Leading Innovation

How To Avoid The Most Common Pricing Mistakes

Pricing for Profit

Business e-Coach   Success 360   Emfographics

Vadim Kotelnikov, founder of 1000ventures - personal logo    Kore 10 Tips    One World, One Way, icon, logo 


By Marlene Jensen, Author of Pricing Psychology Report. Used by permission.


Unless you provide very high priced, custom-to-each-client services, the worst way to price your products or service is cost-plus pricing. How cost-plus pricing works: You calculate your full costs, including overhead, and set a price where all of those costs are covered and so is an acceptable (to you) amount of profit per sale.

Example: You plan to sell t-shirts, so you add in your direct costs (materials & ink for the logos) of let's say $15, add in a piece of your overhead (salaries, rent, etc.) let's say $12, plus your desired profit of $4 per shirt to arrive at a price of $31.

Cost-plus pricing is not only your worst choice, but it is also the most widely used pricing strategy. That means that when you start pricing more intelligently, you will have a real advantage over most of your competitors! >>   Example

So, you may ask, if cost-plus pricing covers all my costs and gives me a fixed amount of profit per sale what's not to like? There are three key problems with it:


Problem #1: The price you establish may be so high that you will lose money through lost sales. Consumers buy at a price that seems "right" to them. Can you picture them thinking the following? "Well... this price is much higher than I expected to pay, but the seller must need to make this much to cover costs so I'd better pay it or the seller may lose sales." I can't picture it either!

Problem #2: All cost-plus calculations require an estimate of sales to be accurate. To figure in overhead, you have to apply it to each product sold. For example, if your rent/phone/electricity/assistant costs add up to $100,000/year and you estimate your company will sell 100,000 t-shirts, you apply $1 of your overhead to the price of each t-shirt to cover that cost. But... what happens if you actually sell just 20,000 t-shirts? That means you have $80,000 of costs Which you did NOT cover. That means the fixed amount of profit you built into each price has just disappeared. In fact, you have lost money with a pricing strategy that was supposed to "guarantee" you a profit.

Nobody can do an accurate enough prediction of sales volume to make cost-plus pricing work (except for companies which create a separate bid for each large-priced, custom job they bid on). After all, the number of products you can sell will vary widely depending on the price you set.

Problem #3: Cost-plus pricing can cause you to underprice your products or services thus cheating your company of sales it could have earned. How? Let's suppose by some miracle you actually guessed right on the units you would sell. Let's say you calculated you could sell 100,000 t-shirts, and by using cost-plus pricing you came up to a price of $26 to cover all your costs and add $4 profit per shirt. Then you sold 100,000.

Congratulations? Maybe not. Maybe those consumers who bought at $26 would have been perfectly willing to buy the same shirt at $29. What happened? You just cost the company $300,000! That extra money could have allowed your company to test a new product line... or covered losses from another product... or allowed the owner (you?) to put your kids through college.

Xenia Kotelnikova Contextual Value Proposition Sell benefits What Makes People Buy Risks Perceived by Customers Pricing Mistakes Barriers To Change Selling Is Problem Solving Selling Presentation: Sell Twin Benefits Emotional Marketing


Contextual Customer Value Proposition - Benefit-Cost Ratio (BCR), emfographics by Vadim Kotelnikov



Customer Success 360  Download PowerPoint presentation, pdf e-book

Synergistic Selling: 3 Components

What's your product WORTH to consumers?

That's the only real basis for setting a price. If you can't get enough from a such a price to be profitable you shouldn't be selling the product!

How do you calculate the value of something to a customer? Start with the price of your nearest competitor's product. That will be (in the consumer's mind) a "reference price." What they would expect (all things being equal) to pay for your product.

Virtuoso Marketing

Empathetic Marketing

Focus on Emotional Drivers

Sell Benefits

Selling Is Problem Solving

Then add in the value (to the consumer) of the superior benefits and features your product has over your competitor's. Then subtract the value of your competitor's features which are superior to yours.  >>>

Differentiation Strategies

10 Lessons from Konosuke Matsushita






From the same bunch of the keys to Customer Success 360     Business e-Coach   Kore 10 Tips      Case Studies   Emfographics   Success 360   One World, One Way, icon, logo   Vadim Kotelnikov, founder of 1000ventures - personal logo     

Synergistic Marketing Example: Global Self-Education Statistics Emfographics actors: Xenia Kotelnikova Knowing Your Customers Marketing Plan Creative Marketing Success 360 Surprise To Win Syneregistic Selling Vadim Kotelnikov Virtuoso Marketing Virtuoso Marketing: Science-Art Synergy

What Makes People Buy Customer Value Proposition Emfographics Pricing Sell benefits Emotional Marketing Customer Value PropositionL Benefits, Emotional Appeal, Price