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So you haven't been booking anything.... You're in a slow period.. You've gotten some inquiries only to be told they'll be going with someone cheaper. You 'chuck' it up to them simply not appreciating photography... and that could very well be true. You're always told never to lower your prices - because you'll cheapen yourself... you'll 'devalue the industry'... but when you're not booking anything -- what else are you left to do!?
You could perhaps try a different market, but if you're seasoned, you probably already have a selected market... then what?!
I say... listen to your market... You truly have to pay attention to supply and demand -- and unfortunately, sometimes it's just not that great.
A lot of people fall into a mindset of -- 'I have to raise my prices ALL the time in order to be a professional..." Without even considering their supply and demand OR whether or not the quality of their work and experience is worthy of those price changes... I'm not talking about what each business needs in order to be run - and raising prices accordingly... I'm talking about when we raise our prices in order to be viewed as a 'professional'.
This will set you up for failure.
But let's talk about the other side of things... You've kept consistent pricing -- booking...booking...booking.. and then BAM all of a sudden - you run into a wall.
No one can afford you... Everyone asks for a discount... What in the hell do you do?!
1) Try a new market...
2) Re-evaluate the value in your packages.. are they still 'worth the cost'...
3) Offer an incentive for booking... something that may not cost you a lot, but that adds an amazing value to your packages...
4) Try advertising outside of Facebook... Facebook is NOT the best way to advertise -- be sure you don't get stuck solely relying on it....
5) Do some research on your market... did something happen in the economy?! You need to pay attention to what's happening in the world around you...
There are so many things you can do in order to bring back some of those bookings.... and if you've tried all of them and failed -- then hell, maybe you are priced too high for what your market thinks you're worth....
And really... that's what it comes down to.
We can only be as great as our market thinks we are.... A lot of people might disagree with me here.. but I will stand strong in this "theory" of mine.
You can think you're the best photographer in the entire world... take AMAZING photos.. and give the BEST experience to your clients... But if you're not booking ANYONE... and EVERYONE is telling you the same thing -- then you're market doesn't perceive you the way you view yourself... And we're not the ones paying ourselves... they are.
We have to listen to our market.....
In this industry... how others perceive you... your work... your customer service... is everything.... so when you think all of these clients of yours isn't valuing your photography or the industry... maybe you're not giving them anything TO value.
Remember, this isn't to say that every now and then you WILL get someone who doesn't value you... and goodness, don't go based off of ONE bad email... one 'I'm going with someone cheaper'.... To figure out how you're perceived -- base your research on a BUNCH of bookings/rejections (man I hate that word)... Never let just ONE person define your business structure -- but as a whole, let your clientele help define where you should take your business or what changes you should make.
If you get to the point where you're just not getting anything in your market.... get a new one.
Never devalue yourself, but have a TRUE idea of how you're valued.... Use this 'slow period' to revamp things... to be better.
Always look for ways to be better.