How ‘Adding Value’ Can Hurt Your Bottom Line

Recently I decided to get rid of a whole pile of old books that had been sitting in my attic for several years, unused.

Since the books were all on the same esoteric topic—Gregg shorthand if you’re curious—I took the lazy way out:

I threw the books together in a pile and took a photo of the whole mess…

And listed them on eBay as a “lot.”

Starting bid was $0.01.

Now each of these books was easily worth $5-10 each. I know, because I’d bought them all individually for that much.

Altogether, the set was definitely worth $150 to $300.

I was hoping to get maybe $50 for the set.

Well the auction closed a couple of days ago.

Wanna take a stab at the final price?

If you guessed $0.01, good job, have a cookie.

It’s worse than that, actually:

Turns out I underestimated the shipping, so I actually LOST money on the deal.

I’d have saved myself $10 or so just throwing the books in the trash.

(I couldn’t bring myself to do that though—some of them were nearly 100 years old. So I’m happy that they found a new home.)

Bundling related products together CAN be a great way to increase the revenue you make from each sale…

But only if you structure the offer so that the additional items seem to add value.

The mistake that I made here is thinking I could sell the assortment itself as a product.

People don’t go to eBay searching for a collection of Gregg shorthand books.

So while they’ll gladly pay $7 for a shorthand textbook (there were several in this bundle)…

Or $8.99 for a shorthand dictionary (I had 6 of them included)…

But an “assortment of shorthand books”—that actually has NEGATIVE value.

Point is:

It doesn’t matter what the objective value of your offer is—what matters is how that value is perceived.

How could I have handled this better?

In retrospect, what I should have done is list 2-3 of the more popular books individually—then include several of the other books as “free bonuses.”

That way people would be comparing my Gregg shorthand dictionary with the other dictionaries listed—and the bonus items would seem like added value, something extra they’re getting in addition to what they already know they want.

By missing this, I made $300 worth of books look like it was worse than worthless.

Keep this in mind when you’re thinking about how to package *your* offers.