Pricing Case Study: Nikki Closser
Nikki is our first case study out of one of the main tours. We've got lots of other case studies. Nikki started her business at 1200, 1800, 2400. Nikki's first hurdle was selling her entry point which was 1200, that shifted. Then she had an 1800 dollar price point. So, she is sitting beautifully in the half way mark and her last few sales have been hitting her high mark. So, Nikki is actually experiencing the evolution of actually going through her own price evolution. No, she is experiencing the evolution of her own pricing sales limit. Because a smart business person is going to say, well it stands to reason that you better put another one here. And a really smart business person would say, put another three here and delete those two. And then you would say oh hell no, I'm not coming in at two four! I struggled to come in at 1200. Who is doing that? Right, who else is doing it? Then you go home and you tell Dan. And let's say, Dan goes, he doesn't support you. Let's say you've got an...
unsupportive husband, which you don't. Let's say Dan goes, "No one's gonna pay that, Nikki." What're you gonna do?
Cry. (laughter) Go back to my cheaper package. Luckily, I have a very supportive husband.
I know, but the truth is that, what you do, you tell your husband, you tell your boyfriend, you tell your friend, you tell a few people around, or you tell a client, and the client says that's too expensive, and then we'll come back to Tammy's revelation. "It is not that they don't think I'm worth it, "it's that they haven't yet seen the truth of what I offer. "They're not yet sold on the simple truth "that what I offer is magnificent. "And I will keep trying, until I wear them down." (audience laughing) You know, that's gonna, at some point, work with dating, (audience laughing) but then there's gotta be that time where it's like you've crossed the line into getting a non-molestation order, like I'm actually, I'm actually calling the police, and you're not wearing me down now, you're stalking me.
That's a good point. That's a lot of posts that I see in Bed with Sue, are a lot of people that are talking about that pricing and asking friends and their friends saying, "that's too much money, "you can't charge that, nobody's gonna pay for that." Stop asking your friends, 'cause those are the friends that you probably shot for 50 dollars, with all the images on CD.
Or for free.
Come on, you shot them for free.
Right, or a close family member, somebody that doesn't see your vision, or hasn't even watched a CreativeLive workshop, that knows where you're trying to bring your business.
Okay, let's bring it back to number one, flip it. What do we do, we hold up the mirror. And what is the mirror saying back to us? You're not with it, you're never gonna get that, you're never gonna get paid. Who believes that? You believe it. It is not the person talking to you, that is you, you're doing that. Yes, you can say my family don't, my town don't, my state don't. I love it, how people randomly put the state, in America, won't pay for photography. And I was like, (chuckles) of course they won't. Just the other 49. You know, those three, they're never gonna pay. Those three, they're designated, like, when you grow up, it's like when you grow up, don't pay for portraits. You know, because we don't value family in our state, you know, this is not something... I mean, come on, people. And then, basically, Nikki's last 38 shoots was when she did an average, her last 38 shoots averaged at 1500, so that tells me she was right there, and her new average, just from her last few shoots, has pumped her up to 1791, which is 1800 dollars, per shoot, with a fully-booked June. Now, that tells me, Nikki is now doing what I call turning the cog, okay. And most of you are, it's like a wheel, and it's like it's got water in it, so you can imagine the weight of it, right? And, as you go, the water starts flowing, and it's like a big cog and it's rolling other cogs and then it's like whoosh. And then you're gonna get a little bit of momentum, and you're gonna get a little bit of momentum, and then you're gonna start moving water, and you're gonna start selling, and then it's gonna come in, and it's gonna go whoosh, and then you're gonna do what every single portrait photographer does, you're gonna overbook yourself for the month of June, you're not gonna deliver your product and service in the time you said you were gonna do it, you're going to let down your client, it's going to be reflected in your sales, you're going to let go of the wheel, in order to run and deal with the drama that you have to deal with, you're gonna deal with that, and while you're dealing with that, and raking in the money, and then you're like making money, 'cause I'm making hay, 'cause the sun's shining, and then I got money in the bank, and yes it's going to the tax man too, but that doesn't matter, I'm so awesome, and then you're gonna come back and realize you've stopped marketing. Sorry, you're gonna realize you've stopped selling. And that's when you're gonna have to start that cog again, and it's heavy. So you're gonna come back over here, and then you're gonna get a whole lot of portrait clients that've spent money with you, that should be sending you massive referrals, but you were so busy turning the cog and overshooting in June, you didn't give them the experience that they really liked, and they just thought you were okay. Your average is gonna drop down to 1200 dollars, you're gonna come over here, and then what's gonna happen is, you're gonna have all this money in the bank, no bookings for the next three months, you're not gonna know what to do, and then you're gonna take all the money out of your bank account, and you're gonna go and pay for marketing. Which is not gonna work 'cause marketing doesn't work when you pay for it, 'cause what you gotta do is go and sell it! But you've got no time to sell it, because you're a little bit overwhelmed, right now! Okay, how do I know this? (audience laughing) And I feel like I'm like, and then I'm like, and then I'm like, and then I'm like, and that's exactly what you're doing. Now, I realize I'm this, all the time. I'm just hustling and hustling and hustling, and I'm sending my work out, and I'm sending my constant vibe out, and I'm trying to please these people, and then when I get some money I'm gonna get resentful that they hate me, because I wasn't there for them, and somehow it's gonna be their fault, I've had difficult clients this month, and it's like no! You haven't had difficult clients, you didn't service them! Alright, so put a cap on it. And yes, two shoots a week, Bethany, if you can survive on that, magnificent, up your average, that's what you're fighting for, create that, put a cap on it, serve them. Serve them so well that every single person that comes in your door not only pays you with love and gratitude, they go home and send you five more. That every single woman that that other woman shows her portraits to, when she Facebooks it, when she puts it out there, she's gonna say "My photographer was Nikki Closser." And