Time and again, I see photographers, designers, writers, makeup artists, filmmakers, bakers, and all “professional artists” whine about their clients thinking that they should just lower their prices.
They go all-out defensive and say that what the people are really paying for, when they hire an artist, is not just something that can be done fast and easy. Instead, they are buying years of study, practice/ expertise, professionalism, materials, even gas, food and the other incidentals needed to complete the output.
Images and infographics such as this one are pieces of reference too.
It’s good to educate the market about the real deal when buying art, however, here’s the surprise: most people already know and understand what the production entails, it’s just that THEY DON’T THINK YOU ARE WORTH IT.
Although it is a bitter pill to swallow, more professional artists should remember that their market knows what they want, and if they make the purchase appear commensurate with the price, THE MARKET WILL BUY. We all know how there are so many artists who charge an arm and a leg but still get hundreds of clients on waiting list, don’t we?
So what’s the problem? Why are there a lot of artists still struggling on getting paid with the prices that they want? And if you’re one of these artists, what should you do?
The first thing that you need to understand is this: people are primed to buy. Impulse products and luxury products are easy pieces of evidence that people want to spend, as long as they can tell themselves a story how their purchase is worth it.
When you meet with a prospect client and they feel like you are charging too much, that’s what we call Price Resistance.
And here’s what you need to understand: price resistance comes from a gap in marketing and branding. These prospects KNOW what they’re buying and KNOW what they’re paying for. They just don’t think it’s worth it, when YOU do it.
One can be really good at what they do and it’s easy to justify how much a service costs (those skill investments are reasonable) but one can not be that good in marketing themselves and presenting their work, and themselves, in a way where people expect what price point you’re at. And it should also reflect what “value” they see in the work.
People come to famous artists knowing how much they would cost, and when they inquire, they’re ready to book, basically.
People come to 5-star resorts and restaurants not ranting if the food or experience was worth it. They don’t rationalize everything.
When people tell you you’re expensive and think twice about booking you, they’re not being disrespectful. It’s just that they cannot justify the value of the product because people buy with wants and emotions, and logic comes second.
Now, you might ask yourself: how can I fix this? How can I get rid of price resistance?
This will not happen overnight, and you will be surprised how it will need more than a few tweaks here and there. However, it’s not impossible, and with hardwork, research, and consistency, you can do it too.
I was able to do it, and now I have easy-to-deal-with clients who pay me waaay more money. The negotiation has gotten smoother, and I enjoy my life more, which makes me do better in my business.
Here are 6 solid actionable tasks:
- Build a clear avatar / profile about your ideal customer. Identify their wants and needs, the factors that lead to their booking/ purchase decision, and tweak your messaging for that.
- Pay attention to your social media strategy. Before you jump into the bandwagon, don’t worry, you don’t have to be everywhere to do it. The best thing about social media is there are people already hanging out in these channels, and there are a lot of things that you can do for free. You can pick one or two channels that work for your industry best, and boost your posts and engagements there.
- Position yourself as an authority in your market. Give advice, do talks, get featured, write about your experiences, and show your best work. Remember — this is where the daily grind is. People need to be continuously reminded that what they’re about to pay you is worth it.
- Let your happy clients speak for you. Testimonials are great tools to establish professionalism and presence in the market. To get more back for your buck, you can even make this an ad that gets you more leads.
- Show how you continuously invest in your art. Since you are selling art, you have to consistently invest in it, and show people how you do so. When you get price resistance for your art, it is because people think less of it as art, and more as labor. You need to do your own effort in educating the market as well, and this is a great step in doing so. Same thing goes for consultants.
- Be firm. When you give out your price, don’t flinch, don’t justify. Be 100% firm and confident about your worth. It’s one of the biggest reasons why your prospect can believe it too.
- Find a way of transportation: Sometimes your clients can be far away and they want you to move to their place, if you have some practical vehicle, like an elektrische scooter, it is compact and economic alternative.