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Lowballing clients
  
 
Elijah
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Lowballing clients


I know this question has been answered to death but I couldn't really find a thread on this while doing a quick scan through threads.

How do you guys deal with lowballing clients?

Just received an email from a potential client who's booking proposal will expire soon.

"Sorry for the delay, my fiancÚ and I were busy finishing up with school,
and now that we're on break we can devote our time to wedding preparations.
I'm going to be very honest with you, our entire budget for videography and
photography all along had been $x,xxx. We were so excited to have you as
our photographer at that point and didn't do our research ahead of time.
After talking to multiple photographers around the same level as yourself,
we've received very many competitive offers that fit our budget better.
However, we are not discounting you yet, because we are still big admirers
of your work. If you would lower your price to $x,xxx that would give us some
room to hire a cheap videographer at least."





Mar 16, 2017 at 01:43 AM
BSPhotog
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Lowballing clients


Not to over-simplify, but is the lower-balled dollar amount and these clients worth more to you or is it more valuable to try and find a different couple for that date?


Also, I'll agree on the



Mar 16, 2017 at 01:50 AM
Depth of Feel
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Lowballing clients


You let them go or you provide a counter offer you are comfortable with. If they dont love your work enough to pay your price theres not much you can do.


Mar 16, 2017 at 02:04 AM
flash
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Lowballing clients


"Thanks. Enjoy your wedding. Too bad as I would have loved to photograph it."

And move on.

I can't stand lowballers........

Gorddon



Mar 16, 2017 at 02:06 AM
myam203
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Lowballing clients


This happened to me not too long ago, although I did compromise a little and ended up booking them. I love the logic... "We like you best, yet somehow we don't think you're worth more." Anyone spotting the contradiction there?

Really though, you just have to figure out what your line in the sand is. Take out hours or extras to hit their budget or tell them to hit the road.



Mar 16, 2017 at 02:26 AM
Depth of Feel
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Lowballing clients


myam203 wrote:
This happened to me not too long ago, although I did compromise a little and ended up booking them. I love the logic... "We like you best, yet somehow we don't think you're worth more." Anyone spotting the contradiction there?

Really though, you just have to figure out what your line in the sand is. Take out hours or extras to hit their budget or tell them to hit the road.


Their logic is "The knot told me to negotiate with a photographer to get the best price."



Mar 16, 2017 at 03:31 AM
amonline
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Lowballing clients


They want you. Don't budge.


Mar 16, 2017 at 03:53 AM
mb126
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Lowballing clients


1. Is the date a Saturday during high season or a Thursday during low season?
2. What is Delta= (Price you charge) - (Price he proposed)?
3. Are there any other compelling reasons you would want to shoot this wedding (e.g. new venue you have been dying to get a wedding at and may be able to bring in new business, etc.)?







Mar 16, 2017 at 04:13 AM
glort
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Lowballing clients



I'm really trying hard to temper my response here and be nice.....

This is sales 101. I'd be happy as a pig in Shi...mud if all my clients came to me like this.
The fact so many misread it and don't see the opportunity presenting itself is most unfortunate.
Spose one person got it right though.

They aren't Low balling, they are JUSTIFYING.

They have already bought you, now they just need to substantiate that in their minds and most likely, to their friends and families. Do NOT underestimate the importance of that.
You have to let them have a win. Give them something to brag about how they beat you down and got a great deal because THAT is really what they are looking for. They can then justify spending whatever because they got a good deal and more importantly, they got the HERO factor to look good in front of said family and friends.

They have already made the purchase decision, if price was all they were concerned about they wouldn't even be wasting their time getting back to you, they would have already booked the cheaper guy. I don't know how that's not obvious to everyone.
All you have to do now is stay the hell off your high horse but bring the deal home. That is easy as....
You don't even have to lower your Dollar amount, just VALE ADD by throwing them some breadcrumbs. They'll follow you right down the garden path IF you do it right.

Don't know what your inclusions are but you should ALWAYS leave something in your back pocket exactly for reasons like this.
If It were me, I'd be getting back to them saying how much you would love to do their wedding because you think you all make a great fit but lowering your price "would be very difficult."
NOTE: don't say " can't" lower your price, instead say " It would be very difficult or it would be a problem or an open ended term not a finite one. Difficulties and problems can be solved, can't is different and is an outright rejection which is not hat you want to do.

