I went to a bar called BrewDog last week for a beer tasting evening. A friend had been given a voucher for two for his birthday, and tragically his wife doesn’t like beer.
BrewDog has burst on to the UK craft ale scene in the last few years. A ‘craft ale’ is essentially just a regular ale, with hops and other ingredients thrown in at the end to infuse in to the beer.
Despite this minor modification in process craft ales are typically 50% more expensive than normal ales. A fact the Stingy Northerner in me despises.
The story behind the company is a classic rags to riches plot. School friends James Watt and Martin Dickie decided they were bored of mass produced beers and stuffy ales, and decided to brew their own heavily-hopped beer, ‘Punk IPA’. The company started in a shed with the two founders and a dog.
BrewDog has grown by making spectacular use of PR. When the first BrewDog bar opened in London the pair drove a fake tank through Camden. ‘Craft beer revolution rolls in to London’, was the message.
A year later when the company opened a bar in Stockholm, Sweden, a fake funeral was held to commemorate the death of boring beer.
The stunts seem to have worked. Company revenue in 2015 was £44.7 million.
So, my friend and I arrived at the Sheffield BrewDog bar for a beer-tasting evening last week. I like beer, and hoppy beer at that. But I think BrewDog is damn expensive. Pints priced at over £4 belong in London, in my opinion.
How do you convince someone who thinks your products are too expensive to spend more with you?
You educate them.
Actually you don’t just educate them, you have them pay to be educated. You have them pay to come along to a tasting event where you educate them about all the things that makes your beer different.
There is a lingering idea in the marketing world that the best way to sell an expensive product is to hire a ‘big gun’ copywriter and have them write a 17-page sales letter for you.
This to me feels too much like a one-time shot.
Why not get people into a room first, educate them about what makes you different, then sell your expensive product.
If getting your audience in to a room is not practical then find another way to educate them. Run an online training. Send them a copy of your book (with a persuasive cover letter explaining why they should elevate your book to the top of their reading list).
Books have the same effect as training; they make your audience realise what they don’t know. Every avid reader knows that books are like Gremlins. They mysteriously multiply until suddenly they take over your house. (Don’t get them wet!)
I’ll have an announcement on Friday but for now do you get the idea? Stop trying to sell, and start trying to train people. Sell only to the converted.