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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Pro's & con's of advertising your price (13 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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scottds80
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Hey guys,
I realise that for higher end shows such as for corporate, this is out of the question.
But for something more generic such as kids parties, this question applies.

What experiences have you had with advertising your prices & packages on your websites or literature? If there is no pricing advertised, do more curious people call for price shopping? This could be a positive or negative I think, depending on how skillfully you can convert them to bookings often.
A negative I think might happen is without a price, a genuinely prospective client may pass on making that call. The price shown in advance might get you both past that hurdle before even receiving the phone call or email enquiry.

What works best for you?
"Great Scott the Magician", Gippsland
JoshLondonMagic
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I want their email address so I have an autoresponder set up and they get instant prices once they sign up and they go right into my funnel. I have about a 75% conversion rate for people who sign up.
Josh
Robin4Kids
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The best advice I have found for kids' parties is to offer 2 or 3 different priced packages. You may consider pricing these based on local shows and give a special quote if additional travel is required. I think there are pros and cons about advertising your rates, but personally I think it is more to my advantage to let them know up front what you charge. This will eliminate some of the "tire kickers." You could always try to upsell your client by offering additional special illusions (levitation, etc.) or services that may not be included in your regular packages.
Mindpro
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Interesting. It really comes down to how you operate your business and what you are trying to accomplish. Since we book a variety of acts at a variety of price points we have never done this. However the main reason is quite simple - if you post your prices your worth is determined based on those prices and the content around it, in this case on your web site copy/text. In my opinion, the purpose of a web site is NOT to sell your show but to generate leads and prospects, and to get potential customers to raise their hand and want more info. To plant the seed, to get them interested and excited to want to learn more.

The main reason is we want the opportunity to sell them. To properly present our services, packages, etc. and to identify to them why we are the solution for their needs and their best choice. Only a skilled live person can do this best. By relying on promotional information or a web site you are putting the action in their hands - you expect them to read word for word your content, you expect them to understand the intended interpretation of your content, and you expect it to sell them or in reality them to sell themselves with your site. This rarely can work out as strong as when you can do it in person, have complete control of the conversation, can address and questions, answers, obstacles and concerns, upsell them to your preferred package or services, add-ons, premiums, etc., and most of all you are creating a "relationship" with them, that is unavailable online.

I do not care what anyone says, you will never convince me of otherwise, people want to deal with a live, warm human person. And that person is much better qualified to sell my services.

There is so much more to hiring an entertainer than on price alone. Performers regularly complain that people only shop on price alone. That's because that's all they know. You are the expert they are seeking and turning to. You can steer them, help them and serve them. However, by publishing your prices it stops them because they believe they have everything the need to know about you. From this point you are grooming them to shop on price alone and perhaps the overall feel of you based on your web site. This is why so many performers are shooting themselves in the foot. They are preventing any chance of presenting and selling them on the many other elements that a customer should be shopping based on, but since they (customers) don't know this it's up to you (the expert) to present or tell them this. Otherwise you are really contributing to them being an uneducated consumer, preventing possibilities and positioning for your business, and adding to the misperception that all magicians (DJ, comedians, bands, hypnotist, etc.) are all the same.

Nowhere is this more apparent than on the consumer level, especially with kids parties. I am constantly being asked how do we get $450, $650, $850 kids parties, school events (often even more than these prices), and other consumer level business. This also ties into another thread where I mention qualifying potential customers. This is much easier when speaking to them live.

This way you not only are qualifying them, but your can offer your presentation and address the pricing and packages question as you desire. You also stand to have a better conversion rate by doing this.

The only tie I would support publishing your pricing is if your positioning is based on having the lowest prices, being a "budget, no-frills" solution or alternative, etc.

This works against you and your business in so many ways. I'll stop for now, but these are just my two cents.
Paddy
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If you advertise your price, you just lost a group of prospects. Half are going to think "if he's that cheap how can he be good?" The other half will say "CRAP he is too high priced for me!" Either way your dead before you can show your benefit to the person. I close with the price and tell the people the "I admit there are less costly people out there, but remember that there is a reason I have 15 years full time experience and they don't. Also in my 15 years I have never had to return a fee to an unhappy client."

And yes I am higher priced, once a year I shop the others in my area and charge $25 more than they do. Funny, within a month they're at my price.
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dearwiseone
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I LOVE offering my prices online. Before I switched, I had so many people call. I was only booking 50-75% of show who called maybe. Half my time on the phone was spent answering questions about price, etc.

My old site didn't have my prices. When I re-launched my website, I had my sister pass along my new domain to her group of mommy blogger friends and got feedback from about 50 moms. ALL of the moms who had a concern had the same concern, among others...my prices weren't listed. They didn't like how I didn't have my prices listed. They said in this day and age of instant information, it was annoying to have to call to get pricing information. I changed that, and things have been great ever since. I book over 90% of the people who call me for birthday parties! Most of them have been to the website, they've seen the package options, they know what they want. No more cold-selling on the phone, the only thing that changes for birthday parties is a bit of gas mileage I add in, depending on their area and my travel, and any add-ons they might want.

