Are you positioning your firm like a Casio or a Steinway?

My father did a remodel of a piano and organ store when I was around six years old. As a bonus for his work, he received a discount on piano lessons for me. I never enjoyed playing the piano very much, but it served as a gateway drug that kept me hooked on music for many years.

One of the things that I recall about the piano store were the big grand pianos. Having watched my dad do a variety of woodworking projects, I could appreciate the craftsmanship of those instruments, even as a first-grader.

Steinway is widely considered to be the greatest manufacturer of pianos in the world. A top-of-the-line model can easily reach six figures. Unsurprisingly, Steinway doesn’t sell a lot of grand pianos. But when they do sell a piano, Steinway definitely knows how to make the most of it.

Mark Buckshon, of Construction Marketing Ideas explains:

What if you are selling a high-ticket item to a difficult-to-reach audience like an $80,000 grand piano? How does Steinway push beyond campaign towards action? When you buy a grand piano from Steinway, they will stage a private concert in your home. According to author Joseph Pine it comes with all the trimmings. Steinway helps with invitations, serves wine and hors d’oeuvres, provides valet parking and brings in a professionally trained concert pianist. It creates an experience for its customers. And you know that’s the best that piano will ever sound in the home. Pine spoke to a Steinway customer who had held a concert. Two of his friends bought a Steinway afterward.

Stacked like cordwood…

We bought an inexpensive Casio keyboard this year for me to teach my kids how to read and play music. Target had a deal on them during the holidays and there were dozens of these things stacked together as a sort of makeshift display case.

I forget how much I paid for the keyboard, but I do know that I priced out similar models at Amazon, Costco, Toys ‘R Us and elsewhere before making the purchase. It was truly a commodity purchase.

What’s the Point?

When selling consulting and other professional services, many companies make the mistake of pricing those services as a commodity. As Buckshon explains:

Consider that many of us are in fact “selling a high-ticket item to a difficult-to-reach audience”. The owners and decision-makers for AEC services can be difficult to reach, that is for sure, and even for simple residential work, the fees are high enough that most families would only think of calling on our services rarely.

So the lesson when selling premium professional services, in my opinion, is to treat clients to a true experience. Perhaps a concert with wine and hors d’oeuvres is a little much, but you get the point.

Source: Construction Marketing Ideas


If you are interested in learning more about how Steinways are made, there is an excellent documentary that was aired by PBS called, Note by Note


Image courtesy Alexis Fam