, coached Little League, and drove a pickup truck. He was friendly but quiet, the sort of guy you could walk by on the street without noticing.

But appearances can be deceiving. Because Charley Hill was one of the most successful salesmen in the Midwest. What did Charley have that other salesmen didn’t? Not a thing.

He sold the same products. Carried the same parts. Provided the same service. Yet his sales were typically two or three times that of competitors. The reason?

Charley Hill didn’t believe in “fair” offers. In fact, he went out of his way to treat his customers unfairly.

Now obviously I don’t mean he cheated people. What I mean is that he made offers that were so compelling and seemed so skewed in his customers’ favor, people just couldn’t say no.

What is a fair offer anyway? A reasonable price? There’s nothing wrong with that. But there’s nothing very exciting about it either. An unfair offer, on the other hand, is very exciting. It’s a deal that makes a purchase seem irresistible.

How do you make an unfair offer?

First, think about what someone would assume is the value of what you’re selling. Let’s say you’re selling a widget and a common price for a widget of this kind is about $100.

Second, think about how you can add to your offer so that the perceived value appears to exceed the actual value. This means you throw in extras, such as a free gift, a second widget free, or extended service.

Third, specify the value of the widget and each extra and present the total value. So perhaps the widget is $100, and the extras add up to $250, for a grand total value of $350. This isn’t necessarily the true cost of the whole package, just the perceived value to the buyer.

From the buyer’s perspective, they’re getting a $350 value for just $100. This is the “unfair” part of the offer. It appears that your deal is so good, you’re being unfair to yourself.

This is just one simple example. You can structure an offer with any number of elements to boost the value, such as using free trials and guarantees. The more you can do to make the actual cost appear small in comparison to the total value, the more powerful your offer will be.

Charley Hill knew that you don’t need flashy products or a fancy sales pitch. You can sell just about anything to anyone if you just make the right offer. The more unfair it is and the more valuable it seems, the more you’ll sell.

How unfair is your offer?

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3 Responses to “Are your direct marketing offers unfair? They should be.”

  1. ariana on May 24th, 2011 7:08 pm

    This is very simple but good point. Been here a few weeks and love the posts. Thanks!

  2. Anita Cooper on May 27th, 2011 9:34 am

    Thanks, Dean. Very catchy headline. Sigh. My weak point… lol!

  3. Dan Williams on June 20th, 2011 2:56 pm

    After 26 years in sales I couldn’t agree more with your thoughts. Adding value gives that edge the big guys can’t touch

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