I figured if my target market wanted to be able to see prices, I should change it. The final kicker was thinking about what I like. If I'm shopping for a service or product online and I can't see a clear price, I skip over it. I realized that I like to see prices.

People who come to my website are pre-sold by the pictures, testimonials, videos, etc. If they've seen all of that, compared me to the competition, and still aren't sure if they want me...I'm probably not looking for that client anyway.

I can see how this won't work for everyone. I work a very small, niche market. My two main sources of shows are referrals (in which case most of the selling is already done for me) and online advertising/listings.

I'm not the cheapest in my area, but I'm priced higher than most of my competition.

In summary, I LOVE not having do deal with "tire-kickers" anymore. When someone calls, they're already probably familiar with my pricing and I can focus on selling them benefits and bonding with them by personalizing the party to their kid, instead of talking prices.

I would recommend asking yourself what your target market wants. How can you go wrong by catering to that answer? Better yet, ask THEM! Do a survey of Moms (if birthdays are your market) and ask them if they'd rather see the prices online, or not. We can guess, but it's them you want to cater to!

Just my thoughts!
- Kevin
scottds80
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Thanks for the very well thought out replies. I can definitely see both sides of the question.
I have only recently been putting my prices up on the website, and I loved receiving calls or emails asking to book me in for the "complete package".
This was $450 for a magic show, games with prizes and disco party option.

I personally can relate with Kevin, because if I see a site for other goods or services without pricing, I will often skip over it. I would contact them if I was in demand of their product.

I also see Mindpro has a great point in that enquiries begin with the personal warmth of a conversation.
There's no wrong answers, just preferences. I like to hear these valuable opinions though.
Scott
"Great Scott the Magician", Gippsland
JoshLondonMagic
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I think different markets lend themselves better to advertising prices. If a visitor to my kid show site wants my prices it is available, I just want them in my funnel so I can market to them further. However, for my corporate/private party customers/leads they need to call or email me for accurate pricing.

Josh
Josh
tacrowl
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Agree with Josh that some markets require a specific pricing approach, while others, like Birthday parties are a set package, making it easier to give out blanket pricing. I'm not in that market, but I did an interview with magician David Farr on the topic of web site pricing - you can see some clips here:

http://entertainment-experts.com/give-pr......-opt-in/
In which he talks about getting people who come to your site to give you their email address for instant pricing.

http://entertainment-experts.com/automate-your-business/
In which he talks about automating your follow up processes to avoid the hassles of spending phone time with tire-kickers (something Kevin mentioned above)

and http://entertainment-experts.com/the-pow......low-ups/
Which discusses reasons the opt-in can be beneficial even if you don't schedule the event for this year.

Just some food for thought. If you like them, sign up for the email newsletter to keep up with David's video clips. He shares some extremely powerful web marketing tips and ways to personalize your processes to prospects and clients.
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Ken Northridge
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Quote:
On 2013-05-04 19:44, Mindpro wrote:
The only time I would support publishing your pricing is if your positioning is based on having the lowest prices, being a "budget, no-frills" solution or alternative, etc.

This works against you and your business in so many ways. I'll stop for now, but these are just my two cents.

Its not too often I will disagree with Mindpro but…

Sticking with the children’s birthday party market, I’ve had my prices on line for 4 or 5 years and I really believe my pricing is relevant to 80% of consumers. Admittedly, I will not book the bottom 10% or the top 10%. But 80% of the market is a far cry from the “lowest price, no frills” market.

I have a competitive opening price point and many options to add on. Although I do book some shows at the opening price point, my average per show is well above that, and $500 birthday parties are not uncommon.

Con’s
Because my prices don’t float based on the customer anyway, the only disadvantage is not getting the customer contact information for future shows.

Pro’s
Far less time is consumed in phone calls and follow up emails. I publish my calendar online for the same reason. When customers contact me, its because they are sold! In fact many will fill out my booking form on line. I will send them a confirmation letter and in 5-minutes the entire booking process is done!
"Love is the real magic." -Doug Henning
www.KenNorthridge.com
Donald Dunphy
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I also post my birthday show rates online, and I've done it that way for a few years now (I've mentioned it on a few threads). I've tested it both ways.

My customers seem to appreciate it, and they call me to book shows even though I'm not the cheapest option.

And it's less frustrating for me. When people had to call (or email) to get my rates, I tracked my close rate. I booked less than 50% of the inquiries, when it came to birthday shows. While I enjoy talking with people, I did get a fair amount of calls from people who didn't book because of the price. Now I don't have that problem. I only hear from those who know what I charge, and are ready to book me.

