How much value someone places on your work depends a lot on how much value you place on your own work – and how you portray that value.
Last weekend, I took my artwork to an arts fair for the first time, to dip my toes in the waters of selling some of my photographs.
The biggest question on my mind as I was preparing for the event was “How much do I sell my photo’s for?”
So I did some research into the prices people charge for their prints and came across a psychological idea I have never really thought too much about before:
People perceive the value of something to be in direct relation to how much that thing costs.
In other words, if you don’t charge much for something then people will think (perceive) that it’s not worth very much. If, however, you charge a lot for it, then people will assume that it has some kind of greater value than they are seeing and will be more likely to buy it.
There is plenty of anecdotal evidence of this in the art world, such as the rumor that if an art gallery is having trouble selling a piece of art, they may actually RAISE its price to add perceived value, or the story of a guy who was failing to sell his art at art fairs for $50 a piece ,who then could barely keep up with demand when he started charging $250 for the same artwork.
My challenge therefore was to think of my own products as having value and then have the courage to price them accordingly.
If I try to sell a print of a photograph for $5 and the woman next to me is selling hers for $250, the buyer is going to wonder what they’re missing about hers that make them so much more valuable than mine. Psychologically, many people will tend then to believe that her photo’s are ‘better’, even if they can’t tell the difference themselves.
A $5 photo is something you can throw away with barely a second thought. A $250 photo is a treasured artwork that has value to you because, if nothing else, you paid a lot for it.
It doesn’t matter what the ‘product’ is, perceived value has a huge psychological effect – and you cannot give something perceived value without valuing it highly yourself.
How about you?
Take your time, for instance. How much do you value your time?
Those of us who are self-employed have the constant battle of deciding how much to charge people for our time – and how much we charge can actually affect what our clients think of our work.
If I charge one dollar an hour for my time, then my clients’ perception will be that my work is not worth very much.
If I charge $50 an hour though, the client has to ask themselves whether I’m ‘worth’ the money – and it suggests to them that I am , because the price tag says so!
The initial thought might be, “surely he’s not THAT good that his time is worth that much?”, but then there will be that nagging feeling of, “What am I missing? Why is his time so valuable?”
If I present myself as if I believe my time is worth $50 an hour, unless my work is really terrible, the value I place on it will rub off on my client and cause them to perceive that my valuation is correct.
My next post will be about ways to encourage the perception of higher value, but for now start believing in your own value and share that belief with your clients through how much you charge – and you will start convincing them to perceive your value to be higher than ever before.