How to Sell High Ticket Items in a
Dwindling Economy


Sure, the words “disposable income” aren’t on anybody’s lips these days – but that doesn’t mean higher priced goods and services no longer have a market. While your competitors are undercutting each other’s prices – you can still come out on top and make more money than all of them without getting dragged into a price war.

Unlike a few years ago, where the most compelling reason to own a more expensive product or service was the brand itself and the way it distinguished you, these days people are starting to shift more toward “practical luxury”. Every feature is examined, every possible comparison is made, and every benefit is played over and over again in the customer’s head.

With this in mind, consider updating the focus of your copy to promote the usefulness of what you’re trying to sell. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a diamond ring or a marketing course. Everyone is looking for a good deal, so you’ll need to write in a way that plays to the customer’s initial expectations of “there’s no way I can afford that”, and then reverse them. Here’s how:

Show Them How Much Money They’ll Save

And that doesn’t mean putting some puffed-up value on a simple e-book or adding a copious amount of zeroes to the end of a dollar sign. Put into real, concrete numbers how much someone might spend looking for and buying all of the services or pieces needed to get something comparable to what you’re offering.

The mattress and bedding industries do this beautifully with their more expensive products. They outline how much you’d really pay – not just monetarily, but in terms of poor sleep, nagging aches and pains and chiropractor’s bills. Then they highlight the benefits of their product and add a free in-home trial or a coupon on top of the offer, giving the reader more than enough serious reasons to take action.

You Might Think You Can’t Afford It, But…

By telling them what they expect to hear right from the start, your potential buyer will let down their guard a bit and become more receptive to your offer. This works especially well when you show them how easily they really can afford it. For example, paying in installments or taking action quickly to get a cheaper price are all sales tactics you can use to project your offer as an investment in themselves rather than a one-time purchase.

Compete with the Cheaper Alternative

If there’s a cheaper version of your offer out there, you can still compete with it in other ways than price alone. You also want to resist the urge to put the competing product in a negative light as this will only reflect poorly on your offer. Instead, adding a phrase like “Isn’t it worth a little extra now to avoid _____ later?” is a good way to point out the quality and assurance that your product brings versus your competition.

As you can see, high-ticket items still have a place in today’s eccentric marketplace. It’s how you approach their presentation that counts. With the copy, you’ll effortlessly appeal to your customer’s bargain-hunting instincts while avoiding the cut-throat price battles that plague so many of today’s luxury e-tailers.

About the Author: Sherice Jacob is a web designer, copywriter, and author of Get Niche Quick. Don’t forget to follow Sherice on Twitter.

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Reader Comments (24)

  1. says

    Damien Hirst just sold $200 million at auction knocking Picasso’s 20 million record off x10 … disposable income is still in someone’s vocabulary. In fact the buyers are all looking for value buys. 😉
    Nice post.

  2. says

    In the final analysis, it all comes down to differentiation and positioning your product to appeal to your customer, regardless of the economic times.

    As they said in the movie “Wall Street”, economy is a zero-sum game; somebone winning means that someone else is losing. Money isn’t evaporating into thin air – as John Reese once explained it, it’s simply changing hands.

    So, I would also argue that the trick to selling luxury products in a collapsing economy is to think outside the box and to find people who are benefitting from the current environment; in other words, people who are winning the zero-sum game in today’s turbulent economic times.

  3. says

    Pointing out the ongoing quality and reputation of the maker, as well as its timeless design v.s. trendy appeal, can help turn a looker into a buyer – be that a car, Picasso or a high ticket basket! Nice post.

    (Brian, how do I replace these name icons with a photo?)

  4. says

    I will like to add on to what’s been said, that we also need to demostrate a good return in investment, a WOW total offer and show some cool social proof of people using the items, not forgeting to add a good guarantee.

  5. says

    I like this post.
    I think it boils down to be the business that solves people’s problems. It’s not about getting people’s money with some catchy copies. Clearly state how the product or service can help the customer. The high-end mattress is a great example of this.

    Personally, I think this economy is there for a good reason. It lets shabby businesses that are all about the owners’ getting money from customers go down. True value stays.

