When Prospects Say You Are Too Expensive

Author Recent Posts Nicole BegleyNicole Begley, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, is a zoological animal trainer turned pet photographer and educator. She created Hair of the Dog in 2012 to empower pet photographers to turn their dreams into reality by helping them improve their craft and grow their pet photography business.Nicole has authored a book “Pet and Equine […]

Written By Nicole Begley

On June 19, 2014
If you have been reading this blog for any length of time you may have come to realize that I believe in a boutique business model.  This is a low volume and higher-priced strategy as opposed to a high volume and lower-cost model.  If you are priced appropriately you WILL hear that you are too expensive or out of a potential client’s price range often.   Actually, if you are never hearing that you are too expensive that you are most likely not priced sustainably.

It’s important to not get discouraged, this is simply the first step to converting this prospect to a client.  The silver lining in this situation is that they had an interest in your work and were most likely never expecting professional photography to cost what it does.  That’s ok, after all, professional pet photography is a luxury item.  It is a want, not a need.  Our job is to take that want and turn it into an emotional need.

The first step in converting this prospect to a client is to keep in touch with them!  If you do not have an e-marketing service like Flodesk set up, drop everything and do that.  If you use this link you will save 50%!   If a potential client responds to me with the “thank you but this is out of our budget” email I will reply with a “Thank you for getting back to me.  I would be happy to add you to my email list so that you can be among the first to hear of special offers and occasional mini-sessions.”  Pretty much everyone replies with a “Yes!  Thank you!”.

The second step is to stay on top of these client’s minds with monthly to quarterly newsletters delivered to their inbox. Create an interesting newsletter by highlighting a past client, offering tips for photographing their own pets, including summer tips for dog owners in your city, etc.  Always include some gorgeous imagery as well.  This is a subtle way to start moving that want into the need camp….but please don’t call it a spring newsletter if you want lots of people to open it.

Lastly, just because we are a boutique business does not mean that we can’t offer lower-priced alternatives to our full sessions.  The key to doing this profitably is to make sure that the lower-priced alternatives do not compete directly with your full sessions.  This is one reason that I LOVE my yearly Food for Fido event.  It is a great pull through for all of those clients that want to book a session but cannot make the investment into a full session.  The session fee is only $35 and special collections start at only $99.  If the potential client can pay their rent and put food on the table then they can afford to do this.

It is absolutely imperative that your workflow is down to a science for these sessions to be profitable.  After all, time is money.  Clients fill out their session agreement as part of the registration form, they pay their invoice securely online and then it’s automatically entered into my accounting books, they are encouraged to pre-purchase a collection at the day of the event by receiving a special gift, they choose their final images in an online gallery, and I send out their products via the mail.  These sessions are for pets only and result in less than 10 final images to choose from.  It’s just a taste of a Nicole Begley Photography experience, but it gives those clients the opportunity to see what this custom photography thing is about.

The icing on the cake is that if you can also raise a nice chunk of change for the shelter or charity you are working with.  This past weekend’s Food for Fido event raised $700 for one of the local shelters and I collected hundreds of pounds of food for them.  That's a win-win if you ask me!

Looking for some more pricing training?  Forget what every other pet photographer is charging -- the best thing you can do for your business is set your prices based on YOUR business and YOUR goals. It’s time to stop following the pack and let your rates lead you to a sustainable business!

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • The #1 thing you need to know BEFORE setting your prices
  • My simple formula to set up your pricing structure for success 
  • How to increase your prices without losing customers

Oh, and did I mention this is a free training?  Grab it below.

Nicole Begley

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  1. DeeDee

    Great post! Do pet parents stay in the same space as you and the pet during the 15 mins? How do you manage getting a selection of good shots with pets who are wild and crazy in only 15 minutes? I tried this type of sessions during Xmas one year and it often took me more than 20 mins per pet for many of them. Do you use studio lighting? Some of my previous clients were afraid when the lights popped.

    • Nicole

      I show less then 10 images per dog and try for a minimum of 5. Headshot, head and shoulders, full body are three quick ones. Just about all but the most well trained dogs stay are put on a show lead to keep them in place….and make it easy for me to edit it out later. Generally I only need 10 minutes of shooting time. I haven’t had an issue of any dogs being scared of my lights. I just have a 4×6 softbox and strobe and a big reflector. If they were freaked out then I would just jump outside and do it there real fast. Hope that helps!

  2. cat race

    Brilliantly put Nicole!

  3. Bevlee

    Thank you! I was just thinking this and wanted to look for resources that supports me not bringing down my rate. I know it covers for my time and for the whole experience of my session.

    You are dog-sent with this blog and website! 🙂


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