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From Nothing to Profit - Matt Hoaglin and Kia Bondurant EPISODE 39, 1st July 2019
Communicating Your Value

Communicating Your Value

Today, Matt and Kia, talk about how to communicate your value to your potential clients. Kia suggests starting with yourself. Reflect on why you value photography. To Kia, it’s a matter of life and death. Photographers are often the first call when someone loses a loved one. We produce art. Digital files should have a printed counterpart because in the long run, who knows if the digital images will be accessible. Listen in to hear Matt’s advice about dealing with head trash and price conversations versus value conversations. Build that relationship with your client and be the expert so they know, like and trust you.

This is a list of the things we suggest to do:

Value it yourself

Have confidence

Have examples

Start the conversation a different way

Say the hard things


Read Full Transcript

[00:00] Welcome to from nothing to profit a photographer’s podcast with Matt and Kayak where each week they talk to photographers about what is working in their business now so you can swipe those ideas and grow your business faster. Okay. Hey,

[00:16] good morning everyone, or good afternoon or good evening I guess depending on when you’re listening to this. Welcome to the podcast. Today we are talking about how to communicate your value to your customers or how to let them see your value. And Matt and I have some different strategies that we want to share with you today. And my first thought on this is it okay if I start off Matt? Yeah, no, go right ahead. Jump right in. My first thought on this is that sometimes you need to start with yourself and figure out how to communicate to yourself the value of what you do. And having been in this 20 years and seen all the changes throughout the industry and you know, kind of my own journey, I’ve come to some times when I have had to rethink things and had to really reevaluate how I view photography.

[01:09] And so starting out, I had never been to a professional photographer before, so obviously we didn’t necessarily see the value in it and we didn’t really understand what a professional photographer could do. So I learned the value of professional photography by actually doing it. And by being a customer of know, by being a photographer, because you came, you know, from your family business, I was, it was my family business. And so I didn’t know about photography except that when I looked back on any professional photographs that we’d had taken as a child, they were all film and color and they were all fading. And so we didn’t have beautiful portraits of us as children. My mom started dabbling in photography when I was in sixth grade. And so from sixth grade on is when I actually had any, you know, photographs that weren’t just fading and we’re creative or something like that.

[02:02] And so I think first off, you have to think of why you value photography and why it’s important to you. And then it’s a lot easier to communicate to your clients. So as a mom with four kids, I have a hallway that I walked down every time I leave my bedroom to go to any other part of the House that is full of pictures of my kids have diff at different points in their lives. All of them and when they’re seven or eight months old naked crawling around two when they’re all four or five years old. And uh, the first ones are black and white and then I have sepia head shots of their profiles and then I have them all dressed as angels. And so, which reminds me that they are actually angels. When I’m leaving my room to go, y’all, I leave my room to go yell at someone.

[02:47] But for me photography is not just a luxury and it’s not just something that’s like a piece of furniture or some kind of fun thing. It’s really a matter of life or death in my opinion. Because if when something happens to a loved one, the first person that they call a lot of times is us to find out if they can get the files, if we can print something for them. If the pictures that they didn’t have printed, if we still have them available. And I’ve been through that so many times that when people hem and haw and say, oh, I don’t really want my picture taken or I don’t, I don’t think I look good. I need to lose weight. When people have those kind of reasons or you know, my, I can’t get my son to come in. I’m like, do what you need to do. This is the most important thing. And so if you need to bribe him than bribe your son, I bet it will take dinner to get your son to come in to do a senior pictures. I bet it will take you no promise of a good night with your husband to get them to come in. I mean you can, you can make this happen and it’s so, so important. I think knowing to you that it’s important, it really makes a difference. So that’s number one.

