It really used to frustrate me when I didn’t get hired, didn’t book the session, didn’t get the job. I use to make my case over the phone when a potential client called. I would try to tell them the difference between me and the shoot and burn photographer or the school’s contract photographer. I used to get angry when they just couldn’t see the value in the product and service I offered.
And then something clicked. The ones who didn’t need convincing, the ones who were ready to book because they had already fallen in love with what we do . . . they were my dream clients. And the ones who I just happened to be able to convince to book a session anyway . . . well, we ended up not being a good match after all. After this happened a few times and I saw a pattern develop, I changed the way I did business.
I stopped getting angry. And I stopped getting hurt.
I stopped running my business out of fear.
And I started running it with confidence that I was worth what I charged for my services and time away from my family.
If they said I was too expensive I understood and wished them the best. And I meant it! I stopped trying to convince EVERYONE that I was the photographer for them. Porsche doesn’t do that. Tiffany’s doesn’t either. They just served their clients and that’s what I set out to do.
I started serving my clients better. I made sure there wasn’t a question left unanswered and that they felt like they were the only ones who mattered on their session day. I served the ones who valued great work full of expression and light in their daughter’s eyes, work that they would proudly hang on living room walls and cherish because I captured their kid EXACTLY how they wanted to remember this stage of life. I served the clients who valued relationships and memories more than nice cars and handbags.
I figured out who MY CLIENT was and I loved on them like they were friends from the start.
When a potential customer calls and I get that feeling down deep in my gut (you know the one) that this isn’t going to work out I still care for them and we always have great conversation. I love these phone calls, because I’ve been in their shoes. I’ve lived through senior year with my oldest. And I’ll have to do it two more times! Ugh, my heart. We are all just trying to do this life thing together, and senior year is tough on any parent - physically, financially and definitely emotionally!! No matter what their budget is, they still deserve and get respect from our studio.
Remember the movie Pretty Woman when she went into the fancy dress shop on Rodeo Drive for the first time? Yeah. That’s not happening here! Just sayin.
I’m telling you all of this because I want you to know that it is ok to not be hired or to be called too expensive. We cannot serve everyone, and that’s ok too. Because if we did we wouldn’t have time for our own families. And if that starts happening, it’s time to raise your prices. Supply and demand baby.
So the next time you don’t book the session because you are out of someone’s budget, look at it as a blessing. And serve the ones who have hired you like they are your most cherished friends.