Thursday, April 23, 2009

Price Negotiations

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.

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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.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Your Piece of the Pie

Is it slow for you right now? If so, locating other avenues for revenue (within the field of photography, of course!) may be your next best solution.

Here in Washington, the area is buzzing with the notion that President Obama is making healthcare a major priority. Why? Well, it's not really because those folks want healthcare in this manner, but rather, because of all the opportunities that that new idea will bring to them. Healthcare automation, management, consultants, and so on. The list really does go on and on.

What does this mean for you?

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If there are healthcare providers in the area, this could mean more assignment work for you, and positioning yourself with those providers could mean near future work.

Today, is, of course, Earth Day, and just for the fun of it, we've "greened" the blog. But, could you position yourself to serve the "greening community"?

What about pursuing companies that are involved in the electric vehicles that are ramping up to be built? Parts suppliers? The conversion of gas stations to begin offering electric or hydrogen services?

Are there recyclers in your area that are growing their businesses, looking for new (or refreshed) marketing materials? Do they even know they need it?

On the flipside, if you are working with clients in the defense industry, you might want to revisit your diversification plans, since the President has also indicated a plan to scale those expenses back, and just yeserday the President instructed his cabinet to slash $100 million from their budgets, so if you are earning revenue from those avenues, that's a bit of a potential problem too.

There are plenty of avenues for revenue aside from the ones familiar to you. The key is to be thinking several steps ahead, and as trends change, you want to be on the front end of those changes and prepared for them.

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.

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