One of the most-asked questions I get from readers is about learning the “real secrets” to success on eBay, Amazon or online marketing in general. I always struggle with answering that because in truth I have always felt that there are no real secrets. The Internet is so transparent and fast changing that once someone figures out a new way to do something different or unique; it is impossible to hide, and only stays a secret for a very short period of time.
But one day last week, it hit me. I thought: “What is the one trait that successful sellers possess and practice that separates them from everyone else who struggles?” The answer is Value. Every successful seller I know is a master at delivering value. It doesn’t matter if they are selling eBooks or dog kennels. Whether they are selling on eBay, Amazon, Etsy or from their own website. They have learned to always deliver more than the customer expects. They have mastered the “value proposition.”
So what is the “value proposition?” It is a business policy you create based on a review and analysis of the benefits, costs and value that you can deliver to your customers and prospective customers. If you want to reduce it to simple math, the formula would be Value = Benefits you can deliver minus your Cost.
What are some of the components of value?
- Cost (price) – this is the most basic statement of value. If you can sell an item for less than someone else then it’s easy to deliver value –but it may not be the most profitable.
- Service – Can you provide a service that others are not offering, for example, gift wrapping including a gift card and shipping directly to the recipient
- Shipping – Can you ship something faster or for lower cost or can you profitably offer free shipping?
- Uniqueness – Does your product or service do something or offer some benefit that others do not? Do you have a product that is in short supply that others cannot deliver?
- Trust – Can you, or do, you project a feeling of trust so that people feel safe buying from you?
- Refund/Return Policy – Do you offer a guarantee and a liberal return/exchange policy?
- Relationship – Are you an expert or specialist in what you are selling? People perceive value when they buy from a knowledgeable specialist.
- Communications – Is it easy for your customers to communicate with you? (My website features 3 ways to contact me; email, telephone and mailing address).
- Quality – Are your products superior quality to competitors? I sell the most expensive line of outdoor garden firepits on the market, but people pay for them because I convince them that the quality of my firepits are better and they will last longer.
- Customization – Is there any way to customize or personalize the products you are selling? People will pay to “have it your way.”
- Specific solution – Does your product solve a specific problem? There are a lot of weight-loss products on the market, but does your product work for folks who are diabetics or who have high blood pressure? One of the products I sell is a line of ceramic chef’s knives with a handle that is comfortable for older folks with arthritis.
There are more components to value, but these are some of the major ones that come to mind. Give some thought to this while you review the products you are selling and how you are selling them. One of the easiest to implement is a liberal guarantee, refund/return policy. I offer a no-questions-asked money back guarantee on everything I sell. Yet, my return rate is less than 2% and I get far more in sales and profits because I have that policy, than I lose on any return.