Several years ago, I followed up on what I thought was a great lead for my photography business. I crafted a warm introductory email and requested that we schedule a phone conversation.
Then came the response that totally deflated me.
"Just send your prices."
Like many photographers, that was the very last thing I wanted to do. I didn't want to talk about prices before I had an opportunity to have a conversation. I didn't want to quote a price before I had a chance to understand the full scope of their needs. After all, once he knew my prices, he could just leave.
After going back and forth a few times by email, I sent some prices. As I suspected, he disappeared.
The moral of the story is not what you might expect. Just show your prices on your website.
Why is price important?
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Price plays an important role in your marketing mix
As one of the 4 Ps, price plays an important role in your marketing mix. Knowing that, you should be strategic about your whole offer.
In your marketing, consider these four items:
- Product - a good or service being offered by your business.
- Price - the cost consumers pay for your product or service.
- Promotion - advertising, marketing & PR that shows consumers why they need your services and why they should be willing to pay a certain price for it.
- Place - where the product is sold and how it is delivered to the market.
In its strictest sense, we consider price as the amount a customer is willing to pay for your product. It is a mistake only to think about pricing in that way, however. Price is also a signal about your position in the marketplace.
Before you determined your pricing, I'm sure you did some market research to determine what other people were charging. Once you established a range among your competitors, you had a decision to make. You could choose a product and price that put you in the top, middle or bottom of that price range. You decided where you wanted to be in the value mix.
Your marketing can now communicate why your product is a great value at that price.
On your website, the quality of your images combined with the services and support you offer, should all tell the story about your value. It all works together.
Price is a consideration for customer perceived value
Your price can also play a positive role for potential buyers. Used correctly, price doesn't lead a qualified customer to exclude you but it reinforces that you are the right option for them.
There are two reasons a potential customer might back away after seeing your prices.
1) You are too expensive. They conclude you are way out of their league.
2) You are too cheap. They conclude you must not be qualified.
In the former, your price allows buyers who aren't qualified to opt out. That saves both of you from having a pointless conversation.
in the latter, your price also reassures qualified buyers to continue with the conversation. In some instances, if you really make a compelling case, a customer might decide to spend more than originally planned.
Show your price but communicate value
You've seen this before. You go to a website and see a grid that allows you to compare options for different price plans. Or, you encounter a business that shows what they deliver for their price verses their competitors. Ever seen a business communicate a generous return policy? I'm sure you noticed that most businesses also share lots of testimonials.
All of these tactics are designed to reassure buyers that the price is worth the value and reduce any perception of risk.
The point is not just to slap prices onto your website but also demonstrate the value you provide.
Other misconceptions about pricing
If I show my prices, my competitors will see what I charge.
So what? Your ideal customer isn't coming to you for price anyway. Your customer is choosing you because you differentiate in your product and deliver plenty of value. They like you based on the connection you created with them on your website. That's something your competitor can't copy.
And by the way, your competitors likely already know what you charge. They've sent you a secret shopper already.
None of my competitors are showing their prices. Why should I?
You have an opportunity to differentiate. Once upon a time, buying a car meant going into a dealer and haggling with the salesperson for hours. Then CarMax came up with the idea to just show the real prices. No more haggling -- that was their message, and they disrupted the way the auto industry sold cars.
You can save your customers time and money by providing all the necessary information up front. What a breath of fresh air.
I can just have people call me for pricing.
Nobody wants to call you for pricing. It's just annoying. It's much easier to move on to someone who provides enough information to make an informed decision. When was the last time you were happy about calling for pricing?
Here's the bottom line
If the only reason you lose a qualified lead is because you posted pricing, the rest of your website has failed.
If you have used your website properly and buyers still exclude you based on price, they probably weren't your ideal customer.
Just show your prices already.