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-   -   Selling Your Service VS. Uncle Bob (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/wedding-event-videography-techniques/521029-selling-your-service-vs-uncle-bob.html)

James Manford January 13th, 2014 04:45 AM

Re: Selling Your Service VS. Uncle Bob

Originally Posted by Clive McLaughlin (Post 1827578)
I just had an enquiry from a couple and then they came back to me saying that their friend from a media company said they would do it as a one off with two camera operators for like £150 less than me.

I just told them to go with the other guys if they thought it would be good. (Thats the beauty of having another job as steady income).

Even if the couple came back to me offering to pay my full whack - I'd be reluctant - they've already established that I'm stretching their budget and are likely to be very fussy as a result.

Not uncle Bob, I agree, but in general I detest people trying to 'work' me. A person who barters is basically telling you that you aren't worth what you thing you are.

On the contrary, I believe I'm very good value.

My advice to OP - take the clients that want you, and are happy to pay the amount you quote and your working life will be much happier.

Anyone who needs convincing is trouble from the word go.

You only have that luxury due to having a steady job elsewhere to supplement your income. Not everyone that's devoted all their time to their wedding / events business has that unfortunately.

Anyway, I have to agree that educating clients, and placing confidence in them is essential. And that comparison video is a good place to start ...

If you do go ahead with it, place a link here as I might do the same if it looks like it's working well for you.

Chris Harding January 13th, 2014 06:38 AM

Re: Selling Your Service VS. Uncle Bob
Hi Clive

I think people who like to barter will even try the trick about XYZ can do it for much less and then hope you will counter the offer. Meanwhile the lower quote probably didn't even exist.

Like you, my prices are my prices and if you don't want to pay me what I'm worth then look elsewhere. If I cannot make a decent profit by dropping my prices then I might as well sit at home at watch TV.

For some cultures bargaining is in their blood and they expect to bargain and expect you to give in to their demands ... within the culture their vendors probably inflate the prices to leave room for the negotiation but luckily I don't undertake those sort of weddings.

Once you capitulate and do a wedding at a grossly undercosted price I can imagine others coming to you and saying "but you gave Fred and Miranda a much lower price than you are giving me" .. That is a downward spiral and you are correct in sticking to your guns! I don't think I would book them either if they came back to me ..just out of principle!!


Don Bloom January 13th, 2014 07:20 AM

Re: Selling Your Service VS. Uncle Bob
Early early on, when I was actively advertising and pursuing wedding clients I would give deals to get the work. Silly Rabbit!
A very good friend of mine who just happened to be quite wealthy told me once, "when you discount your product or service you are lowering the VALUE of the product or service and if you feel your product or service is only worth the lower price then you should price it there to begin with and hold fast to that price".
I took his advice to heart and while I don't believe anyone should let a deal walk for $100.00, IF you are going to give the client a discount make it for a legitimate reason. I.E.: "well, for that price I can't supply a...(put in something like a 3rd camera at the ceremony even though you might or a 2nd person to cover the reception or you're going to cut bridal prep down to a certain amount of time...whatever to make it sound like IF I do THIS then I HAVE to do THAT to justify the reduction of fees). That's something else also. I NEVER called it a discount it was always a reduction of fees The words you use are part of the believability as well.
After a while I simply stopped doing that and said "that's my fee but since you have someone else who is $150 less than I recommend you book them". I would stand up extend my hand to shake theirs and guess what. Maybe 1 percent would actually have someone lined up. Otherwise for the most part they signed up. No is the hardest word for a salesman/business owner to say to a prospective client but once you do, you find it's not so hard AND you have the power again to decide who you work for and who you don't! It relieves a lot of stress. At least it did for me.

Robert Benda January 13th, 2014 08:13 AM

Re: Selling Your Service VS. Uncle Bob
We have a wedding on January 24th and I think I'll setup a handycam in the back to use as my comparison footage.

Don, we're relatively new, and in an area that had two videographers just two years ago. There is no market, really. It means we're starting from scratch, so to speak, on effective pricing and packages.

We do have the advantage of selling videography (my wife's job) to my DJ clients. I"m a very established DJ and usually have 32 weddings a year. Last year we got 14 of those couples to also book videography.

One debate for us is whether we'll go out to film just the ceremony. That might be an interesting way to get additional work without lowering prices on a full days work and we could do an email blast to DJ clients offering it discreetly, limiting how many people we would do it for. Now that would be competing with Uncle Bob, really, but it's a start. This is going to be only year 3 of our video business.

