WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE TOLD YOUR FEE OR PRICE IS TOO HIGH
“Your fee is too high” or “We don’t have that in our budget”. Have you heard that? I am a total advocate for standing by your rate. Stylists bring a lot to the the creative process and should be paid accordingly.
Here are a couple ways to get that assignment by offering the client options and alternatives. You are not going down on your rate, you are offering them options and solutions to work together and show them what ya got . . . within their budget. So, rather than decrease your fee, offer choices:
“PROP & DROP”
Offer to shop for the photo shoot and deliver to Studio/Location and pick up after shoot date. While I know this is not ideal & you would want to be at the shoot, this is a way to show a client what you can offer them and start a relationship with them. (Remember to charge for travel, if out of your area) Also, be proactive and think about your existing clients. As I recently posted on Instagram, I went to Brimfield and I called several of my clients and asked if they needed anything while I was there. (Oftentimes, I go to Brimfield to stock my prop supply to have new, unique items on hand.) Think of your clients all the time - not just contacting them for work!
Offer to attend the Pre-Production meeting to offer styling creative ideas to the Team for the assignment. Again, it is an opportunity to meet the team and begin a relationship with them that could lead to future assignments. (I have also been hired by a Video Production company to attend a Pre-Production Meeting with them as part of their “consulting staff”)
Styling Consultations offering styling advice and resources for photo shoot. I have even booked site/locations for clients. Key is to become versatile, resourceful and valuable to your clients. (Have done this via telephone and onsite.)
I have done all of the above options at some point in my career. (For the last two, I always require payment in full before consultation.) With all of them, it eventually lead to being hired for the shoot dates and charging my rate. Sometimes it really is a budget constraint, sometimes a prospective client needs to be confident in what you can bring creatively to the project and sometimes it’s about time establishing a relationship. Don’t give up. Think of that “no” as a “not yet”.
So, with these options you are basically, not going down on your rate, you are giving clients options to work with you within their budget. Stand by your rate. There will be times and circumstances that you may bend/be flexible with your rate, but as a rule - know and stand by your worth.
With all of them, it eventually lead to being hired for the shoot dates and charging my rate. Sometimes it really is a budget constraint, sometimes a prospective client needs to be confident in what you can bring creatively to the project and sometimes it’s about time establishing a relationship.
NEGOTIATION GUIDE & CHEATSHEET
I developed a Negotiation Cheat Sheet through consulting Photo Stylists just beginning to Interview for styling jobs/assignments, but I think it could help those who are also negotiating with clients and assignments, (to evaluate/brainstorm your skills & value) so I though I would add to this Post. Through time, I developed a way to harness all that I can offer a client that may be different than other stylists can offer. (We all have special knowledge, contacts, resources and ways to help our clients) It is a one Page Cheatsheet that I would love to share with you! It’s my Assessment Negotiation Guide and Form. It helps you in your negotiation process. It is a Guide to my process, including a one page “cheatsheet” listing: your assests/knowledge/successes/client painpoints . . . So, between the three options above and the cheatsheet I know you will negotiate your way to gaining clients and new styling assignments! :)
Download the Guide & Cheatsheet here.
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