Saturday, January 30, 2010

Find peace with good pricing and great clients!

As business people, professional photographers unfortunately have to deal with the occasional "bad apple" or "shark".  These people are out to get your labor/art for as cheap as possible, but are still expecting incredible results.   Here's my first advice: NEVER SELL YOURSELF SHORT!  Your work is valuable, and you should believe this!

If a client comes to you looking for twice the images, at half the price, you must weigh the benefits. It may be smart to offer them some small discount to make them choose you and potentially become repeat clients, but if you lower your price too much, they will expect it every time.  You can lower it a bit for them, but don't give in to a deal that you are unsure of.  Lowering the price only a little for them may still seal the deal.  Give the client a price that works for you, and you will maintain the upper-hand in the relationship.  Always be very specific with what your price includes, and you will be rewarded with a smoother transaction.

Here's the next bit of advice:  IF A CLIENT IS WAAAYYY TOO DIFFICULT UP FRONT, THEY WILL PROBABLY BE A PAIN TO WORK WITH!  Weigh the benefits of working with a difficult customer, and decide if it is worth it.  In business, it is better to work with good repeat clients, as opposed to finding new ones.  If you know the client is going to be too difficult from the start, don't work with them!  You will be better off, and much happier with a client that you enjoy working with.

Bad clients are bad for business.  You may end up in some type of argument with them, and if they are really bad, they will bad-mouth you to other potential clients.  Sleepless nights, anger, and the inability to think about anything else, can all occur when working with someone you don't enjoy being around.  It can literally consume your mind, and block you from getting other work done!

When a client is mistreating you, being rude to you, or not working with you, you must maintain your composure.  It looks bad if you give into the clients game and snap back at them, or exchange bad words. Listen to what they are saying, maintain your composure, but still don't give in to ridiculous demands and expectations that are not part of your initial job agreement.

When you price your work, start high!  Not insanely high, but above the amount you really expect for the job.  The client will be straightforward with you, and explain if and why they cannot swing that amount.  Tell them you will work some numbers, and get back to them if you can lower the price.  Give it an a few hours, call them back, and offer them the job at a lower rate if it is reasonable.   This lets the client feel like they are winning, and getting a great deal.  More often than not, the client didn't even know what to expect to pay for the job, and just wanted to get a deal from you to feel special.

There are plenty of photographers out there that are willing to deal with bad clients to pay the bill.  Sometimes just raising your rates will limit out a lot of these bad clients.  Let the other photographers handle them.  If you find yourself with a potential "shark" give them a higher price so they won't use you.  It's an easy way out, and you can recommend another photographer who will work with them.

That's the BUZZ for today... Please check back soon for more!


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