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Yanik Silver is a serial entrepreneur although he still considers himself a 'techno
dunce'. Starting from his one-bedroom apartment and with just a few hundred
dollars, Yanik has built multiple 7-figure businesses.
He is the author, co-author or publisher of several best-selling marketing books and
tools including Moonlighting on the Internet, Instant Sales Letters® & 34 Rules for
Maverick Entrepreneurs. Yanik is a highly sought after speaker addressing groups
ranging from the prestigious Wharton Business School to international audiences of
As a self-described "adventure junkie", Yanik has found that his own life-changing
experiences such as running with the bulls, bungee jumping, sky diving, exotic car
road rallies and Zero-Gravity flights have not only brought a profound sense of
accomplishment but also led to breakthroughs in ideas, focus and business thinking.
That’s why he combined both his passions to found Maverick Business Adventures
creating the kind of "club" he’d want to be part of. In between adventures, he calls
Potomac, Maryland home with his wife, Missy, and 2 mavericks in the making, Zak &
Currently his most important mission is impacting 1,000,000 young entrepreneurs
(ages 13-23) to start or grow their business by 2020 and to get his 2½ year old
daughter, Zoe, potty trained.
How to Sell at Prices Double or Triple Your Competitors (and
still provide an incredible value)
Not too long ago I conducted a $10,000/person workshop on “How to Sell Super High-
Priced Information Products and Services” and I’ll share a few insights here…
If you boil down my biggest profit windfalls in my business (and the most astute
marketers I observe) it has come down to selling premium products and services at
premium prices. That's how my business has leapfrogged from 6-figures to 7-figures and
now multiple 7-figures a year!
Personally, I've sold everything from $5,000 workshops to $14,500.00 "Apprentice
Programs" to $20,000 MasterMind groups and lots in-between. My most recent high-end
product is a $40,000+/yr program for cosmetic surgeons.
First, let's say you want to make an extra $1M this year - then you'd have to sell 20000
copies of your 'doohickey' at $50. Or it could be 2000 copies at $500. Or better still
200 copies at $5000. It's a lot easier dealing with 200 customers than 20,000. Think of all
the customer service and infrastructure, etc.
Now before we get into the “HOW” let’s discuss the “WHY”…
Reason #1: More Profits
Okay no surprise here. When you sell for higher prices you make more profits. Very few
companies have been able to sustain a "low price" position in the marketplace. Sears
couldn't. K-Mart couldn't. And now it remains to be seen what Wal-Mart will do with that
position. (Actually if you study Wal-Mart you'll notice they are bringing in some
significantly high-priced, high-margin products.)
Reason #2: Better Customers
Price qualifies your customers more than you might realize. The ones that pay $7 for an
ebook are going to be the ones that whine and complain the most! They'll tax and strain
your customer support team. But in comparison the customers who spend significant
amounts of money are surprisingly easier to deal with and less demanding. (There’s an
exception to this with forced continuity that I’ll explain to you in another issue.)
A perfect example of this was last week when I took my Aston Martin into the shop for
some minor work. I dropped off the car and needed a loaner. Usually they provide
Mercedes loaners for their customers but they didn't have one available. I told my service
manager, Eric that I really didn't care what I drove out with. He laughed and said the
Aston customers are the easiest ones - just like me they could care less what kind of
loaner they get. But the C-class (cheapest model) Mercedes customers were the worst
because they would rant and yell if they did not get a Mercedes loaner.
What's more, the fact that your customers spent more money means they'll be more
compliant and actually do what you tell them to do. As another example I've been to $500
seminars and I've been to $15,000+ seminars. Which ones do you think I pay more
attention to and make sure I extract more value from? Of course - the more expensive
one. [Funny side note: My friend Jeff Walker had a $5000/person workshop and people
were coming up to him thanking him for charging that price to keep the attendee caliber
Think about the last time you gave free advice to someone - what happened? That's right.
