Greed is a natural human trait.
Even though many people would like to deny it, because it’s not always the most flattering personality trait, it’s still a fact of life…
People get greedy. And when they do, they begin to lose all sense of logic and reason.
And that’s why infusing the greed instinct in your copy is actually a pretty good way to help you trigger the impulse to buy your products.
Now before we get too far ahead of ourselves let’s just define what I mean by “GREED”…
When we talk about “greed”, we’re not talking about Scrooge McDuck hoarding all his money so he can roll around in piles of cash on the floor.
And we’re not talking about wanting obscene amounts of money just for the sake of being obscenely rich (although that is a part of it).
Instead, in this post we’re talking about the basic, primordial survival instinct to get more, so we don’t have to go without.
When humans lived at the mercy of the elements there were times of prosperity, and harsh times when drought or famine could wipe out entire villages.
So the natural instinct to hoard things, and try to get a bigger share, was basically an inborn fear of survival. Because tomorrow was so uncertain.
These days, in most 1st world economies, we don’t need to spend everyday worrying about running out of food and water. But the instinct to get more than we need is still there. And it’s something that appeals to just about everyone at some level.
And that’s why things like “package deal discounts” or “scarcity of availability” can be such powerful elements in our sales approach.
So how do we trigger this natural human instinct in our readers?
Like everything else in sales copy, it all starts with understanding our audience. And realizing different groups of people have different wants and needs.
In fact, the disposable income level of your customers will often define what they consider to be a good deal, and can be a bigger deciding factor than the actual value of your product or service.
For example: When you’re selling an item that might have an average market value of $100 to a wealthy client, you might want to up the price to $200 and highlight the quality, or exclusivity of the product.
Is this you being greedy? Yes.
But it’s your customers greed that we’re triggering here.
For someone making $500,000 a year the extra money is a small price to pay for the status of buying the best. And they’re probably used to paying higher prices when they shop.
They might not even question the higher price. But they’re almost certain to question the quality if the price is too low.
So you get more money for the same purchase, and they get more status for buying the best. And everybody’s greed gland is happy with the transaction.
On the other hand, if you’re selling the same product to someone making only $30,000 a year, that $200 price tag might be enough for them to look somewhere else to find a better bargain. (lower price, more quantity, or a package deal of some kind)
Then you not only lose the first sale, but you also lose interest from that customer for any follow up sales.
That’s why it’s so important to always, always, always (did I mention “always”?) understand your target demographic, and specifically the average income level of your ideal customers. Then you can price your offer accordingly.
If you’re not sure of the income level, you can start by using a common pricing strategy where we offer a more expensive option first, and then present a less expensive alternative.
The difference in prices, and a clear comparison of the different features, can help you tap into the greed of 2 different markets at the same time.
It appeals to the high income group because the more expensive version has more features, or is higher status due to its higher price tag.
And it appeals to the lower income group, because the less expensive option seems like a small sacrifice in features for a reduction in cost.
Of course perceived value is something that can fluctuate from person-to-person. So there’s no way to understand exactly where the sweet spot is in any particular market. But by using these strategies we can tap into a higher percentage of customers, and increase our sales exponentially.
On the other hand, we only want to use this strategy when it won’t hurt our brand image.
For example: If we’re known for making exclusive (aka expensive) products, but then we try to tap into a budget conscious market, we run a genuine risk of having sales from our higher end products drop significantly.
This is because our higher end clients may not want to be associated with a brand that sells low priced products. So like anything else, always test a small market segment before rolling out a big campaign.
Another way to stimulate the greed glands is to offer a discount on volume buying.
This is a pretty straight forward approach that many retailers use, and it’s self explanatory, so I won’t go into great detail about it here.
In fact, most of us have been trained to believe that buying in bulk always leads to a better price per unit. And unfortunately a few unscrupulous retailers take advantage of peoples trust by actually charging more per unit when buying in bulk.
Their hope is that you won’t compare unit price, and you’ll simply assume that you’re getting a bargain when you buy more.
But honest merchants, like us, can also use this consumer instinct to make larger sales. We may lose a small amount per unit, but we get a larger upfront sale and more immediate cash flow from the purchase. Plus we may also gain a reputation for offering great value, which can translate into future sales.
The key to this strategy is to convince your reader they should buy more than they currently need.
For many products this is fairly easy to accomplish. Especially those products that have a long shelf life. As long as your customer has room to store the extra surplus, most people will opt to buy as much as they can reasonably afford at the moment.
For perishable items, and many services, it’s not as easy to convince people to buy more than they need. But this is where “package deals” can help you increase sales volume.
By offering bonuses, or related items that can be sold together in a package, you not only increase the perceived value of your offer but also make it difficult for people to compare your offering with those of your competitors.
Just remember, in our copy we always want to justify the reasons why having the extra items on hand is good idea.
Finally, lowering the price of your offer is another way to stimulate the greed instinct and attract more customers.
This strategy can work in a couple of different ways, and each way has its own inherent dangers as well as benefits for your business…
Lower prices can open up your offer to a wider market, especially budget conscious consumers. And ideally you can make up for lower margins with increased volume.
Also, having a low priced introductory offer (sometimes referred to as a “loss leader”) can lead to future sales. Because even if you make less profit up front, you can still make a good profit on back-end sales to those same customers.
The down side to competing on lower prices is your competition can lower their price and undercut your numbers. Then you’ll need to lower your prices again, to stay competitive, and the race to the bottom begins where even the winner loses.
So lower price strategies can work. Just be sure you know what you’re getting in to, and have a plan for increasing your profits.
The bottom line here is this… In sales, greed isn’t just about charging people the most money you can get out of them. It’s also about providing triggers so your buyer believes they are getting a better than average deal. Either because of a lower price, or because the cost is less than the perceived value.
Until next time…
Here’s to making better offers that attract more sales.
All the best,
- Using Transition Words to Keep Your Readers Engaged - November 27, 2020
- Make more money by fusing the power of “greed” with your sales copy - August 22, 2020
- Part 2 – The secret to writing persuasive sales copy - April 30, 2020