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Old August 15th, 2006, 12:39 PM   #1
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How much kicking do you allow?

Now that I have your attention....

Most people who inquire about my services are just "kicking the tires" so to speak. They ask a ton of questions, get alot of advice, want lots of samples, take up cell phone minutes and then don't ever speak to you again.

How much of this do you allow? Is there a nice way to reduce the amount of questions and interaction with a "tire kicker"? Do you sell more packages by face to face consultation or over the 'net?
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Old August 15th, 2006, 01:11 PM   #2
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I've had the most success on a face to face meeting. I find it very difficult to work over the phone, mostly because you can't see their reaction to certian things, you can only hear it. If people call interested in a video, I try to never give them a price over the phone, instead I setup a time to meet with them, show a demo, then talk about what *they* want from their wedding video, then I build a price around what they're interested in.

So far this has been much more effective than telling them over the phone "for 2 cameras, 3 DVDs, coverage of this and that, it will cost you $1750"... I would never hear back from them, but when they build their own package and you give a price, it seems more reasonable, then you can normally judge their reaction and adjust your pricing accordingly, offer special deals, etc. Now I do this on the side, along with my full time job, so I can be very flexible with pricing. I've done a few weddings at cost for me, jsut because it was a nice looking couple with a good location, just so I could have that on video and call it mine.

I always try and meet with both the bride and groom, and most of the time, assuming you have a good demo, they get really motivated from seeing other happy couples on your video. I've found if you make a good impression to them, thjey're usually not too worried about pricing, and about 80% of the time, I've had them sign contracts on their first meet with me.
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Old August 15th, 2006, 01:44 PM   #3
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Tire kickers are not the customers you want. People who just call and ask a whole lot of questions and won't at least see what you do to justify your price, are customers that you don't want. Never give a price over the phone, tell them that you offer free consultations to view your work and see what they expect from you. Also keep in mind that in my experience the ones that ask for a discount are ususally the ones that will be complaining about this shot and asking for re-edits and can you do this etc... If you think your worth the price you charge stick to it and it will show to the customer. We don't discount anymore period. For every customer that walks the phone will ring and you'll get another, it just takes time for word of mouth to spread.
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Old August 15th, 2006, 02:34 PM   #4
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Word of mouth is great... everyone told me it would happen and I didn't believe it, next thing I know I'm getting so much I can't even handle the work load and have to turn some down!
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Old August 15th, 2006, 02:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Bowers
Also keep in mind that in my experience the ones that ask for a discount are ususally the ones that will be complaining about this shot and asking for re-edits and can you do this etc...
I can't even begin to explain how much I agree with you. It's amazing to me that they come wanting such a great deal and try so hard to work you down and then expect even more than what they paid for...

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Old August 15th, 2006, 05:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Bowers
Never give a price over the phone, tell them that you offer free consultations to view your work and see what they expect from you. Also keep in mind that in my experience the ones that ask for a discount are ususally the ones that will be complaining about this shot and asking for re-edits and can you do this etc... If you think your worth the price you charge stick to it and it will show to the customer. We don't discount anymore period. For every customer that walks the phone will ring and you'll get another, it just takes time for word of mouth to spread.
While I agree with you that, in general, those who ask for discounts are usually the ones who want a lot of extras and are not as easy to work with, I couldn't disagree more with the policy of not giving out pricing information over the phone and refusing to offer any discounts. We've booked packages over $10k after some fairly big discounts and those have been some of the best couples to work with. We have also booked some of our bigger standard packages over the phone, after giving out pricing information. Of course, we also list our prices and packages on our website as well as plenty of samples. There is so much competition and variety in this industry that I personally like making all the information available without requiring a face-to-face meeting and we have gotten great feedback from that as well. I'm sure there are other ways that work great for other people, but I love to book a package with a 20 minute phone call over a meeting that is a couple hours long.

In terms of discounts, I really belive the key is to be very selective about who and what you offer. Weddings can be very unique so it can be nice to allow for discounts under the right circumstances, but I wouldn't offer a discount if somebody called or made an appointment and right away asked to cut 20-30% off a package price.

To answer Sheldon's original question. we haven't had many 'tire-kickers' so I'm not sure if that means we are doing something right, your doing something wrong, or it is just a difference between markets. In the end, I find the biggest difference is having plenty of samples and being very open and flexible with ideas and options.

Sorry thats so long, hopefully it helps somebody.

Patrick
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Old August 15th, 2006, 06:15 PM   #7
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I know a lot of people on here may disagree, but I think "not" telling your rates to a client over the phone is shooting yourself in the foot.

Think of it this way. What if you were trying to check out rates/services of similar situation.....and the company says that will not give you their rates until you meet with them....?????

I would tell that company that they just lost a potential" client. There is way too much competition out there...in many states anyway not to give your rates to potential clients who WANT and NEED to know that information.

WHat if your rates are way out of their budget, then you have wasted yours....and their time altogether.

