Oct 16 • Jen Guerriero

Why "Special Pricing" Isn't Very Special

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Here at Poisonous People, we promise never to offer any discounts, coupons, sales, or promo codes*.  But why?  Don't promo codes and reduced pricing save you money?  Not exactly.  Here are three things you might not know about "special" pricing:

1.  You're Not Actually Getting a Discount.

Many times, a "discount" isn't really a discount, but the illusion that you are receiving a discount. 
Most sellers would not want to sell their product or service at a reduced price, so instead of actually reducing the price, they inflate it to an illusionary "original" price.  Then they insert a "discount" to make it look like you're getting a bargain, when in reality, you're just paying the amount they always wanted you to pay.  Even if a seller or entrepreneur is not aware that they are doing this, they are still unconsciously asking themselves, "What is the lowest price point I'd allow my product or service to go for?" and this is the price that they set for their "discount" price.  Should someone miss the coupon or promo and actually pay the full inflated price, it's a bonus for the seller.

The reason why we make this purchase is not necessarily because we think the item is a good value, but because we are tricked into thinking it's a good value, using something known as the contrast principle.  Chances are, if you were never given two figures to compare, you would have just looked at the one price and determined whether or not you agreed that the item was worth the asking price.  With a coupon or discount, you are most likely making the purchase because you thought it was a "good deal."  Many sellers are counting on you wanting to cash in on these "good deals" whether or not we would have wanted or used the item in the first place!

2.  Discounts = Pressure and Distraction.

Let's face it, most sales, coupons, promos, and discounts are only available for a limited time.  This is known as the scarcity principle.  When we think that something is going to be taken from us, we are more determined than ever to make sure we secure that thing, so we don't miss out.  
Discounts and special pricing take advantage of this by having expiration dates. This places pressure on you to make a decision quickly. As a result, you make a decision not based on whether or not you really want or need the item, but on the fear that you might miss out on the discount. 

That little timer you often see counting down the minutes until the "deal" goes away acts as a distraction and prevents us from making a truly informed decision.
When it comes to FOMO (fear of missing out), we not only make rash decisions, but we also will be hindered from accessing something we really want or need right now, because we're stuck waiting around for it to go on sale.  (And we should wait, because the "sale" price is usually the real price!)  When there are no discounts, we can purchase an item without the wait, with the full assurance that we are getting the best price (because we know it's the only price).

3. Discounts Can Signal an Insecure Seller.

Do you ever wonder what motivates a seller to offer a discount in the first place?  There are generally two reasons.  One is competition.  We know that everyone else is going to be offering a Black Friday Sale, or an after-Christmas sale, so an entrepreneur knows they need to offer these sales in order to keep up with their competitors who might win your business.

But the other reason is insecurity.  Sellers will often run random "sales" because they aren't making enough (or any) money.  When sales have slumped during a slower month or quarter, sellers  will announce a big sale in an effort to boost their revenue during that slower month or quarter.

I often hear sellers say that they must make a sale right away (using the kind of pressure described above), otherwise, a potential buyer will walk away.  The idea is if the buyer walks away, they've lost the sale.

I know for a fact that this is not true.  In my own private practice, I have met people for their first appointment and they tell me that they saw me six, eight, even ten months ago!  They were interested at the time.  They just weren't ready
But once they were ready, they came right back to my page and booked an appointment.  I never had to chase them down, pressure them, or coerce them with better pricing.  This is because the price was never the issue.  Rather, it was something else going on in that person's life that prevented them from pulling that trigger at that time.  

A good friend once told me, "The right thing at the wrong time is still the wrong thing."  I truly believe that the right courses will find the right people, and I don't need to interfere in that process. I am confident enough in my offerings that I don't need to use the "discount" strategy to sway that person's decision.

You may not see anything you like on this site.  But who knows?  Circumstances change.  Perhaps a year from now, the same courses that did not appeal to you suddenly seem like they were designed specifically for you and your needs.  I would rather people purchase one of my courses because it's the right fit, than because they were afraid to miss out on some fictitious "discount."

If you never purchase anything on this site, my hope is that I've at least given you something to think about so when you are making purchases elsewhere online (or in person), you will have a different framework from which you can evaluate your choices.  

Hopefully, you will never be swayed by a discount or coupon again!

*Note:  We do have "FREEWEB" coupon codes for all our webinars.  Our webinars are always free, but they expire after 14 days.  Unfortunately, the course delivery system we use does not allow free courses to expire.  Solution?  We made up an arbitrary price for our webinars (thus tricking the system into thinking they are paid), and offer a promo code to bring the price back down to zero.  So you can see the "fake discount" principle in action!