I’ve tried to find shoes for my son for about six months. I tried to buy him cute shoes last summer just for fun, but I couldn’t find any that fit. Then last fall when he started pulling up and cruising around, we actually needed shoes, so I bought more pairs trying to find any that would work. I bought some from Babies”R”Us, Target and Nike. I tried Velcro closure, elastic strings, and slip-ons. I kept having the same problem over and over again. Any shoe that I could actually get on his feet wouldn’t stay on. He’d step right out of them.
My friend Beth has two boys, and she told me to go to Stride Rite. I rejected this idea immediately because she said they were like $50 a pair.
Then this past weekend happened.
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It was the first warm and sunny weekend we’d had in Nashville in a while, and everyone was out. My friends and I decided to meet at the park with our babies to play on the playground. Now that Carter is actually walking pretty consistently, I really needed shoes. I brought his Nikes that, even though he could step out of them, were the only ones I could get on his feet.
We got to the park, and within 45 seconds he was out of his shoes and into the mulch on the playground. Of course the sticks got stuck in his socks and he cried. While all of my other friends’ babies walked around happily with their little feet safe from the mulch in their shoes, Carter and I wrestled in and out of shoes that clearly were not working.
That was the final straw. I took my crying, mulch-toed, shoeless child from the park and straight to Stride Rite in the mall. I came in exasperated and the nice employee asked if I needed help.
Yes. Yes, I did need help.
She measured Carter’s foot and then told me his size. It all made sense then.
“He’s a size 5.5 and so we will need a 6. Oh and he’s an extra wide. We only make one shoe in an extra wide, so I will go get you that in both colors.”
Of course I was overwhelmed with mom-guilt as memory after memory of me trying to cram his extra-wide feet into normal shoes washed over me. And I was simultaneously relieved to have some freaking explanation.
She came back with the shoe and it slipped on Carter’s foot like Cinderella’s missing slipper. It was so effortless and perfect I almost cried. I said, “I’ll take them in every color you have.”
So two pairs of shoes and $84 later, my problem was solved—and I’d never been so happy to spend money in my life. It’s sickening to think of how much I’ve actually spent on the wrong shoes over the last six months.
Now this is not an endorsement for Stride Rite. I don’t know the first thing about them other than within four minutes of walking in, my problem was solved and my baby now has shoes that fit his extra-wide feet.
But it made me realize something about sales.
The problem in that scenario wasn’t that the shoes weren’t valuable or worth $42. The problem is that I, as the customer, didn’t think they were.
But the moment I recognized the value—that they not only showed me my problem (extra-wide feet) but solved my problem—they became priceless to me. I would have paid double the price to have proper shoes on my child’s especially large feet.
And your customer will feel the same way. They will be happy to pay the price, but only when three things occur.
It’s that simple. And for good sales to happen, these three things need to happen.
First, there needs to be value. You need to offer something unique, special or excellent. My goal in creating the Business Boutique event was that people left with their expectations exceeded. I told my team ahead of time, “I want the first session alone to be so valuable that the attendees think, If I leave now, it was worth the money.” You need to have value in your products and services.
Second, you need to believe in the value of your products and services. The problem with many of the women I work with in business is that they don’t believe in the value of their product or service, so they don’t price it properly and they aren’t comfortable marketing or selling it. Even if the value is there (which it usually is), if you don’t believe your value, no one else will either.
Lastly, you need to communicate that value to your customers so that they get it too. I’d never heard of Stride Rite other than from a friend’s recommendation with no details. How different can they be? I thought. I figured they were just an overpriced shoe store with the same shoes I’d been having no success with all along. Had I seen an advertisement or heard from a friend that within four minutes they will be able to assess my problem and provide shoes that fit perfectly, I would have gone in a heartbeat. I had just never had the value communicated to me up to that point. But the moment I got it, I was sold.
So maybe the problem with your business and sales isn’t that your product isn’t valuable. Maybe it’s that you just don’t believe it is, and you aren’t communicating that it is. If you can start believing in it, you can start communicating it to your audience. Then your sales transactions will be full of customers that are not only willing, but happy—thrilled even—to pay $42 for a pair of tiny tennis shoes.
Because everyone realizes that the value is there.