The Ventas Group

What Can Holiday Shopping Teach You About Your Business?


It’s the holiday shopping season again! What can your retail experiences during the holidays teach you about selling your own services?


Price vs Value


I made a ‘quick’ run into Target the other day to grab a couple of things and make a return. They had more staff on hand than usual, mostly to manage the holiday checkout lines, and shelves were well stocked with all sorts of interesting items. Customer service for returns? Not so good.


Did I expect to get help finding items or making choices with my purchases during this busy shopping season? No. Target is a self-serve retailer and prices reflect that level of service.


It would be like selecting a digital marketing package for three weekly social media posts and 1 monthly blog post online. You can evaluate and make this purchase without needing much sales assistance.


Now what about selecting an expensive piece of jewelry? Could you purchase this online? Possibly. If you knew exactly what you wanted and how much it was worth. More likely you’d go to an upscale brick and mortar retailer where you would work with someone, especially if you weren’t really sure what to buy.


You’d arrive at the store, a salesperson would greet you in a warm and friendly manner and ask, ‘How can I help you?’


We’re familiar with this greeting in a retail environment and it can be both welcome and unwelcome, depending on the type of store and what level of service we need and/or expect.


It’s positive when the salesperson listens to your answer, asks some qualifying questions, and then moves to solutions, if you’ve indicated you need them. You know you’re working with a professional when he/she provides additional value – saving you time finding what you need quickly, applying their expertise to selecting just the right item, again saving you time and frustration, and making the entire experience pleasant and enjoyable. That takes some skill during the frenzy of the holiday season!


When It Makes Sense to Pay MORE


Is this level of service worth a higher price? I think so. For me, almost any shopping experience that involves unfamiliar, higher priced items where the risk of making an error is higher and the cost of that error can be significant, I’m very happy to pay a higher ticket price. When I can make the evaluation and decision without assistance, cheaper is usually my preference.


How can you apply these retail sales experiences to your service-based business? Let’s step through it:


  • Do you have a warm and friendly in-person or digital greeting?
  • Do you offer to help in a genuine manner?
  • Can you add value during the sales interaction?
  • Can you save this client time, frustration and therefore money, all while making the experience pleasant and enjoyable?


If you answered yes, you can charge more because consumers expect to pay more for this level of service.


It’s about providing value and genuine service. Even during busy shopping periods when we’re all a little more frazzled than usual! If you can’t wrap presents and you want your gift recipient to truly appreciate what you’ve given her, isn’t it worth paying a little more to shop at a store where beautiful gift wrapping is provided?


It’s the same thing for any B2B service business, whether that be consulting, coaching, professional services or outsourced services. Demonstrate your value. Provide excellent service. The clients that appreciate these things will flock your way and pay whatever you ask.

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