How to Raise Your Rates, Deliver Better Work & Get Paid What You Deserve — [Guest Post by Ramit Sethi]

Photo: Mike Folden

No one has single-handedly given me better insight about the business side of art/photography than New York Times best-selling author, Ramit Sethi. As artists, if we want to make a living with our work, we – like it or not – must foster our business/entrepreneurial skills, we must realize the value of our work, and we must know how to get paid. In this tight little guest post, I asked Ramit to share one of his favorite tips on finding high-quality clients. I’ve used his strategies, and they work. A worthy read. – Chase

When Chase asked me to come on chasejarvisLIVE a while back talk about the business side of photography, I decided to share some material I’d never shared before.

One of the most popular segments was the Briefcase Technique, a way to hook clients into your work, “wow” them, and differentiate your approach from most other creatives.

Hop into the interview below and skip to 34:00 to hear me and Chase talk about the “Briefcase Technique” – or in this case, let’s call it the “portfolio technique”.

This technique allows you to:
• Instantly increase your rate and get paid what you deserve
• Filter the serious clients apart from “looky-loo” prospects who waste your time and never pay
• Stand out from the bottom-barrel competition, who will offer their services for $200 and a ball of yarn

Best of all, using the Briefcase Technique, you’ll actually deliver a better service to your clients — one they’ll be thrilled to pay for.

If at all in the past you’ve wondered why clients didn’t select you, or why they argue with you about your rate, there is a way to sidestep that entire conversation.

I’ve hired many photographers, videographers, editors, writers, and designers, so today, I want to give you a peek inside your client’s minds — and share the truth that many clients won’t tell you:

• Clients are rarely interested in art for art’s sake. They’re interested in business — usually the bottom line.
• That means if you go to them talking about your camera equipment, or how long you spend on copywriting, they will stare at you and get confused. When you speak the client’s language — how you can save them time, cut costs, or best of all, earn them more money — they will instantly trust you as “one of them.”
• The most successful photographers are NOT necessarily the most classically “talented” ones. They’re the ones who understand their clients’ hopes, fears, and dreams best — and articulate it in the client’s language. Once you can do that, money is a mere triviality.

The Briefcase Technique will show you how to speak your clients’ language. It seems simple, but the video masks the deep research that goes into knocking your client’s socks off.

When you can do this effectively, you can triple your rates, negotiate $10,000+ raises, and land clients that previously demanded 10+ years of experience. My students have done each of these things using the Briefcase Technique.

Here’s the video on exactly how to do it:

If you’re still curious about more details on how to raise your rates, I put together a free mini-course for you:

Good luck.

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Eric Doggett says:

It’s a good technique for sure, but there’s an important point I think should be added. It’s completely predicated on your ability to understand the issues of your potential client before you go in to the meeting. And, unfortunately, these issues aren’t part of their about page on their site. If I get a general/introductory meeting with an agency, it’s hard to determine the issues they are facing ahead of time so that I can cater my suggestions to them. It’s much easier when I know the details of a project before I go in there. I

I’d love to hear Ramit’s input on this.

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chase jarvis says:

Ramit shoots lasers on this stuff. Take his words literally. He’s the man.

Soven Amatya says:

Ramit is a very charismatic guy and his advice is, as always, great.

Gary says:

great advice, thank-you

Roland says:

Hi Ramit,
In the above scenario, if the client asks to keep my proposal to look over it, do I leave it with him, accepting that he might go hunt for a cheaper price?

This is the business class they should have taught at my art school. Thank you, Ramit and Chase!

faisal says:

AWesome post. The physical evidence with the list is always good.

Andreas says:

If your client or prospective client asks how much you charge for your photography over the phone, and you blurt out a number, you’ve lost out on many opportunities. I give a range – a big one, and have them meet, or if they are out of town, we have the conversation over the phone. In person certainly works better. Good technique, so long as the content / presentation matches the attitude and delivery method in that presentation.

wilf says:

good technique – IF you get to talk to the (prospect) client. In my experience you mostly have to tell them your pricing and service on the phone or email.

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