Monday, March 26, 2012

How to respond when a client says "Too much!"

It happens to the best of us.
We shoot an awesome session and the clients love the photos. Then they login to the proofing and you get an email (or facebook message) that looks something like this:

"Hi! We love the photos! I added a bunch of prints to my cart and it came to over $100/$200/$300. Are they really that expensive? How much is a disc? "

Today, I want to show you how to respond to this and in the future, I'll share a few tips to help you avoid this situation entirely!

It's kind of maddening, getting a message like this. You know they love the photos, you worked really hard for them and you know your prices are reasonable. If you charged any less, you'd be living in your parent's basement after all!

I know, your gut reaction is to get defensive "My work is worth every penny! I can't make a living on less!" "Don't they know I'm not big box store with cheap paper and a barely calibrated machine?!" but when a client reaches out at this stage regarding pricing, it's not all about you. :)

So how can you deal with a situation like this?
  • First, avoid blaming them-I know you gave them all your pricing before the session so this shouldn't be a surprise but lo and behold, they don't read. It happens.
  • Second, what are they really complaining about? Is it really about the price? Often when they question your price, they are saying "I don't see how this has that much value" so it's up to you to educate them as to WHY your prints aren't .12 and if you can't come up with why, you probably need to figure this out. You'll get this question again...and again.
  • Be kind, be warm, make them feel heard and acknowledged
If you choose to respond via email, here's what I suggest for structuring your reply:
  1. Open with a positive statement like "Oh, I'm so glad you loved the photos!" (reinforce the positive experience so far)
  2. Let them know how much it means to you that they love the photos (let them see you're invested in this too)
  3. Review the pricing in question and let them know how it's a fabulous deal-even at the price they are concerned about
  4. Go over what goes into a custom print, how it differs from a quickie lab print and why it is so much more valuable
  5. Help them imagine owning the photos. You might ask them to picture 10 years in the future pulling out these photos-what will they remember then or how they will feel to have them.
  6. Alternately, you could compare their total investment to something that's a want that you know they buy-I.E. in 10 years, that flat panel TV you spent $3,500 will be worth nothing but imagine how you'll treasure these $300 photos-and how much more your family will love them then.
  7. If you want to really go long, you can touch on the fact that photography is an investment that doesn't see immediate returns. Photos grow in value as the days, months and years pass-and often, their value goes unnoticed until a much later date. (Feel free to use a personal story about a photo you didn't cherish until something happened-baby turned 5, lost loved one, etc)
Overall, you want to give them the information they need to know they are making a sound purchase as well as making a personal connection. You also want them to connect with the concept of owning the photos because once they do that, it will be very hard for them to convince themselves NOT to buy the photos. Once people have envisioned themselves owning something, it's very difficult to talk them out of that decision.

Think about something you bought that you really *really* wanted but couldn't afford or justify at the time but later bought anyway. We talk ourselves into all sorts of things from iPads (It will manage my to-do list!) and lenses because we hope they will bring us more productivity, which in turn brings us money.

We also do it in our personal lives. I know when I was looking for a new car, I fell in love with the Chevy Cruze and it was pretty much impossible to get me to change my mind because for the value it offered, everything else just didn't compare.

They've already told you that they LOVE the photos. They want them. Just give them a good, solid reason to buy them and they won't be able to live without them.

Jennifer Grant is a editorial and lifestyle photographer from Metro Detroit, MI. She started her creative journey with web design and a passion for music when she fell in love with photography during her pursuit of learning business.  Her passion for business is fueled by her desire to see people in the business of being creative succeed and thrive and she loves helping other businesses find a solid foundation. 
Follow her on Twitter to get doses of inspiration and peeks at her daily adventures.

1 comment:

  1. How do you deal with #3,#4? You can't explain your large margin because of your rent/gear/tax overheads, it will sound like whining.

    What if they ask the dreaded "how much does it cost you to print the 20x30 you're charging $600 for?


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