How to Deal With the Comment "You Are Too Expensive"

 
 
Emma Rose Company | How to Handle People Telling You You are Too Expensive
 
You are too expensive and need to lower your prices so people can afford you!
— says so many people to the creative entrepreneur.

Ahhh to be a creative... for the sake of this post I'm going to keep this post in the view of a photographer!  Here's the deal:  it doesn't matter HOW much you cost, the reality is that there will always be people who think your prices are too high for your services.  When I've heard this in the past I will not deny that the first emotional response was always defensiveness, frustration, even some self doubt... and even more so exaggerated when it would come from family or friends.

It doesn't have to be said out loud that you're too expensive, sometimes deep down you just know that's how they feel.

Some may not understand this post or why I'm even talking about it, but the truth is that it is something SO MANY creatives deal with in business and their personal lives.  It's a very real thing and can be super frustrating (at first...).  Some of you reading this may not give two damns if your loved ones think you charge too much.  Maybe at one point you really DID care but you are finally at this fun stage where you just don't anymore. 

"Find your tribe.  who cares about what you care about?"

Too many creative professionals care about what other people think.  

I won't sit here and say that you'll ever "care less" about what people close to you think because honestly - I think that would be pretty hard to do!  However, I do hope this post at least sheds light on the reality of what people like me actually do and hopefully next time you're faced with this statement, you feel more equipped to not only handle it, but to also deal with the feelings quickly so you can move on and get back to doing what you love.

So either someone told you to your face or you heard it through the grapevine... either way, why do you think it feels so bad?

It feels bad because we are EMOTIONALLY invested to our work.  It is a part of us.  It runs deep in our blood and our passion is like nothing you can truly put into words until you do it yourself.  Just like a cattle rancher priding himself on the days, weeks, months, years, GENERATIONS of hard work to keep a family business alive... the work may be entirely different but one thing does match up beautifully... passion and heart.

Emma Rose Company | How to Handle People Telling You You are Too Expensive

When I've heard comments in the past about my prices, I used to take it so incredibly personally.  It felt like my business was being belittled or that my value was being put into question and I hated how it made me feel.  I felt they misunderstood what goes into what I do and that they totally and completely undervalue me as a photographer and business owner.  And it's not like I don't still feel some of those things every once in awhile, but it just doesn't break me apart like it used to.  

Let's not get defensive.

The older, new-to-business me would have wanted to be defensive and over-explain why I charge what I charge... how much running a business does cost.... my gear... my TIME... the experience my clients get working with me... life, you know those things like groceries, gas and raising a child... and here's a good one:  I'm actually pretty damn good at what I do!  I could carry this list on for oh so long but the truth is that it won't help you.  Getting defensive is the easy way to react but not always the best course of action, especially if you plan on blasting it all over social media begging people to understand WHY you charge what you charge.  That never looks good and will only make you feel worse - trust me!

They just don't get it, and that's okay.  

I have plenty of things in my own life that I just know I wouldn't pay over the odds for!  And yes, I have people in my own life I won't hire because they are too expensive for me!  One thing I will pay top dollar for is family pictures.  Is it clicking yet?  I value photography and the art that comes with it.  I hired a top notch photographer from Seattle (who actually just moved to California) but she's coming to take our pictures and yes... it was expensive!  As an entrepreneur there is something we talk openly about ALL THE TIME, which are two little words... "Ideal Client".  I teach this at my workshops, too.  

So to anyone who tells me I'm too expensive...  I am beyond comfortable at this point to say, "{insert name here} - you are not my ideal client and that it fine."  I'm happy to repel people with my prices.  Why would I want someone in front of my camera who doesn't value the experience I work so hard to provide for my clients who do pay my price.  They value the service.  If you don't VALUE a service, you won't pay for it.  It is as simple as that.  

They  are  not   your ideal  client.

If someone thinks you are too expensive it just means they are not in your target market and what they think truly at the end of the day, does not matter to you and your business.  This sounds harsh but it's the reality of being a business owner!  Whether we know it or not we all have ideal clients.  Two years ago I took an online course that helped me dive into this and I'm forever grateful for that course (it's not offered anymore) because it helped me set the foundation on WHY all of this is important.  I'm now able to drop the defensiveness and congratulate myself.  I am thrilled if I repel others with my prices because they are not the right fit for me anyway.  It only opens up more doorways for the right fit clients who value what I do so well.  It also eliminates me wasting my time and getting myself into tricky situations with clients that shouldn't have been my clients in the first place.

So what do you do if you are hit with this statement... "You are too expensive!"?

Alright... well, how is it brought up to you?  Does your Dad gently tell you that he's afraid your prices are too high for the area or was it Uncle Bob who harshly told you you're too expensive... with anger and judgement? 

