Creating a sense of exclusivity can be a very effective marketing tactic. Check out this copy from luxury goods providers Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, Singapore Airlines, and Mikimoto:
“Bespoke is Rolls-Royce”
“Our Singapore Airlines Suites…provide the distinguished few with their very own haven of tranquility.”
“The Mikimoto woman is captured in real moments, her allure building as she’s portrayed in a range of scenarios, from the cosmopolitan and kinetic to the personal and romantic. The pearls she wears seem inseparable from the woman herself— perfectly suited for the lifestyle of luxury, beauty, and grace that she cultivates.”
Ooo, la la! The consumers of these goods and services are made to feel very special and enlightened because of their buying choices. Done well, this kind of marketing can create excellent results. But it can backfire if at first you seem to be inclusive then reveal that you offer is only for the chosen few.
We want you, except we don’t
I was recently invited to join a LinkedIn group that is made up of “thought leaders and serial entrepreneurs” who provide their services at a cost of at least $10,000 per project. Wow, so far so good. I wouldn’t mind earning that kind of money. The people in this group “believe in adding true value to their clients for mutual services.” Hey, I’m all about networking and sharing my strategies for the betterment of all. I’m liking this! The invitation went on to say that the group is highly moderated and focused on discussion, networking, client acquisition strategies, and stories of both success and failure. By now I can’t wait to join this group, it sounds like a perfect fit. Except it wasn’t, because the last line of the invitation was this:
“Sorry to those who are just starting out and do not have clients paying already $10K or more yet. This is not for you.”
“This is not for you,” what am I, six years old? And after all of that talk about the amazing benefits of joining this group, you’re telling me that now I’m not good enough for you? Yeah, whatever, I don’t even care! Except that I do. *sniff*
Vetting your audience
When you’re marketing an upscale product or service, it’s very important to make sure that the people you’re communicating to are both receptive to your message and able to afford what you’re selling. How do you do this? By being very direct about the nature of your business and the costs involved. Here’s how I would have started this invitation:
“If you are a thought leader or serial entrepreneur who regularly bills $10K and more for your services, this is the group for you.”
Easy, right? Those who aren’t billing that high can stop reading and those who fall into that group can continue.
It’s easy to relate this to presenting. If you have a sales presentation about a product that you know is suitable for, say, aerospace engineers, you’re not going to do it for the local Chamber of Commerce. You’d be wasting everyone’s time, yours and your audience’s. What’s more, finding out at the end of the presentation that the product isn’t available to anybody other than aerospace engineers or that each one costs $500,000 will sour your relationship with the Chamber.
Make sure that for any presentation you make, the audience is receptive, that they are in the market for what you’re selling, and that they can afford it. The bait-and-switch approach is insulting and it perpetuates the negative stereotypes people have about salespeople.