Generally, event-based business entrepreneurs fall into one of two camps:
- We list pricing on our website for all to see. We stand exposed.
- We hide our pricing and ask prospective clients to "contact us".
I started in the "contact us” camp and did not show pricing.
I think there were two main reasons why I chose not to publicly advertise my pricing:
- I didn't want to miss out on a single lead. There was an underlying fear: if someone were to come to my website, see my pricing and determine I was too expensive, they might not contact me and I might not get a chance to close the deal.
- I wanted to make sure my customers were happy. I believed "customizing" my services for each client's needs helped maximize the likelihood they would be a happy customer.
Looking back, I realize I didn't want to show my pricing because I wasn't confident in my service and I had not identified my ideal client. This blog post is my journey from one camp to the next.
More leads are great until they aren't.
I literally wanted every lead and I'd spend a lot of time following up with prospects. After all, if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you have to hustle, right? At the time, I was already a steal (2 hours for $300).
My desire to prevent a prospect from disqualifying themselves before I had a chance to close the deal over the phone worked well. I maximized lead count and spent a lot of time qualifying them, chasing them, and closing them. However, it seems like many prospects wanted to negotiate a lower rate and because I had already invested so much time in a prospect, I often found it compelling to lower my standard rate in an effort to end the chase and close the deal. To make matters worse, that lower rate became my standard rate in the minds of the client should they refer business or book again.
In other words, if a client was given a discount and they referred a friend, that referral would often expect to get the same deal. It was a slippery slope. The number one and two questions prospects would ask is "How much?" followed by "What do I get for that?" Frankly, it was not a good way to start the sales process and I often found myself justifying my quoted fee after providing a quote.
I did some research; it was time to change camps.
Clearly and understandably, the prospect wanted to know if they could afford my service and what I offered in exchange for that money. I get that and realized it was time for me to consider switching camps. I wanted to put pricing on the website.
Before taking the plunge I did some research. Turns out a lot of people trust a business more when they are transparent. Adding pricing to my website also forced me to productize my service. Turns out customers who are provided all the information required for them to make an informed purchase are better leads and price becomes much less of a focus for sales calls. It turns out I was doing it wrong.
I created packages for the different types of clients and their budgets. I started with a small, medium, and large approach. (I'll write more on this soon.) This gave me a bit of a middle ground for customizing my service based on the needs of a client and still displaying a set price.
I was nervous.
What if all the leads dried up? What if my plan backfired and I need to lower my rates? What if my packages do not cover every situation and the client thinks I can't accommodate their event? What if my business shrinks?
I put pricing on my website in 2016. Thankfully my fears did not come true and the leads kept coming. It's been a year now and looking back my monthly revenue nearly tripled from April 2016 to April 2017. Keep in mind, these numbers are for my DJ/MC and photo booth bookings combined.
Here is a look at year over year growth for the month of April:
April 2013 - $3,300
April 2014 - $4,270
April 2015 - $10,188
April 2016 - $10,260
April 2017 -$27,295
There were positive side effects.
Well, I was most concerned about revenue and sure enough, it increased at a very healthy rate. However, adding pricing to my website had several positive side effects:
- Less time chasing low quality leads.
- Fewer clients haggling for a lower price.
- Generally, higher quality leads.
- I can afford more time providing excellent service because I'm spending less time selling my service to the wrong people.
It turns out, having people disqualify themselves is a good thing. And the leads now often don’t need a lot of time being sold. If they contact me, they are generally ready to book. I even went a step further and allowed prospects to book my service online without even speaking with me.
With my new found free time, I was able to spend more time taking care of my customers and less time chasing low-quality leads.
Are you thinking about coming to my camp?
If you're a Photo Booth Entrepreneur and are not displaying pricing on your website, here are a few questions to getting started:
1) How much is your 4-hour photo booth package?
2) How much is each additional hour?
3) What’s included and what is extra?
If you know the answer then you're ready to go. If you don’t know the answer, I suggest taking the time to think more about your business and what value you provide.
Your customers will appreciate it.
I’ve found it’s best to provide prospects visiting my website with all the information they need to make an informed purchase. Most people don’t want to spend a lot of time digging for basic information and calling multiple providers over the phone. If they come to a service provider, get good vibes, see good reviews, and can afford your service, it’s likely they will just pull the trigger and make a purchase. And if you’re looking to take your business to the next level and allow customers to book you directly, take a look at what we are doing with Check Cherry. It’s a booking system for photo booth owners that started as an internal tool for my business. It’s worked so well, I decided to offer it to others and if you’ve made it this far in my post, I’d consider you a high-quality lead who will likely love what we’ve built!