Here's why discounting can be a bad marketing decision for professional photographers. It lessens the value of everything else you offer. Read on to see what I mean.
I recently bought a new house. I went shopping for a dining room table at a well-known furniture store in my town. I found a table I really liked, but I wanted to make sure there wasn't something better available so I looked around for a day or two. I decided my original table was the best choice so on the next day, I went to purchase the table and four chairs. I found out the furniture store had a sale going on and the table I liked was discounted 80%!!! Wow! That's a big discount. Unfortunately for me, because of the steep discount, they sold out of the table and it was no longer available. I am stuck still looking for a dining room table. But I am looking somewhere else and here's why.
If the furniture store can discount that table 80%, it leads me to believe that they could do that with all their furniture - meaning their markup is huge. Because of that huge discount, I also now no longer believe the quality of the furniture they sell is up to my standards. If the stuff can be had that inexpensively, it's probably not going to stand the test of time. These are my perceptions.
Whether I am actually right about all these perceptions means nothing. This is how I feel and as the customer, right or wrong, I've made a decision to move on.
This story does apply to your photography business as well. If you normally sell a 30x40" canvas print for $800 but are willing to discount it to $200, then you've established (in your prospect's mind) that it's really only WORTH $200. You'll have a very hard time convincing them - or anyone they talk to - that your work is really worth $800 ever - or in the first place.
When you give price discounts you almost always devalue your product in your client's mind. It's better to throw in extras or bonus prints. If you do that, you can hold the value in your original pricing.
Next time someone asks for a price discount on that wedding album or sitting fee or 30x40" canvas say something like this…
"Oh I'm sorry I just can't discount the price, but if you buy today I can throw in two free _______________ and fill in the blank with something that has a value of about 5% of your original product.
This makes the customer feel like they are getting a deal without devaluing your work.
Now - anyone out there got a lead on a nice dining room table?