  6. says

    Very good post as it answers a few of the more common rebuttles to a sale.

    I might also focus on a couple more…
    1.) Research – researching your customer (or what else is going on in your industry/niche) BEFORE making an offer is a quick way to see what they expect & what they are willing to pay for your goods or services.

    2.) Having a range of products with a range of pricepoints.
    Think about this – have your high end, expensive product & offer that first. IF the customer can’t do it (for whatever the reason), ask them if they’d be interested in a lower cost product. Apple does this very well with their products. They have the iPhone, but if you don’t want to be tethered to AT&T, there’s the iTouch. But if price is a major barrier there’s the classic iPod.

    Good & relevant topic, Sherice

  7. says

    Thank you all for your comments and insights!

    @George – You’re absolutely right – businesses have to differentiate themselves or be sucked under as another “me too” copycat.

    @Akemi – You hit the nail on the head. All those fly-by-night businesses are crumblilng in an economy where true value, the WOW factor as Grow Your Business said, and really KNOWING your customer is what’s getting some businesses ahead.

    Isn’t it interesting how common sense and good ethics always triumph over rehashed copy and cheap offers in the end?

  8. says

    Sherice has hit on an important variable, time. In some cases the sale relies on not what value/benefit is derived now but what is received in the future. Those looking for a cheap, quick fix aren’t your target market if you are pushing high end and longevity. Those that think they are looking for a “quick fix” may be persuaded by longevity and present value.

    Let the mismatches go and stick to the target.

    Thanks for the perspective Sherice.

  9. says


    I’d like to add that most people understand it takes more to solve bigger problem. Whether that more is about money, time, etc. So, I can choose either to spend my time with so-so, say, a massage therapist, paying less money but more in terms of my time, or get a better treatment paying more money.

    Common sense wins, but it’s always a good idea to be reminded of it from time to time. Like you did ^_^

  10. says

    This is a really insightful post. You always share things that can be implemented straight away, even on existing websites, with a bit of tweaking. 😉



  11. says

    I agree with the part about value. Everybody wants to know they are making a decent saving.

    And also how your rivals are selling the same thing (if there are any) for more than you are.

    Good article.

  12. says


    Excellent framing advice for these times. I agree that practicality is much more important know than image in a lot of ways, and it may be time to push durability, quality, precision, etc.

    And it remains true that when it comes to quality, sometimes it’s the cheaper product you can’t afford to go with.

  13. Michael says

    Sherice (et al);

    As it happens, my partners and I are currently establishing a jewelry business. Your article resonates with our thinking. In response to queries from early clients, we’ve found ourselves explaining in quite some detail the workings of our business: how it is that we can deliver quality products at prices much lower than our particular market is used to seeing (we hold no inventory and have no expensive real estate, so we can pass on savings to our clients); how do we source our materials (ethical diamonds, locally-made settings); what about returns (30-day, no-questions).

    In short, we’re very much seeing a focus on genuine quality and support issues. My question for you is this: in writing copy, how much of this material do we include up front? Is it better to have buyers with these questions simply call us, or is it best in this era to spell it all out before the buyer moves on.


    P.S. This site has been a goldmine for us (no pun intended) keep it coming!

  14. says

    If it were me, I’d spell it out. For example, put a link on your website something like “Find out how we can sell top quality jewelry for less than our competitors”. If I were a potential buyer – especially of a high-ticket item, I’d want to know everything I could about my purchase up front.

    Bottom line – don’t make them call you but welcome it if they do. Give them as much critical information they need to make an informed purchase.

    Hope this helps!

  15. says

    > If it were me, I’d spell it out. For example, put a link
    > … I’d want to know everything I could…

    Good. That’s how we’re inclined, as well.

    > Bottom line – don’t make them call you but welcome it
    > if they do. Give them as much critical information they
    > need to make an informed purchase.

    We’ve looked at this as a distinguishing element from the beginning. It costs us little to put the information up front one time while our competitors have to do so face-to-face out of costly retail locations. Thanks for your time!

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