The last and most important step to creating income in your business is demonstration of VALUE.
Value: (Verb) Estimate the Monetary WORTH of something – (Noun) The importance or PRECIOUSNESS of something
When out “selling” or marketing our business to a prospect (someone that we want to turn into a paying client) we can many times make a mistake in how we demonstrate value to them. We often think that our “art” has innate value and therefore if we present that art to a prospect, they should be willing to pay for it. So a client emails us an inquiry and we email back our price list, never to hear from them again. What happened? They saw our art on the site, emailed us, we told them the price and we never heard from them again. That sucks.
Sometimes we make it past the initial email, the client shows up at our door (or at Starbucks) and we show them more value by letting them see printed versions of our art in an album. Then they ask the price of the album, they say they will “think” about it, once more never hear from them again. What is going on??!!
People will ALWAYS spend money on something that they value if they have the means to do so (or think they have the means). Once the price outweighs the value, they stop spending every single time. If two products or services have the same perceived value, the customer will almost always choose the cheaper of the two.
Harvest download on business: 4 hours of content, discounts from sponsors – $249
creativeLIVE download on business: 18 hours of content, free if watched during live event, sponsor goodies, $99 (if purchased directly after show)
Which product on paper seems to have more value? The one with MORE stuff, right? More hours and less expensive = better, right? (Sound familiar?)
BUT, if I told you that the average photographer that IMPLEMENTS what is taught on the Harvest download made $20,000 more than they did before they bought it, got more clients, and worked less on managing their business, could that change the perception and the VALUE of that DVD’s price point? If the average purchaser of the creativeLIVE had a zero return but were slightly entertained for 18 hours, would that product from a business perspective even be worth free? Now, if you know that you could increase your sales bottom line by 25 or 30% over the course of the next year using the Harvest product, it seems like that same DVD is incredibly cheap and now has a greater value then what you just saw on paper. (We are using this as an example, and NOT saying that one has a greater value or greater return than the other).
The only difference in how we first thought about the Harvest product and what we NOW think about the product is how we demonstrated the benefit instead of the features. Features are the length of the content, and the benefit is how it can change your business for the better. Apples to Apples more hours and cheaper prices seems like a better value when you talk commodities (does this sound familiar in your dealings with brides?). But if you can demonstrate value, then you can come out ahead.
“Marketing is a Battle of Perceptions, NOT products.” – Jack Trout – 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing
Bringing the Point Home
If on paper it seems like you offer the same thing as every other photographer in town, then you will be compared to them Apples to Apples (8 hours of shooting, the disk, online gallery and album costs xxx). If we try and demonstrate that the reason we cost a little more (or want to charge a little more) than the guy down the street is because we are better at taking pictures, we will lose most every time. After all, who is saying they SUCK at taking pictures and that is why they cost less? No one! So we need something more. But what? Do I need to make a 19 hour DVD download on business or shooting to compete with creativeLIVE? Of course not! We just need to demonstrate the value, or benefit of what we offer.
We need to be in the business of value creation since photography is everywhere at any price and 95% of all consumers of photography can’t tell the difference between good and really good, and think that it should be free or cheap. When something becomes easily accessible to the masses, the price falls. The reason gold has value is because they are not making any more of it. It is a precious commodity. Photography is NOT. They are making more and more and more of it every day. They are making better, faster, and cheaper cameras EVERY DAY. They are making MORE photographers EVERY SINGLE DAY! If you want to make more money in your business, you have to demonstrate value, and you do that by focusing on the benefit of your products and services instead of on the features of your products or services.
Now, let’s get the creative juices flowing and leave some comments below! Showcase a product or service you offer, then show the feature, then the benefit so we can see the value of it. We will start:
(Product) Wedding Album – Features: lay flat pages and Kodak paper (quality of products is assumed by consumers, so no one cares). Benefit: One day your daughter will climb in your lap and this album will tell the story of your relationship to her dad. She will live that story with you and know where it all began.