Offer them something extra.... more pages in the album, the full file set, wall portrait, Night shots after reception...... whatever you have up your sleeve. If you give the farm away already, well you have shot yourself in the foot and need to hit the sales and marketing books ( already apparent) so you can deal with this common objection and opportunity.

We are lucky in this Biz that we have good markups so Giving the client $100 in extra value costs us $10 if that. This is how you leverage your products value and give a little to gain gain the whole prize.
It's all good an well to play the indignant moral high ground but rarely smart or good business.

I used to do the marketing and promo for a friends restaurant. He was in an area know for it's 80% rainfall being at night. He'd have a load of bookings, the thunder would crack at 5Pm and the phone would ring with cancellations. It was a BIG problem.
My answer was "The rain guarantee".
If it rains, you get 10% off your bill. Simple, straightforward, no confusion.

My friend was not impressed. He said it was seen as a bad thing in his industry to bastardise the business.
I asked him, what would he prefer? 100% of 7 covers or 90% of 20? He wasn't loosing 10% anyway because 66% of costs are fixed and he has to pay them wether he took $1 or $10,000 so really the discount was more like 3.33%.

The rain gaurantee was such a hit, not only did it stop the cancellations, it brought business IN.
We turned it round to when the rain came, the phone started ringing with people asking if it were 10% off tonight. You betcha! Of course in reserve we had some specials of the day that were low cost high margin items that pretty much brought us back to the 100% on rain gaurantee nights anyway.

And that's the same here.
Give a bit of incentive to get the deal by giving ADDED VALE rather than a monetary discount and make it back up on the back end by pushing extra products like parents albums, enlargements, slide show...... whatever.

I's be getting back to this client and saying something like:

" Sorry Fred, I really want to shoot your day as I can see what a great Wedding it's going to be and there are so many ideas I have for it that I know are going to make some awesome pics. It would be very difficult to lower my price however what I would be haoppy to do for you is make it even more worth your while to book by throwing in the full image file set/ 5 extra sides in your album/ a fully edited Slide show/ a beautiful engagement portrait print/ a Stray fuzzy kitten/ send my wife over to clean your house for 6 months.... which is worth an extra XXXX ( amount MORE than what they are asking as a discount.) That would be worth even more to you and make the enjoyment of your pics so much better and impress your friends at the same time! "

If you are booked solid you don't have to worry about inquiry's like this and you can tell them to go Jump. If however you are like most of us and don't like to blow people away that have money in their pockets they WANT to give you, put you're ego aside and play it smart.
They aren't lowballers, they are an opportunity going begging for those smart enough to see it and pick the ripe plum.

Now that's enough being Diplomatic and attempting to be helpful. I got to be honest and say given some of the responses here, it's no damn wonder people in this industry struggle. This really is sales basics and something everyone in business, any business, should no how to handle.
Instead of pissing and moaning about this lens or that body or other irrelevant crap that makes not one shred of difference to the client nor the shooters business ( no matter how much they kid themselves to the contrary) THIS is the sort of stuff shooters should be investing their time learning.

Knowing how to recognise opportunities like this and cash in on them would make a hell of a lot more difference to peoples income and benefit them and their families than worrying about differences in gear that the clients couldn't give a flying duck about.



Mar 16, 2017 at 07:34 AM
InSanE
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Lowballing clients


Nothing to discuss here.
Tell them: Thank you and good luck!
Every time I gave in to these type of clients, it was always a bad experience in some way.
In what F industry can you negotiate like that?
Its disrespectfull BS.
Go to Mercedes and tell them you like their cars, but you budget is for a Ford, and they should come down.

PS
If you read carefully problems are already there.
1. You get to work with a cheap videographer.




Mar 16, 2017 at 07:49 AM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



Depth of Feel
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Lowballing clients


InSanE wrote:
PS
If you read carefully problems are already there.
1. You get to work with a cheap videographer.



The worst video crew I worked with priced out at 10k. The easiest videoguys I work with charge 1-2k.




Mar 16, 2017 at 08:19 AM
InSanE
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Lowballing clients


Depth of Feel wrote:
The easiest videoguys I work with charge 1-2k.


Everything is possible.
I solved this by having my own video crew, more money and everything runs smoothly.
I also noticed a rise in sales since offering both photo and video, seems people like one stop shopping.
Why dont you hire those 1-2k guys and upsell?