Nothing. But if you had made them pay you for consulting - they would have taken it to
Reason #3: Psychology of Price Works In Your Favor
This is a big one! We've always been taught "You get what you pay for". It's not
uncommon for a prospective customer to discount a product or offering because it's "too
cheap". If the price is not in line with what it should be you'd think there is something
wrong. If I could buy my Aston Martin from the dealer for $25,000 - I'd immediately be
working overtime on what could possibly be wrong with the car. There are certain
products that artificially keep their prices at significant premiums because price is so
highly correlated with value.
What's more, you also gain instant respect and recognition. Only a "true" expert would
charge high prices - so that puts you in that category immediately. (Of course, you better
have the goods to back it up.)
Reason #4: Can Deliver More Value
Ultimately the value you provide will dictate the profits you receive from your customers.
Increase the value and your revenues go up. High-profit products with high-margins give
you lots more wiggle room to deliver sensational value. You can really "WOW" your
customers and buyers. Not only can you throw in high-value extras but you can afford to
deliver truly unique unadvertised bonuses and follow-ups.
For example, I’ve flown Virgin Atlantic twice now in their Upper Class and each time
it’s been a truly astonishing experience starting with before you get on the airplane. The
lounge at Dulles airport is much better than the United Red Carpet Club I usually go to. I
get fresh shrimp, good food and a whole assortment of wines & liquors. Each person in
Upper Class gets their own little “pod”. The cool thing is you can fully recline even on
take-off. Then when you’re ready for nighty-night the seat turns into a lay-flat bed.
Onboard the flight there’s even a bar where passengers
hang out. This was a pic of a random Brit drinking and
then my hairy arm holding a Jack & Coke in the corner
of the frame.
The funny thing was I went up to the bar and everybody
knew each other. They didn’t work together or anything
like that – they simply flew Virgin so much they that
they all met up at the bar. Another over the top thing is they give you a free massage or
manicure on the flight over. They really try to go over and above a traditional airline
On the way home from the UK I try to get over to the airport early to go hang out at the
Virgin Lounge in Heathrow. That place is amazing! It cost $21M and encompasses
27,000 square feet. There’s a pool in there, beauty salon, sushi bar, media room, a garden,
billiards room, etc. In fact, it was featured in Business 2.0 as one of the top perks for
travelers. Though it doesn’t quite compete with First Class on Qatar Airways. According
to Business 2.0 they added a $90 million, 100,000 sq foot terminal reserved just for First
and Business-class passengers. There is a concierge who personally escorts you to the
lounge after security to find all the extras like a doctor on call, full service spa and
Jacuzzi. Plus, there’s no announcement for your flight – a staff member personally points
you to the car that brings you to your plane. Nice.
Another personal example is when I bought my Aston Martin. Previously, I had a
Mercedes SL-55 which cost roughly the same as my new Aston and my only thank you
gift were 2 keychains. Whoopee! Aston gave me a hat, fleece jacket, beautiful coffee
table book on the Aston history and, of course, keychains.
I’m always interested in hearing how high-end companies will go above and beyond the
“typical” experience to create an exceptional one.
Reason #5: Some Buyers Will NOT Buy Low-Priced Items
It sounds crazy but some customers are only premium buyers. If you gave them a
discount it would actually decrease the response. Plus, some customers are only
comfortable buying in the high-end range. I was shocked when I discovered with my first
high-priced offering. My Apprentice program was $14,500 and at the time this was head
and shoulders above any other marketer.
I thought my best prospects for this program would be customers who had already bought
from me and were happy. Surprisingly about half of the people in this program had
*NEVER* bought anything from me before. Their comfort level was for a premium
Reason #6: Create Big Paydays
All the big numbers you've seen highlighted in the marketplace have all come from
creating high-priced offerings. You've seen some of the numbers…$1M in a day,
$900,000.00 in 8 minutes, $3.5M in one week, etc. etc. It's way easier to hit these kind of
big paydays by only having to sell to a small handful of customers.
The other point here is something Dan Kennedy calls “Sending the Bill to the Herd”. If
you have a group of customers who respect and appreciate you – then you can simply
create a high-value proposition and let them pay for whatever you want.
