One of the most useful tools you can learn as a professional photographer is how to handle price shopping clients. Because the longer you are in business the more often you will have to deal with them, and dealing with price hagglers can be very frustrating. That is, unless you know the trick to defusing them.
Before you can get started, you have to determine which type of price shopper your potential client might be. There are two kinds. The first, and most obvious, is ONLY interested in price. They want to see your price list and nothing else and they make all of their decisions based on the dollar amounts.
The question you have to ask yourself in regard to these types of clients is, “Do you even want to bother with them?”
That is a completely serious question. Do you even want to deal with people whose only criteria for choosing a photographer is price? If the answer is yes, then remember that there is always someone who is willing to do the job for less money. Does that sound like a good way to run a business that lasts?
So, if we eliminate that group of price shoppers, we are left with potential clients who want to haggle over prices. Let’s face it, everybody likes getting a deal, and you are never going to totally escape people looking for a discount even if you only ever hear from “ideal clients.”
You just need to know the trick to handling these price shoppers…
How to Defuse Price Shopping Clients
One thing that always gets under my skin when someone decides to haggle is when they both ask for more deliverables (an album, prints, video, etc.) at a lower price. That’s just not how things work.
But most of the interactions you will have will happen after you have proposed a package or presented your pricing and the potential clients will say, “I like package X but can you maybe take $500 off?”
It can be very easy to fall into the habit of discounting your prices, especially when you are starting out and looking to get work. Don’t fall into this trap!
I know I said there was one trick but there’s actually another strategy involved when it comes to dealing with price shoppers. When I present my pricing, I don’t give a line item breakdown of what each service or product costs in that package. Why? Because that would give the clients the idea that they can remove that item and the price will go down by that amount.
And here is where we get to the trick to defuse price shopping. You have to make it clear during this sales discussion that if you give them something, they have to give you something in return.
That might mean that in exchange for the discount you will be removing a certain number of hours of coverage. Or it might mean that there will be a smaller album included in the package.
In instances where you remove something from the package, most potential clients will either be happy with the exchange OR you will see that they go with the higher price package because they don’t want to LOSE what they feel they already had in the original package.
However, you don’t always have to remove a service or product in order for there to be an “exchange”. You might tell the potential client that you will offer them a discount, but only if they make the decision to book within the next week. After that, the discount will be null and void. This tells them that while you are willing to give them a discount, your time is important and you don’t want to wait around while they meet with five other photographers and try to get the best price.
There are some photographers who like to set their prices, let’s say, 10% higher than they normally would so that they can offer everyone a 10% discount. Personally, I find that to be a bad business model because it tells potential clients that you aren’t worth what you say you are.
In the end, you want to find clients who want to hire you for reasons other than price. When it gets to pricing, they will already be emotionally invested and if there are some discrepancies between their budget and your pricing, you can easily overcome them with a minor exchange where everyone comes out a winner!
What did you think of this price shopping defusing trick?
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