This holiday I took a cruise to Mexico with my family. Of course, we stopped at all the usual spots like Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo. And of course, once you get off the ship, there are hordes of shops for you to patronize.
And as everyone knows, the price on the item you want to buy is not the price you have to pay. You can haggle with them and usually get a few bucks off, depending on what it is.
At the ship terminal, there are large warehouses where people have set up shop. Rows and rows of vendors offering mostly the same stuff: fake Rolex watches, fake Oakley’s, Cuban (maybe) cigars, trinkets, clothes, and the like. Basically, they all offer the same thing, and if you want a particular item, you wander around and haggle to the price you want. And of course, the shop owners will try to pull you in telling you they have the best prices.
After a while, I felt bad. Here I was trying to talk some guy down to 5 dollars on handmade thread bracelets with my kids’ names on them that he originally wanted 12 dollars for. I finally got him down to both bracelets for 8 bucks. But I knew that he was willing to drastically reduce his prices for the sale. He knew he was being taken advantage of and he let me, just to seal the deal. I didn’t really have any respect for him as a business owner.
Then I went into another shop for a cigar to enjoy later. The woman was pleasant and I pointed to the cigar that I wanted, priced at 8 dollars. I said, “how about $5.” I knew that $8 was a fair price for this, but you can always haggle, right?
“no, 8 dollars. I don’t change my prices.”
I replied, “I saw this elsewhere for 6. ”
She smiled and lifted her hand toward the door. “Then you may go buy it there.”
I was taken aback. She was willing to lose a sale over $3?
No, she was willing to lose the sale because she had enough respect for herself not to lower herself. She had already done her research, knew her prices were competitive, and set them accordingly. I knew that buying the cigar from her, I was getting a good deal and her prices weren’t inflated in anticipation of a haggling American.
Needless to say, I bought the cigar from her for full price. And I was happy to do it. I respected this woman.
So what does this mean for the VO business owner? Respect your business. Do your research. Know what the going rate for comparable services are. Know what the value of YOUR services are. Set your prices accordingly. Offer your clients a fair rate from the beginning and make it clear to them that these are your rates and here’s why they’re a good value for them. And don’t be afraid to show the customer the door if they don’t value your services.
The good customers, the customers you want, will respect you for it.