Did you hear about the Hawksmoor wine mix-up?
One of the waiters at the restaurant’s Manchester branch served customers a £4,500 bottle of wine … by MISTAKE!
Apparently the customers had ordered a £250 bottle of wine, so they would have been expecting something pretty special in any case, but the story goes that the wrong wine was picked up from the cellar, and nobody realised until after the customers had left … £4,500 bottle of wine drunk, and presumably, enjoyed.
The restaurant dealt with it wonderfully, heading to twitter to alert the world of their blunder with a friendly nod to the customers … “We hope you enjoyed your evening!” and a rather charming “mistakes happen and we love you anyway!” to the member of staff in question.
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Nicely handled, Hawksmoor.
Although, I have to admit, a little part of me wonders … genuine error, or genius marketing ploy? They’ve received nationwide attention – incredibly positive attention at that – for just £4,500. A snip of their usual budget, I’d dare say.
Anyway. That’s an aside for now, as it was the prices themselves that really got me thinking ….
Opposite ends of the pricing spectrum
How many people in the world would spend £4,500 on a bottle of wine?
How many would spend £250, for that matter?
Yet these wines exist, and in a nice restaurant there’s always a fairly substantial number of them to choose from, so they clearly have their market.
Far more common of course is the other end of the spectrum. Most people will look to the house wine … or something at the lower end of the price list. Largely because most people can’t afford to be spending hundreds of pounds on one bottle of wine. Also, most people probably don’t like, or appreciate wine enough to WANT to spend that much money on just one bottle.
I like wine, and I certainly enjoy a nice bottle now and then … pushing the boat out for special occasions. But I certainly wouldn’t spend £4,500. Nor anything close to it, to be honest ….
Some people do though. And they probably wouldn’t ever consider buying the house wine.
We all have our tastes.
We all have our budgets.
And we all have our personal limit of what we are prepared to pay in exchange for the quality, or the value of what we perceive we will get in exchange.
So, wine lists exist so as to give all those customers with their different limits, budgets and affinities towards wine, their different options. And the wines sit where they do on each list, unashamed of their price, knowing they have been priced correctly according to their quality, their complexity, their value.
And they wait for their customers.
When setting out prices for our business, maybe it would be useful to remember this? Maybe it would be useful to think about the wine list …
Why pricing is emotive
Pricing is one of the trickiest parts of setting up a business in fact. And most people hate it.
“I don’t want to be too cheap … don’t want to undersell myself.”
“But I don’t want to be too expensive. I can’t afford to price myself out of the market!”
“Clients keep trying to push me to discount my rates … but I think they’re fair!”
“I’m working so hard, and just don’t feel I’m earning enough to make it worthwhile!”
… Any of those ring a bell?
Of course they do. It’s an inevitable and familiar part of running a business.
However… many potential customers WON’T like our prices. That’s just a fact. They’ll want something cheaper.
We’d all love to pay £20 for a £250 bottle of wine … or £250 for the £4,500 one … but errors (or marketing ploys) aside, it’s not going to happen.
The prices differ for a reason, so as a customer, we have to decide whether we want the cheaper price, or the nicer wine.
Setting the right price for OUR clients
From our business’s perspective, when we ask for a fine wine price, we’re likely to have fewer customers than a competitor positioned at the house wine end of the scale.
Yes, we need to offer a very different product or service, worthy of the higher price. And for THAT offer, we find OUR customers.
Our prices are right, for the right clients.
We don’t WANT to work with everyone.
And, we CAN’T.
We can’t be a house wine AND a fine wine.
We want to work with the clients that value the contribution that WE make to THEIR life and business. They choose us, whatever our prices, because we are giving them the solution, the value, the benefit, that they need.
This is one of the core principles that underpin my mentoring programme: The first of the 3Fs – financial security.
I help my clients identify how much money they need (or want!) to be generating as a minimum each month. Then I help them achieve it.
I help them identify the EXACT model to structure their pricing, so that they are NOT underselling themselves, so they are delivering value and quality to their clients, and so they are consistently earning what they DESERVE.
I help my clients find their unashamed place on the wine list.