[03:57] Yeah. And that transitions for me into this whole idea that it’s about confidence too. Like if you want people to see your value, you need to be able to like ask for the sale or ask for the booking with confidence. And I think confidence comes from what you were just talking about where if they don’t truly believe in it, they don’t have the confidence to ask for it. And then here’s like, this is where I’m going to transition. So I don’t just repeat everything you just said. What I see a lot of people in our industry doing is they go, they have a situation in a business that they’re confident with, but they’re not maybe making enough money or living. So then they go and they go here from a coach or they go hear from somebody else and they need to raise their prices, but they to make a living, which they need to do, but maybe they do it too fast and then they lose confidence in their business and their business be able to, that their pictures are worth 1,002 thousand or $3,000 or the confidence that people want all our over just digitals.

[04:55] So they make changes too fast and they lose that confidence. And when you’re not confident then and you don’t see your own value in it, then the how has the customer ever going to see the value as well. So like I said, step one is like what you’re saying, you got to believe in how important it is and then believe in what you’re charging for it and how you’re, how you’re operating your business and if you’re confident in both those things and then I think people will see your value no matter where you are.

[05:22] Yeah, I think definitely so. And one of the ways that I tried to do that, especially with having employees is that I, and I try to take their pictures, I really encourage them to get their pictures taken, to put them on their walls. And then if they have family members that are going through, you know, times in their lives where they’re having babies or having new experiences that need to be photographed, then I also, you know, encourage them to bring them in. And then in my own life, I discipline myself to get the pictures taken. So it’s hard when you’re busy to get the pictures taken. But if I’m doing it myself, then how can I be encouraging my customers to do that as well?

[06:01] Yeah. Because yeah, if you don’t believe it, if you don’t live it and believe it, then how are you going to ever convince somebody else? Okay, so then how other, like when I also think about how people see how to get people to see your value is one of the big things for us as like displaying big art, whether it’s in our house or in our studio and unique products that kind of like loudly says like this is what we’re going to do. So maybe you got like 20 by thirties hanging all over your studio or your house and maybe they only order 11 by 14 but that’s okay. Like just being able to show big stuff and say like this is what we do I think adds some confidence and also just says like gives perceived value to what you do. That we don’t just print eight by tens on pieces of paper.

[06:46] We actually produce art and when you have an art hold such a bigger value in someone’s mind than just the average piece of paper. So kinda summarize that as I think you’ve got to think about how to remove yourself from the box that our industry currently is in and figure out like, okay, what can I do different or what can I do that’s special for people that they’ll see valuable and therefore I can differentiate myself from the rest of the industry. Because I really think in some aspects our industry is a little bit in a race to the bottom type of a situation and that can really devalue that someone’s going to do something cheaper, cheaper, cheaper, until you break out of that, that cycle of the race to the bottom.

[07:28] Yeah. I think that’s so true that if you’re offering a product that you can’t build value in, then you need to change your product and it shows something that actually has value and your point of having portraits, big portraits on the wall of having nice albums of having interesting and different products. I know that you’re like us are always kind of thinking, what else can I offer my clients that will inspire them and get them excited about things? And one other thing that we do when we show display our work is a lot of times I will choose something that my client has ordered and then I will put that on the wall. And that way I can say so and so ordered this, you know, or this is on their wall. This was their favorite portrait. And so this helps people to see what other people have done as well. So even though you’re not in their home, you can show at your studio what other people are ordering. And that gives it more social. Oh, darnit. I can never think of that word. But anyway, it helps them see what other people are doing. It gives them ideas.

[08:28] Yeah, for sure. All right. Awesome stuff guys. Hey, on that note, let’s just take a quick break and we’ll be right back. Okay.

[08:34] Hey everyone, tell me if this sounds familiar. You look at your calendar and notice you need clients now so you do a little marketing and get some phone calls. You get busy helping those new clients. They schedule sessions, they place orders and life is good, but once they’re done, your calendar is empty again. The reason is you didn’t have time to market while you were busy. Sometimes your business like a rollercoaster, and let me tell you something. It is, and believe me, you’re not alone. Photographers everywhere have the same problem, but I have some great news. Max Business, Allison Ragsdale, photography after years of trial and error has cracked the code. It works so well. He’s created a new class all about it. It’s called get clients now at dead simple approach to getting photography clients. Everyone at from nothing to profit is excited to share this info with you because this system helped Matt and Allison book hundreds of clients this year at their studio and the best part about this system is that it’s simple to set up and it works while you’re sleeping.

