By Chris Thornham, an Overdrive contributor and co-founder of FLO Cycling
Everyone loves a good deal. But when a cheap price tag makes others question the quality of your product, it could actually hinder your company’s success.
If you’ve discovered the formula for delivering a superior product at a fraction of your competitors’ prices, that doesn’t mean consumers will instantly buy your product. Many budding businesses struggle to dispel the belief that their product is “too good to be true,” and uprooting assumptions is no easy task.
Many people simply don’t understand the factors that determine price; they assume that cost reflects a product’s quality. It’s up to you to educate your audience about the value of your offering.
Here are four ways to educate your audience:
1. Always Speak the Truth
Don’t hide anything about your product or business. If a customer asks a question, give him an honest answer, and don’t leave any room for skepticism. You might be tempted to conceal problems with your product, but being forthright with customers and explaining how you’re dealing with issues will earn their trust.
2. Educate Consumers Through Content
Consumers want to make their own well-informed decisions. To equip them with the information they need, create content that details what you’re making, how you’re making it, and what distribution method you’re using. Explain how those decisions cut costs so potential customers don’t have any looming questions that could breed doubt.
First impressions can form in an instant, and once consumers make up their minds, those perceptions are nearly impossible to shake. Your story and message have to shine through your content as quickly as possible. If you don’t want to seem too good to be true, don’t use sensational language like “miracle” or “never again” that suggests it.
3. Keep All Reviews Online, Even the Bad Ones
It’s impossible to please everyone, and consumers know that. Hiding all the negative reviews and manufacturing a “100 percent customer satisfaction” facade will only make people second-guess your brand. Instead, work on providing excellent real-time customer service on social media or forums, where potential customers can see how you respond.
We once had a customer post in a forum that our wheels weren’t good because he kept getting flats. I responded immediately to ask whether he could help me understand the problem. After tracking him down, we eventually resolved the issue — it was an operator problem. I posted the solution on the forum, which demonstrated both the quality of our product and our friendly, efficient customer service.
4. Be More Relatable
Honesty not only fuels trust; it also ignites people’s sense of compassion. Tell potential customers the good and bad parts of your story. If you bring them along for the ride and make it part of your story to go the extra mile, they’ll see you as a relatable person working hard to accomplish your dream and improve the lives of others.
We’ve dealt with rising prices after underestimating manufacturing costs, and factory delays once set our estimated shipment date back by a month. But through all the problems, we shared our story and explained the causes. Despite the disappointments, people enjoyed watching us try to find the most affordable way to bring them a high-quality product. They related to our bad luck and fell in love with our efforts to keep our word.
Don’t miss out on potential business because consumers think your deal can’t really be that good. You’ve made a great product that’s also affordable. Share your journey with your audience, and allow them to enjoy the benefits of your hard work.
Chris Thornham is a co-founder of FLO Cycling, which engineers aerodynamic cycling wheels. The company uses computational fluid dynamics software to develop its wheels and verifies its results in a wind tunnel. Less than three years after launching, the company has sold 10,000 wheels to customers in 51 countries. Chris enjoys learning, triathlon training, skiing, hiking with his dog, and spending time with family.