The Fear Factor
Why do companies use the ploy of Bait and Switch?
Fear of losing a sale. Fear of the quality (lack thereof) of their product. Fear of getting stuck with inventory. Fear of losing out on an opportunity to get in front of a customer.
I worked for a company that started to deploy bait and switch tactics as the market dropped. They advertised highly attractive products that weren’t available to lure in shoppers to pitch them on less attractive products. They marketed steal-of-a-deal products that weren’t available to get the chance to upsell higher priced products.
They crafted a story that if the customer had only acted sooner (create urgency), they too could have purchased the advertised product. “But, hey, while you’re here, let us show you what we do have. And you better buy now before this product is gone, too!”
I soon resigned.
Not all customers catch on to this loathsome practice – but, most do. Companies using this scheme build a rapport of distrust with consummers. And with word of mouth being the #1 means of marketing – it may help catch some quick sales – but, it doesn’t bode well for building a business.
So what’s the cure?
Be a customer advocate. Build your business around being a problem solver for your customer (not a problem creator).
Know the market you are going after. What products and services do they want? What are they typically willing to pay for them? How do they define value? Knowing your market will help you minimize inventory that doesn’t meet market demand.
Stay active in your market. Get your message out. Review how the market responds to your offers. Change your products and services quickly if necessary to better satisfy their needs.
I am dedicated to helping solopreneurs build successful, SUSTAINABLE businesses. Sustainability is not built on trickery to make a quick sale. Its foundation is built on developing long term relationships.
Larger companies can deploy the bait and switch for a period of time to help get them through a slump and off-load unwanted inventory. If a customer catches on, management can blame this unscrupulous behavior on rogue sales people acting as atypical used car salesmen. But in their view, at least they still have a customer on the hook – so they still have an opportunity for a sale.
You, as a solopreneur, can’t shuffle off the blame. You are your business. If a customer perceives that you are acting without integrity – at best you may get one sale, but you won’t sustain the business.
Don’t let the dollar that you make today be your last. Build your business with integrity.
All The Best,
The Solopreneur’s Guide