Reason #7: You Will OWN The Marketplace
I think this is the biggest reason of all...
There are 2 big parts to this. First, you can afford to make big payouts to affiliates to push
your product. Listen, if an affiliate has a choice between 2 relatively equal products but
one pays them significantly more – in most cases that affiliate will go with the higher
With high-priced products you have the room to give affiliates such a significant
commission that you'll see a feeding frenzy of activity. (When they're getting a big
affiliate check the affiliates pull out all the stops themselves like incredible free bonuses,
etc to make the sale.)
Plus, the other piece of the puzzle is you can spend more on your own to acquire a
customer. This is huge! If I'm in the same marketplace and I'm competing against
someone who only has a $100.00 product at the end of his or her funnel and I have a
$10,000.00 offering - there's going to be almost no contest. I can spend more on Pay-per-
click, more on advertising, more on affiliate pay-outs, more on offline follow-up, more
on testing unusual advertising places, etc..
And I can make bad results work for me. If I'm direct mailing for a high-priced product I
only need a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the response for a low-priced product to
make me money.
Fact is, the business owner who can spend the most to acquire a customer will WIN.
End of story.
(Please tape that quote somewhere where you can focus on it!)
Most people are undercharging for what they provide. My rule of thumb and one of my
values I look at every morning in my planner says "I get rich by enriching others 10x -
100x what they pay me in return".
That's a big deal for me. If you pay me $1000 for a product - I want to make sure it
delivers $10,000 in value for my customers. I suggest you consider something similar. If
your product isn't good enough for you to raise your price on it - make it better!
And that’s the first step at the “HOW” to double or triple your prices…start
brainstorming the value you provide.
Step #1 – Brainstorming Additional Value
Either find a trusted advisor, work with your team (if you have one) or just grab a blank
yellow legal pad and start coming up with answers. It doesn’t matter how crazy they are.
Just write them all down. In fact, the rules of brainstorming should be used:
Rule #1 – No criticism allowed (turn off your left brain)
Rule #2 – The wilder the better…everything’s possible
Rule #3 – Quantity
Rule #4 – Jump off and “Plus” others ideas
You want to start with a blank slate and just “blue sky” questions like these:
“How can I provide 10x the value to my customers?”
“What can I do that will absolutely amaze them?”
“How can I get my customers the end-result they want on a silver platter?”
“How can I ‘do it for them’?”
Step #2 – Your thinking
Next, setting higher prices begins inside your head. People are usually too slow to raise
prices and it’s more about confidence & self-image than the actual value delivered. Get
Maxwell Maltz’s book “Psychocybernetics” and consider your self-image. We all have
self images in every single area of our life and if you are not charging a premium it’s
usually more to do with what’s in-between your ears than the actual marketplace. Which
brings me to my next point, never allow your competition to set your prices. Just because
someone else charges $x dollars – that does not mean you have to charge similar prices.
There will be always a very profitable spot for businesses at the premium scale who
deliver what’s perceived as exceptional products and value.
Another issue I see facing clients who want to raise their price is underestimating how
much your customers are willing to spend. Today, it’s no big deal to drop a $5000 on a
TV or a couple hundred on an iPhone. If people will spend that much on gadgets – they’ll
spend a premium if you make them WANT your product badly enough.
Step #3 – Targeting the right marketplace
Another mistake I see a lot is going after markets who cannot afford to pay premium
prices. There’s no reason you cannot have another division of your business go after
customers who have already shown they will pay premium prices for products/services.
For example, I have a giclee of a painting by Thomas Arvid in our dining room at home. I
believe we paid about $2500-$3000 for this work. Now in case you are unfamiliar with
the term a giclee is really just a fancy print. This one being on canvas. I can most
certainly assure you there is a high margin in this piece.
