by Den Lennie Issue 105 - September 2015
Increasing prices is such an important part of growing your business. If you want to invest in the latest gear then you have to be charging enough to allow for continual investment The easiest and most efficient way to achieve this is to reposition you and your business away from a cheap commodity product to a desirable and premium priced service.
Low cost, high quality and speed cannot coexist, and the kind of clients you want to be dealing with are people who understand this.
Take something as simple as ordering a product from an online retailer. If the item is in stock then you can usually select a variety of shipping methods, all priced accordingly. If you want that item the next day before 9am, then the shipping option for this is likely to be the most expensive compared to the standard shipping, which takes two to three days. What this demonstrates is that if you want the item quickly, you pay a premium price. If you dont need it right away, then you choose a more economical shipping option. Speed and efficiency is more expensive than slow and economical.
If you apply the same principles to your video productions, you can charge a premium for post-production if the client wants the item delivered quickly. Theres no reason why you cant charge a 50% additional premium on your edit rates for a quick turnaround.
Lets imagine your client would like a very high production promotional film that they want to have a cinematic look and feel to. This will require you to work with the gaffer and additional lighting, perhaps a focus puller, a grip, and other production team that might include actors, make-up people, and a costume department. Your DP might choose a camera format like the Red Epic, Arri Alexa, or a Sony F55 with cine lenses and associated camera package. Its also likely it would take one or two days to shoot in a single location, taking care with every single frame. However, if the client wanted this kind of high quality production, but only wanted a three hour shoot, then there would be a disconnect from the amount of time required to the quality of the end production. If they want quality, it takes time and money. High quality is generally associated with the addition of the best resources to guarantee the consistency of output.
You never want to be associated with cheap. There are plenty of videographers out there working with cheap equipment and the bare minimum of gear, fighting over who can do the job the cheapest. You never want to be in a race to the bottom. If you find yourself in a position where youre being price matched with another company, then the chances are youre dealing with the wrong kinds of clients. You probably havent got a strong enough relationship with that client either.
Priced-based buyers are not interested in relationships, they are only interested in getting the cheapest price and that is not a business I recommend you focus on.
If you are too cheap your clients will not take you seriously and it gives out the wrong message. Increasing your prices to a point where youre reassuringly expensive gives you the pleasure of dealing with non priced based buyers.
Be reassuringly expensive
Raising your prices will feel uncomfortable; in fact, when you deliver your costs to a client, if you dont feel a little uncomfortable, then the chances are youre not charging enough.
Also, never give your prices verbally. The danger of giving pricing this way is when you announce your price, the line goes silent and you lose your bottle and risk saying something daft like, but if its too much, I can do you a deal. Be proud of your prices; if youre pricing correctly you can dedicate your time to the client project and give them a premium service.
A good friend of mine runs a very successful coaching and consulting business and he works with CEOs and senior managers across blue-chip companies. A couple of years ago he bought himself a Bentley Continental, with cash. I think the car cost in excess of £150,000. For many people, that kind of money is out of the realms of possibility. However, even if you have the money, when you buy that car from Bentley you have to wait. Premium brands often employ scarcity in their sales process as it helps to further enhance the exclusivity of ownership. Plus, when you do order the car it is hand built to your specification and the person who builds it inscribes their name within the chassis. Then each year, when the car needs a service, the engineer who built the car comes personally to the home of the owner and services the car.
Bentley is a premium brand, and my friend is happy to pay the higher prices to have the person who built the car come and service his car. He has the means to pay for such a car and such a service. He doesnt have to wait in line at a garage, its all done for him which allows him to focus on making money in his own business. He also travels everywhere in either business or first class, and only ever invests in the best products and services because he likes the fact that buying from premium priced brands delivers him a premium service.
Dont ever underestimate the value clients put on dealing with a company that is focused on high quality and service. Many are willing to pay more than you think for video production. You may not feel your business is currently in that position. Thats okay, reading this book and applying the principles I share with you will begin to move you more decisively in that direction.