The Business Coach | Be Profitable: Handling Price Objections the Right Way
I don't want to use this column to challenge your ability to shoot and edit weddings. But I do want to challenge you on your ability and finely trained skill of being profitable in your business. In my experience coaching other videographers, I've discovered that there's a pandemic running rampant in our industry. And sadly, it's killing is. It's the lack of knowledge on handling price objections and understanding exactly what they mean and what consequences they have for your business when you handle them the wrong way. Let me tell you a secret: These objections usually have nothing to do with price.
Responses such as, “Your prices are out of my budget” and “It costs too much” are the No. 1 stall in sales. Yep, I said stall, not obstruction or objection. How do most of us respond when we hear these things? We get angry or offended or, worst of all, we drop the price! If you go that route, it pretty much implies that you were charging too much to begin with. So not only are you left with a potential client who doesn’t trust you, you lost some of your profit margin. But I digress.
Potential clients complain about prices all the time. Heck, we even do this from time to time as consumers. But only when you realize why you ask these same questions yourself will you understand why you get these responses from your own clients. As consumers, we want to be in control, but we also want to be nice. You can’t pay too much for something that you find valuable. So there has to be another reason, right?
It could be a smokescreen. And I’d like to share with you some tips on how you’ve gotten yourself into this situation. By avoiding these pitfalls, you can put more money in the bank and regain your confidence in your prices. This goes for every type of videographer, whether you’re budget or high-end. Everyone deals with the price issue.
You see, people hate to gamble with their money (except when there’s the chance to make more money, that is). So our challenge is to help a client get over the feeling of risk, even though most of our sales processes force our clients to gamble because we don’t convey the value of what we do. And the truth is, the less people know about “video,” the higher their anxiety is in the sales process. Here are some reasons you may be hearing, “It costs too much."
You aren’t asking questions. In your sales process, you’re most likely regurgitating all of the reasons you are an awesome videographer: the fact that you have a Mac editing suite and that you use 3CCD cameras. Keeping your mouth shut and asking the right questions not only allows you to get to know your client and what they would like for their wedding, but it also creates a friendly and emotional atmosphere. It means you care.
You aren’t giving them confidence in your product. Most wedding clients have never used a videographer before. They also probably have never been married before. So all they have is a number in their head—a price. And what do we give them? A price! We just send them some numbers and some bullet points on our packages and expect them to love our work enough to book our top package. It doesn’t work that way. One of the biggest mistakes we make in devaluing our business is just sending a price sheet in an email. Why would they book us? They don’t know us, and we are now being judged based on a random number you picked for your prices, not the value of your services. Which brings me to …
Don’t sell on benefits! Sell on the loss of not having a video (and not having a good one). Just like Alan Naumann says, we are in the memory business. And what would most of us hate to lose more than anything? Our memories! Loss hurts twice as much as gain feels good. Am I right? So when someone says we cost too much, I’d be willing to bet there isn’t much they are afraid to lose by not choosing your unique services. You need to incorporate into your sales process a way that shows people that the bigger risk is going with someone cheaper!
Your job in selling is to find out if price really is the issue. A study has shown 68% of salespeople think that price is the customer’s main concern. But the majority of consumers polled in the same study were more concerned with the quality, relationship, and service.
If you put out a unique product, create a relationship with your client during the sales process, and convey the pricelessness of your product, it will be harder for someone to say, “You cost too much.” Of course, not everybody you’ll meet with is a good client for you. And that’s something you need to be comfortable with. Never get greedy or desperate enough to lower your prices or try to force a fit with a client who isn’t a good match. Not only will you devalue your talent, but you’ll gain a reputation as the “discount guy” for future referrals.
Next time, as we get into the fall booking season, I’m going to cover one of the biggest issues we all face with wedding video sales: You’ve spoken with the bride, and now she has to ask her parents, the real decision makers. How do we still book the job when all the parents will see is a number?
Matt Davis (coaching at lifestagefilms.com) of Life Stage Films has been described as the “Head Coach of Wedding Videography,” providing one-on-one business coaching as well as group coaching webinars. A featured speaker at WEVA 2009–10 and IN[FOCUS] 2010, as well as a multiple CEA award winner and 2009 EventDV 25 all-star, he is based in Wilmington, N.C.