Why would I and many others pay such a premium for it? Well, the artist’s originals go
for $25,000 or more now (if you can even get them) and he chose a subject that buyers
would pay a premium for – and that’s high end wines. Also, it’s a limited edition piece
(something we’ll discuss in greater detail shortly.) Arvid only specializes in hyper
realistic wine paintings. They are absolutely beautiful and the first time I saw his work in
Carmel, CA I was blown away. (You can see for yourself at www.thomasarvid.com)
Arvid paints high-end wines like Opus One, Silver Oak, Caymus, etc.
And the people who are passionate about these high-end wines will pay a premium for
wonderful art. He stumbled onto this by accident when he started painting and found that
a red wine painting was snapped up immediately. Very astutely Arvid learned more about
wine and which ones to paint so that customers would open up their wallets.
And the final aspects of creating a high-priced offer are the psychological ones…
We’ve talked about the psychology of scarcity in issue #21 but a quick review to make
sure you got the complete picture is a good idea. Inside Robert Cialdini’s monumental
work, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” one of the major psychological triggers
he explains is scarcity. Human beings have been hard-wired to want what is going away.
Many more people are motivated by the thought of potential loss than potential gain. You
see this used all the time in marketing and it works *IF* there is truth behind it or we
perceive there to be truth behind it. Here’s one example from a company I buy a lot of
wine from that really illustrates this point (combined with ‘reason why’):
If you have trouble reading the text in the email – here’s the main part (underlining is my
WINE ALERT: As you probably read in the news, our friends at Silver Oak experienced
a terrible fire at their winery earlier this year. At that time, there were rumors that they
had lost most of their past and current vintages. Hence, the winery ceased new sales of
their prized Silver Oak 2001 Alexander Valley Cabernet - - Robert Parker’s highest rated
Silver Oak since renowned 1997 vintage - - to the great disappointment of thirsty
collectors across America who have made this wine the #1 selling Collector Cabernet.
However, today the big news is our friends at Silver Oak just found 15 more cases of this
wine + several BIG bottles including an extremely rare 6L quadruple magnum (details
below) safely tucked away in their private cellar and have made an exclusive offer to
Porthos Insiders on a “first come, first sell” basis. These are the last cases and only big
bottles of this prized vintage that will ever be available for sale so don’t miss this
Some of you know I bought the 6L quadruple magnum (that’s equivalent to 8 regular
bottles). I really like Silver Oak anyway so I wouldn’t have bought this just because it
was so scarce (or at least I tell myself that). I’m planning on popping this bad boy for my
35th birthday celebration and some other gems.
When I’ve used scarcity and exclusivity it has nearly always produced excellent results.
I’ve limited sets to a certain number and they’ve sold-out in record time. A spin-off of
scarcity is rarity and exclusivity. The more someone believes they are one of the very few
who can have something – the more they want it. Sometimes this is done artificially like
when you see a long line outside a club and then you get inside and there’s nobody there.
Or when output is knowingly kept below the demand to keep the exclusivity up as done
with most exotic super cars or really high-end ‘cult’ wines.
Or you can create exclusivity and rarity as your main
selling points from the beginning like this site –
www.20ltd.com. Here’s what their site says when you
“All the items you are about to see are unique limited
All are made in extremely low numbers and will never
be made again.
They cannot be purchased anywhere else in the
Another good example of exclusivity is American Express’s Centurion card (or the ‘black
card’). Application is by invitation-only. I have a black card now and it’s kind of a long
story beginning with the road rally I did with Frank Kern and ending with everyone in the
room we were hanging out in having one except me. At the time I had a measly Platinum
The welcome package is so elaborate and almost makes the $3000/year fee worth it.
Other important psychological factors to consider in your offer when appropriate are “ego
appeals” and “being part of an insider’s only group” or “once-in-a-lifetime experiences”.
Think about how you can use that.
And the final psychological aspect that has been the most impactful for me personally is
the Takeaway! Once again going back to we want what we cannot have like in dating
when the guy stops pursuing the girl and she wants him more. Many times I will use a
qualification process or application process to show that not anyone can buy this. There
are several good reasons to do applications when they apply to your offer.
1) They truly enhance the scarcity/exclusive nature of your offer.
2) Allows you to screen people who are legitimately not a good fit for your