What is the professional response to the “You’re too expensive” statement from the client on the phone? Obviously, it’s inappropriate to do a big song and dance to justify the prices. But then exactly what do you say at that point – “Ok, goodbye” ?? There has to be some way to end the call that is not awkward and leaves both parties feeling happy. I think most newer photographers get off that type of phone call and feel like they need to immediately go lower their prices because they don’t want to let any potential client slip away.

- Jessica Gwozdz, Jessica Gwozdz Photography

When someone tells you that you are too expensive the issue is not what do you say to them in that moment.  You’ve already lost this one, because in reality you can’t ever justify prices.  Its not possible to change someone’s mind once they think that you are too expensive. You had to hook them on the value (whatever the price is) well in advance of them picking up the phone.  If they called you, you did half of the value-building job very well.  Because they wouldn’t pick up the phone and talk to you if they didn’t like your work.  But the second half of the job (making sure that they believe completely that owning your work will satisfy some value that they hope to believe about themselves) is where we’re losing them.

Now, if we lower our prices in that moment do they value our work more?  Have we solved the problem at the root cause?  Have we put ourselves in a more advantageous position going forward, or have we compromised our value?  This is why I’m becoming a bigger fan of text and purpose statements on photographer’s websites.  Because I don’t feel that images speak for themselves.  I think we can help our clients know what to think about our work.  A picture is worth (so we are told) 1000 words.  the majority of those words could be spent letting us know what that image means, and what it validates.

Because, it bears statement one more time, you cannot justify your cost.  It just doesn’t work that way.

Having said all that, if you find yourself in the situation where your prospect tells your that you are too expensive some photographers might ask that client what they were hoping to invest.  Then, you might help them understand how little that sum might get them, or what exactly they are risking by setting a smaller amount aside for their photography.  Frankly, anything that you do is going to be a massive long shot.  So I don’t really recommend spending too much time trying to come up with some glib response to this question.  What I do recommend is working on having your general price precede you in the market.  I don’t necessarily think that posting an itemized pricing list is a good thing (it isn’t, period) but people should know whether you are “expensive” before they call, that way they won’t be surprised when they call.  They will be expecting a high price.  In that case, if you can cultivate a reputation for having a high price (and that you are worth it) then whatever price you present to them will align with expectations.  Why hide behind your price?  It is what it is and what it needs to be.  Instead, you have to own the price and focus on the value behind it.

Remember, no matter what your price is it will always be too high for some people, and too low for others. We aren’t worried about that.  We’re just trying to align our values with the perfect clients.  Don’t sweat these calls, you’re going to deal with your fair share of them over the course of your career.

Let me know how you deal with these comments when they come in over the phone or in email.  What’s your worst experience with a client accusing you of being too expensive?  How would you deal with it better next time.  Let me know!!

Comments – below

Email – question@amantofish.com

Twitter – www.twitter.com/amantofish

– trr