How cool would it be to turn things around in your video related business where you are so busy you develop a need to QUALIFY your clients before YOU accept THEM, rather than THEY accept YOU?
I have a friend in an entirely different line of work (contractor, home builder) who, even several years into this housing and ongoing economic slump has a waiting list of people who HAVE to have HIM for their project ... be it a swimming pool installation, kitchen, bath or room addition/remodeling, new home, mountain or lakeside cabin, whatever.
He is NOT cheap, but he is fair based on current prices for materials and what have you. He is meticulous, methodical, has been accused of being a bit too slow in the finish, and so confident in his craft that HE qualifies his clients, not the other way around. If they want him, his expertise and master craftsmanship, at HIS prices, they simply must wait or ... he doesn't say this but essentially "there's the door!" Nine out of ten won't take the door, they'll pay and they'll wait.
I STILL am trying to work out how that works for him in a way I can apply it to MY trade. In analyzing the factors regarding MY business, pricing, philosophy and approach, I've come up with these points:
FAIR PRICING... I'm not the cheapest services provider in my market, nor am I the highest priced. I've learned how to minimize my efforts while STILL providing MORE than is expected or paid for (in most cases).
GOOD & FAST... My turnaround time is exemplary in an industry (at least with independent professional video services providers) that often sees delivery of product (especially weddings) MONTHS after the event. My average wedding production turnaround is less than six weeks, often four weeks. My average funeral production turnaround is less than three weeks. I deliver montage productions within 24 hours, not more than 48 hours, after receipt of all materials. Event productions are often delivered within two weeks, and this includes orders for as many as 50 to 150 DVDs.
HIGHLY EXPERIENCED... I have an established business record and production reputation backed by MANY samples of diverse video production work. I have unlimited references who will support my claim to be professional, honest, affordable and dependable. My references ALWAYS tell those inquiring that I ALWAYS do what I say I'll do, and usually much, much more.
MANY of you in this business follow the same route, offer the same level of professional services and products and can make the same claims. Some of you may even be like my builder friend and have found your way into waiting lists, personal demand and client qualification process that he has. MANY, MANY MORE of us have not, including myself.
Those of you who have, and those of you who though you have not but believe you know why AND HOW you can or could, feel free to share your thoughts. How do we as professional independent video services providers get to the point where WE qualify our clients and gain a list of people willing to pay their deposits and WAIT, as opposed to continuing to have to barter, bargain, discount and allow any and all tire kickers to qualify (or not) us?