Add more 'TLC' and charge more

Conventional wisdom is that when the economy gets tight, location-based entertainment venues need to lower their prices to fill party rooms. Read on as this industry myth is debunked in an article by the esteemed Frank Price, Mr. Birthday Party.

by Frank Price © 2008 F.L. Price and Associates

Many owners feel they need to meet or beat the competitor's price to make it through tight times. Unfortunately, when this strategy is followed, you're setting the business up to fail. It's only a matter of time before you can no longer afford to maintain the level of quality delivery, when the price does not match the cost to deliver. When times get tough, use a contrarian approach. Add more value, become even more unique -- and charge more. This difference will set you apart, keep the word of mouth buzz alive, and allow you to grow, while others compete on price. Adding intangible value costs little to nothing, but yields the largest returns. Emotional value is HUGE. It's the simple things that are the big things, when it comes to building human relationships.

Building Relationships
Add intangible value to your parties by understanding the Relationship Bank Account Concept by Stephen Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The relationship bank account is similar to a checking account. You can make deposits to improve a relationship or withdrawals that will weaken it. Similar to your bank account, a strong and healthy financial situation is the result of steady deposits over a long period of time. Relationship bank accounts start whenever you cross someone's path. If you smile, you've made a deposit; if you ignore the person, you have made a withdrawal.

Once an account is opened with another person, you can never close it. It will remain wherever you left off, even after a long period of time.

Deposits tend to evaporate and withdrawals tend to remain in stone. You need to continually make deposits, especially into your most important accounts, to keep them positive.

Strong relationships are built one deposit at a time. It takes 4 deposits to equal 1 withdrawal.

Continually think, plan and act to give deposits that will build your relationship with guests, team members and supervisors. Inevitably you'll offset some of those deposits. Either by taking a withdrawal or having them fade with time. Nobody is perfect. If your account is strong, it won't be a big deal. If your account is "even" or barely to the positive, you will become overdrawn, affecting your relationship and the end results you're trying to create.

"Sparky" from Freedom Station Family Fun Center, Prescott Valley, Arizona, shows us all the true meaning of adding the "TLC" back into our birthday parties.

The most effective deposits that work every time are listed below. Withdrawals are listed, as well.

Relationship Bank Account Deposits

  1. Keep promises.
  2. Do small acts of kindness.
  3. Be loyal.
  4. Listen.
  5. Say you're sorry.
  6. Set clear expectations.

Relationship Bank Account Withdrawals

  1. Break promises.
  2. Keep to yourself.
  3. Gossip and break confidences.
  4. Don't listen.
  5. Be arrogant.
  6. Set false expectations.

Keeping Promises
Keeping promises, big or small, is crucial to building trust. Delivering what you promise, doing what you say you're going to do, is essential. If for some unavoidable reason, you find you cannot keep a promise, then tell the other person why.

Birthday Party Examples:
When party Mom/Dad books a party, they develop a set of expectations based on what they have been told by your event planner. When Party Mom/Dad shows up for their party and something they expect is missing or different, a withdrawal has been created. The perception is you don't care enough to get it right.

Telling party parents that their Host/Coach/Party Pro will call to ask questions about personal likes and dislikes before the party is a deposit. Not getting in touch is a withdrawal.

Frank Price is the founder of Birthday University, a must for anyone planning to run or currently operating birthday parties. You can reach Frank at <> or +(919) 387-1966.