Are You Selling Gold For The Price Of Silver?

During watching a programme on an English telly catch-up service I came across this ad.

I couldn’t help be struck by the store manager’s sigh.

We’re selling gold for the price of silver

He’s clearly a bit miffed that so much fine oak furniture was being discounted by such a large amount for the upcoming bank holiday weekend. Oh lucky customers, we infer.

I couldn’t help but muse on this phrase from our solution sale point of view.

What about the metaphor itself?

Why specifically gold for the price of silver? Silver is still fairly ‘precious’, and in Olympic terms, a worthy close second. How about bronze, or even the world’s cheapest metal, say iron?

And why gold? What could be even more “precious”? A quick websurf throws up all manner of bizarrely more expensive items per gram. From rare earth metals to illicit substances to anti-matter even.

But I guess those highly-paid copywriters in adland have it waxed. After all, say, “diamonds for the price of tin” doesn’t quite have the same, ahem, ring. Mind you, do you know someone that’s ever tried sealing their engagement with something that didn’t sparkle..?!

In any case, the language used certainly does give the impression that you are getting a bargain.

A strangely hefty portion of solution sales advice I’ve been required to impart has revolved around how to maintain your price. I tend to work with those who are not the cheapest in their market. Yet their salesforce often seem determined to try and make them so.

Justify Your Premium. Sell The Difference. How To Never Discount.

These are all titles I’ve used for cheeky little couple-of-hour workshops introducing salespeople to this seemingly mystical concept.

It occurs to me that this particular construct is one that readily lends itself to help you maintain your price by properly bringing out your value.

Every solution seller knows the conversation. The prospect you’ve spent many hours with apologises for asking, but your price is simply too high… Your heart sags.

You can’t sell gold for the price of silver, I hear you reply.

Then what happens if they are the kind of girl for whom (whisper it) silver is preferred?

All we need is a precious metal, they retort. Silver will do nicely.

In which case, it’s pretty obvious you missed or failed to set key signals in your early stages of courtship.

I can think of all sorts of neat applications for this line.

Especially if you have add-ons to a core product. And definitely if you’ve put your stall out early on.

Nevertheless, it’s certainly a cool little phrase to keep up your sleeve, with just a small twist;

…no-one expects gold for the price of silver, right?

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