18 bucks a ticket, low-key venue, mid-week…any musician would be 100% forgiven for phoning it in for a show like that.
So Rachel wasn’t expecting toooo much when she went to see Andy Grammer play in DC on a random Tuesday night.
Get this, guys, he played like it was the frickin Superbowl.
It was exquisite; there was like a whole fancy-pants lighting thing going on, the other musicians were clearly jazzed to be up on stage, and the whole thing was incredible. All for $18 a ticket.
She saw him again a while later — Charleston this time; bigger venue, weekend concert, more expensive ticket. And the same damn thing. The dude just brought everything to it.
No matter what he’s getting paid, no matter how small the audience, Andy clearly gets one very important principle: how you do one thing is how you do everything.
He knows that you need to give the same courtesy, care, and attention to detail to small-time things as you would give to the big time things like the more prestigious show, and the higher-paying customers.
He gets that price is not the same thing as value.
It’s a lesson that some bigger businesses could really use. Hey, Gap, we’re looking at you here.
Now, we don’t want to throw too many rocks at The Gap — for one thing, our California girl, Illana, LOVES them. Hey, don’t judge, it’s a San Francisco thing!
And because she loves them so much, she’s desperate for them to get their shit together and start acting like they’re playing the Superbowl, instead of a random dive bar.
Because that’s exactly what they’ve been doing recently, have you noticed? Not only have they become super fuzzy on their target market (is it trendsetting for teens or classics for 40-something moms? We can’t tell…), but they’re flying the desperation flag of offering constant discounts.
It’s gotten to the point now that you can actually predict when their sales are going to start and what the discount will be. You know that if you load your online shopping basket today, you just have to wait another two days to save $60. And because they’ve cried wolf so many times in their sales, no one is going to rush out to “catch the sale before it ends” because we know that everything will be even cheaper tomorrow. Or there’ll be a brand new sale starting Monday. And there isn’t a snowball’s chance that anyone will actually pay full price for anything!
Their prices may be great, but their perceived value has gone way done — and no one (well, no one but Illana) is too excited about buying their stuff.
So how do you get your pricing right?
Well, if we’ve learned anything from our Good Business, Bad Business comparison today, it’s that pricing is actually less important than value. Without a doubt, discounting is the fastest way to make people question the value you’re offering — it’s like putting a huge question mark over the quality of your product, and even the quality of your business. It tells your customer that you don’t care about profit; you’re just desperate for sales.
But, while we’re having a big old downer on discounts, we’re not necessarily going to tell you to put your prices up either. For example, Illana could charge way more than she does for coaching but she’s found the people she wants to work with, the businesses that light her up, and she knows that if she upped her prices, her market wouldn’t bear it. And look at Andy Grammer: $18 a ticket, but a top-quality show.
For any business, the key to pricing is to find your people, and figure out what they can pay. And if you’re having to rely on constant discounts to make enough sales or compromise on the value you offer, the problem could be that you haven’t found your people yet. Or like Gap, you’re trying to appeal to everyone and not getting it right for anyone.
The pricing sweet spot.
When you’re working with people that light you up, making enough money to live the life you want, and doing work that makes you happy you know you’ve hit your pricing sweet spot. And when you treat every client — whether they’re paying mega bucks or they’re on your lowest rate — like they’ve bought a ticket to the Superbowl, you’ll know that you’re nailing value too.