Honestly, if my Dad were to come with me with the first scenario of being rational and loving... I would probably still have to take a moment to gather myself because my initial reaction if I'm being perfectly honest, would be to get defensive.  However, I've learned a thing or two so I would most likely take a deep breath realizing he is simply opening up a great opportunity for me to educate, not defend.  Because I know my Dad, I would know he is only coming to me out of love.  I would explain to my Dad who I am trying to reach and who I really want work with, and who I do not want to work with.  I would educate him on how I tailor my client experience to set me apart from the competition.  I would then ask him how much he values a luxury trip to the Bahamas to fly fish the blue waters of his dreams and what he would pay for that experience.  Chances are if I know my Dad well enough (and that he HAS done this) - he would pay top dollar.  Is that on my bucket list?  Heck no.  That is what HE values.  I would explain to my Dad that there ARE people out there who feel that way about photography and that is who I am trying to attract and work with.  I would even then point him in the direction of an inspirational blog post, or podcast that touches on the subject.  Then I'd leave it right there.  I wouldn't jump down his throat or attack his loving comment.  He doesn't need to hear my rant on how many hours, days, weeks, months, even years it has taken me to hone my craft... or that it is so much more than delivering pretty photographs to clients.

{{Side note about my Dad: he does in fact 150% value me as an artist and not once has ever questioned my pricing - ever.  He continues to tell me I have a gift and to never stop sharing it with the world.  I found him to be the perfect example though because he is an avid fly fisherman and will spend ridiculous amounts of money on trips but wouldn't give me $5 for a latte if I asked in high school, haha!  We all value different things in life and I hope this example was helpful as I work through this issue so many of us creatives face in our career.  And yes - he will foot the bill at Starbuck 99.9% of the time :) }}

But then there's Uncle Bob...

This is the rude guy (or girl.)  The one who makes you feel really BAD about what you do with your business.  They're the ones who have zero understanding of the industry.  They may run their own business, but they don't know squat about yours.  You have a few choices here.  You can get pissed.  You can throw the daggers out there defending yourself to the core but ultimately all you'd be doing is playing into their hands.  You will leave the situation and beat yourself up for days, weeks, maybe even forever replaying what you did or didn't say... wishing you would have said things differently.  And while all this is happening, Uncle Bob will simply leave the conversation thinking he was right. 

Or, you can say something like this...

 

"I'm so happy {insert over exaggeration here} you think I'm too expensive.  You are the exact opposite of my ideal client so that actually really helps me to know that my pricing & marketing is in fact working."

 

While I know it's so tempting to want to rattle off all the things, it's not even worth it in situations like this one.  What Uncle Bob doesn't know is that I grossed just shy of 85k last year.  I never started all this being driven by money but it became clear to me quickly that I had the potential to make an impact for my family and for our future chasing my dreams of working for myself.  This is my career.  This is my livelihood and my passion.  Sure, some things don't always work out as planned and we have to adjust and improvise from time to time but again -- people like Uncle Bob will only see what they want to see and feel what they want to feel.  All you can do is rise up and stand firm in believing in yourself, because that's all that matters.  Try to remember that we ALL undervalue certain things in our lives so you are definitely not new to this entire concept, either!  Defensiveness never wins - really.  Sure, it might make you feel better for a moment but chances are it won't and you will regret not saying what really needed to be said.  The BEST thing you can do is PRACTICE this situation.  Seriously.  Say that sentence above out loud in front of the mirror for however long it takes for you to truly believe it. 

You will hit a spot in your career that you don't care anymore because you've finally reached that MAGIC point when you finally know you're worth it.

  "When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one."

"When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one."

 

With that being said, I'm sharing an email that popped in my box last night:

Emma! These pictures are absolutely amazing. Even with my struggles of how I look after baby, you have helped my confidence with your amazing TALENT and of course all of your KIND words.

Thank you so much for all you do. Between your business, blogs, inspirational journey and of course being an amazeball parent you are leading many women to strive and reach for all of their personal goals in life. Please don’t let anyone ever get you down because you are moving mountains with the talent god has given you.

I am praying and hoping for all the best with your health and Journey! Also, thank you again for the 50 dollars off our next purchase. You did not have to do that, but it just shows how kind and loyal you are as our community photographer.

We truly appreciate you!
— Clients I love with all my heart.

So keep your head up, my friend.  You are amazing and worth whatever you feel you're worth!  With all of this being said, too - I do believe there's a time and a place to evaluate pricing!  My website design & photography prices recently increased and guess what Uncle Bobs of the world?  I'm booking clients!  So you do you, and I'll just keep doing me and what feels right for my business. 

If you're faced with this challenge, I hope you feel inspired to handle it appropriately so you can reflect back on it knowing that you said and did everything there is to say without creating unnecessary drama.  There's so much GREY when it comes to entrepreneurship but at the end of the day you have to do what is best for you and your life, whatever that looks like.