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[10:03] What else do you have in terms of showing bag, cause I have another one but it’s a little bit more off topic. Do you have any other goals that are connected to this?

[10:10] Yeah, I think one of the things that helps people see value, I’m just thinking through the process that our studio is showing the work online. I think being really strategic about your website and your social media and putting that, the workout there because people get excited about it and they get excited about other people seeing it and people liking those images. So I think that’s important. And then when they come in and sit down and talk to you, I think that the final product and the final picture is important, but the relationship and what you’re bringing you, the skills that you have and the experience that you have is so vital. And so when they can get to know me and know what I’m offering and know the skill that I have and what I’m going to do for them and that how interested I am and who they are and what I can produce for them, that I think that that builds value and trust. And I think that’s super important.

[11:03] Yeah. Well yeah cause then like it builds confidence in you, their confidence in you and then so therefore there they value you as an artist more or as a person more really is what you’re saying. And then are more willing to hand you an extra couple hundred dollars because they know like, and trust you. You know in the marketing world we always talk about how can we quickly get them to know, like, and trust you. So yeah, the sooner you can do that the better. So you were just saying you got another one.

[11:27] Yeah. I think when you’re talking about building value, and I don’t know exactly how to do this, I know the concept is really important where you talk about like if you don’t do these pictures then this will happen and so you should do that. You know the bad thing, and I, I really have never liked that in marketing, but I know that it’s important and I don’t know how to gracefully introduce that in. But when I do talk to people and we’re having a very like personal and intimate enough conversation, I will bring up the situations where, where I don’t have people where something just recently a friend of mine passed away and I could not access her digital files. I don’t know where they are. They were, it was over at least 10 to 15 years ago. And I can’t get into those old hard drives.

[12:18] They don’t really work anymore. And so I had printed pictures of her and I was able to print those and have those available for her family. So I copied the printed pictures and then print those for her family. The other thing is I think that my mind has changed and so I was part of a family business and we did all kinds of printing and framing for people and all kinds of great, you know, art for their home. And then when I started my own business, I just took the path of least resistance, which was doing digital files for so many people, you know, not everyone, but for, you know, making it really easy to get digital files. And even though I had a bigger value on those digital files, I’m realizing now that that is not the only product I want to give people. I still think it’s nice for people to get digital files, but for me, I’m, my mind has changed and I think that I w I want every digital file that I sent out to also have a printed counterpart so that the people that I provide photography for, we’ll have prints because in the long run that may be all they have.

[13:22] Yeah. Because who knows where the file is going to go and stuff like that. For sure.

[13:25] Yeah. Yeah. I think it’s hard to say those hard things, you know, to really liken it to, you know, if something bad were to happen. I mean people are like, don’t say that about my kid or you know, so I don’t really know how to communicate that in any other way than just saying things have happened where I don’t have the files for people and I want to have them, so I’m making changes because I feel like it’s just vital.

[13:51] Yeah, for sure. Yeah. I don’t know how to say the negative thing either. But when you’re in a really in depth conversation with somebody, a lot of times they bring it up. You know, like if you’re having a good conversation with them and they’re, they’re starting to build the value in themselves for the pictures. Sometimes they’ll get there and they’ll say, okay, well actually, you know, you’re right. I probably, you know, you don’t even to say size, but then they’ll say, you’re right, I probably should go to the top package because it comes with this. And that would help if this ever happened. And they can kind of bring it up too. But if you don’t have an in depth conversation about their family and about their pictures and stuff with them, then you may, they may never get there, you know? So it’s definitely worth taking the time to speak to them on a different level for sure.

[14:28] Okay. So I have kind of changed it up a little bit and kind of go, I think this might be even my last one. We’ll see. So what I have found, and it kind of goes back to the confidence thing and things like that, is like if you allow your customers to lead lead with price, sometimes that will zap your confidence and then then you don’t think they see your value. And so then you kind of sabotage your own sale either talking about price or just not going as deep as you as you want to. And the truth is they may be coming into you and asking you about price because they don’t know what else to ask. But the truth is they may not even care about price. But what I’ve seen so many times with people that I’ve worked with, this happens in our business, especially during the slow time.

