by Heather Green
For over a decade I have relied on booking agencies to fill my calendar. I haven’t had to spend much time on marketing or promoting my face painting services. I keep an online calendar and they book me. They send info gig sheets, I show up and get paid. You can say I have been spoiled by this type of business relationship, and I never took it for granted.
2016, was a shake up year. My agents moved on, gave in, gave up and all of the sudden I found myself in an unfamiliar position.I had to start booking myself and revamping my relationships with other agents.
I am good at selling paint. I love to paint so selling paint comes naturally. But selling my face painting and art services isn’t the same. Its not tangible like paints are, you don’t ship a face painting party in a box and unwrap it. So I had to get creative and train myself how to sell my services.
My number 1 secret and rule in business is to build friendships. People want to do business with friends, people want to feel like a friend will do right by them and people feel comfortable when they like you.
Many of you are going to be able to relate to what I am about to describe. 18 years ago the going rate for face painting was $125 for the first hour $100 each additional. Currently the going rate in my area is $80-$100 per hour $50 each additional. Instead of the price increasing we have seen a drastic decrease. Largely in part of more competition. It used to be easy to tell a cheaper painter from a more expensive painter, but sadly the good painters are charging less and making it harder. So now we are faced with 2 dilemmas
So how do you charge what you feel you are worth and keep your calendar full amidst the growing number of competition? And ultimately close the deal?
- Answer when they call. If you let a call go to voicemail you might as well give the job away. We live in a time where Amazon wants to deliver your package with a drone. People want answers now, they want immediate gratification and they also don’t have time to waste. If you don’t answer you will miss the chance to quote and or book the job.
- Compliments go a LONG way . Here’s an example: Caller: “I am looking for a face painter for my daughters princess unicorn party.” Me: What an amazing theme I LOVE painting unicorns. I would love to send you some unicorn painting pictures to show you how fun it would be to work with your theme. Caller: “I am having a party for my son he is turning 8 and loves face painting” Me: He sounds like an awesome kid and I would love to help make his party the best ever. Does he has a favorite character or theme he likes to be painted as so I can make sure to blow him away? As compassionate and loving human beings we thrive off complements and when you compliment someone’s child you win BIG off the top. I rarely let people ask me for pricing until after I find a way to offer a compliment . In lifer people want to know how you are going to increase their pleasure or decrease their pain. When you begin a conversation with how you plan on doing both, you automatically have their ear and their emotions.
- What to say when you give your price and they say its too high? Increasing competition has a way of lowering prices. It forces us to explain why we charge what we charge. Just as people don’t have time to wait for your call back they also don’t have time to hear your resume about why you charge more than your competition. It took me a little while to craft an answer that helps me seal the deal. When potential customers ask me my price and hesitate because my price is higher than what they expected I simply say ” My ONLY goal is to make sure that your event or party is the best ever! ( you have to sound very excited) It goes back to increasing their pleasure. When you show clients that you care about them, their children, their event, you give them confidence in your fee.
- Be ready to seal the deal! The minute someone says yes lets do it I send them an email confirmation. One, because they feel better knowing their event is booked and 2, because I like them to feel like they are hiring a professional. As competition grows so does your need to be on your “A” game if your want to charge more. Don’t give them an opportunity to question why you are more than another entertainer, instead show them through excellent professional service why you are worth your fee.
- UPOD (Under promise over deliver): In most cases in costs you nothing to give a little extra. I once was contracted to paint performers for a birthday party. I stayed around a little after I finished to help them get their costumes on and off and touch them up. Because of the little extra I gave, I have received over 50 in 6 months referrals from that one company. They didn’t ask for a booking or referral fee, they simply wanted to refer someone they trusted and felt good about recommending. I once arrived at a party a little early. I could tell the party planner hired me for the wrong time slot because she seemed a little frantic. I got to the party and opened my kit 30 minutes early to help diffuse the stress of the parents and planner. The planner was so happy that didn’t ask for extra money or add more stress to her plate amidst a hectic party, she not only tipped me $100 she now calls me all the time. The extra mile the road less traveled, go there and your clients will notice.
In order to create a successful business you need to have sales. Its not enough to be the best artist, the nicest painter, and always on time. You have to work for the sale and the service after the sale counts even more. If you want to be in a position to increase your prices without losing customers you have to put in more than average. That includes sending thank you notes, following up with clients, remembering birthdays and special events, showing up early and staying a few minute later, and offering help to the party planners are little things that add up. If you want to collect a full time paycheck you cant put in part time work. If you want to charge more you have to show why you are worth it. Never take for granted that people have choices and more than ever. The taxi industry had very little competition for decades. they mistreated their customers, lacked in service and in return they opened the flood gates for competition to take their business and improve. Uber is not that much cheaper than Taxi’s but they understand the value of service and because of that they are charging what they want and getting it.
Tis the season to give thanks. Another way to show your customers that you care about their business is by sending a thank you card for the holidays. Vista print and Walgreens have amazing specials on Holiday cards. Take the time to send your best clients a thank you card and sign it by hand. Every investment you make in your business is a seed you are planting. Although it takes time and patience, if you stay consistent you will harvest a garden that blooms with sales, repeat clients and great business.
Happy Holidays friends its the perfect time to make more money and love your business.
Its never too late to start a new goal and go after it.