Branding with a Sale

In general, I don’t think offering sales are the greatest way of advancing your business. But, that doesn’t mean there isn’t any value in it. Yes, offering a deal may get more people to visit your business. But, are those the people you want to become your main income source? If you train your clientele to anticipate sales, they won’t buy from you unless you’re on sale. They’ll come to expect your goods or services to be discounted. They’ll learn to not buy from you at full price.

Sometimes that’s ok for a business. If your business plan is built on earning money that way, then no worries! If you want to get a loyal following that uses your services because you are the best, then you want to move in a different direction. Businesses that build growth based on sale prices have trouble raising the value of their product. If you offer a great product, you shouldn’t need to lower your prices to promote sales. But, that’s not what this article is about. I want to talk about using sales gimmicks more like a brand. The only way to do that is to do it continuously, and with a great offer.

To understand this, you need to realize how a sale works. Sales work because they get people to come in immediately. You drop your prices, and people show up. Branding is a long term process. You start your branding message, and if it’s good you’ll see results within 6-12 months. It’s a tough thing to start, but if you’re successful, you won’t need to discount your services ever again. People will know who you are, and if your message is good enough they’ll show up when they’re ready to buy your product. It’s difficult to begin, but once you’ve made it through the dry months you’ll reap the benefits from there on. So, is there a middle ground between the two principles? I think so. I’ll give you an example of how I think you can pull that off.

I have an idea that can work for most categories, but it’s better for “high cost” products. By that, I mean car dealerships, and condo builds. Clients are always looking for a good idea for added value to bring in customers. I always tell them that they need to offer something great to get it done. Usually, they’re a little timid when it comes to offering such a big prize though. For my example, I’ll focus on a car dealership. I think it’s a great idea for an auto-trader to give one car away free each month. That’s a huge expense, but if you plan, it doesn’t have to be. An average dealership can sell 100-150 cars in a month. With my idea, every person who buys a car in any given month would be put into a draw to win their purchase. Every month, one of those 100-150 people would get their car for free.

The thought behind this – When it comes to automotive purchases, most people have their mind made up before they ever make it into their dealership of choice. Usually, they know what brand they would like to buy. There may be some leeway on the car itself. That’s why most dealership managers will tell you that their biggest competition is other dealerships that sell the same make. Ford dealerships are in more competition with other Ford dealerships than they are with Toyota dealerships. But, that’s tough for advertising. They can’t say their cars are better because it’s the exact same product. There is some wiggle room on the price, but not enough to be interesting. So, potential clients will have very little reason to choose one dealership over another. But, if one place gives you the chance to win your car for free every month, that tilts the scales. It also leaves you free to sound honest in your advertising. You can say that “all the other Ford dealerships offer the same fantastic product that we do. We know you’ll be happy buying from another dealership. But, if you buy from us, you may just get your new Ford for free. So, why not come here.” And really, how big a cost is it to lose one out of every 100 cars for free? If your answer is a lot, read on.

The Financial Twist – If I was managing a dealership that offered this deal, I would raise the price of each model by 1%. If you sell a hundred cars, you’ve paid for the extra cost on your promotion. Yes, you will be more expensive than other dealerships by 1%, but I honestly believe that your deal will be more interesting to real people. I know I’d pay 1% extra for a reasonable chance to win my car for free

The Execution – This is what makes this more of a branding campaign. It isn’t tied to a specific “weekend blowout sale.” The promotion is available every day of the year, all year. If you buy your Ford here, you will be entered to win it for free against all other purchases that month. I would advise that every month when you call the winner, it should be recorded for your radio ads. Each month your commercial will have 15 seconds of an elated customer from your dealership who just won a free car that month. All you have to do next is remind people that “this could be you if you buy your next ford at ABC Ford.” You now have a good reason for people to come to your dealership over a competitor on any given day by using what is essentially, a sale.

Huzzah!! There is a middle ground.

Contact me anytime at if you’d like to talk about making a promotion like this for your business!