then, they're gonna look at the photographs, and they're gonna see you in real life, and they're gonna go I want that. I want what she's having. Because she's gonna look at her Facebook page, and there's gonna be a whole lotta support, "Oh Kate, you look wonderful, oh my God! "Oh Kate, you're beautiful anyway, but she did do a really good job of photographing you, I love that one," you know, it's like, nothing to do with you, although it does have nothing to do with you anyway, but we like to think it does. (audience laughing) So then it's like yeah, yeah, it was all Kate, nothing to do with me. Anyway, anyway. But the truth is that that's what you're gonna do, and that's when you perpetuate movement. And that's when the cog is just constantly turning on its own, 'cause you're doing this now. And then I come over here, gotta love these people, and I gotta give you everything you need, and I'm gonna service you 'cause I love doing what I do, oh, my cog's slowing down, I gotta give it a little bit of a kick, yeehoo, (audience laughing) and then I'm gonna come in here, love these people, gonna love these people, and I gotta come over here and I'll be oh look at that, and now I'm so good at it, I'm just like come here. (audience laughing) Because I can love you, and do this at the same time. And it's like (stammers). (audience laughing) And it's like I'm a very talented girl, all right. (chuckles) (sighs heavily) I challenge you! I challenge you. How dare you stand in front of me, and tell me that you can tell people that they can have a wedding portrait for $3600, without flicking an eyelash, and then you can't charge for your portraits? I challenge every person out there today, who feels this way, 'cause that is telling me that your wedding is important to me, but the love you have for your family is really not. When I went through those images of the mentors, I went back to the image of Tammy's, not because of any other reason, and I'll tell you this, I photograph a lot of beautiful images, but I want to see the ones that make my heart stop. That made my heart stop. Now, be it the power of loving my mother, or that she's on the other side of the world, or that I know that love. I am a woman, who is buying your brand, and I'm telling you right now, the gift of that love would be enough to make me come to your studio. No amount of tulle and flowers is gonna do that. The gift of a portrait is remarkable, so how can you possibly value a wedding, two in three weddings don't stay, they don't even stay married, this is temporary, people! A family is forever, you can't lose them, they're like luggage. Your family is, you can't pick 'em, you just get them, and they stay, so you know? It's like, married, married, shmarried. How do I remind you of that? Okay, 'cause you saw me cry, you were all like whoa, that was hard, I was like trying to keep my, you know, self together, but you saw me cry, so you felt the same thing I felt, you were like yes, I know the power of that. How do I remind you of that on a weekly basis? If it's about self-value, then I don't think I'm reminding you about what you do, I think I'm reminding you about how you feel about yourself, but how do I bring that back to you over and over, and as an educator, as a portrait educator, how do I reconnect to you that every week? You must find a way, within you. Because I'm telling you right now, the magic of being in business is that you will create a product, you will put a price on it, you will believe in that product, and you will sell the hell out of it, and then you will be making money, and getting clients, and changing lives, and then you're in business, and when you're in business, you can have whatever you want. It's freedom. So why would you not value that? Your product is worth what you believe it is worth. Tammy and Joanna. Tammy blindsided us with "I'll just keep offering it to people until they see the truth." Joanna blindsided me with "I started at a $ because I'd already done your workshop, you told me a 1000, so I just went in at a 1000, and I came in higher." There's no fear there, compared to what I suffered through, so if you are discovering fear, then you need to come back to the experience of mastering those three bottom lines, and the nine masters. Shauna. Shauna charging $2000 for graphic design without batting an eyelash and then struggling to do that for her photography. The only person in Shauna's world that needs to shift is Shauna. She doesn't need to shift her mother in law, or her husband, even if they're giving her negative criticism, it's only a mirror of what she believes. You didn't take five years to master design to slowly start charging for it, to take five years to master photography. If your level is high enough that you're pleasing your clients the evolution of your sales should reflect that. Hah! Practice the art of telling people what you charge. Then listen. It is not what they say when you tell people what your price is. It's how you feel about their reaction. That is your inner worth. I'm going to spend next year shooting portraits, and creating a workshop around self-worth. Because my calling in life was to find mine. It took me 43 years. I don't want other people to wait that long, to know what their value is. That is the answer to your question. It is not what they say when you tell them, it's how you feel about it. So if your reaction is strong, and visceral, and painful, that is your core belief. If I can shift that in you, then I can shift your ability to attract, and make, and get money, selling your craft.
I just had a moment, I use both a la carte, and packages, and just now, I saw that my a la carte prices were my crutch, so I just told people that I'm charging, full portraits start at 250.
That's your safety number.
That's your safety number?
Can I ask you a question?
Does 250 represent the first package you sold?
It's not a package, it's a la carte, It's is single portrait.
No, no, listen. Does 250 dollars represent the first package you sold? At the beginning, did you come in at 250?
It was even less, no.
Okay, so there's a safe pad around 250, when you hit 250, where you were comfortable, and now you've priced your higher packages with a starting price at 250 'cause there's something about 250 that makes you feel really comfortable?
Maybe, maybe, I dunno, yeah, but those two first sales were even less, it wasn't exact digits.
So that's really important. This afternoon, we're going to talk about the wake-up call of being in business, although we kind of did that for the last hour and a half. Tomorrow, we're gonna talk about sales. Reveal wall, sales, selling yourself, selling your product, the whole morning is going to be about sales. I'm gonna put the mentors up, out there to show you, how they're talking to people, how they're managing to get their sales, where they feel stuck on their sales, because they can get to these averages and still feel a hurdle around selling. I hope that this pricing segment has been a wake-up call to you. I hope you understand the core of it, because I'm telling you right now, the only person standing in your way is you.