[15:08] If somebody leads with price, it just crushes the whole conversation. And then value is not an issue. You just assume, nope, they don’t value it. They just care about price may be completely not true. So the first step would be like if somebody asks about price, just know that that may not be what they care about and, and just try to, you know, move away from that and get them into things that they actually care about and don’t let it, don’t let that head trash get to you. The second step was then we built our, and we know we built our download what to wear guides and location guides system because we just wanted to lead with something besides price. And so we have people download guides about what to wear. And then typically when people call us now instead of asking about price, they said, hey, I downloaded your guide and I just have a quick question.

[15:51] You know on page three you talk about how we shouldn’t do this. Can you explain that more conversation starts with what to wear or where to go. And we eventually talk about price, but it’s, it’s not the leading thing that kind of just sets the tone. The tone gets set by like, Oh, you want to look good in your pictures? Okay, well we can talk about that all day. Or Oh, you want your pictures to look like this, not this location. So let’s talk about that. And so that’s helped our business a lot is by just changing the way the conversation starts. And that has to do with our marketing and our guides that people can download. So

[16:22] I think I may be done, I’m trying to think of what else I want to say about it, but, okay. So I don’t have it in my head. What all have we said? We’ve said you have to value at yourself, have competent to have confidence. You have to have examples.

[16:38] Yup. And then maybe start the conversation a different way.

[16:41] Okay. Yeah. So, okay. I have one last one. I think these aren’t necessarily an order. You know what we’ve talked about having confidence yourself, valuing at yourself, the same things, saying the hard things to make people realize that, you know, it’s not just a photo, it’s someone, maybe the last photo that they’ve ever had. And when I say that, I always feel like I’m like ambulance chasing or doing something really gross. Right? Like that. But that’s not my heart. My heart is like I just, I don’t want anyone to ever wish that they had taken pictures and not actually done them. So to me, I think building that value there in figuring out ways to say it is so important. But then the last one I think is not the top one and not the last one really, but it is just showing that you value building value and how you, uh, who you are and how you feel about them. You know, it’s just that relationship because if they feel like that they are just going to be taken such good care of and that you know more than they do about how to do the process of the pictures and what they are going to need, then they’re going to trust you. And I mean, being in business for 20, I do

[17:50] know what people are going to like and what they’re going to keep on their walls and what they’re going to be happy that they have and what they’re going to be sad that they didn’t get. And so I think building that where they trust you and they see you as the expert is really important to them. Well because if they trust you that almost like that leads to like the whole experience being better and more confident, whatever. And then you’re like, okay, they trust me, I can actually suggest that they upgrade their package or something like that. Then you feel comfortable making that suggestion and then it may actually come. And so it’s like a self fulfilling thing. And then also in, you know like you’re like they did see my value. You know, maybe it started with trust but like they did see my value and they paid good money for my, for my art.

[18:31] And they are happy because they got stuff for their walls and stuff and so it can kind of be self perpetuating. But yeah, so really good stuff. Well let, let’s leave it there. I mean this’ll be a little bit shorter of an episode, but I think that’s okay. I mean, it’s still 20 minutes. And so let’s leave it there. And hopefully this gave some people some really good nuggets if they’re struggling with customers not seeing their value. Yeah. Yeah. So thank you everyone for coming today. This brainstorm of Matt and I’s. I think we should put something together, Matt, that’s a list in our show notes so that people can look through them and have it really organized as well. So I encourage all of you to look through those and really sit down and figure out why people should value your work from your viewpoint and how you can communicate that to your potential clients. So have a good day and we’ll be back. Awesome. Thanks guys.

[19:17] Thank you for listening to from nothing to profit a photographer’s podcast with Matt and Kaya. Be sure to subscribe for more business strategy and ideas to help you create that profitable and successful business you’ve always wanted. See you on the next episode of from nothing to profit.