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When I sold beds for a living (nice pay but awful hours), we were trained in the skill of dropping the price to close the sale. They always stressed to NEVER drop the price without a reason. If you just drop it, for no apparent reason other than to get the sale, the customer catches on and you lose their trust. (BTW: This is the reason car salespeople and other big ticket sales professions have the reputation they have.)

So you’d give them some totally stupid reason that you’ll drop the price to see if they are biting. The one I like is the mismatched fabric. After they’ve been hemming and hawing about a certain mattress set and you know that all it will take is a little nudge and they’re hooked, you say, "Tell you what, do you mind if the box spring has a different color fabric than the mattress?" Of course they don’t care. No one cares… particularly if you can save some money. They say, "No" and then you say, "Tell you what, let me check something real quick."

The salesperson goes back to the front counter and checks his shopping list, calls his wife to see what time she’s going to be home… anything to look like you’re checking on something. Then he goes back and gives them the mismatched line and says because they have two mismatches at the warehouse, he can knock another 5% off… or whatever he thinks is the least discount he needs to give to tip them over.

Viola! Sale made. And it only cost you 5%. But the key to the sale was, you gave them a reason for the drop and they were under the assumption they were getting a deal because of a unique situation that needs to be jumped on right away.

Now, there are real reasons for drops as well. But many times, companies will use the drop simply as a closing tool and for no other reason. The reason may be completely false.

The method I recommend, however, is the fun drop. It’s a drop your customer is fully aware of but will take advantage of anyway because they like what you are selling, like you and find your offer compelling, regardless of the reason. My philosophy with drops is to be honest with your customer. Tell them that you need their sale and because you do, you’re going to give them a 5% discount because they have a red shirt on and you love red shirts… or whatever. The point is, you make light of the drop and the customer knows you are on their side and you’re just trying to help them make the decision a little easier.

This idea I just came across at Idea Site for Business is a fun drop. It gives you a reason to send a communication to your customer and it’s a fun drop at the same time. Relate a special price you are running on a product with a famous person’s birthday. Here’s a snippet from the site on this idea:

Examples: Offer a "genius" of a sale on Einstein’s birthday : March 14. Have a really "cheap" price for one day only on Jack Benny’s birthday: February 14th. Haven’t heard from a client in a while? Harpo Marx’s birthday is November 23rd (he was the deaf Marx Brother.)

Is that genius, or what? (Excuse the pun.) I just love it.

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