Dangerous Discounts

Posted on October 3, 2017

About three years ago I started this website, as a place to house my talents and share them with the world. 

For the majority of these years I’ve been in pursuit of a master’s degree determined to learn and earn for myself and everyone around me. I’ve been haunted with business ideas ever since. I’ve spent most of my life understanding that what others interpret as ‘weird’ is the catalyst for an uncanny ability to generate complex plans around existing or new ideas. 

During these three years, I’ve started kensambury.com as a production company, evolving into a visual marketing agency. With a mission statement to put Carnival on the map, through creating timeless visuals the world can recognize for the biggest brands in entertainment in the Caribbean. 

As a self taught videographer, i’ve honed my craft along this mission and developed a unique style which I’ve been imparting to my team ever since. Today I share an important lesson I wish someone told me in 2014. I wish someone told me in 2014. I wish. 

Stop giving discounts. Actually, turn down clients who do not align with the strategic goals of your business. Of course you can ignore this and be a jack of all trades, but who will remember you if someone else is better, faster and more efficient than you? Who will remember a jack of all trades but a master of none.  

The art of pricing extends way beyond the 400 words of this post, however the singular thread of my statement should resonate into your heart and mind and save you a lot of blood sweat and tears. Here are a few reasons:

  1. People who want discounts give the most trouble
    Changes. Two months later, 40 changes later the client complains about not having their imagery to launch, you complain about making 39 revisions without an extra dollar when you barely covered your operating expenses with the initial fee. How sway?
  2. No one can offer the exact same thing – Don’t undersell. 
    IF you are an artist, no one can paint the same thing as you. So you must decide, are you an artist or a technician. What people want from a technician is the technical knowhow to put their things together – in this case there is a ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ way and your value is limited to the lack of other, cheaper options. If you are painting a picture, expression your vision – be you and make magic. In the event business, two videos we released in 2017 went viral. These were our least edited but just videos dropped at the right time at the right moment and they did more for our clients than everything else we ever did. 
  3. Communicate clearly 
    I’ve found the greatest issue for clients is the lack of communication. Simply being reachable is not enough. Reach out and say if you can’t deliver on time. Communicate the extra charge for extra edits before hand. 
  4. A barter of your business is selling your soul 
    So I host parties and I’m always down to barter a video for free in exchange for a discount. Forget that – ok, maybe charge less. But ensure you are paid enough to cover your expenses. Including the opportunity cost of working on a client’s project for multiple days. 
  5. A Discount is different from budget pricing 
    A good account executive or marketing manager must squeeze his or her budget for all it is worth. The perception is for some that the more they can squeeze out of each $1.00. Often times i’ve found myself falling for this and in the end the client ends up disappointed and unhappy. Even though I’d like to work with every price, the operation costs must be covered otherwise I’d find it impossible to keep up. 

In the information age we all expect results immediately. I’ve seen many of my colleagues burn out. I’ve seen some just turn their phones off for two weeks. I firmly believe however the problem isn’t the pile of work, the issue is your pricing scheme. Think of how much better you can serve your top three clients if your time wasn’t split up trying to help that old friend from high school. 

Get rich first. Then give back. No, you are not being selfish, because charity begins at home. The same friend who wants the help will be more upset, and wish you warned him about the delays or simply told him no upfront.

Down with discounts. Don’t pour out your soul, pour out a glass of champagne. 

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