This week I'm continuing on my journey to 101 tips with another 7 steps. Ultimately working towards a blueprint designed to help photographers & videographers, particularly those running their own business, add massive value to their business without having to negotiate on price. - Enjoy.
#01 Proof of concept:
Assuming that you’ve already read the last two stories, and have begun implementing these positioning strategies. You’ll start to see bigger projects flowing in. But... Larger clients, who have bigger budgets, do not value your services the same way small businesses do.
The biggest change is with how much they value risk (opposed to cost). While smaller businesses (and most likely your current competitors) will try to win a project on price, larger customers tend to give their projects to the business they think will be the least risky. If you think about it, a multinational has much more to lose from a poorly thought-out Instagram ad campaign than your local barbershop. It's time to raise your rates and offer paid prototypes.
These prototypes are essentially a mini version of the final product, made to make sure you’re both on the same page. You’ve met the client, you have all their business requirements, you know their objectives, now scrap together a quick mock-up made of stock footage. My current favorite stock site is Envato Elements. They have a good range of photos, video and AE effects. A one-stop shop.
Now, stepping back into the mind of the Big budget client. They’re looking for a media agency to shoot and run their new Instagram campaign and this happens;
they receive 100 applications.
50 of them are thrown out because they’ve priced too low and look too dodgy.
30 of them, priced correctly but have no history or case studies (remember, a portfolio is not a case study).
10 got greedy and overpriced.
9 have a strong social following and present less risk but with the rise of influencer advertising, influencer rates have become an expensive investment making it difficult to justify the cost.
1 prices on the high-end of the spectrum, but demonstrates he understands their needs. He/She offers to start with a paid prototype which will be deducted from total cost should they choose to work with her/him.
Who do you think they’ll decide to work with? - Exactly
#02 Show deadlines
Not much else to add here, we discussed this a little in my last story but in short; Show deadlines, mean them and have consequences in place if they’re not met.
Use slack, workplace, trello, asana or any other project management tool you’re using and insist that your clients get in there and collaborate with you. If your clients are still sending you emails with requests… Well... who’s inbox is exploding from clients sending them sh*t???
(old me looks down, full of guilt as he raises his hand)
Well guess what, that’s your fault, not your clients. Train your clients to use your process and they’ll respect you for it.
#04 Refuse Friday launch
Please STOP delivering your projects on Fridays! Why? Because by 5 o'clock it’s beer o’clock, we’re all going to be drunk and we ain't going to go do those revisions you asked last minute. So no more delivering on Fridays unless there’s some specific reason it needs to be done on that day (but even then, wrap it up on Wednesday to give you time to iron out any final changes you might decide to make when you wake up with a fresh perspective on Thursday morning).
#05 Client champion
Find yourself a champion in the client's organization who will champion you and champion the project. Especially now that we’re swimming in the big boy's pool, it’s much easier to keep an organization on track when you’ve got one person client side who just loves you and really believes in the project. Identify who that monkey is early on in the process.
#06 Don’t cheap out
I swear, if I hear another photographer complaining about how expensive a website costs I’m going to throw them out my office window. Seriously come on! You’ll not only save yourself hours fixing bugs and getting things to display correctly but the thing about us serious web designers is that we have skin in the game. Premium websites are written, developed and supported by companies who have real staff and need to hit revenue targets to support themselves.
So guess what? - Their development cycles are more rapid, their support is better and their most importantly they already know what is needed for you to hit your digital business goals. So please, stop complaining about the cost of a website.
#07 Document Processes
You know that saying, that says; “You need to document your processes in case someone gets hit by a bus”. Well, guess what, one of my staff in Vietnam got hit by a bus on the way to work (she was on a little scooter). I’m not kidding!
Now, fortunately, no-one was badly hurt. But while she was lying on the ground, confused by what had just happened, someone stole her bag with her mobile & laptop in it. Unfortunately back then, we did not document our processes and having someone take-over while she was taking some time to recover was an extremely difficult task.
Nothing to do with the person covering, just that picking up a project that has no processes in place is about as tough as solving the mystery of "Why does my washing machine eat one sock from every pair I give it?”.
I think I'm going to cut this article short, I'd like to test and see how a shorter, 7 step article performs in comparison with the other two. (But hey, I'm not fooling anyone, we both know I'm just getting lazy).
I'd like to leave you with this. Act as if you're already working with those huge clients you want and they will come. Somehow, faking-it till ya make-it works.
Hey! Don't leave me behind. Let's get social together!