I'm kicking myself with the new boots I impulsively purchased at a local shoe store. Had I spent a moment to look up the price on Zappos, I would have seen that I was overpaying by $50! From mortgages to guitars to shoes, we are the most informed shoppers in history. And, not only are we informed, but our mobile devices give us access to info where ever we are. This is reality and it's here to stay.
So what does this mean for today's vendors -- and more specifically today's event entertainers? First, I'll tell you what it DOESN'T mean - it doesn't mean that everyone is just looking for the rock-bottom price. What it does mean is that more than ever people are shopping around before they make a purchase.
Our stats back this up, showing that the clients who are most likely to book entertainment are the ones who receive 10 or more price quotes. In fact, clients are nearly 2 times more likely to book entertainment when they get 10 quotes versus just 1. On average, our clients see 6 quotes before they make a decision! Yes, your competition may seem like a huge nuisance but you need them so your clients can shop around and feel good about committing. The key is getting them to commit to YOU. Here's some advice to make sure they do:
Understand Your Value
Shopping around isn't always about getting the lowest price - especially when you're talking about hiring entertainment for a special event. A child's birthday party, a wedding, a 50th anniversary party - these are important moments in people's lives. Price isn't usually the main deciding factor, but value is. Do you know your value? What makes you unique? How have you cultivated your talent? How do you make events special and memorable? The answers to these questions should be a regular part of every conversation with a prospective client.
Get In There
Take the time to get in there and really understand your client and their event. I've personally booked two different entertainers in the last month. One went out of his way to ask me great questions, tell me about his services, and assure me that I was in good hands. The other jumped right to the logistics and didn't take the time to really understand what I was looking for. She missed some important details that would have made for a great event. Both were equally talented - but guess which one I'd book again or recommend to a friend?
Know Your Competition
You need to know why people choose your competitors over you and vice versa. IF YOU CAN'T ARTICULATE WHY A CLIENT SHOULD CHOOSE YOU OVER YOUR COMPETITION, THEN PRICE BECOMES THE MAIN FACTOR. This doesn't mean bad-mouthing your competition (that just reflects badly on you). It gets back to knowing your competitor's strengths and weaknesses as well as your own. Two pieces of advice: 1) If a client chooses a competitor instead of you, try to find out why in the most professional way possible. 2) Spend time with your clients after a gig and ask what they liked about your act - you might be surprised! For more specifics, check out After Your Set.
At GigMasters, we help clients request multiple price quotes from entertainers similar to the ones that they hand-selected. In the office, we call this feature "auto add" - and while some of our members feel that this feature creates unwanted competition, many more reap the benefits of being auto-added. Remember, the chances of the gig getting booked are higher BECAUSE of the multiple bids. We believe that this feature makes it quicker and easier for clients to compare their options not just on price but on value.
And, because we're obsessed with making our service better all the time, we're in the process of refining how auto add works. If you're familiar with this feature, I'd love to hear what you think we could do to make it better...please share your comments below.