Pricing Service Strategy: Is it time for a change?

pricing service strategyWedding professionals are often frustrated by brides and grooms don’t appreciate the value of their services. Ultimately, aside from ‘customer service,’ there are three major factors that come into play.

  • Hours of service
  • Price for product/service
  • Quality and Value of the result

One problem is traditional wedding service pricing structure. For example, DJ Entertainer and Photography pricing is quoted within the framework of ‘time in direct service with the client.’

While customary in the wedding industry, linking pricing only to face-to-face service at a wedding, or wedding and reception, drastically understates the total service time. 

A wedding couple doesn’t know how many hours it takes to prepare custom introductions, tracking drown obscure music, travel or a host of other event-specific tasks. It’s hard for the couple to understand why the price is so high (in their eyes). Hours of work at a wedding and reception are a specific measure of your effort; however, grossly incomplete. The result is more subjective. Hours of performance do not equal the value of your work.

It is not enough to show a prospect video clips of successful events and expect an instant understanding degree of difficulty. All special events have their own degree of difficulty. It’s unreasonable for your prospect to know that, going in.

If one doesn’t explain situational differences in equipment, lighting, skill level, etc., you are just hoping the prospect figures it out. Likely an unreasonable expectation.

A disc jockey, photographer, or videography service (among others) usually prices itself for a specific number of  performance hours. Travel and set up are typically not mentioned not in discussion or noted in an agreement (unless the event is outside the local market area).

What effect might occur if proposals and agreements included a ‘simple informational statement’ indicating a summary of unseen work, associated with your event service, not occurring during the reception time frame?

Effective service implementation, meeting or exceeding client expectations, includes explaining the total scope of your service, at some level.

  • Maybe this approach should become an industry-wide standard for wedding marketers?
  • What would change in the process of selling if every prospect understood you total measure of service, and its impact on a successful outcome?

I know, I’m turning wedding industry pricing and selling approach on its ear. Maybe it’s time to do that.

Andy Ebon - wedding marketing expert

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Referral Lists are Overrated: Part 2

referral listsReferral Lists are Overrated: Part 1 is the beginning of the story; not the end.

Truth be told, many wedding service professionals have a love-hate relationship with venues, and their representatives: Catering Sales Managers, Private Event Managers, Directors of Catering, et al.

When a company is on the ‘referral list’ and the emails and phone calls are flowing, life is good. However, when a company is on the ‘referral list’ and neither online inquiries or ringing phones are the order of the day… well, that’s a head-scratcher.

Are YOU a priority?

Your business is your Number 1 Priority. If you expect it to be as high a priority for someone else, you services better be something extraordinary. If you were struck by lightning and your services needed to be replaced, five days from now, it would be an inconvenience. Exactly how much of a drop-off would occur in your absence.

How is value measured?

There is a continuum, ranging from Commodity to Unique. And when I use the word, Unique (and I rarely use it), I don’t mean above average, easy to work with, shows up on time, dresses well, or even special. I mean that from the client to the busboy, and everyone in-between, people want to know about your company… because the chasm between you and everyone else is massive.

Who knows the truth? And will they tell you?

referral listsIf you are getting the brush off, whether on the list or not, there is a reason, or multiple reasons. Simply telling yourself, “But, we’re on their list…” is an exercise in futility.

There are a number of ways of learning the source of the disconnect.

  • Talk to as many people as you know, within a company (referral source) to ascertain their state of affairs, the perception of you, your company, service, presentation
  • Talk to your professional peers… especially the ones who tick you off, when they tell you what they really think, and don’t just sympathize.
  • People are more likely to tell you what they think, than tell you the truth about what other people think.
    • You may have to beg some people for a straight answer, because they don’t want to hurt your feelings about something. However, if you learn the truth, there may be a solution. If not, you can take a passive stance (which just cost more money in donuts or bagels), there will be no progress. Or you can move invest time in other prospects and opportunities.
    • If the person you ask, hesitates… keep pressing.
  • And when you get a straight answer… don’t immediately respond…. don’t justify… just listen. They may be telling you fact, opinion, perspective, and suggesting possibilities. If you are at a dead stop, you need to listen to every angle.

Do you wear shorts and flip-flops?

referral listI have a long-time business acquaintance who I like and appreciate. However, at networking events, he/she is perpetually under-dressed for the occasion. Not occasionally… almost without exception.

People like him/her. They talk to him/her… but I’ll bet you anything that many people talk behind his/her back and say something, such as:

“Nice guy/gal, but I’d never refer him/her. I’d be worried about what he/she would wear to the event.”

Unless someone knows you REALLY WELL, LIKES YOU, and YOU ASK THEM IF THERE IS ANYTHING YOU MIGHT CHANGE TO IMPROVE BUSINESS, it’s highly unlikely they will tell you, and risk hurting your feelings.

The Moral: Ask a few trusted people to help you clear the fog. And then, listen and implement.

The Secondary Morale: If you know someone really well, and notice something that is negatively affecting their business, find a time, place, and tone to talk softly share with them, make suggestions, and coach ’em up.

Yo! If someone ducks your questions… exactly what kind of relationship do you have with them?

Andy Ebon - wedding marketing expert

Andy Ebon
Wedding Marketing Expert
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Regular Contributor – Wedding Marketing Expert
The Knot B2B

Scarcity Strategy

Scarcity StrategyThere is a natural tendency in business to grow. All too often, that growth is momentum-based, rather than planned. Today, the idea of running a micro-business cam be appealing.

Terms, such as downsizing and right-sizing, have a negative connotation because the are associated with layoffs, often of excellent employees.

Often, a small business owner will feel as though they are working overtime just to create hours for their employees. That, is not a good feeling.

How would your business model look if you could improve the quality, to a premium level, and reduce its availability such that ‘being sold out’ created greater attraction of your potential customers? Among other things, your pricing would/should be at a premium level, too. Your employee headaches would be reduced, as well.

Tales from Tahiti

In 1982, I took a long vacation in Tahiti, after selling my first mobile DJ company, Music Man. I met an extremely interesting man who produced handmade furniture. When I asked him what he did, he exclaimed “I make very, very expensive custom furniture. It is in such demand that I work two years, and then take a year off. I’ve been doing that for almost 20 years.”

He produced some stunning photos of truly one-of-a-kind pieces.

Clearly, this model for manufacturing does not translate, easily, to the wedding industry. However, if one asks, “How can I make what offer substantially different and/or rare, in comparison to my competition?,” then you are on a successful path.

How you answer this question is the key. Simply ‘getting smaller’ is not sufficient. Choosing ways to enhance your product or service, as well as creating scarcity, is the winning combination.

This strategy is not for every business. But it might just be for you.

Think about it…

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Weddings: Money – Value – Budget – Result: Would someone PLEASE explain the difference

money-squeezeJust view yet another Fox TV news piece (from this week) about saving money on weddings, accompanied by an article, on the MyFoxChicago website. It featured a friend of mine, Adam Weitz (ASharp Production) singing in a hybrid ‘band.’ Vocalist – DJ – Drummer. Interesting enough.

You can judge the other information, yourself.

My question is this: Why doesn’t any reporter ever talk about the connection between quality decisions, money spent, and achieving the desired result?

To me, a budget is established by finding out what products and services cost, in the real world, to achieve a desired result. It is not an announcement that states, “I have this much money (for everything or for one thing), period!”

Doing something on-the-cheap  achieves one absolute goal: Saving money. Unless a quality result occurs, there is insufficient value to get excited.

This is a distinction WITH a difference.

Andy Ebon

The Wedding Marketing Blog