Make Offers to Lift Sales and Get Leads

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In this series we have looked at various offers, including classic response-boosting offers; offers that reduce risk, reduce price and increase urgency; and offers that improve terms or that offer services or bribes.


In this final installment, we cover a few offers designed to increase dollars per sale and to generate sales inquiries. If you've missed any of these articles (shame on you), go to www.DirectCreative.com for the whole list and lots of other goodies.


Increasing sales. In the long run, profit, not a high response, is your goal. Offers that increase total profit sometimes pay off better even if the response rate is lower.


· Deluxe version. You offer a second version of the same item with enhanced features for a little more money.


· Good, better, best. This gives your prospect a choice of quality. It also subtly urges people to spend more than they might if you can demonstrate that the "best" choice is the best value. Ideally, you should show more features for higher-quality items.


· Load ups. In a continuity series, you send all the items in a series after the first few are paid for, allowing your customer to continue paying month-to-month. Or you offer a certain number of items for a low price with a commitment to buy a certain number at the regular price within a certain time frame.


· Membership fee. You ask your prospect to pay a one-time fee to become an exclusive member of your club or organization in return for reduced prices and other benefits not available to the general public. The fee can be assessed yearly, or it can be a larger, one-time, lifetime fee.


· Ship till forbid. This often is used with continuity programs, business services or perishable products. Your customer gets the convenience of regular shipments and the option of canceling those shipments at any time while you get regular orders.


Generating inquiries. For products and services you can't sell in one step, you need offers that can identify prospects for your sales team. This usually involves giving something away.


· Free information. This is the ideal offer for identifying interested prospects for a sales staff, making two-step sales, creating a list and initiating a first contact for a long-term relationship or sales cycle.


· Free samples. If you have a good product, it can sell itself if you can get a sample into a prospect's hands. You can offer a free sample or charge a nominal fee (which may encourage the prospect to try it).


· Free gift for inquiry. You offer a gift as a reward for requesting information about your product or service. As you might expect, this can boost the number of prospects who inquire but lower their quality.


· Sales call. Your prospect asks for a salesperson to call and set up an appointment. This produces high-quality leads but much lower overall response. Generally those who want to talk to a salesperson are ready to buy.


· Free survey of your needs. You offer to analyze your prospect's requirements with no obligation. Then you show how your product or service can fulfill those requirements.


· Free demonstration. This is especially good for equipment that is new or complex. You offer to bring the item to the prospect or invite the prospect to a particular location for a demonstration. You also can send a free demo on a CD or videotape or offer a demo version of the product.


· Free estimate. For businesses that get bids or analyze costs carefully, this a good first step for getting a foot in the door.


· Free subscription. You offer a subscription to a newsletter, journal or other company publication to educate prospects and build your database. It should include valuable editorial material, not just promotional puffery.


· Member-Get-a-Member. You give your customer a gift for providing the name of someone else who may be interested in your wares. This is a good way to build your customer base.


· In direct marketing, everything comes down to accepting or rejecting an offer. So offers are critical to success. The 59 offers we've covered in this series are just a few of the most popular and successful, and they are in no way comprehensive. Will I ever tackle a comprehensive list of offers? Maybe. Stay tuned.


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