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    Ep 80 – The real reasons behind the “we can’t afford you” response with Annemie Tonkin

    Resources Mentioned: 9 Steps to Make Your Photo Business Official Guide

    Connect with Annemie Tonkin: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Overcoming Price Objections | Simple Sales System Masterclass

    I'm thrilled to have special guest Annemie Tonkin from the “This Can't Be That Hard” podcast! We're having a conversation around the response you may have gotten from clients “We can't afford you”! No one likes hearing that and it's a very hard response. Rejection in general is challenging, but let's dive into the reality behind “we can't afford you”…

    The Offer is too Complicated or too Simple

    Sometimes giving our clients too many choices overcomplicates the “deal.” Options aren't wrong, but they can be overwhelming! If you offer different types of sessions, have add on packages and give them too much to choose from they may back out because they don't know what to do. Less is more, right? You can give them more customization later rather than “brain dumping” on them at the beginning! On the other hand, you do need to give them something to work with. One size doesn't fit all. If you're struggling to book you may want to examine if you are building flexibility in what you offer.

    They Don't See the Value

    The reality is “we can't afford you” isn't always true. If clients don't see the value you have then they aren't willing to move forward because it's not worth it to them. It's important to look at your forward facing material like website, socials and branding. Maybe your messaging or how professional you come across. Does it line up with your pricing? If you don't value yourself others won't either. Just be aware of your presentation across the board and believe that what they purchase is worth it!


    The number one way someone will hire you is to make clients feel loyal to you. How do you do that? Have a real conversation. Respond to their questions or concerns and be relational! I know not everyone wants to get on the phone, but maybe you could send a short video. Rather than just sending an email a great idea is to put a personal touch on it. Marco polo, vox or voice memo are some options. It can be as simple as sending a DM because it's a place they are already comfortable and it's not a flat email template!

    You Can Deliver

    At some point in the process of booking and someone “backs out” it's possible it's because you haven't delivered somewhere. Maybe they just needed more “proof.” This is where testimonials, social proof or videos where they see an answer to what they're nervous about! If you're new and don't have that you can at least give them a plan of action. Let them know after they've inquired what's coming next. This creates a safety and stability for clients in the process!

    They Actually Can't Afford You

    The truth of the matter is photography is not a necessity. It's a luxury. If people can't afford you it's not your fault. You need to have a plan in place for when this response is factual. I've seen too many people crumble and give away sessions when they should be charging. You can give them some names of other photographers or depending on the season of life they are in they may just be in a financial bind now. But in the future they would be an ideal client… That's when you make the choice to draw them in and maybe offer a payment plan. Another option is like a back pocket offer. Maybe schedule a mini later on and book a spot early!

    There's so much more in the podcast, be sure to give it a listen and check out Annemie Tonkin! If you hear “we can't afford you” it's not the end of the world, it's an opportunity to troubleshoot and pivot.

    What We Discussed

    The Offer is too Complicated or too Simple (5:43)
    They Don't See the Value (12:23)
    Connection (17:05)
    You Can Deliver (23:12)
    They Actually Can't Afford You (28:01)

    The real reasons behind the "we can't afford you" response

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