We're also working on partnering with a high-end photographer. She'll suggest us directly to her clients. She already does this with me as a DJ.

Chris Harding January 13th, 2014 06:28 PM

Re: Selling Your Service VS. Uncle Bob
Always take words from the master Don seriously..he has probably done more weddings than most of us, even me! and I'm in my 24 year of shooting.

Rob? I would even go as far as asking someone, even a teenager, to hand hold the back camera during the vows at least! That way you will get an accurate rendition of what a poor Uncle Bob would do.

I use a GoPro at my weddings and, obviously don't use the audio (I use it for sync though) and brides seem to LOVE the super wide look so be careful that you don't create something that actually might look quite good and attract the bride ...get you helper to actually walk around at the back or maybe on the side so the footage really looks totally amateur otherwise you might not get enough difference between "good" and "bad"


Byron Jones January 13th, 2014 09:41 PM

Re: Selling Your Service VS. Uncle Bob
Having them hand hold the handicam is good advice, as that is how it would normally be filmed by a family member. Also make sure they know how to use the zoom rocker... :) Guests love to zoom in and out.

Adrian Tan January 13th, 2014 11:19 PM

Re: Selling Your Service VS. Uncle Bob
I wonder if it's possible to get hold of authentic Uncle Bob footage, and to put it online with commentary (either onscreen text about what Uncle Bob is doing wrong or voiceover).

If you're creating your own Uncle Bob footage, is that going to be persuasive to a bride? Wouldn't she just think, "They're cheating. They're intentionally creating dodgy footage. This doesn't prove anything. I'm going to hire Uncle Bob"?

Don Bloom January 14th, 2014 06:52 AM

Re: Selling Your Service VS. Uncle Bob
I’m still not sure why most professionals even need to worry about “Uncle Bob” at all.
First of all possible clients that say they might hire him are so far out of the realm of budget that unless you’re doing your weddings for under $500 or you are desperate for the work IMO if they’re thinking of hiring “Uncle Bob” instead of hiring a pro then there should be some serious misgivings on the pro’s part and honestly, not take the job.
Secondly, if you have to justify your pricing or quality of work to someone who is talking about hiring “Uncle Bob” then again I would have some serious misgivings about taking that job. If I can’t outshoot/outedit “Uncle Bob” than I need to reevaluate my workmanship.
Thirdly (and how I love this one) the couple that says they have a friend that works at the local TV station and said he’d “shoot their wedding for ½ your price.” Seriously?! I shot news and what do I always say here about weddings. “It’s like shooting a breaking news event. It happens fast, it happens once and there are no re-takes” The thing is though, it is not breaking news event.
This statement is true for “Uncle Bob” and anyone else who the couple might be thinking of hiring except a professional.
It’s a wedding…you get to do it once…Why would you hire someone who probably hasn’t shot a single wedding and has no clue as to how to shoot a wedding much less how to produce a complete, coherent story regardless of whether it’s told in documentary style or short form cinematic style. That’s a waste of time, effort and money.
Remember some people know the price of everything and the value of nothing and the sweetness of low price will be forgotten long before the bitterness of poor quality.
Forget “Uncle Bob” he shouldn’t even be in the equation but if he is it’s my opinion you don’t need to show work that might or might not be his to prospective clients. To me that’s petty and in poor taste. Show them your work talk about what you can do for them, paint the picture of their day and how you’re going to capture it and edit it into the most beautiful story for them to enjoy watching for the rest of their lives. SELL YOU! Forget “Uncle Bob”. He should be a guest drinking the free booze and eating the free food making a fool of himself on the dance floor not trying to do something he’s not qualified nor capable of doing.

Chris Harding January 14th, 2014 07:05 AM

Re: Selling Your Service VS. Uncle Bob
Hi Don

Wise words indeed! I must admit I have never worried about Uncle Bob nor other people's pricing either. I cost my weddings to suit my business and make sure I make a profit and if someone wants to do the job for half my price then they are welcome to do so!

I have never had a bride question my costing after I decided to drop ethnic weddings a while back.

I would suppose that the full time worker who does weddings for some extra cash on the weekends might be threatened by DIY videographers but as a full time occupation it shouldn't even be a concern never mind a threat.

