Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Paying The Price

  Back when I did shows regularly, I would often see artists who didn't put the price on their pieces.  Some of them find discussing money vulgar, and some arrive at the shows scattered and eventually get the prices on their stuff.  Others never did.  One of my friends was in the latter category and I finally broke down and asked why they didn't put prices on their work.  The answer surprised me.  They told me that if they could get a person to ask the price, they could absolutely sell them the piece.  I guess that was one way to get people talking.  I don't know.  It's certainly not something I would do.

This morning I visited a website.  I saw quite a few pieces for sale and I was really liking them, but I couldn't find the prices.  Finally on another page I found a little note that said for pricing please contact me.  I have been to several websites like this lately.  You know what...I am never going to buy one of those bears.  I don't want to have to ask the price.  I want to see what it is and quietly decide in the private comfort of my own brain as to whether I can afford it or if I think it's worth it.  I find it embarrassing for both of us to have to ask and then realize I won't buy the bear or whatever it is for either of those reasons.  What do you say then? 

But I also find myself people sell more by doing this?  Or are they losing sales because of it.  I know they lose sales from me since I won't ever ask.  Basically I automatically assume if you don't put the price, I can't afford it.  It's just a mind set.  There is also that niggling little voice in the back of my mind that asks are they sizing me up before they tell me a price?  Lastly I don't want you to make me work hard to give you my already hard earned money.  So what price do people pay by not putting the price on their works?  I am sure there are at least a few other people who feel the same way as I do.

I know that pricing is an issue for a lot of people.  But if you're going to be in business you have to work out some type of formula for pricing and stick to it.  You also have to discuss money even if you find it distasteful, that's part of selling things.  So I implore you, please put the prices on your website or at a show.  Who knows I might buy something from you if you do!


Atalia /Natalia said...

Hi Kelly, nice question,
but what about ebay or any auctions, are they see what you can offer? I'm not fun of it, but lots of people like this way?

Amanda said...

Maybe ebay has caused people to not price up there work, interesting point Natalia. In fact come to think of it I used to only sell on ebay so my bears had no set prices. But....although it was hard, I had to make a decision when I started selling them elsewhere.

As a customer and seller I think bears should be priced up. I would also assume they were too expensive and feel embarrassed to ask.

I did post about and show a bear (part of a monthly make thing) but there was no price as I had not got around to it properly, a regular saw it and rightly assumed it would be my normal price but she did actually have to ask.Interesting point.

Megan Chamberlain said...

I agree with you so much about this pricing thing. Money is very tight for me and I am very shy. It takes a lot for me to go to a show to sell my own bears so having to ask someone for a price is just never going to happen.
I think that they must lose sales as I am obviously not the only one who won't ask for the price. Anyway your work is worth a certain value why be embarrassed about stating how much you want for it.

Heather said...

I agree with you, Kelly.

If something doesn't have a price on it, I'm not going to buy it... unless I'm at a garage sale :)

I've seen things on websites a couple of times and wondered what the price was, because it wasn't listed... so I emailed and asked... and every single time, the person expected to make a sale... they didn't treat it as an inquiry, they treated it as a sale half done, and honestly, about half the times I did that, I bought something because I felt really guilty about 'bothering' them... so I ended up paying way more for something that, at the price they wanted, I didn't really want.

The times where the price ended up just being too outrageous for my pocketbook, and I had to pass... I felt even more guilty... and I got the paranoid feeling that I'd been blacklisted as someone who inquires but doesn't purchase.
(I'm not saying this happened... it's just how I felt, mostly because I sent an email back saying I would have to pass... and never got a response at all. If I were practicing business like this, without pricing, and someone passed, I'd at least send them a closing email thanking them for their interest in my product)

So, now, if the item doesn't have a price, I just don't even think on it any further.

They have definitely lost a sale from me by not listing, clearly, a price tag.

I also go to a convention every year where there is an Artist Alley, and often times things just aren't priced... and I HATE that. I feel so guilty walking away... and often, if the item isn't too expensive, I'll make a pity purchase, whether I actually wanted it or not, because the artist looks so hopeful.

I appreciate how hard they might have worked... but honestly, sometimes the stuff they sell is just really bad... and it annoys the heck out of me to be guilted into buying something.

Heather said...

Oh... and as a side note... on my blog, there aren't prices on things... because nothing is really for sale (or if it is, it's on etsy)... but when people contact me asking for a price... I never know what to say to them :X
I probably lose a lot of sales just because I'm not prepared to make them!!!

