You need to STOP competing with the 50+ (and growing) other photographers in your market.
And the only way to stop competing?
Is to make the competition irrelevant.
And to do that, you need to change the game being played.
Before I share the Game Changer Strategy with you, let’s talk about the load of industry BS you’ve been taught, the sandy foundation you have built your business on.
And BE SURE to read until the end, because this article is not JUST theory (I would never leave you high and dry like that!) It’s also IMPLEMENTATION, including the 4 steps to do this, a worksheet, and 3 case studies from my own business.
The BS we have all been taught:
The talking heads say, “Find out what makes you different”
The internet is flooded with “Differentiate or DIE!”
But here’s the problem. #1: When you differentiate, you are STILL competing like vultures over roadkill. And that is just never pretty.
You are competing for the SAME customers as your competition, for the SAME dollar as your customer. And with the over-saturated market of photographers, this just isn’t sustainable.
You can get ahead today, then tomorrow you’re behind again. It is an endless game of 27-page soul-searching of “what makes me different” where you never REALLY get ahead.
“But wait!” you say. “Really AM different!”
And then you tell me 7 or 9 ways that make you truly different.
I’m different because I tell STORIES!
I’m different because I offer a FULL SERVICE, VERY HIGH TOUCH!
I’m different because I have a STYLE CLOSET!
I’m different because of my CUSTOMER SERVICE!
I’m different because I use OFF-CAMERA FLASH so I have DRAMATIC SKIES!
I’m different because I photograph DRAMATIC LIGHTING for SPORTS PORTRAITS!
I’m different because I have a MODEL PROGRAM!
I’m different because my photos SHOW REAL LIFE!
I’m different because my photos are CLEAN AND TIMELESS AND NOT OVER-PHOTOSHOPPED!
I’m different because I SHOW RELATIONSHIPS!
I’m different because my photos are FINE ART!
I’m different because I AM ME, and THAT’S MY UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION! (vomits a little in her mouth)
Do any of these sound familiar?
They do to me, because I have used ALL of these before. And so have 75 bazillion other photographers.
Yes, you ARE you and nobody else is you…
Yes, your photos DO show real life…and quite beautifully, might I add.
Yes, you ARE a full-service business.
But you have been lied to.
These differentiators will NOT make clients flock to you like a herd of bull elk in heat.
Not only because 90% of photographers are already using these differentiators, but because clients just don’t care about these things as much as we THINK they do.
So instead of differentiating, you’re going to stop competing all together.
You’re going to change the game being played, and here’s how.
The secret to competing in the portrait photography marketplace is to not compete at all.
And we do that?
By changing the game we’re playing, and letting them fight over the scraps.
We create NEW portrait markets.
When we do this, we STOP competing for the same clients and dollars as everyone else.
We START shooting sessions and creating income by photographing different ages, people & things..
This means NEW buyers.
We are not “taking money away” or “taking clients away” from anybody.
We are creating, instead of competing.
But the truth is, probably 99.9% of photographers, and probably you, are competing (see info-graphic below).
There are a limited number of people looking for portrait sessions, and an ever-growing number of photographers entering the field.
Even if you’re a SEASONED photographer, have been around for years and have a great reputation?
Even a few more photographers in your market WILL affect you, even if each one only has a few sessions per year.
You need to change the game being played so that you can STOP competing with the 50+ other photographers in your area.
This should be your #1 goal:
While they’re all playing the hyper-competitive and endless March Madness tournament where there’s only one winner and it changes year-to-year,
YOU’RE over some place else cool & calm, playing solitaire.
There’s only one winner, and it’s always you.
And you do this by creating new markets.
I know what you’re thinking. I can’t just pull a new market out of my butt from nowhere! That just DOESN’T work!
I’m going to give you quick & dirty outline of the process below, show you three case studies of how I have implemented this into my business, and then you can download the Competition Liquidator Method Implementation Worksheet to take you through the 5-minute process, with 3 real-life and real-profit generating new markets I have personally made.
Step 1: Who is NOT being photographed in your area.
Step 2: Who is NOT being targeted as a buyer.
Step 3: Who can we TAKE OUT of the equation?
Step 4: How can you make this session IRRESISTIBLE?
This method has allowed me to create NEW markets in my city of 33,000 people (mind you, with a less than $38,000 average household income).
3 Case Studies from My Business:
I have used this EXACT framework to generate sessions (and income)by:
Banking on Businesses (and families) with Strong Ties to My Community with my Deep Roots Sessions
I’ve used this to generate a yearly 9k by satisfying an urgent emotional need with Moms in my Celebrate Mother’s Sessions.
I’ve created a yearly system of targeting tween moms using my Who I Am sessions.