All industries have Uncle Bob's ..an oil change at my local workshop costs me $149.00 ..I'm pretty sure that my area alone has many weekend mechanics who can do it for half the price but I'd rather trust the pro as brides should trust us.


Noa Put January 14th, 2014 07:12 AM

Re: Selling Your Service VS. Uncle Bob
Not trying to look down on photography because I do know it's much more then just pressing a button but it's much easier for uncle Bob to take a great picture at a wedding that might even come close to the professional photographer then it is to make a compelling video with good stable images and clear sound. Just looking at what a typical ceremony means for me in order to get my 2 camera angles, good sound and continuous recordings on 2 tripod's and compare that to how easy the photog has it with his 2 dslr's, gearwise it's like night and day which is why video is technically much more difficult to get right, it's not a snapshot at the right moment, it's 25 snapshots per second for as long as it takes.

Steven Digges January 14th, 2014 11:45 AM

Re: Selling Your Service VS. Uncle Bob

I am currently struggling with a marketing plan. I am struggling because after more than twenty years in business I currently need to do something to get some new clients. That is new for me because up until two years ago (the economic turndown) I had all the business I could handle just from my client base and word of mouth referrals. That is not the way it is at the moment.

I am going to say I don’t like your idea at all. I don’t think you will benefit from saying “hire me because I am better than this”. You have to make them want YOU for what YOU offer and who you are as a person. I recently figured out that somehow I need to market myself as a person, not just a product. I have loyal clients that return to me job after job because they like doing business with me. Somehow, I need to figure out how to sell that in my marketing approach. Not sure how yet. But the guys that made the reel below figured it out.

This demo reel showed up in the EA50 forum yesterday. It is the most brilliant reel I have ever seen. The guys images are almost background pieces yet speak for themselves. The reel is all about the man! That is what separates it from every other one I have ever seen. It is truly brilliant. When it is over it makes you want to hire HIM. I hate my own demo reels over the years. I learned something from this one.



Dave Blackhurst January 14th, 2014 11:54 AM

Re: Selling Your Service VS. Uncle Bob
There are a LOT of crap photogs out there too... we've all seen shining examples of 'togs that are clearly able to be terribly disruptive, using "spray and pray" and getting in the way! I'm sure there are some whose final results make "uncle Bob the photog" look good...

Proper equipment for shooting weddings, be it for stills or video is critical, and most "casual shooters" won't have it, and then there's "technique", experience, and of course TALENT.

Hand a pro (or even some amateurs) with a "good eye" a cheap digital camera, and you actually will probably be surprised by the results. It's ALL still about knowing how to capture and frame properly, and edit to effect. This is true whether it's stills or video. Obviously for video, you have to add audio to the mix, but the principles are the same. Of course better equipment (TOOLS) can make for better results, but it's only part of the equation!

In the end, worrying about the "competition" rather than showing your skills/talent/work is a waste of time and energy. Quality shows, and some people will recognize and pay for it, others will not. You're selling a service as well as a product - it's not like a box of laundry soap where "cheap" might be a primary motivational factor.

Mercedes doesn't market by saying "would you rather have a Yugo, or OUR product?", at the most they might cite a SIMILAR quality brand and say where they are superior - there's a reason for that, they KNOW and don't really CARE, because if the buyer is actually considering a Yugo, they probably aren't going to be seriously considering the Mercedes...

To continue the analogy, it's the cheaper brands that will always try to compare to the "big name" brand - they have nothing to lose, and can only gain by name dropping and association.

IMO, you don't ever come out ahead by "comparing down". Be the best you can be at what you do, and aspire to be better, find ways to "positively" market yourself. Let quality speak for itself...

David Barnett January 14th, 2014 12:59 PM

Re: Selling Your Service VS. Uncle Bob
I think people are starting to sway more towards the nayyy on this, and I am one as well. Couples are having their friend or family do it because it's cheap/free, and their budget is exhausted. We all know video is one thats typically first cut. So you really don't need to make the plea "I'm better than them" moreso than "Quality video will be $$ well spent". Can you make that case? I suppose so, but otoh how much time would you want to invest in this? If it's just a video on your website you email potential clients for DJ/Photog to upsell them to video, well the myb. Just make sure they're pretty well locked into the other service before you try to upsell them. TBH I would be a bit turned off if a DJ kept pushing me to use his video services as well, when I told him I didn't have anymore money left in my budget and I'd look elsewhere for a DJ too. But your in a smaller market than me, so myb there's little others to check into. In addition, what do you expect will come next, a Eureka! moment where a couple unwilling/unable to pay for video suddenly agrees to pay $1000 or whatever for video too? Or do you forsee more bargaining, cheapskating, tirekickers asking for this/not this/we don't need this etc... dwindling it down to $200-$300 to where you question was it really worth it to obtain these people for video in the first place??

