Most wedding and event photographers offer packages that bundle product and services that grow in value as the price tag goes up. Many recognize the psychology that says your top “grand daddy package” is nearly always out of reach for your clients, but serves to help clients feel better about splurging on the second best package. Many also understand that your Gold and Silver packages are really your sweet spot. They are where 80% of your clients will land and so the numbers and the margins really need to make sense. Then there’s that last Bronze package, or as I prefer to call it: the Heart Breaker.
This is your starter package, your 4 or 5 hour, disk-only shoot & scoot. The package you feel you need to offer to remain competitive in your market and to draw traffic. Not only is it a financial heartbreaker for you to hold a date you’ll make little or no money on and risk turning away future Silver or Gold clients who might inquire about the same date, it’s also a heartbreaker for your customer. Sure they’ll get a great deal today, but what about after their wedding? Are they really going to make their own album, or will those images just sit on their computer’s hard drive until it crashes five years from now when they’ll call you in desperation to see if you still have a copy of their images? If they do actually get around to making their own album, will it be the cheap, paper kind with the flimsy faux leather cover? Will the layout look like a 7th grade scrapbook? No pro photographer wants to imagine their work winding up like this, and nobody wants to sell the Heart Breaker.
If you feel you absolutely must have a Heart Breaker package, here are some ways to avoid actually selling it and move more clients up to more profitable packages.
- Start by not starting with it. That is, when you review your package offerings with potential clients, start with the top package, or better still the package you believe will actually serve them the best rather than simply reviewing packages from low to high.
- Psychologically remove the Heart Breaker by suggesting that it’s not the right package based on what they’ve told you is important to them. (see this blog post for more tips on helping your clients focus on their hopes and dreams instead of their pocket book) Use the scenarios described above to make your point. Then take your pencil and draw a line through it which will help mentally remove it from consideration.
- Borrow a page from the airlines and have blackout dates covering the most in-demand, high season dates for which the Heart Breaker is not offered, lessening the chances of having more promising inquiries for the same date after you’ve already committed to a Heart Breaker.
Lastly, add a $100 album credit to the Heart Breaker. Then if your do wind up booking a client who won’t budge off the Heart Breaker, as least you have a compelling reason to get them to consider an album purchase at some future date when they may be better able to afford it, or when they realize that DIY is not for them. See this blog post for more guidance on album credits.