The following is a guest post by Chris Kelly of Creative Live who picked the brains of pricing expert, Jared Bauman. To get things started on guest posts, we always like to establish a bit of credibility by showing some images from the photographer.
Jared Bauman Images
Nerve-racking. Awful. The worst part of the job. These are all responses I’ve received from photographers when asking them to describe pricing consultations with potential clients. Pricing seems so far removed and disconnected from the art of photography, but that’s not to say that client connection isn’t an artform in its own right. To be a true pro and turn a hobby into a full-time job, you need to be able to give a persuasive pricing consultation.
I recently spoke with professional photographer and pricing pro Jared Bauman about how to establish a deep connection with a client and strategically structure your pricing presentation around two psychological and cognitive effects.
According to Jared, the majority of small business owners — including photographers — overwhelm potential clients by showing them too many options during the initial pricing consultation. “It’s not what you’re capable of presenting, it’s what is necessary to present,” Jared cautions. According to Psychology Today, the average brain can retain 5 to 9 pieces of information at a time. Just like a phone number can only be so many digits, your pricing and sales presentation can only present so many packages, options, and special features if you want a potential client to remember them.
[SLR Lounge Rewind: Photography Contract Template]
Here are a few tips for crafting a powerful and, most importantly, memorable presentation:
1) Order Is Everything
One psychological aspect you should take into consideration while planning a pricing consultation session is the Serial Position effect. “Basically, a person has a high capability of accurately recalling the first and last items of a list rather than any other item – this is serial position effect,” Jared explains. With that in mind, it’s extremely important that you get your priorities straight. What do you want them really get from your presentation? What’s your package priority? A la carte? Find out and then position your messaging appropriately.
2) Make It Pop
In his pricing presentations, Jared also likes to utilize the Von Restorff effect. “You need to make prominent things stand out at all costs, even if that means you do it in an unusual way.” If the goal is to get something to stick in a client’s memory, then you must make your presentation stand out by incorporating the unexpected — whether it’s a nontraditional product or a the color of your shirt.
3) Sell Yourself, Not Your Brand
Photography is not based on a service or product. “Successful photography businesses, or companies of any kind, never base their brand on a product – your brand is what you mean to people, not the product.” There are a million photographers out there trying to prove how their service and products are different, Jared says. By attempting to be too much to too many potential clients, they end up neglecting to effectively market to their ideal client. It’s important to understand the right client to attract, and, in the process, develop a stronger brand story and package of services relevant to your audience. “Even in a world where most people are running a business through the Internet, business is still relies on a personal connection,” says Jared.
Pricing sheet DON’Ts:
1) Don’t use hard-to-read fonts.
This one is self explanatory. If you want the information you are presenting to stand out, ditch overly complicated or stylized fonts.
2) Don’t use a lot of photos — despite the fact that you’re a photographer.
This is the one part of your job where words and numbers are more valuable than pictures.
3) Don’t use weird package names.
Keep it simple when naming your bundled services. Witty names, when it comes to the exchanging of money, are usually a poor move. Your potential client is buying a product for their future use — giving a package an overly-voicey name will leave little room for them to imagine its place in their life.
4) Avoid including your life story.
Keep the pricing sheet clear and streamlined. Just like photos, too many words will distract the viewer from the information directly relevant to them. If they ask about your professional background, explain your story to them verbally.
With a background in business, Jared Bauman provides the photography community with professional coaching and education. He is an expert in photographer pricing, and has toured the country speaking about how to maximize profits through a clear and simple pricing structure. Jared is teaching a free live online course on creativeLIVE August 1-3.