How to attract High-End clients

In order to attract clients that are willing to pay a premium, you first need to understand that we live in a world with two different types of consumers. And you can only market to one, so choose wisely, grasshopper.

The Traditional, and the Neo.

The Traditional Buyer is driven by the deal.

They are motivated by price, features and status.

Spending money is perceived as unsafe, so they only do it when they have to, or when the deal is so good they can’t turn it down. If you are marketing to the Traditional, you do NOT want to have the second best offer.

The Neo Buyer is driven by the search for the extraordinary and they need to feel a connection with the product they are purchasing.

They value good design, authenticity (who they buy from is just as important as what they buy), and products that are unique and cutting edge.

What’s even more interesting though, is that these two groups are not divided by income level. High income people do not automatically fall into the Neo category, and low or middle income people do not automatically fall into the Traditional category.

There are people of all income levels in both groups. It isn’t their income that defines how they buy, it is what they value that makes the determination.

I have seen this many times over in my studio (and I’ve talked about it before too). I’ve had clients with average incomes purchase my most expensive package, and I’ve had wealthy clients place orders that almost aren’t worth my time.

So stay away from the dangerous mindset that says “I need to find RICH clients”. That is not the answer. The answer is to find Neo clients.

And if you want to attract the Neo buyer, here’s where you need to start. This isn’t about some fancy-schmancy marketing campaign. You can get a gazillion high-paying (Neo) clients to look at your offer, but if you don’t have the right foundation they won’t ever pick up the phone to book you.

You have to start here. Once you have these smooth moves in place, THEN you can start marketing to your dream clients.

 

1) START CHARGING MORE

This tip is what I call “stupid simple”. It seems so simple it’s stupid, but it’s exactly where you need to start.

Here’s the deal – Neos are not looking for cheap. They’re not trying to get a deal. They are looking for exceptional products and services, and they KNOW that that costs more.

So what happens when a Neo buyer happens upon your website, looooves all of your photos, and then sees dirt cheap prices? You may think that would be all the motivation she would need to push her over the edge and call you to book, but you’d be wrong.

Some people are not only NOT motivated by price, but seeing low prices actually turns them off. When they see a price tag that is lower than they expected, they assume there must be something wrong with the product, and they move on.

The high end Neo is looking for something unique and special. They are looking for something that isn’t created for the masses. They know that if you aren’t charging a premium, then they are just another notch on your camera. High end clients want you to treat them like the special snowflake that they are, and that means they’ve gotta open their wallets just a little bit more.

If you choose to compete with price, you will get booked, but the clients you attract will be the ones who are always looking for a deal. They will constantly ask you to give more of yourself (and your products) and they will challenge your policies every step of the way.

As if that sort of abuse isn’t enough to leave you feeling completely used up, that same difficult client will move on to the next photographer that advertises an even lower price than you.

Here’s something for you to chew on – It takes the same amount of effort to market to a high end client, as it does to a price shopper. Either way you have to WORK to get booked and prove that what you offer is worth buying, so why not market to the high end client and end up with more moola (and waaaay less stress)?

 

2) DON’T GIVE AWAY ANY DIGITAL IMAGES IN YOUR SESSION FEE

 

This is a huge red flag to the high end client. Giving away even a single digital image tells clients that your work has no value. People don’t value free, so if your work is free it has zero value.

If you’re including files in your session fee you may be tempted to think “the digitals aren’t free. My client has to pay money to get them”, but that’s not how the Neo client sees it.

The session fee should pay for your time to create the art and that’s. It. Anything after that should be an additional fee. Especially digitals.

Digital files are your most valuable product. Therefore they should be your most expensive product, because they can be used to reproduce your work an infinite amount of times.

Giving away digital files in a session fee is sorta like saying “hey if you buy this gallon of milk, I’ll give you the cow that produced it”.

High end clients certainly are interested in purchasing digital files, (we live in a digital world and that isn’t going to change. This is not a trend), but they are more interested in having a premium product that they can touch and feel. Something tangible. That means quality artwork for their walls.

When you offer up the digitals (for free) first, you are sending the message that you don’t create unique quality *products*.

 

3) PUT YOURSELF AT THE VERY TOP…

 

of Google, that is. High end clients have no interest in shopping around. Everyone is busy, but what the high end client seems to understand is how NOT to waste time. They treat their time like the precious, limited resource that it is and do everything possible to be as productive as possible.

This means as soon as they see what they want, they go for it. They don’t seek out their top favorites and then narrow down their search. They know when they’ve found something unique that fits what they’re looking for. No need to look elsewhere. So if they find someone they like before they even get a peek at your website, you’re out. You don’t even get the opportunity to get voted off the island, because you haven’t been invited ON to the island.

So practice good SEO habits. Having a WordPress site is a great place to start because it’s extremely SEO friendly.

Place some important keywords at the top of your pages.

Update your site regularly (this is where having a blog comes in handy).

Drive consistent traffic to your website to show the Google Gods that your website is worth visiting.

Making it to the top doesn’t happen overnight (which is why you should’ve started yesterday). It’s a slow burn.

Think of your search engine ranking as your credit score. You make a couple small errors and that moves you down. Do a few things right and you move up a little. But it all takes time. Be diligent and consistent so when Neo comes looking she finds YOU first.

 

4) SPECIALIZE!

 

There’s riches in the niches, bitches. (Sorry, I had to) – I know it may seem counterproductive, but you will get MORE people to book you when you offer fewer types of photography.

Specialize, Specialize, Specialize!

People willing to invest in photography are not looking for a “Jack of all trades”, they are looking for someone who is the best at ONE thing.

When you are *good* at everything, you are GREAT at nothing. So don’t put everything on your website (family, corporate headshots, pets, landscape, models, real estate, yadda yadda yadda!)

This doesn’t mean you can’t do anything but what you specialize in, it just means that you shouldn’t advertise all of it.

I specialize in family (with a strong focus on maternity and newborn), but I’ve actually done several photo shoots for politicians (congressmen, assemblymen and even a presidential candidate). I’ve also done high school seniors and even a few pets. However you will never see that on my website. Why? Because that’s confusing to people. And when Neo buyer is looking for a newborn photographer they want the BEST newborn photographer, not someone who dabbles in everything.

Including everything on your website may seem like a good idea. You may be thinking that the more people you can attract, the more bookings you will get. But the opposite actually happens.

Don’t worry, you can still do the other stuff (if you want to). I’ve had people call me and say “I love your style – your newborn photos are so precious. Would you photography my dog?”….. huh??? Well, ok!

So if you haven’t already, determine what you do best, and what you love most. THAT is your specialty!

 

Selling to the Neo client is a great place to be. It means having fewer clients (that also happen to be easier to work with) which = fewer headaches, and higher revenue. For even more juicy info on these two types of buyers, I highly recommend this book.

Want to learn more about attracting this DREAM client? Sign up for my FREE workshop and I’ll show you exactly what you need to do to attract more high end clients and make your business recession proof!

Free Workshop | How to Attract High End Clients

Chrys - March 31, 2016 - 10:56 pm

Great information, thank you!

heather - April 1, 2016 - 12:01 am

Glad you liked it Chrys!

Ashlee - April 1, 2016 - 1:07 pm

YAAAAAAAAAAS

Kim - April 2, 2016 - 6:37 pm

Awesome info! Makes sense!!! I will start incorporating this all ASAP! Thank you!

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