The first impulse is to get very defensive, isn’t it? The next is to start to think of ways to reduce your price just to get the business. Am I right? And seriously, folks, if you don’t believe that you are worth what you are charging, you will believe your customer. And your customer says you are charging too much.
Here’s my reaction:
Customer: You’re too expensive.
Me: *smiling* Yes, I am.
Customer: You’re too expensive.
Me: Yes, we’re very proud of that.
Customer: Your competition will do it for less.
Me: Maybe, but we’re worth every penny.
I believe it, and I say it.
I don’t follow up with close-ended questions — those that can be answered with “yes” or “no.” After this exchange I might ask something like “Please share with me if the other companies with whom you are talking are offering the same value as we are.”
Another script I use is: “Would you be willing to let me share my thoughts on the value we are bringing to your program? It is very important to me that you understand exactly what you are paying for when you hire us.”
Rarely will they say “no” to this, which will lead into a full disclosure that I compare to my client’s own business model.
Here are many of my talking points:
- We have been in business for X-amount of years, are fully insured for any occurrence and licensed by X.
- Our staff is well-trained and educated in this industry, and we will save you money in the end because of their efficiency and know-how.
- Due to our standing in the industry, we have exceptional resources and buying power, which we will use to your advantage.
- We perform a full risk assessment of every program and are prepared for any occurrence with fail-safe plans of which you will receive copies.
- We are fully transparent; you can see all our vendor invoices and audit us at any time.
Now your competitors may be saying many of the same things, so you probably want to have concrete examples ready of how you have saved money, solved problems, etc.
Case Study: Value for Money
Imagine you are working for a deluxe automotive company. You might ask, “Why do your customers buy your product?” What you might hear is “Because it is reliable; it has prestige; we have warranties and the best service policies in the industry.” Then, you can simply respond, “These are precisely the reasons our clients come back to us as well.”
Case in point: A Canadian incentive house was managing an event (see photos) for a corporate client who wanted to experience Los Angeles/Beverly Hills at its best. We selected Two Rodeo for a “Twilight at Tiffany’s” event with all the embellishments that created the illusion of luxury without breaking the bank. Though rarely used for a sit-down dinner party and after-hours club environment, the venue was an important part of the message. Time worked against us as this was a public street with the world’s most expensive shops and no stores or pathways could be closed down to accommodate the event. That could have increased labor costs substantially. We chose simplicity of design to keep costs down. We had competed to earn this project, but we created such an air-tight schedule and were able to show how we were maximizing the budget, we won the account.
A client will pay for value. We in the meetings and events industry want to call ourselves professional. If we truly believe this then we will believe in our own value.
Make yourself and your industry a promise: price things fairly to cover overhead, staff, training, legal and accounting, and insurance among other things. Then stick to it, with a smile, with conviction. Your clients will have more respect for you and your working relationship will thrive.