Every week I receive e-mails, phone calls, and web inquiries about my services. And without doubt there is one question I’m asked over and over again.
“What’s your price?”
It’s not just about pricing
Bottom line, if it was all about price we’d be in Yugos, one and all. Interestingly enough, folks seem to have priorities beyond just price. That’s why there are Hondas, Jeeps, Mercedes, BMW’s, etc. Just so you know, my preference would be a Jeep.
Now in today’s marketplace I do understand we’re all price sensitive. Every time I hit the grocery store I walk out hurting in the wallet. Don’t even get me started about the price of my medical insurance thanks to being mis-diagnosed with a pre-existing condition (try to get insurance companies to understand that one). So I do get it when people want to know the price of something.
The really interesting part though is that people calling / writing don’t ask what the product is. And the final product is important as far as I’m concerned. That’s why I don’t always buy the cheapest food when I hit the grocery store. I shop based on the product and the price. Sometimes a quality product costs more, and yes, hurts my wallet more.
So, what is your product?
In my case as a small business owner I know exactly the product I provide. I’m pretty proud of what we produce, and client response tells me that what we offer has value. So, I charge more than $50 for an hour and a disk. And I bring a staff to a shoot. They’re a key to producing quality, and without them it would just be a snapshot, not a portrait.
What’s the product?
- A portrait session where clients walk away already having a good idea of what we’ve shot. We review images with clients while shooting. Hey, there’s a screen on the back of the camera…… Why not show folks what they’re getting.
- Quality controlled prints. One of the claims to fame in my studio is appropriate color management. I’m not dropping jpgs off at Wal-Mart. From start to finish I have my hands on the quality of the color management.
- Only the best print media available. I’ve been in this business for years. And over the course of my work I’ve found the papers and canvases that I’m beyond satisfied with. I know that when a client gets their prints they’ll last a long time, and continue looking great. Archival, archival, archival.
- More time with clients than just the shoot. Let’s see, prior to shooting for any client I meet with them to discuss what they want to portray. Then we get to the shoot. I never stay within the time limit, but hey that’s okay. Having a happy client during the shoot is the most important thing. Finally, after the shoot clients return to review their images, select edits, and approve of what we’re going to print.
With all of that, do you think getting a number over the phone in a 30 second conversation is going to tell you everything as a consumer? No, probably not.
The next time you’re dealing with a service oriented business ask them about their product first. I promise you that you’ll get a smile out of the owner, and they’ll be really motivated to show you what they can do! And they’ll be extra motivated to give you more than you ever thought you’d get for the price!