Robert Benda January 14th, 2014 01:05 PM

Re: Selling Your Service VS. Uncle Bob
Just to be clear, IF I post the video I described, it will be in my 'how to hire a videographer' page, which is about helping people decide what they are really looking for, and what their options are.

Also, don't forget we are a new business when it comes to videography. I'm taking the same approach to building the business that I did when i first started as my own DJ/MC. The one advantage to videography is that the final product is easily accessible as a show piece to potential clients.

Here is the full rundown:
our area, Eastern North Dakota/Western Minnesota is mostly rural. We have two towns with 80,000 and 150,000 people in them for our metro areas. Everything else is 10,000 or less, for a total market area of 300,000 people spread over hundreds of square miles.

In this huge area, up until two years ago, there were two wedding videographers. They both stunk. This means that, as a DJ/MC who works 30+ weddings a year (at 50% above market average), my DJ clients are mostly exactly the right budget group to be hiring videography and I NEVER saw any for about 10 years except family members.

This means we're helping create a demand from scratch. To do so, I'm using my successful DJ business to sell videography (13 out of 31 weddings took us up). Key word based web surfing shows its still 2 to 1 for DJ versus video.

For the first five years of video, with us entering year 3, we're selling below the price that we hope to be, but we're also not that great. We are at what I'd consider the bottom rung of respectable quality.

So, for now, we continue to sell at a very modest price to generate interest and try and expose ourselves to as many clients as is reasonable to: 1) create a base of clients for referrals and 2) create enough wider exposure that people will (hopefully) start to consider videography as a common part of their wedding plans.

Dave Blackhurst January 14th, 2014 06:54 PM

Re: Selling Your Service VS. Uncle Bob
Robert -

What you're really describing is an "add on" to your DJ services, which is fine, it's added $ for what may not be much more "work", but you do add the need for at east one extra "warm body" to cover the additional service (is my memory right that you've got a wife or girlfriend helping on this?). To some extent, you don't have to offer a whole lot, since as you say, the other options are so bad that no one was interested (I know the types, it's pretty SCARY!!).

Providing a decent tripod under a $300 cam (buy something slightly used, but still quality!) or two might be all it takes, and it stays affordable, which I suspect may be part of your business requirements! It's a different animal trying to service relatively "rural" areas vs. "big city", the budgets are likely to be very different, and if there ARE high budget weddings, there won't be as many. Then again, it also probably thins the herd of "Uncle Bobs" with any sort of current and decent equipment!

I think we all know the "signs" of amateur video - shaky footage, fast pans, bad framing, one static tripod shot, bad lighting (anyone have that old pic that popped up here years ago of the HC3 with a lampshade on it?), bad or distorted audio... and so on...

You say you're at the bottom rung of acceptable? I see some danger in comparisons, but at least you're being honest with where you're at! I would say that you are already "successful" with a 30%+ "conversion rate" of DJ clients purchasing an add-on. IMO, you'd be better to drop into the private area and share and seek places for (hopefully cheap) "upgrades" to your equipment, bump the quality up a notch or two, so you've got a eye popping "show reel", and build that way.

Another approach might be to rephrase the question to: "WHY hire a wedding videographer?" - that's a positive way to strut your stuff and avoid the "so your video doesn't look like this...". although that could be "funny" if done right!

If you're upselling 30%+ already that weren't even looking for video (I'm presuming here), your "low hanging fruit" is the people already in your office or on your phone, hiring you for DJ services. What is it that makes that 30%+ decide to spend extra? You're already doing something right, I'd figure out what is working and fine tune it?

Unless a video is really truly AWFUL, just having a video is a good thing - we've discussed the difference between stills which provide a glimpse of a moment, vs. "being there" (even if it's from the view of drunk uncle Bob) if the video is done reasonably right. You can probably cite the surveys of brides that show they WISH they had video after the wedding was over - that should be enough right there!

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