If you consider that anyone who is trying to lower the price you are asking is an "enemy", then, the old adage that applies is "know thy enemy."
I am not talking here about people who have not clearly spelled out an assignment, and you are thusly over-estimating it, or people who are trying to work you into their budget, but instead, I am talking about people who are looking to cut your fees to keep money in their pockets. While I don't see clients as enemies at all, I do need to understand their perspective when estimating a job, and also, have them understand mine. Knowing what a client is thinking is helpful in coming to a satisfactory solution for everyone.
But let's get one thing straight - people who price shop will always want a lower price, and studies have shown are far less loyal to you, and far more loyal to the bottom line.
Over at The Consumerist, today's piece is titled "Do You Haggle", and they outline the perspective of the person doing the negotiating. So, I thought I'd do a counter to that (what they wrote is in italics), from the sellers' standpoint:
1. Never ever let the salesperson take over your shopping experience when you're buying expensive items, or when the store offers a certain discount. You must control the bargaining process.Often a client does not know what goes into that price. A shoot fee, and then licensing? 'I thought I owned it', or 'what is this post-production charge, what do you need to do to the photos, I thought you didn't have to fix your photos?" These, and many others, are a part of educating the client on the value your images have.
2. Know that the posted price for a big ticket item can be brought down. This is especially the case now, in these difficult times.Yes, you may be willing to negotiate in these tough times, but if your rate is $2,500 for an assignment, and you accept $1,800, it is likely you'll never get that $2,500 figure from that client when times improve. Be sure to "take away" something from the shoot. Say, shooting fewer images/set-ups, using a single person for hair and makeup/stylist, or limiting the rights package a bit more.
3. Never ever let them know that you really want something.This is the true power of "no." When you tell the propective client, in a nice way, that you can't do it, if they really want you, they'll now want you more. If they see you as a commodity, then they may move on. So be it. You want clients that really want you.
4. Force yourself to leave if the merchant doesn't give you a lower price.The contrary to this is "stick to your price. Thank the client for considering you, and tell them that you look forward to the opportunity to work together in the future, when price and budget are not such an issue. Further, let them know that if something goes wrong with the lower-priced photographer, you'll try to help them out with a re-shoot, if you can."
5. Remember, you are the client, you have money in your checking account which the seller desperately wants.Yes, they are the client, and they called you. When you as the photographer are, in fact, desperate, you will do foolish things, so don't ever be, or even come across as, desperate. When the propective client becomes the client (i.e. has signed the contract) then, of course, do everything you can to make them happy.
REMEMBER: photography, no matter what anyone tries to tell you, is NOT a commodity.
Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.