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 for booking new prospects or closing new clients. Same goes for independent consultants.
They go all-out defensive and say that what the people are really paying for, when they hire an artist or consultant, 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.
It’s good to educate the market about the real deal when buying art or coaching, however, here’s the surprise: most people already know and understand what the production entails, it’s just that when you’re booking new prospects, they don’t think you are worth it.
Although it is a bitter pill to swallow, more independent professionals—or freelancers, if you must–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 freelance 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 may 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 hard work, 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 way more money. The negotiation has gotten smoother, and I enjoy my life more, which makes me do better in my business. Now don’t get intimidated, even college kids can do this.
Then it’s like a cycle of good business, really.
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.
When David Ogilvy wrote that famous Rolls Royce ad that sold hundreds of cars in record time, he knew exactly what the richest of the rich want, value, and care about. Then, he put it in a few words on a page. There are thousands of stories about it, so be sure to check out how it happened.
- 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 in the pursuit of booking new prospects. 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.
Mitch Miller, a copywriter, musician, and business owner who sells $2,500-5,000 masterminds with a few Facebook posts, no ad spend, and just a few friendly calls, shares that consistent authority building made sales easy for him, and exceedingly changed his business over the last three years.
- 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.
I love seeing the great stories that Marie Forleo shares in her newsletters. She always talks about the people she’s helped and videos of her live calls on her web show. Sharing results is great, and they’re some of the best kinds of endorsement.
- 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 in booking new prospects, 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. Sometimes, some people talk too much and feel like they need to justify their price, and, in a way, actually compromise the sale. Don’t do that.
Now, dear artist, go out there, take the money, and work on your business.