Hiding Prices #3 – Price Value Versus Personal Value

(This is a continuing discussion of why marketers and copywriters “hide” their prices at times. You can read Hiding Prices #1 and Hiding Prices #2).

Imagine I were to offer you a PDF report for $1,000. Would you buy it?

You’d probably say No, simply because you don’t have enough information on the product, or any real desire for it. So at this point, the price is irrelevant.

Or you might think that $1,000 is way overpriced for a PDF report.

What if I told you this report was worth $10,000 to you… but you could have it for $1,000? Would you buy it now?

You’d still probably say No – because, other than taking my word for it, you have no way of knowing what the report is truly worth to you. (I’ve told you it’s “worth” $10,000… but right now that’s probably an empty claim to you.)

Now, let’s add one additional piece of information. Suppose this PDF report contained next week’s winning lottery numbers, for a $16.7 million lottery prize.

For $1,000… would you buy it now?

Aha… that changes things. Suddenly the contents of the report become very valuable to you indeed. You KNOW the value to you of next week’s lottery numbers… and the $1,000 price seems incredibly cheap.

Of course, this would raise other questions in your mind: How do I know the numbers in advance? Why would I sell these numbers, instead of using them myself? How many others are getting these numbers? Is this a scam? How can I guarantee the winning numbers?… and so on.

But my point here is this… now you know precisely what you’re going to get out of the report, you’d see the $1,000 price in a totally different perspective. If what I’m claiming to offer is true, the value to you is very clear, and so the price is probably seen as exceptional value, and you’d be crazy NOT to beg, steal or borrow to get the money.

Yet without knowing the true value of the report to you, it just seems like another overpriced report.

You see, there are two different ways of valuing a product, which are easily confused:

Price value. This is the value we attach to a product when we set its price. Ultimately, the price value of a $1,000 report is… well, $1,000!

Personal value. This is the value we personally get from the product. In the case of my example, the personal value of knowing those winning lottery numbers is easy to calculate – it’s up to $16.7 million!

Of course, personal value is often subjective. For example, if you had a technique that could double your customer’s sales within a week, only the customer can know what this technique would be worth to them. (As a copywriter you could always ask them the rhetorical question: “How much is knowing X worth to you?”)

And it’s not always about money. For a person suffering with a particular ailment, a report which tells them how to cure that ailment might be of immense personal value, or even priceless.

This is a great basis for a clearer definition of what we mean when we talk about value for money. We think something is good value for money when we are clearly getting more personal value from a product than the price value.

But knowing the price alone does not tell you whether it’s good value for money or not, just as in the case of my imaginary $1,000 report. This is why some copywriters and marketers hide their prices. They first want to build desire, and also demonstrate the potential personal value to the visitor, so the visitor can make a decision based on “value for money”, rather than on simply whether they can “afford it”.

After all, my $1,000 report might sound expensive and overpriced… until you realize what’s in it.

There is yet one other important reason why prices are “hidden” at times, and it’s to do with a negotiating secret you can also use with your clients, so make sure you’re subscribed to this blog so you won’t miss Hiding Prices #4, tomorrow.

3 comments

  1. He Paul, I’m enjoying this series. Thank-you.

    Using your example, why wouldn’t you just state the value and the price upfront?

    PDF report with next week’s winning lottery numbers ($16.7 million lottery prize): $1,000

    Why not cut to the chase with the value for the client, and the price?

    If you’ve got a product or service of high value to people i.e. that solves an important problem, and you can clearly articulate the bottom-line benefit in terms they understand, why waste their time with ‘cat & mouse’ pricing? Surely I’m missing something here.

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