This is the 2nd most frequent question I get asked, after ‘Ben, why are you guys so expensive?’. I was even asked this question yesterday and I thought it would be best to address this question and hopefully share my point of view with the world wide web.
To answer this question on the whole picky discount affair, I have a 2 part answer:
1. YES, we do offer discounts but only to close family/friends. The discount for this category is very interesting. I don’t charge a cent for my labour and they only have to pay for the deliverables that they need (albums, prints e.t.c). To define close family & friends, these are people we interact with on a personal level and definitely those we would love to attend our wedding (Faith & I).
2. NO, we do not offer discounts to our wonderful clients outside this bracket. Our reasons for this are very simple and straightforward. When I decided to go into professional photography a bit over 2 years ago, I spent the 1st 6-8 months doing a bulk of my shoots for free and giving hefty discounts. That stage for me was very important as it was a learning phase for me. To be real, I never knew what I was doing…I was experimenting and I took the chance to learn as much as I could and find a niche for my starting business.
To cut the rat chase here are our reasons…simple and clear (For those who know both of us were are very ordinary people who love life & what we do)
1. QOS (Quality of Service): This is what we believe defines our ART, quality. For us quality is king & queen. We pride ourselves in ensuring that we put money where our mouth is and deliver exactly what we say we will. We have spent ourselves in ensuring that we give our best, put our heart and soul in what we do. Every client is special. It is not just another job for us, but another opportunity to create a lifetime memory for you. We sacrifice a lot and spent a great deal of resources to better our best and give you much more than what you have placed on the table. So its only fair for us to get fair compensation for our trouble. This is our mantra, this is who we are.
2. No More People-Pleaser: This is a hard truth that we have learnt to deal with. We have realised that our service is not for everyone. It is impossible to please everyone and run a successful business. It takes a whole lot to grow a small business and it is important to remember that every business has its niche. We realised that we had to focus on a particular market segment, and concentrate all our marketing strategy on reaching and making our product accessible to that niche. Out of the many requests we receive for our photography services, less than half of them actually book us. That we have learned, and we accept it. Someone once said that the surest way to fail is try and please everyone.
3. Time Vs Money : True, time is much much more valuable than money. And we value our time very very much. We’d rather spent our time doing productive & free up our schedule to do what is really meaningful to us. So if a client turns us down because we refused to lower our rate card, all the better, we will have more time in our hands to do what really counts. Rich people treat time differently. They buy it, while poor people sell it. The wealthy know time is more valuable than money itself, so they hire people for things they’re not good at.
4. Belief in Ourselves: I talk with many people who are just starting their business, and I guess this is the number one factor that stops people in the tracks of starting & running a successful business. Belief is a great factor, and Faith & I hold this close and true to our hearts. We know that we have a business to run and that business puts food on our table. So we hold what we do in very high esteem and know that whatever business challenge that comes our way; we will handle. We know that we charge a premium rate, but we also believe that our service is premium. That is key, to believe that you have what it takes. To know that you have to be humble but confident, and wear both hearts in a way that they both fit without knocking off either of the two.
5. Stick To Your Guns: Yes, sticking to our standards! Many many times we have sat with clients over meetings deliberating over our pricing, and interestingly the clients who request for discounts will try and negotiate at every turn, always asking for a lower price. And then they will not end up giving you the job, or if they do make you feel like you conned them out of their money. Many times I have walked home with a bad feeling in my gut, regretting why I accepted to seal that deal. Here is the deal, keep to your standards. People will always treat you the way you want to be treated, and they will always respect you if you stick to what you believe.
This was not a sweet, warm fuzzy post, but we had to let it out. We have learned some of the lessons here with tears and a lot of pain. That is what experiential learning is all about. All in all, we still learn and keep growing everyday. For now kindly understand when I tell you we do not offer discounts, as I like saying it’s nothing personal, it’s just business.
Hope this post helped someone out there, especially small business owners like Faith & I.
‘Never stop learning & never assume that you know everything, Stay hungry, stay foolish’ ~The Late Steve Jobs
Be Blessed friends.