Saturday, December 15, 2012

How much cleavage must one show?

Hard bargaining is a way of life in India. If the cost of a product is X, then, in the buying process, the customer might start bargaining from exactly 50% of the price of the product, scaling up to 60 – 70% of the price and finally strike the final blow, by threatening to leave without buying the product if it can’t be delivered at that price. The salesman at this point agrees to the customer. He too, has marked up the price by 25% knowing that he will face a hard bargain come hell come high water.

This entire process has seen the customer and the salesman engaged with each other for a good 15 minutes, which can be said to be a waste of time.

Traditionally, the salesman arrived with his goods to the Indian home, threw it open to everyone in the family to choose from, then, it finally came to the head of the family to make the purchase. The process may have had the salesman, strike a large deal albeit having spent an enormous amount of time with the family, sometimes even sharing a meal with the purchaser. It was time invested in the family, knowing that there would be repeat sales here, over time.

In the present day scenario, when the purchaser must go to the sales outlet, it is upto the salesman to decide how much of cleavage he must show, to make the sales happen in minutes or let it pass.

The difference is between crass and class. In the case of the former, one might start on a high price and end up pulling it down sizably, thereby, showing a lot more than what was asked for. But, in the latter, one would put a price and not move from it, not allowing bargain at all. So the pricing becomes suggestive of a certain class which says politely this much and no more.

If a magazine whose only income comes from the advertisements it receives, says no to ads which are more than five in the magazine, it shows it belongs to a certain class. Readers will have more reading material than have to sieve through page upon page of advertisements, they did not pay for. This is classy. The advertiser may pay a higher price for the ad in such a magazine, but is going to be noticed and perhaps read and acted upon, than a magazine full of so many ads, that the reader thrashes all the ads, including most of the magazine.

This is the point of smart selling - less always mean more, while more is an often an underachiever in the long run.

Coming back to our point, how much cleavage must one show? Would you prefer to reveal just enough to keep the desire going, or would you reveal it all, and end the desire for more in a one-time sales, or repeat low-priced sales, is the question every salesman must ask? What is preferred - Class or crass? Can we afford to sell apples at the price of bananas?

Think while you watch:


Ashish Sehgal said...

Interesting observations, Rules of the game keeps changing from season to season. There are times when 'less is more' is practices well in life, sales and marketing; and when 'less is more' concept becomes 'more' or overused, the phase inverts itself and "more is more' tales the edge. Show more, sell more. The shout aloud concept. Then, then the eardrums start paining, the 'less is more' concept returns. The cycle keeps running.

Julia Dutta said...

Hi Ashish,
I was trying to get to the idea of being classy - when you price lower the sales may go up, but you become the run of the mill. But being pricey helps, in setting your standard and keeping the class, and wading away the crass. On the suject of sales, every view is right, the question only is: when? All year? Or only seasonally? I prefer, all year high price, class consciousness.
Thanks for seeing me here!

Ashish Sehgal said...

The most expensive brands all around the world also have an off season sale where masses can lay their hands on the classy stuff. The idea is to keep masses involved and still keep the class above the rest.
The low price options of classier brands serve the purpose of keeping the buzz alive.

Julia Dutta said...

Yes, I know, but I think in this discussion we are going off the point or my point has failed to communicate.
Let me give you an example: As ad guys, our HOT season may be the last three months before FY closing, because budgets have to be exhausted. My lean month may be April - May. But during those months I can't drop my consultancy charges.
Similarly, I know what you are talking about, but if RBX sells on the road for Rs 600 a pair, its because they don't have warehouse space any more but when you shop for them, they will not bring their prices down. There is a difference - I market my product at a certain price, I won't sell less than that. I prefer to junk it. So, you are not going to find RBX at their Outlets; you might find them elsewhere and who is to tell, whether it is RBX or not!