Are you worried that your crafts or design is too expensive?
Are you not selling as much as you like because your clients tell you that you are too expensive?
These concerns are fairly common, and here are some practical tips to respond next time (and yes, it is up to you which response you will use, don’t let your emotions get too much in the way):
Response 1: Say nothing, stay quiet
There is no reason why you should feel the need to defend yourself. So don’t respond and don’t take it personally.
In fact, seasoned negotiators very often use the ‘stay quiet’ technique, as the other party (often less experienced) will feel uncomfortable with silence, and they start talking, hereby often coming down with their request.
Response 2: Say in your most friendly & confident voice: ‘Yes, you are right’.
Your work is high quality, an original idea or design, you have taken years to develop your skills, so yes: it is expensive.
Explain to your client the real value of your work, your skills, your materials.
If they are buying a unique piece of craft or are working with a highly skilled designer then they will need to pay for that experience and profile.
If they are buying a future heirloom that has been lovingly created and that will be enjoyed for decades to come, then relatively speaking it isn’t that expensive.
Share with your clients the real value of your work, the processes and time involved. Present it in high quality venues or online boutiques with your peers. If you communicate and present your work well, then your clients will realise it’s worth it.
Response 3: Ask your client: ‘What makes you say that?’
Talking directly with clients is a great way to find out more, and to discover what motivates your client. Ask questions in an inquisitive (non-agressive or frustrated!) way to let them open up to you.
If you listen to their objections carefully then you can learn a lot about how potential clients perceive your work. You can respond to potential misconceptions by answering their questions, or make strategic changes in your positioning or presentation.
Especially if a trade buyer or seasoned collectors says that your work is expensive, take note! If a retailer purchases your work then their markup will double or triple the retail price that the consumer will pay. You need to be aware of the calculations trade buyers use to take this into account.
Very often new designers and crafts people are too expensive to sell their work to trade, due to the markups. If you want to sell wholesale in the longer term, then you need to start with selling to consumers at the beginning, and become more efficient and effective in your working methods so that your prices become more competitive for retailers.
Response 4: Ask your client: ‘What’s your budget?’
If your client is commenting on the price then they are already in a ‘buying mood’, or at least they are considering your work.
Instead of you setting the price, ask your potential client what their budget is. If they are looking to buy they will often have a budget in mind. If not, then they might (not yet) be ready to buy anyway. So asking for their budget is a great way to find out how serious they are at this stage about purchasing from you.
If they give you a budget you can explain what you could do within their budget. If you do this in some detail in writing in the form of a design brief and quote, then that sets very clear, and professional expectations from the start, and stops wasting your and your clients’ time.
Response 5: Ask yourself: ‘Has my client actually said that, or is that just me thinking that?’
Very often (newish) designers and makers worry that they are too expensive, that they themselves would not be able to afford their own work. But you are not your own client!
Make sure that you are dealing with the facts, and not with your own worries or insecurities about the value of your work.
Response 6: Ask yourself: ‘Is cost an ‘easy’ excuse?’
So your client has indeed said that you are too expensive.
But is that actually true? For many people who are buying something mentioning the cost is often the easiest way out if they don’t want it (anymore).
What they actually mean when they say you are too expensive is …
‘Re-doing my website is a lot of hassle, maybe it can wait’,
‘I can’t make my mind up, let’s wait till after Christmas’,
‘Will my husband like this bright red necklace too?’,
‘Maybe cousin Johnnie can do my photos cheaper’, …
Response 7: Ask yourself: ‘Are you selling in the right place, to the right people?’
Pricing your products or services isn’t easy, because it often comes down to where you want to position yourself. What might be perceived ‘expensive’ in one place, isn’t in another place (especially true online when you sell on market places such as Etsy or online boutiques, but also at craft markets were people try to haggle more often than in shops or at craft fairs.)
So, if you are considered to be too expensive then do more research into were your peers are showing and selling, what their price levels are and start showing in a place more suitable for your pricing and positioning.
Bonus tip: Tell yourself: ‘If your clients never tell you that you are too expensive, then you are probably too cheap.’
I got this advice a couple of years ago, and realised it’s very true.
Be prepared for a little bit of negotiating, especially when dealing with trade buyers, as it’s part of the game. It’s nothing personal, it’s how some people do business.