Tami Eveslage said...

I completely agree with you Kelly. I have never asked a price on a bear, which didn't have it labeled. I also think it is interesting that you mention a distaste for discussing money as a reason people might give for not listing prices. Personally,I think that is a good reason for clearly listing them!!! If you let the price tags do the talking you don't have to discuss it. It's easier for the collector and easier for the artist!

Unknown said...

Hi Kelly,
I completely agree with everything you said.
I find it embarrassing to have to ask and then to find it is a bit over my price range.
Like you said, I like to quitely decide on my own rather or not it something I want to pay.
I would feel obligated to buy if I contacted to ask.
And what is one to say if the price is more than they want to pay.
"Oh no, that is too expensive."
That statement would be insulting to the seller.
"Oh no, that is more than I can afford."
That statement would be embarrassing to the buyer.
I think it is best to avoid this beforehand, by simply stating the asking price.
Who knows, maybe Im wrong.
But I dont think I would ever try to sell something without listing the price first.

Kelly said...

I was thinking about making a post about ebay tomorrow actually and how I feel about that.

Some of you said you feel obligated to buy after you contact someone, and I have felt that too long ago. I remember comtacting a shop once that always did ads in the magazine without prices. This was before websites. I remember the bear I inquired about was over 600.00. This was on the phone too! They had asked my name and number and had to get back to me about the bear because the employee didn't know the price.

I felt guilty because I couldn't buy it and they treated me like it was a done deal. I was SO embarassed that I never contacted their shop again despite seeing so many bears over the years that I liked.

As a customer I never want to feel obligated to buy something I can't afford, and as an artist I never want to make anyone feel obligated to buy something just because they contacted me about it. That's not how I want to earn money or sell my work. I want it to go to people who love it.

Katy Cameron said...

I another one in the 'if I have to ask I can't afford it' camp I'm afraid. I have set budgets when bear buying (except when the overtime is going nuts at work lol) and I have to rule out things that are above a certain price, no matter how much I'd love them, so asking and finding out something was out of my range would embarass me.

I always price my bears, and I even got a comment from a passer by that ones of my bears 'wasn't as bad as I thought it would be' after she'd looked at the price. Wasn't quite sure how to take that one lol

Debora Hoffmann said...

I also figure I can't afford it if there's no price on it. Or maybe the artist is embarrassed to ask for that amount of money? It baffles me. I like to see the prices so I can figure out if I can someday save up for something from that artist. Thank you for writing this, Kelly!

Debora Hoffmann said...

Oh, and have you shared this on the Guild?

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on this Kelly, be it for the sale of bears or anything else. I don't like being pressured, and would never haggle or get into a whole carry-on about an item. I just want the price to be right out front so I don't have to ask,and can then decide for myself if I really need/want this purchase.

I must also say that your latest bear is simply adorable...:)


Jenna said...

Hi Kelly, As a collector I like to see the price on a piece. I want to decide if I want to buy it and not be "talked" into it,(for lack of a better word) or made to feel guilty if I decide not to buy it. I stay within a certain dollar amount most of the time except when my husband buys me a "Large gift". Some people make bears and some people are Bear artists sometimes those that make bears,charge like an artist...I want to be able to decide when it comes down to the money what I will pay for that particular bear. If the price is on it then my decicision is easy if it's not, it gets complicated. As far as ebay, when I bid, I bid the amount I'm willing to pay for that bear, if it goes over my amount then it wasn't ment to be. There are soooooooo many talented bear people out there and it's not hard to find a critter to bring home at any price point. Having a price on the item just makes it easier I would think, all around.

melanie said...

I agree with absolutely everything you have said, and for as long as I can remember I have always had the price on my website, bear pile and displayed clearly at shows.

Also if I am looking to buy something, I may want to know immediately if I can afford it, so if the price is not displayed and there is a delay in the exchange of emails, I may have found something else to spend my money on, so I guess sales are lost with a price tag visible.

I love your blog Kelly, your always so thoughtful in your postings

Wendy & Megan Chamberlain said...

A very good topic. Have always put prices on my bears at shows/on website as I think it is unfair to expect collectors to have to ask. Also think sales could be lost as some people are embarrassed at having to ask, perhaps due to financial constraints. Perhaps a lack of pricing is partly due to the fact that people show shock and amazement at the 'high' price, which requires an lengthy explanation that the item has taken many hours of careful work.
Thank you Kelly for your recent blogs with some very relevant topics. Have really enjoyed reading them.

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