Amongst several great comments to yesterday’s buy Pregabalin online usa post this comment from Kate stuck out –

“I totally get what you’re saying…and I hate price being something that lands or loses clients…but they do have a budget.”

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Alright, I’ve got a ton I want to say about price lists, what pricing means, how to do it, etc.  But let’s start right here before a client even interacts with your pricing.  Is it necessarily true that a client has a budget?  I’m sure that rough numbers will get thrown around but we have to make a chicken/egg type of decision here.  Are we going to let the client’s budget dictate our price, or are we going to let our price dictate the client’s budget?

You can opt to do this either way.  I was walking through an IKEA this weekend and I saw a banner on the wall that said they design a piece of pre-fab furniture with a price point in mind, which is supposedly good for ingenuity and afford-ability.  I also know that when pressed with the question as to why Leica didn’t design cheaper lenses a manager once asked if the market would have them design lenses that were less than the bes they could do.  No doubt, both companies are doing very well right now, each with a very different price-to-budget ratio.

So, ultimately you have to decide whether to are going to take an IKEA or Leica approach.  Frankly, you might not find it surprising that I would advocate to forget what you think a client’s budget might be and inform them that your work comes at a given price.  There is a ton of talk we can do around this subject but I simply think its in no one’s best interest to ask the client how much they want to pay and normalize around that.  This puts the responsibility for understanding the economic ramifications of the service squarely in the hands of the least-educated person in the relationship which doesn’t make much sense to me.

How does a client define a budget anyway?  I mean, you can buy a wedding dress for $50 or $50,000 (or more). Photography is exactly the same.  So we really have to get to the point where we understand that our pricing is not dictated by our function.  A client may set a budget by talking to other people, or reading a magazine, or from another photographer’s price list, and none of these things are really in our control.  If we give in to the budget we are letting everyone else dictate what our work can be worth, and almost no one on Earth cares about our business making it but us.  So let’s stop worrying so much about what people think their budget is and focus on our value.

Value and budgets are two completely different things.   Value is what something is worth, budget are what people think they can/will/want to spend.  Understand this – if you are operating a true, purposeful business your value will never change, but a budget can always change. Budgets are hilarious.  We think they have meaning as we routinely violate them.  Because they are just hopeful guesses.  We don’t run our businesses on hopeful guesses.  We’ve all been in the situation where a budget has gone completely out the window when our perception of values changed.  And it doesn’t always have to be about increasing the budget.  I’ve been house-hunting recently and ended up purchasing a property far below the budget I had set simply by re-framing my beliefs about what I valued in a property and what property best suited me.  Price is but one facet of a business, and its really only a facet that we are concerned with in as much as it builds confidence, enforces credibility, and supports value.  Its not the only thing that a client is considering, and we shouldn’t let them think it is the most important thing by worrying about some budget.

My advice, at this point, at the point where you are trying to get a client to understand your value proposition, don’t worry about budget.  In fact, for the rest of our time talking about price lists and pricing in general I want to forget about budgets.  Budgets limit by definition.  We simply can’t afford to be limited right now.

More thoughts coming…

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