Marketing an expensive product

Selling an expensive product to wealthier people takes a slightly different approach. This article looks at some of the marketing strategy involved.

“The rich are different to us. They have more money.”

Scott Fitzgerald wrote the words above in ‘The Great Gatsby’, his novel about the idle rich. But the rich aren’t idle anymore; they are busy.

According to Barclays, there are over 600,000 millionaires living in Britain and that number is growing. The market for luxury goods is strong and buoyant.

In the present economic climate it’s easy to believe that every sale is price sensitive but in Golden Coast’s 2012 Wet Leisure Industry Survey, some of the most positive feedback came from businesses working at the top end of the market.

Selling a product that costs £10,000 isn’t ten times harder than selling a product that costs £1,000, but marketing expensive products to wealthier people does take a slightly different approach.

Finding them and letting them find you.

As with all marketing and sales, the process starts with a blank page. The customer doesn’t know you, and you don’t know them.

Ordinarily, the first step to making your potential customer aware of your business might be some form of advertising. This can happen at the top end of the market too, but if you are hoping to install a custom designed pool or sell a luxury sauna or spa then mass media is a pretty inefficient way of going about it.

Lifestyle magazines may seem tempting but in the main their circulation is made up of people who aspire to buying what’s on those glossy pages rather than people who can actually afford them.

Affluent customers for expensive products are best found in other ways.

  • Experiences. County shows draw the wealthy. If you have a stand that demonstrates quality, innovation and great design, you will draw their attention.
  • Recommendations. People socialise with people who are like themselves. The social network of one customer who has bought a luxury pool or sauna from you is likely to include a number of other potential customers. Encourage them to spread the word.
  • Be seen where they are seen. Golf clubs, health clubs and spa hotels are all places where the right sort of people will be spending time. What can you do to get your business seen there?

Remember that at this stage you are not trying to sell anything. You are trying to make them aware of your business and its products, that’s all.

Expensive products are chosen and bought rather than being sold.

The sort of person who buys a luxury spa or bespoke pool doesn’t like being sold to.

In many ways, ‘not selling’ is the hardest lesson to learn in this sector of the market.

Once a potential customer has become aware of what you have to offer they will want to make some enquiries. You have got their interest and they will want to do their research. Try and make sure that what they discover and learn shows your business in the best light.

The recommendations of their peers will carry the greatest weight so every single sale that you make to this group needs to be carried through, delivered and supported flawlessly so that existing customers can recommend you without hesitation.

The next thing that they will be looking for is expert knowledge. Whether it is face-to-face or online, be generous with your knowledge and advice.

Offer to solve their problems, offer to provide them with something exclusive or tailored to their needs, show them that you can provide a service that your competitors can’t. Just don’t try selling to them.

Let them decide to buy from you.

Considerations and decisions.

Selling an expensive product is usually a longer process than selling a cheaper one.

Your potential customer is, like all customers, looking at the deal both rationally and emotionally. Yes, they can afford that £14,000 hot tub and yes, they want it but they still need to find the right justifications to purchase and assurances that they will receive the quality of service that they expect.

They are looking for value but not in the same way that your supermarket talks about ‘Great Value!’

The best possible design, the highest quality materials, options to personalise it to their own, exacting taste and specifications, fantastic service and unrivalled after-sales care.

Your customer needs to feel that they have discovered that those are the values that you are offering them.

Once the sale is made.

Once the sale is made then, in this market, the job of marketing is far from over.

Recommendations and referrals are the most powerful tools when selling expensive items so you need to make sure that the customer is delighted with both the products and the service that you have provided.

If you can offer to keep them informed of any innovations or up-grades that might appeal to them, relevant to the purchase they have just made, then that gives you a chance to keep in touch. If you keep in touch and keep looking after them then you’ll stay front of mind and they will mention your business to their friends.

Then hopefully the process begins again.