------------------------

More of my opinion on the topic, re-posted from another thread, 2 months ago...

I feel that I don't need their email address or contact info in order to quote rates online for a birthday (I will ask for their name and some other details when they call)... I'm not interested in putting the prospect onto an email list, mailing list, phone list, or into my database, just because they ask about a birthday show.

I only really need that info if they book a show.

I put my birthday show options and rates, birthday show FAQs, and birthday party tips right out in the open (BTW, that's not an invitation for other magicians to swipe my website content).

Also, for rates outside your normal area, this is easy enough. Simply say on your webpage that these rates are for shows in a certain area, and say that you do shows in other areas, and that they'll have to call for those rates.

If you haven't quite figured it out, yes I do like doing birthday shows. I do them well, offer good value, and I have happy customers. But I think that some performers work way too hard to get those types of shows, with hiding their rates behind a form, repeat emails in response to an inquiry, use of adwords, etc.

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Kameron Messmer
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Right now I don't advertise my price on my site, but what about a range, or a "starting at $x" ? That at least prepares them.
Mindpro
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I don't like it as it is sure to cause disappointment or dissatisfied thoughts. For example if you say "prices starting at $275". If when you actually give them a price, anything more than your "starting at" price will be more than expected. All they think in their mind is $275. If you quote them $325, even if you spend time justifying this price, they will get the perception of it being more than others are paying. Simply put even though you are saying "starting at" they think of that price in their mind.

It's just like when car shopping. You see a t.v. commercial of the new Mercedes 280 starting at $32,500 that is the number viewers will have in their mind. Yet when you get to the dealer and most of the cars are $36,000 - $42,000 what started out as an affordable possibility has now led to let down and disappointment and most will think it's out of their league or more than they want to pay.

This is another reason why I don't care for publishing prices, it creates a solid perception in their mind, and that becomes your worth.

For those that are claiming they like publishing prices and it makes it easier for them, I wonder how many possible leads or possible bookings you are missing, being passed over for or never get considered for?
Donald Dunphy
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Quote:
On 2013-05-06 23:29, Mindpro wrote:
For those that are claiming they like publishing prices and it makes it easier for them, I wonder how many possible leads or possible bookings you are missing, being passed over for or never get considered for?


I figure about 10%, for me personally.

Here's how I reached that conclusion, a few years ago.

I tracked all of the birthday show inquiries I got (before I had my rates online), for years and years. I went through all of the show information over the phone (script), tried to book the show, and also offered to send them an information kit. I tracked my numbers closely. 5 out of 10 didn't book, and didn't want follow-up info by mail. 2 out of 10 wanted info, but never booked. 2 out of 10 wanted info, and booked instantly (before I mailed the info). 1 out of 10 wanted info, and only booked after they got the info. I booked about 3 out of 10 inquiries, and 2 out of those 3 were instantly. 1 out of 10 needed time (and the info kit), on top of a phone conversation, to make their decision.

I'm assuming that the 1 in 10 was the hard one to convert, that would likely be converted by phone over having rates online.

I'm doing about the same number of birthday shows nowadays, as I was back then (rates only by phone vs. rates published online). I still have great phone conversations with my customers, and build rapport. I just don't spend time on the phone trying to build rapport with prospects who aren't qualified... I build rapport with them through my website information.

Again, I've tried it both ways, and I'm happy with what's working for me. I'm not saying that others need to run their business the same way that I do. I'm also glad that having rates online works for other pros like Kevin and Ken.

- Donald

P.S. Keep in mind, that those who use a submit form on their website and email rates (using an autoresponder, for example), aren't using the phone for first contact either. It's the same as having their rates online, except they capture the contact person's email. Most of their follow up to the inquiry is done by form email (can look like it's personalized when it isn't really)... only a few running their business this way actually will call instead of sending multiple emails.
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Mindpro
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I think it's great that you guys are happy and doing well with your hands-off approach, I would just wonder what might be being missed...or could be improved if you had more direct opportunity to sell them. If you're pleased with your results that is what matters.

As in Donald's case he has after years of experience broken it down and has a true understanding of his customers and business. I believe many entertainers do not do this. Often when I mentor or coach someone I'll ask them questions pertaining to the number of leads they generate each month and by what means, which of these means is responsible for how many leads, how they qualify leads, what their conversion ratio is and many other similar questions and they simply don't know. Even guys with auto-responders or online forms who can very easily track results often don't have a clue. They also don't realize how many potential customers are being missed, slipping through the cracks or being turned off by some component of their system and what they could do to improve that.

Ken and Donald here seem to have success with their rates online and have control of their business which is great. I'm it's working for them.
Dannydoyle
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I have never advertised a price. I have no idea I'd it is right or wrong. Some markets like colleges you have to I think. But I am no there so I really have no idea.

