Freelance photography can be a fulfilling career. However, setting and negotiating rates is often an unnerving process for many freelancers. If you don’t negotiate effectively, you risk conceding to a lower rate and selling yourself short.
Knowing how to negotiate your rates can boost your photography business. Here are some tips from negotiations skills training to help you ace rate discussions and clinch higher-paying sales.
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Make your process transparent
If you establish processes and formalities when you talk with new clients, it paints a picture of professionalism. Customers are likely to avoid haggling for a meager price if they see an expert-level customer onboarding process.
Have all your documents drawn up professionally, including:
- Price lists
- Formal proposals
Whether you’re negotiating face-to-face or online, a professional business setup can help show the value of your services so customers won’t push your prices below your cutoff point.
Set your prices
Have a price sheet available alongside your online portfolio, and make sure it’s linked on your social media platforms. Most negotiation trainers emphasize the need to set an anchor during talks.
In simple terms, the anchor is the price that will set the tone for the negotiation. Often, the final price won’t fall too far from the first number thrown onto the table.
Typically, most customers will try to negotiate down from your quoted price, so if you set your price anchor first, the final price will most likely fall within your desired range.
Build a strong portfolio
To grow your freelance photography career, it’s important to create a solid portfolio to showcase your skills. A strong portfolio along with great reviews provides proof of what you can offer the customer, establishing your expertise.
Set up a user-friendly page on your website that allows your customers to browse your photographs with ease. Alternatively, use an online platform that’s set up for photo gallery portfolios. Make sure you show off the depth and breadth of your work by including shots with different styles and settings in your gallery.
Once you establish your worth as a professional photographer, you can more confidently approach negotiations. Customers may be willing to concede to your higher price if they have faith in the quality of your work.
Know your customer
Knowing what the customer wants and expects from the project can help give you leverage.
It might be handy to check out the customer’s social media accounts to try and get a feel for what they want to achieve with the project. You can also use customer discussions to ask the right questions and seek out what the customer values the most.
Once you know what the customer is trying to accomplish, you can understand how to offer your services as a way of achieving their goals. By presenting your offer as a valuable solution to the customer’s problems, you help the buyer to understand the value you bring to them.
Customers are typically less likely to haggle you down on price if they feel like you know what they’re about.
Know when to walk away
Negotiations typically end successfully when both sides are satisfied with the value exchange. In most resolutions, the buyer sees the value of the service and your skills and training, and the seller feels they are receiving a commensurate monetary value.
If you’re not seeing eye to eye with the prospect about the value of your work, there’s usually no point in continuing the negotiation.
Wasting time in prolonged discussions stops you from reaching out to other prospects, costing you in missed opportunities in the longer run.
Negotiations can often drag out for longer than you expected. If you’re negotiating by email or on a web platform or marketplace like The Creative Loft, there may be periods of silence from the customer.
Sometimes, silence is used as a tool to tap into your assumed desperation so you might panic and lower the price.
Train yourself to not rush into lowering your price for fear that the customer will balk. Instead, it pays to be patient and anticipate the silence.
Target the right clients
The negotiation process will usually go smoother if you aim for the right clients.
No matter how exceptional your negotiation skills may be, if the customer’s budget is already overstretched, you may be out of their price range.
It usually pays to set your sights on prospects who can afford your services and save yourself from unfruitful talks.
By making your customer onboarding process crystal clear and conducting adequate research on your client, you can set and negotiate for higher rates. Most importantly, be on the lookout for high-value customers to land better deals.