Hi there, Cheryl & Shea Bailey here, from Wedding Industry Rescue! A few weeks back we co-hosted a webinar with The Knot covering discounting strategies. The response has been tremendous–we received hundreds of questions from wedding pros like you, both during and after the webinar. Since this is such a hot topic, we wanted to make sure we addressed some of the most pressing questions. In no particular order, here you go!
Q: In trying not to discount, building your existing client bases is very important. Any suggestions for making good use of the off-season?
A: During the off-season, we always take the time to go page-by-page through our website and online media presence (e.g. social media accounts, advertising, etc.). We change any outdated photos, tweak our copy, update dates and other info, and overall take a look at what our “virtual front door” is saying about us. The off-season allows you to really dedicate time to assess your business and how you present yourself to potential clients, and offers you the time you need to make sure that you appear fresh and current.
The next thing I would suggest you do with your off-season time is to reconnect with your vendor circle. Go to lunch, grab coffee–whatever works for you. Instead of using this time to ask for something, focus on the other vendor – ask yourself, what can you do to help bring more business to them and help them grow their business? I find that the more time I spend focused on helping someone else grow, the more it ultimately ends up benefiting me as well.
Q: I’m a photographer, and was wondering if offering a discount of say, 10% during those off-season times was a good way to generate more business?
A: I would really stay away from offering a certain percentage off of your services. Doing so tends to lead potential clients into trying to negotiate an even lower rate. Instead, I would simply offer a set price for the off-season–if you feel like you must do this at all. I am seeing fewer and fewer photographer’s offer any type of incentive for low seasons, which is great.
I would prefer that you concentrate on another type of photography during these times so you don’t feel a need to discount. For example, if you’re primarily a wedding photographer, you could use your open January dates to do boudoir photos for your brides, so they can have them in time for Valentine’s Day. This will keep you busy during the off season and give you an option to upsell to your existing client base, which is always easier than acquiring a new client.
Q: Is it important to have the same pricing as your competitors? I live in a small resort town that has a huge wedding industry.
A: No! In a lot of cases, having higher or varied pricing is actually quite helpful, because pricing alone can set you apart from your competitors. If you are in an area with a huge wedding industry, you have an even bigger opportunity to set yourself apart in this way. Don’t feel like you need to charge what everyone else is charging just because. There’s no logic in this. So many people just go with the flow of their area without even stopping to consider why things are the way they are. When you follow someone else’s lead in pricing, you’re assuming that all of the same factors in their business and personal life apply to yours. In fact, they might just be following the lead from another business, meaning that neither one of you are charging what you could or should be charging. Don’t be afraid to be the most expensive game in town! Someone has to be. Why not you?
Q: How about a mark up instead of a discount?
A: A discount is still a discount, no matter how you justify it or try to make it seem like a great idea. You’re still training your potential clients to expect future discounts and undervaluing your services. I’d just stay away from playing the mark up game and stick with a pricing structure that you believe to be right for you and your services.
Customers don’t really love discounts. They actually create discord. People love VALUE. There’s a big distinction here.
We would love to continue to help you in building your business, without discounting. Please feel free to leave remarks in the comments section below or check out our blog at www.weddingindustryrescue.com, where we will regularly be posting more Q&A’s.
Want to learn more? Click here for a full replay to the “How to Avoid Discounting” webinar.
What discounting strategies have you been successful with?