Mar 16, 2017 at 08:43 AM
TheyCallMeJ
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Lowballing clients


The short answer is that I don't mind lowballing (let's call this counter offering), as I actually expect it.

Explained here: http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1438046/1#13632229

The long answer is, it depends:

- How busy are you and how badly you want the booking?

- Is the counter offer reasonable or is the client wasting your time by asking a discount of 50%?

- Are you addressing their real concerns? Your client wants video coverage (even if it's lower quality). Include one and charge your original pricing such that they are getting a deal, in addition to the convenience in having both photo + video from the same vendor (spends less time shopping around). Then outsource the video to a student or something (communicate to the client that they should have very low expectations for video)

- Are you still profitable should you agree to their counter offer? If yes, are they willing to sign immediately?

- What is the future ROI in taking this client? Is she in target market or network of professionals you wish to tap into? Do you feel that this client will benefit your portfolio or refer other similar brides?




Mar 16, 2017 at 09:48 AM
ZachOly
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Lowballing clients


These are low-ballers trying to guilt you into lowering your price.

Pass.



Mar 16, 2017 at 12:25 PM
Elijah
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Lowballing clients


Thanks for the responses guys!

I just wanted to see how members on here deal with lowballers.
For me, weddings are strictly extra income. I have a day job and I shoot about 12-16 weddings a year. With that being said, I am not desperate for clients. So it's either my way or the highway. Needless to say, I rejected that client. She was lowballing for a $500 drop on the package they wanted.

Can you imagine how many cheeseburgers I can get for $500?



Mar 16, 2017 at 12:45 PM
Chris Fawkes
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Lowballing clients


Elijah wrote:
Thanks for the responses guys!

I just wanted to see how members on here deal with lowballers.
For me, weddings are strictly extra income. I have a day job and I shoot about 12-16 weddings a year. With that being said, I am not desperate for clients. So it's either my way or the highway. Needless to say, I rejected that client. She was lowballing for a $500 drop on the package they wanted.

Can you imagine how many cheeseburgers I can get for $500?


What would adding $500 or $700 worth of extras cost you?

Glort gave some excellent advice. They may not have gone with you but would have been worth putting that to the test.



Mar 16, 2017 at 01:41 PM
Elijah
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Lowballing clients


Chris Fawkes wrote:
What would adding $500 or $700 worth of extras cost you?



387 McChickens.



Mar 16, 2017 at 02:17 PM
glort
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Lowballing clients


Elijah wrote:
I have a day job and I shoot about 12-16 weddings a year.


Let me guess, that day job is not in sales or anything you have to worry about performance, budgets or meeting KPI's ?

Don't spose you ever sat down and worked out what your acquisition cost of those 12 -16 weddings a year was?
I think if you added up your monetary cost on advertising and promo and probably more so your time in Faceblogging, instaskyping, emailing, site updating etc and put the same dollar figure on it you get as an hourly rate at your work, you might be surprised how much it costs you to get each of those jobs through the door.

I also think if you realised that number, you might decide it's a lot easier and cheaper to sign the customer you have in hand up than go looking for a more perfect one.

Needless to say, I rejected that client. She was lowballing for a $500 drop on the package they wanted.

No, actually she wasn't low balling, she was a walk up start that wanted to book you and give her your money but just wanted you to work a little for it and give her something in return to give her the warm and Fuzzies she could share with her family and friends. Had you done that, you most likely would have had an advocate for your business before you fired a single frame.

It would have been very easy to get this client on board and set down very firmly whom was in control and make anything you did give them up on the back end. That could well have been through referrals alone.

Dunno what you charge but I can only say If I had a client that close to buying and they walked, I'd be upset with myself. To me it would be a failure in the challenge and the opportunity presented.
Sure you might have been able to find another client that didn't take that extra 2 min of your time to negotiate to get them to roll over but what's the fun in them all being wood ducks?
To me the selling and business is 3/4 of the fun.

But that's just me and if it's not my way, I'll be flexible to make it worth my while and concede a little at the start to win a lot at the end. Then again, I'm in this game to make money which is a different priority to what a lot of others have.

Can you imagine how many cheeseburgers I can get for $500?

Well I'm really thinking of a different perspective in how many Cheeseburgers you could have got with the $1000-2000+ profit you could have made from that client had you not blown them off and done the job.

