Derek Sivers

Emphasize meaning over price = More paid sales

Terry McBride is president of Nettwerk Music Group.

An artist he was managing, Griffin House, was doing the usual thing of selling CDs for $15. He’d mention it once or twice from the stage, and sell about $300 per night on average.

Terry asked him to try a completely different approach:

  1. Say to the audience, “It’s really important to us that you have our CD. We worked so hard on it and are so proud of it, that we want you to have it, no matter what. Pay what you want, but even if you have no money, please take one tonight.”
  2. Mention this again before the end of the show. “Please, nobody leave here tonight without getting a copy of our CD. We’ve shared this great show together so it would mean a lot to us if you’d take one.”

It changes the request from a commerical pitch to an emotional connection. It replaces market mindset with social mindset. Allowing them to get a CD for no money just reinforces that.

Terry said that the band did this for a while, and soon they were selling about $1200 per night on average, even including those people who took it for free! I think the average selling price was about $10.

But the important part came next:

Because every person left each show with a CD, they were more likely to remember who they saw, tell friends about it, listen to it later, and become an even bigger fan afterwards.

Then, when the band came back to a town where they had insisted that everyone take a CD, attendance at those shows doubled! The people that took a CD became long-term fans and brought their friends to future shows.

So, whatever you’re selling, try emphasizing the meaning of it, over the price.