“You’re too expensive.”
“My budget is not that big, can you lower the price?”
“But the [random other photographer] is cheaper than you!”
Sounds familiar? I believe we’ve all been there. No matter how much you charge, there will always be someone who will tell you that you’re too expensive, who will compare you to other (cheaper) photographers, and who will want to pay what they have, not what you charge. While your first thought may be to tell them “oh, bugger off,” you know that it’s certainly not the best thing to do. In this video, Michael Sasser gives you some useful tips on how to keep your cool and how to react when your potential clients complain about your price.
What not to say and some things to remember
If the potential client tells you that “the other guy is cheaper,” don’t immediately get angry and tell them how much your gear costs and how much of your time you invest in every shoot and editing the photos. Yeah, I know, it’s difficult.
Take a deep breath, eat some chocolate, punch a pillow a couple of times… And remember these things:
- They want to hire you, but at the cheaper photographer’s prices. If they wanted the other photographer, they’d go straight to him. So, you still have some leverage here.
- Still, sometimes, they just aren’t your client. Some people will never value what you do, and that doesn’t have anything to do with you. Remember, there are so many people out there who will appreciate your work and be willing to pay your prices. So don’t lose your temper.
- Finally, and this is an important thing to have in mind: people spend money on what they value. I’d say this is related to the previous point.
For example, there are people saving money on rent and living in tiny, cheap apartments, but they spend tons of cash on travels and concerts (yep, that would be me). Other people earn tons of money and spend it on their dream home, yet they drive an old car because they simply don’t care about it. The point is: people who value high-quality photographers and great photos will be ready to pay for them. For others, this just isn’t that important, and they’ll always try to lower your price. But again, it doesn’t have anything to do with you. Also, it’s good to have in mind that people will start to value something only after they have the experience. In this case, they will start to value photography more if you give them a great time at the photoshoot and high-quality images.
Now that you have all this in mind, what should you say? How should you respond? Here are some of Michael’s suggestions based on his experience so far.
How to respond?
When the potential client compares you to a cheaper photographer, you can say something along these lines:
There are definitely cheaper photographers out there, but these are the reasons why I am more expensive:
- There is a lot that goes into this experience, and I’m going to be there every step of the way and answer all of your questions.
- I schedule a limited number of shoots every month to make sure every client gets 100% of my attention. This way, I make sure that you have an unbelievable experience, that you get your photos back faster, and that the overall experience is of a much higher quality
- If all of this isn’t important to you, I’m sure you’ll find a cheaper photographer that you’ll be happy with
- The many testimonials by my former clients will confirm that I deliver what I have just promised, and I will be happy to send them to you along with some other information
- If you change your mind, we can take a look at some dates for your shoot.
Now, it’s important to stay positive and not to be accusatory. You basically say that, if they want a cheaper option, it exists. But if they want a better option, that’s you. Talking about the benefits you offer will have a way better impact than talking about the cost of your business, and it is what will make people choose you.
Of course, there are some situations when it’s reasonable to lower your prices, or even work for free, and Michael discusses them near the end of the video. But these are the exceptions, and generally speaking, you shouldn’t undermine your work. After all, if you don’t value yourself and your photography, no one else will.
I’ve mentioned before that I don’t often shoot paid project, I rather do photography simply out of love. But I have encountered the same problem when someone asks me about my translation rates. I don’t even think I’m expensive compared to others, but I still get this quite often: “Oh come on! I could put it in Google Translate and do it myself for free.” And I usually say: “Well, then use Google Translate, don’t ask me for translation when you can just do it yourself.” I just have no patience to argue and to explain why an educated, experienced human translator is better than Google Translate. But then again, I don’t make a living from translating, so I have the luxury to basically tell people to bugger off.
I’m interested to hear how you deal with these things. What do you say when someone asks you to lower your