I was at a pool party on the weekend and heard a fascinating story.
I was speaking to a highly successful Beverly Hills property developer and he was telling me about a startling experience he had in Paris.
He loves watches and decided to visit the main store of Patek Phillipe, the eminent watch maker.
As you’d expect, there was a extensive array of watches, most priced around the five to ten grand mark.
Then suddenly he saw something that stopped him in his tracks.
There, glistening in a glass case was a watch with a price tag of one million dollars.
I kid you not, they sell a million dollar watch.
But even more amazing was this: he said in order to buy this watch you must write to the CEO of Patek Phillipe and tell him why you deserve it!
Can you believe that? They have the gall to charge a million for a watch and then you have to pass a test to see if you are worthy of it? Amazing.
And brilliant marketing.
By making you apply to buy the watch they change their position in the sales relationship. They move from someone hoping for a sale to someone in charge. They also make the watch seem even more desirable – it is for those who are exemplary in not one but two ways: They are extremely financially successful and also a true connoisseur of time pieces.
They also dramatically reduce the chances of the buyer asking for a discount. The buyer is just hoping to be accepted.
Furthermore, and very importantly, even if they never sell this watch, they have positioned ALL of the other watches in the store as good value by comparison.
And positioned Patek Phillipe even more strongly at the top of the brand exclusivity ladder.
Wow. That is truly great marketing.
Now I’m not of course suggesting that you charge a million dollars for your product (unless you feel you can get away with it of course).
But I do ask you to have a think about how you could do something similar.
Consider how you could both create a premium priced product and make people fill out an application to buy it.
Make them prove they are worthy of your product, make it seem only for a select few, the deserving handful who appreciate it’s extraordinary value.
It may seem paradoxical, but making it hard to buy a product very often increases the customer’s desire for it.
We all want what we can’t have.
Conversely, if you look too eager to sell something, the customer usually doesn’t want to buy it.
Masters of business are very aware of this conundrum and therefore think very carefully about both their pricing and the availability of their goods.
They don’t just sell.
They make people want to buy.