Let me guess: selling is a dirty word, to you? It is for most video production people I know. With this article, I hope to disavow you of that feeling and show you that sales techniques are worth investing your time and energy into learning.
If you want your video company to grow, you better get used to (and good at) selling.
That’s just the simple truth of it.
Sales Techniques and why you need them
Here are a few of my thoughts, ideas and pointers on selling video production services and how to get better at it. Of course, I’ve written about this around the site before, but I’m hoping to explain things a little differently in this article.
Believe it or not, your mindset is going to be most important factor in your success.
You need mindset for:
- Charging High Price for service.
- Going out and talking to people.
- Getting them to buy your service.
- Making sure they love your service and then give you referrals.
Without a strong mindset, nothing you do will succeed.
We all have a ‘bullshit detector’ inside of us. Businesspeople often have this BS detector ringing at high pitch. So the moment you are not congruent with your sales pitch, you will not be about to sell your video services. Period.
No matter what sales technique you use, your selling closing ratio is going to be low because of this BS detector.
What’s a ‘closing ratio,’ I hear you ask? Here’s Alec Baldwin to explain:
Let’s say you are charging $1000 for a service and you feel like you don’t deserve it (even if it’s an unconscious thought), there’ll be in-congruency between the words you speak, your body language. Your unconscious mind will make you fail.
Of course the typical sales myth, “The more doors you know, the more it’ll open” works and you’ll land clients if you just talk to enough people.
But the quality of these clients is going to be really bad.
Unfortunately, affirmations, hypnosis, NLP, all of this stuff doesn’t work in this area. What you really need:
- You need clients to get the work.
- The work will give you experience.
- The experience will give you confidence.
- The confidence will give you more clients.
It’s a self-perpetuating loop.
When you start you don’t have clients, so what do you do?
Argh… the endless cycle strikes again…
How to get clients
We’ve covered this before on Filmmaking Lifestyle. Here are some pointers:
- Direct mail is a good start.
- Joint Ventures are a good, too. That is, working with other people who may or may not be related to your industry.
- Putting advertisement in local newspaper (in business section) is good start.
- Getting referrals is good start. But, of course, that’s a part of the ‘endless cycle’ as you need clients to get referrals.
- Cold calling is good too.
If you implement all 5 of the above, you’ll start getting some leads. Once you start getting leads, you should prepare your killer presentation and then present it.
Trust me, you’ll have to go out and talk to people, so if you are afraid of talking to people, you need to do everything you can to get over this asap.
The more you talk, the more you desensitize yourself to this approach and presenting.
In starting, it’s all a numbers game. But play smart.
Do not work with
- Brand new Start ups (as they often don’t have money).
- People who hassle or try to negotiate on prices for services (you can do 50% advance and 50% after the job, but never work for less than you decide).
- People who do not fit with your moral/ethical rules.
- People you don’t like (obviously!).
- People who don’t have a marketing budget.
- People who don’t have any employees (it’s better if they have 5 or more for promo filming purposes).
Let’s talk about prices
Like I said, it’s about 3 things
- Mindset (we already talked about that in detail).
- How much your client can pay for it.
- What are your goals.
What are your goals?
If you do not have some sort of goals, then you are just shooting in the dark.
- Decide what is your goal with your video business.
- How many clients do you want to work with?
- How much do you want your monthly income to be?
And you start working out your pricing from there.
For example, a videographer I know had a goal to cover his rent with his video production work. He was just starting out, so covering just his rent was a great goal.
He needed $12,000 for the year.
So then he started looking at his numbers:
- $15,000 from 1 client (not likely, as he’s new to the game).
- $7,500 from 2 clients
- $5,000 from 3 clients
and so on.
What he needs to get clear on in this case is,
- how many clients he can handle, and
- what will be a comfortable price for him which he can charge without any congruency issues?
Personally, I am happy with first 2 options (15000 from 1 or 7500 from 2). But it obviously depends on your circumstances.
Never, ever work for low prices.
Why? Because when you do it for one person, they’ll tell the whole market about your prices and your cheap service.
“You know that video guy, he only charged $300 for all of this work he did for me!”
Is that the kind of rep you want? Bad market presence.
I’d rather be known as the guy who, “Charges $5000, but he knows his shit”.
Remember, you can never win with cutting prices.
What About Partnering With Other People?
Think about your target market.
Now start listing people or markets that are serving them already.
So, for example, if you are a videographer who wants to work with fitness professionals (that’s a big market, right there!) then start listing down who you can joint venture with:
- Health clubs.
- Supplement providers.
- Gym/Sports equipment providers.
- Dieticians / Nutritionist.
No matter which market you target as a video professional, you can always find people and other experts to joint venture with.
Do not sell yourself as a commodity. That’s the first rule.
What’s the common thing about commodity?
There’s always too much competition and always low prices.
Here’s the thing…let’s say if you’re talking to people about video marketing prices, you can say something like:
“Either you can hire any kid who is doing a video production course in college to do your video work for less than $300 (pocket change). Or you can get someone who has been doing it for 5 years and knows what he’s doing.”
Again, it all comes down to your confidence level, how you can present it and then charge a good price.
Some random musings about selling
Here are some solid pointers to live by:
- Never bad mouth the competition.
- Avoid burning their ego.
- Keep up with mini closes.
- Talk to your prospect’s emotions, hopes and desires.
- Use rapport building skills (and listening skills).
- Don’t do too much rapport, so that you feel sorry about charging them.
- Avoid talking too technically.
- They don’t give a damn what you can do or what your skills are… They only care about results.
- Convert features into benefits, and then convert those into dollars!
- Ask questions that are thought provoking.
Here’s something about premium prices.
When you have 2 options where one is the cheaper (entry level) price and the other is premium, you’ll always have this nagging voice in your head talking about how “it’s high quality as it is expensive.”
If you are financially able, then your chances of buying a higher price item is high.
And when you’re not financially able, it’ll always keep it in back of your mind.
Why? Because you believe it’s of high quality. Just like the Ferrari you saw cruising down the street last week. Everyone knows a Ferrari is high value because of the high value the company has attached to themselves by charging very high prices for decade upon decade.
How do you use this in practice?
You show a high priced item to them first and get them salivating.
If price issues come up, don’t cut your price. Instead, cut down on the benefits or service they’ll get for a cheaper price.
In service businesses like the video production industry, you are what you charge. That’s what you have to understand here.
The problem with cutting prices is that there is only so much you can cut. After that you’ll go broke.
For example, let’s just say the perception thing doesn’t exist and you sell X service for $1500.
As a competitor, I jump in and offer the service for $1000.
With your formula, you counter me with a price of $800.
Soon we’ll keep doing it, until one of us is out of business and other is charging $100 for the same service you’ve been charging $1500 for earlier. Crazy!
Does this make sense? What selling techniques do you use to run your video production business? Let us know in the comments below.