In high school I took a class on economics where my teacher took off his outrageously large hat, threw it on the desk in front of the room, and continued by asking the class, “How much is this hat worth?”
The entire rest of the class went on to discuss perceived value, opportunity costs, and supply and demand. I’ll save the actual business talk to the economists, but I’m going to share with you what I learned that day while looking at that old, stinky straw hat.
I learned that it isn’t what it costs to make something that determines the price and it isn’t what it costs in materials or labor.
What determines the price is the perceived value.
By increasing the value of our image, the perceived value of our work, and the frequency in which we carry it out, we will by the very nature increase our revenues as entertainers. The following are a collection of ways to build perceived value in your work. Note also that some of the things listed are not just raising your perceived value, but your actual value. Make sure your clients are aware of how you’re increasing your value so that you can benefit from it.
-Wear a Costume
It doesn’t have to be a clown outfit, in fact, I recommend it is not. Just the same, you should have a professional image that you portray at every event by wearing the same (or similar) clothing that is clean, pressed, and presentable.
Not only do they protect you, but they make you look like you’re worth ten times more than you would be without them. Contracts do not have to be complex. If you are looking for a great start, look up Todd Neufeld and his book on contracts for balloon entertainers, “Sign Here.”
-Professional Business Cards
Have a professionally made business card. If your business card looks like it was printed at home or like a high school drop-out made it on the computer in their spare time, it will reflect on your business accordingly.
-Have a Good Web Site
Web Site Tip: Look up other professional companies and mimic their designs and layouts so that you too can look just as professional and design savvy.
Be a part of a continuing education program. Whether it be conventions, books, videos, magazines, or YouTube… Make sure you have a constant source of new, fresh content to keep you up to date and well capable of meeting any technical requirement for your industry.
-Use a Proper Agent
If you are not able to negotiate well for your prices, pay someone else to do it for you. By sending clients through agents, you are able to let someone else talk positively about you so that you don’t have to try and toot your own horn. When using an agent, realize that you are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you.
-Proper Event Etiquette
Show up on time, do what you said you were going to do, and then leave on time. This makes you look more professional than the guy that shows up 2 minutes late. It also has you look better than the guy that gives off the impression that he’s never hired for gigs because he stays so late over that you just know he couldn’t have another event that day. Most importantly though, do what you said you were going to do. If you have time to over-deliver, great! Otherwise, fulfill your contract, say “thank you,” and leave.
There are also many other ways to provide an increased perceived value to your customer. You can do it in person, over the phone, through a newspaper ad, on TV, or even through a book that you may sell after your events.
As you may recall, the teacher asked my entire high school class what we thought the hat was worth. Can you guess what the answer was?
“It’s worth whatever people are willing to pay for it.”