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When was the last time you bought something and paid way more than you expected to pay? I remember exactly when that was for me: last January and Frye boots. Here’s the story.
I had just released my signature program, The Blueprint Model, for a second year. Each time doors open for my business, I set some little goals for myself to make the launch more fun. Bowling night with Kyle, getting a massage… things like that. One of the big goals I set was a reward of a $500 shopping spree! $500 just for clothes? Holy moly! I was so excited. I had been wanting a great pair of boots for awhile and my Pinterest board for shoes was starting to feel exceptionally full. And then, we hit the goal! I now had $500 in my pocket just waiting to complete my new wardrobe.
Then it happened. Kyle and I were at a birthday party for our six year old niece, and I saw the cutest pregnant lady at the party with her oldest little person running around. She was dressed in all black, from her perfect leggings to her long tunic, and topped with a tan trench coat to give it some contrast. Finishing off the ensemble was the perfect pair of cognac leather boots. I’m one of those people who just walks up to strangers if I like what they’re wearing because A) Who wants to search around on Pinterest forever? When you see something you like, just ask! And B) I’m not great at visualizing exactly what I want so when I see it, I just know I have to get it!
“Excuse me, can you tell me where your boots are from?”
“Oh yea, my husband got them on sale from Nordstrom over Christmas. They’re Frye.”
Done and done.
I left the party, pulled up Nordstrom, and found them. Can you guess the price?
Dum, dum dum… HALF my shopping spree money on boots? I had never paid so much for shoes in my life! Not even half that amount! What was a girl to do?
I didn’t grow up with a lot of money. I am used to hand-me downs and borrowing clothes from friends. In many ways, I’m thankful for that. Not that being into fashion is a bad thing; I’ve just had it a little easier on the clothes side of budgeting because I’ve never been used to purchasing brand name things.
But they were the boots.
I learned a valuable lesson about pricing that day: people buy what they want (what solves their need or what they perceive to be the best value). Price doesn’t really have that much to do with it.
I’ve heard all the arguments about pricing on your website. The most prevalent? That pricing on your website weeds out price shoppers. But today I want to argue against all that. I want to argue just six reasons why you shouldn’t put pricing on your website.
In my experience, the price on your website is typically the average price you will get paid. (This is the same with stating a minimum.) Buyers don’t hear “This is my starting price” when they see it. Instead they hear, “This is the price.” See the subtle difference there? If you put a minimum on your site or in your welcome packet, chances are most of your buyers are looking to book right around that price.
While price is a part of researching before a purchase, it shouldn’t be the most important factor. I completely understand the argument of weeding out buyers who may not have the budget needed to work with you, but wouldn’t it be great if those buyers made that decision after some education? Let’s just put ourselves in the client’s shoes for a second.
A bride just got engaged! Yay! She’s showing off her ring finger on the regular, contacting venues and figuring out how to ask her besties that most important question, “Will you be my bridesmaid?” She’s been scrolling on Pinterest putting together a wedding board, and it’s starting to look like #allthethings! According to the Knot’s wedding timeline, she should start looking for a photographer first. She searches wedding photographers in the area. A couple just have Facebook pages, and she decides to only contact the ones with websites. Two have pricing listed on their site and the other one does not. So what does she do? Emails the third to get pricing.
A. The photographer sends back a kind email congratulating her on her engagement with a welcome packet including her prices. The ball is back in the bride’s court to start comparing prices.
B. The photographer sends back an email congratulating her on the engagement and says she would love to schedule a phone call to hear more about her wedding day dreams and photography needs. It’s just a 15-minute call to make sure the bride gets the right photographer fit. Probably a smart use of time given the investment.
C. The bride doesn’t hear back. (You know what I’m talking about here… insert overworked creative just barely keeping her head above water! I see you!)
Not listing your pricing on your website gives you an opportunity to educate the client. Most buyers in the wedding industry and many other creative fields are new to this process. This is their first branding experience, their first time buying custom art, their first time working with a calligrapher. In other words, they don’t know how it’s supposed to go, and they don’t know what it will cost. So educate them as you talk about pricing!
If a potential client emails you, now you have a way to follow-up! I see a lot of creative professionals miss out on sales because they have no way to follow-up. Follow-up is key! If a website surfer isn’t serious enough to email you, they aren’t serious enough to book you. Don’t be afraid of not getting the client because you don’t have pricing on your site. I would argue it’s more likely that you won’t get them if you do!
Not having pricing on your site allows you to help a potential customer find a budget that is comfortable and provide a solution that works. Maybe they can’t afford your custom invitation design and hand calligraphy, but they can afford a pre-designed suite you’ve created for your non-custom collection.
Side note : Talking to clients (even if they aren’t the right fit now) can be great insight into the market. It can help you see the price-points the market is looking for, and the products they want that aren’t yet available. Hello future streams of income!
When creating pricing or services I believe in building a three-rung ladder: an entry level product that fits a lower price-point but builds exposure for your brand, a mid-tier service that provides more consistent income for your company (fewer clients at a higher price-point), and a high-end custom product or service where you really get to shine, pull out all the stops and wow your clients all while building an exceptional brand presence.
PS: I go into greater detail about the three-rung ladder pricing strategy in my all things pricing ebook, Pricing for Creatives.
Last but not least, not having pricing on your website allows you as the expert to lead the prospective client to a solution that works for them. Don’t be afraid of those influx of emails. A simple pre-written email script can help elevate those inquiries that aren’t a fit (asking budget in your inquiry questionnaire will help!), but the insight you can gain is great marketing data!
If I’ve wet your appetite and you want to dig into this pricing conversation more, I’ve put together a 200+ page e-book all about pricing called Pricing for Creatives. I’ll walk you step by step through my pricing philosophy and give you four video case studies from my clients about what adjusting their price-points did for their businesses.
Ps. This was primarily written with a serviced based professional in mind. It’s also relevant for service based professionals with set package rates. If you own a product based online business this article may still be a fun read, but not as relevant because of course you should put pricing on your website! 😉
What Should You Include in A Welcome Packet?
The Ultimate Guide to Talking About Money with Your Clients! + 15 pre-written email scripts to tackle the money talk with ease!
The most valuable lessons I've learned in ten years of being my own boss