For those of you who like the srarting at idea think how many times you have been burned then enraged by the real cost of what you desire. Just saying.

I went to Just Tires once. Figured all they did was tires so they must be good at it. Got taken in by that low low price for tires. Then they get you for those little edtras.

1. Do you want them on your car? Naw let me eat them here.
2. Do you want them balanced?
3. Do you want stems? For those of you not car guys that is what HOLDS IN YOUR HE AIR.

Seriously it ended d up costing me way more 45% more for the tires once it was done with everything but a waiting room fee.

I never wanted to associate myself with giving a customer that feeling so the whole salami method or upselling never occurred to me as being a good plan. Also publishing prices does not work for me for similar reasons.

Everyone needs to notice jow I said FOR ME and not jump all over me for this post. I have no idea what works for you and make no judgement of it.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
dearwiseone
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Quote:
On 2013-05-06 23:29, Mindpro wrote:
This is another reason why I don't care for publishing prices, it creates a solid perception in their mind, and that becomes your worth.



I'm fine with that. If a client wants to think my worth for a kids birthday party is $325, that's fine. That's what I charge! For that client, for that show, that is what I'm worth. But I'm fine with that, that's why I listed my prices at that. I HOPE it creates a solid perception in their mind, I don't want any confusion when it comes to getting paid.

Also, it seems logical to me that those who don't list their prices are missing out on way more business than those who list their prices on their website.

It's not a "hands-off" approach, it's the opposite! Giving information to the consumer is empowering and takes extra work to list your prices. "Hands-off" is using auto-responders and auto-generators to generate generic responses that may or may not address the client's questions.

If you asked 100 moms (usually the target market for booking birthday parties) if they'd rather be able to see your prices online, or not see them and have to give personal information to get a quote, I doubt even 10% would respond that they'd rather have to email and fill out a form just to get a quote.

Danny is right though, there's no need to argue...to each his own. I think it's actually cool that both methods work. It sounds like people are having great success with both methods, which probably means it's just a matter of which you like better!

Great arguments for both sides!

- Kevin
Mindpro
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I think you missed my context. In the quote you stated above I was referring to Kameron's ideas of listing it as "prices starting at". My point was whatever point you list as you "starting as" price is what they will remember and that in their mind becomes your value. As I've also stated before this may be fine for consumer-level markets such as the kids parties you are referring or if you olny work one specialized market.
charliecheckers
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I think one needs to consider the purpose of their website in the first place. For example, for me, I do not use it primarily to attract potential clients via searches for entertainment in my area. I use it to substantiate my business and provide content details. Most of my business is performing public shows such as libraries and fairs or at country clubs or scouts, fire halls and schools. My birthday parties are a result of people from those shows or from recommendations from someone who saw my show. This type of "shopper" is entirely different than one who is doing a general search. My website is there to reassure them, not to cold sell them. I choose not to publish prices because I want to present a custom offering for their particular needs. I like having flexability for both myself and the potential customer. For example, if they are able to be flexible on the time or day of the show, it allows me a bit more pricing flexability - especially when travel is necessary. I also like to have the opportunity to verbally reassure them of the satisfaction they will experience. If the purpose of my website was to attract those in search of a birthday performer, I believe I would publish prices for the same reasons as those mentioned by others above.
Brainbu$ter
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I've seen several comments stating that 100% of moms would rather see prices upfront.
That's obviously true, but the reason entertainers don't publish their prices were never to do with what the mom's thought would be best.

If I listened to what laypeople thought should happen and followed that model,
then whenever I said when having multiple people select a card, "And name your card out loud, Mark,"
just before I reveal it dramatically, Mark might think it would be better
for me to reveal the card first, then after that he confirms to everyone that it is indeed his card;
when theatrically, WE ALL KNOW it's better if he names it first so the revelation has a solid climax
(instead of the dramatic revelation of a card, then all the other spectators looking toward Mark to verify whether it was indeed his card,
a sort of trickle down anti-climax).

Some good reasons that restrict us from stating the price are:

1. The distance of the event (am I driving 3 hours?)
2. How many guests will there be?
3. Age of the guests
4. Stage show or close-up
5. Live animals or no animals
6. Mindreading included or just magic (this is something I've been using...not sure whether it's very good)
7. Length of performance
8. Sound system provided or not
9. Give-aways at the end or not
10. Games included or not
11. Standard generic show or customized for your company
12. How much money you got? (Can't really say this to the prospect, but frankly, I look at whether it's a corporate gig and what region it's in to try to estimate how high I can go)

There are probably more.

I suppose with most of these you have a base price listed plus boxes to check, including distance,
so that everything is transparent.
But then you still have the problem of putting the cart before the horse.
The idea is that it as FAR easier to sell an expensive magic show in person than to sell it textually.
The most engaging virtual magic show by the stupendous zoom magician and mentalist Jon Finch.
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