But again, that's me and I tend to look at the big prize and not sweat the little shit.




Mar 16, 2017 at 02:38 PM
nolaguy
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Lowballing clients


I'd really encourage a rereading of Glort's first post (I haven't read the second yet). He gift wrapped a few seminal truths that less experienced business people often have a hard time embracing.

Okay, just read Glort's second post. More gold.


InSanE wrote:
In what F industry can you negotiate like that?


In every single industry and exchange wherein the client/customer is dealing with someone who has the authority to adjust pricing and/or the package.

Period.

The big boys in business do this all the time. We all do it with our spouses and children - all the time.


There are probably ten or fewer cornerstones of human interaction, and negotiation isn't just in that top ten... it's probably in the top three. It's human nature. While it's sort of a game it is real and we're best served to not be offended by it but well prepared to waltz with our "adversary" and find the win.

That's what Glort is saying. "Are you f***ing kidding me? You have a prospective client that wants to book and all they may want is a little feel good about the deal? And you can't make that happen?"


I grew up in mom and pop retail and have spent 20+ years in wholesale and been responsible for everything from $10 to $1,000,000 deals. Under the hood, they are all the same. Find the win-win.


InSanE wrote:
Its disrespectfull BS.


In essence, not at all. The person may be disrespectful, but the concept isn't anything but good business for everyone. Show me a person who gets pissy or offended during a negotiation and I'll show you a person not entirely in control of his business world and short on understanding of human nature.

The argument could be made that any business person who doesn't leave room for, or have a plan for negotiation is simply naive. In medium to large corporations learning to effectively negotiate is one of the top training matters that companies tend to.

I said "adversary" above and that's exactly what they teach you to not think. Healthy, functional negotiation isn't about one party winning and the other losing. It's truly about the win-win wherein both parties feel like they orchestrated a favorable outcome customized to the situation.

And that is the great opportunity. The mental spin is that pricing is based on the average circumstance. But once I know what you value, and understand how I can tailor what I'm selling to most satisfy you and yet maintain my profitability, big win for both of us.


The issues are:

1) pricing credibility. If I give you a discount, does that mean my prices were inflated to begin with? Not at all. It means I have a baseline formula and you asked me to look at this particular situation and see what additional goodness I can offer that you would find valuable;

2) consequently, worth understanding that pricing is based on average circumstances; that the actual situation is never perfectly average and so, by definition, there is almost always room for discussion without losing credibility - especially in a luxury goods industry like ours wherein the customer is almost always dealing with the person who does in fact have the authority to make adjustments to the price and/or the overall package;

3) understanding that the only reason we don't commonly negotiate these days is we typically aren't dealing with the person in authority. That's how businesses generally charge consumers full ticket - because we aren't interacting with those in charge;

Nevertheless, when I went to cancel the television portion of my cable bill a few days ago, the underling on the phone starts throwing all kinds of concessions and special prices at me to try to keep me hooked into that service. That's negotiation. The shitty kind.

In me cancelling, the cable company interprets that as negotiation opportunity. It can be hugely aggravating, but it is what it is and for us to deny those realities of business is simply burying our head in the sand. My reaction was "why the f**k didn't you just offer me your best deal in the first place?"

Well, because I didn't ask.

And if you think of it that way, our clients that ask if we have any wiggle room aren't being offensive, they're simply being thorough. The difference between us and the cable company is, if we are smart, having a plausible explanation for tailoring the deal to our clients to adjust "the average" to "the specific" without losing credibility.


Interesting case study:

Trump "negotiates" the Lockheed Martin F-35 contract down $700 million. Big win for him, or so it seems. Later, Pentagon and Lockheed Martin officials suggest that was likely to happen regardless but Trump turned it into bragging rights - which is one common feel good in negotiations regardless of whether or not it's real.


All that said, it is true that some clients/customers are delusional, and some are assholes, and best to walk away from them. Not everyone has the skill, awareness and intelligence for successful negotiation.

The question is, are we among that group, or do we know how to create the win without feeling like we've lost?


Edited on Mar 16, 2017 at 02:52 PM · View previous versions



Mar 16, 2017 at 02:42 PM
InSanE
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Lowballing clients


Not in my shop mr. glorts lawyer


Mar 16, 2017 at 02:52 PM
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