EVen though I dont do it, I can somewhat undertsand...but not really.....not posting your rates on your website, but if a client(potential) calls and asks for rates....and you hold them hostage to a meeting first......I am surprised that any bride would go along with that.

My potential clients would hang up the phone if I were to do biz like that.

my 2 cents.
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Old August 15th, 2006, 06:19 PM   #8
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You go Joe!
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Old August 15th, 2006, 09:54 PM   #9
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Before you call out the hit squad allow me to elaborate. The discussion is on how to limit the people who are just poking around. You need to qualify your clients within the first two minutes of speaking, just like in sales. When asked for a price my answer is anywhere between $1000 and $2000 depending on the needs of the clients. This usually gives me an indication of whether or not they are future clients or window shopping. I offer the consulation to see if their interest is real or not. Who hires a videographer without seeing some work. I live in a city of 113,000 and there are only 5 videographers in town. So competition isn't a problem. The highest priced video in town is $1500, so forgive me if I gave out some bad advice, but here I can afford to not give out an exact price.
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Old August 15th, 2006, 11:46 PM   #10
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Jason....better watch out for the hit squad!

Well, I do offer rates on my website along with samples, and general info....SO, when clients do come a knockin'.....they are almost never just "tire kickin"".....they know what we offer, the prices, etc. When they call...it is usually to set a meeting in person.


For Sheldon....and dont take this the wrong way but, if you get a lot of inquiries.....and youre not closing the deal....atleast most of the time or 50% of the time, you may want to evaluate what you are doing or saying???? You cant always blame the potentials'....maybe your sales pitch or personality is not working for them???? I dont know....cuz I dont know you or how you do things...but these are things that could be the reasons.

good luck...
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Old August 16th, 2006, 12:40 AM   #11
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Hi Sheldon, At first treat all as potential customers. With experience you will develope a sixth sense and soon drop to the ones who are not that serious. Remain polite, thank them for the opportunity to show them your work, hand them a business card and extract yourself by saying you have to move onto another appointment. Always leave the door open. They may come up trumps.
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Old August 16th, 2006, 07:38 AM   #12
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Thanks for all of the info guys!

Most of my inquiries come from Craigslist, and most folks are just e-mailing/calling around trying to find the best deal. I understand why they do it, but I find it very discouraging when I'm spending 20 mins on the phone being interviewed, responding to 5-10 emails, sending multiple samples of work, offering deals, and still not getting hired. I saw the comment about tweaking my presentation---and I'm going to try it. I'm also trying to transition to corporate work (music videos, TV commercials etc) until I can get some word-of-mouth going regarding weddings.
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Old August 16th, 2006, 09:08 AM   #13
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my website has all the questions answered for them.
if they have any more questions, they can usually find them on the site if they look hard enough.. which the serious ones do...

my info packs which i email out to potentials incude speciic detailed information starting from package coverage through to descriptions of the final presentaions

as for tyre kickers, i dont waste my time. i give them a price, and those that automatically want a discount, dont get one... those that go for upgrades etc etc usually get a slight discount or afew bonus' if theyre nice to me.
I no longer do favours for clients as ive learnt the hard way that when u do something for one client, the others who are refered to you by them will expect the same or more..

as for actual potentials and new potentials.. most of the time, if theyre serious, they will respond and ask for a demo or a meeting. those tht dont respond, i dont bother with. I have enough work to save me from hunting down potential clients. I know of afew business which offer extras and bonus' to those who dont reply to their queries... to me, thats a sign of desperation.. even though in teh business world we SHOULD be hunting for the sale, i dont feel its necesary for me to harass potential clients. I know i should, but i am honestly to busy to beg for their business..
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Old August 16th, 2006, 09:37 AM   #14
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Peter, can you send a link to your Web site?
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Old August 16th, 2006, 10:25 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheldon Blais
Now that I have your attention....

Most people who inquire about my services are just "kicking the tires" so to speak. They ask a ton of questions, get alot of advice, want lots of samples, take up cell phone minutes and then don't ever speak to you again.

How much of this do you allow? Is there a nice way to reduce the amount of questions and interaction with a "tire kicker"? Do you sell more packages by face to face consultation or over the 'net?
I find myself booking more and more over the phone. I used to physically meet up with clients prior to booking. I always felt I could sell myself to them better this way- however it's a bigger loss if you encounter tire-kickers.

I find that almost all business can be handled over the phone and via mail (contracts, deposits, etc). I can simply link them to my site or a specific clip and usually follow up the phone call with an email of my price list. It saves a lot of time for both the business and the client this way.

If you get the inclination that they are tire-kickers from the bat you can keep your phone conversation short and end it with, "I'll go ahead and send you our pricing via email- if you have any questions at that point feel free to contact me." It's a good way to get off the phone and the client is usually eager to see the packages and pricing. If it's too much you won't hear from them again.
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