In the past I’ve talked about how I deal with bargain hunters and price hagglers. Today I want to talk to you about another category of soul destroyers, deal seekers altogether, yep, our family and friends.
These people, our loved ones, our confidants, our cherished and chosen ones, can also be one of the worst offenders for wanting a deal.
But this a pretty tough crowd to say no to, right?
Well, actually, no. I did have to learn the hard way, but I’m happy to say that I have learnt to handle their requests for discount or freebies in a way that leaves both of us with all of our dignity, and the relationship, in tact.
Early on in my photography career, I was heading towards one of my biggest orders ever – that happened to be for a family member.
During the ordering appointment they asked for a substantial discount, you know, since we were family ‘n’ all.
I was so caught off guard (mostly because I would never have dreamt of asking for that sort of discount myself) that I mumbled something about it being a slow time of year anyway, and whilst quietly dying inside, agreed to it.
I was so upset by the whole situation that I decided to set a strict friends and family policy, and I have unapologetically stuck to it ever since.
Now when friends and family approach me for photos they receive a free session from me, but all of my photography products remain full price. If they don’t want to pay my prices that is fine, and they can go elsewhere.
That’s it. That’s my friends and family policy, simple but effective.
Some people think I’m nuts not to give my loved ones a discount, but I tell them I’m running a business. I’m not doing this just to have fun (even though fun is one of the biggest perks of my job!). This is my career, a way to make money, support my family and pay those pesky bills.
Keep that in mind next time Eddie, your second cousin from Miami who you haven’t seen since you were eight years old, asks you for a deal or haggles on price.
A conversation with him might go a little something like this:
Eddie: I love your work and I could totally go to another photographer, but you’re the best person for the job.
You: Thanks Eddie, that’s so nice of you to say. I’d love to do a session with you. For family and friends I offer a free sitting and here’s my rates card if you want to purchase any images.
Eddie: (Looks confused) Oh, I thought since we were family ‘n’ all….
You: (Stares back blankly, smiles sweetly)
Eddie: Err, well I just thought…since we’re family…you could do…a deal…?
You: Oh but I do, I offer a free sitting (continues to smile sweetly)
Remember, no matter which lovely brand of familial pressure they’re applying to guilt you into saying yes – they are simply not your ideal client.
You are in business to be successful and profitable. Not to give out deals and please everyone (spoiler alert: trying to please everyone is impossible anyway.)
If you want to build a successful and profitable photography brand you have to set yourself up to succeed through creating a solid business from the ground up.
Set those studio policies, set your pricing to make a profit, and stick to your guns.
With love and beautiful boundaries,