Service over Sales: Cultivating an Empathy Selling Mindset with Megan DiPiero
One of the hardest things for a professional photographer to do is raise their prices. But why is that? We get so caught up in charging according to our self-worth instead of charging for the value our clients see in the photography experience. Once you make that mindset shift, selling and scaling becomes so much easier.
In this episode, I chat with coach, speaker, and author Megan DiPiero about selling with confidence and raising your prices.
Megan shares the mindset shifts that have to happen before you can sell your work as a luxury service. She explains why luxe photography is about the experience, not just the final product. And we discuss advice for new photographers and those who want to scale their businesses past six figures.
What’s in this episode:
- Why Megan loves sales, and how other photographers can learn to love it, too [2:19]
- What mindset shift has to happen before you can raise your prices and increase your profit [5:51]
- How to determine if you’re a good fit for your clients and make a deep connection from the get-go [10:45]
- How to show clients that your work creates a meaningful experience, not just photos [16:54]
- Why you shouldn’t “charge your worth” but instead “charge for your value” [20:40]
- How to make the mindset shift towards seeing and marketing your work as a luxe service [23:58]
- Why you should present your price, “shut your mouth,” and allow your clients to react to the number [33:14]
- Megan’s advice for new photographers and those who want to scale their businesses [33:55]
If you want to shift your mindset, get better at selling your services, raise your prices, and scale your business, tune in to this episode.
And for a limited time, you can enjoy a audio copy of her best-selling book She Sells: The Empathy Advantage (- for FREE!)
Meet Megan DiPiero
Megan DiPiero is a world-renowned business coach and the bestselling author of She Sells: The Empathy Advantage. She’s a frequent Imaging platform speaker, Photographic Craftsman, and Grand Imaging Award nominee. She has helped thousands of entrepreneurs earn breadwinner status and six-figure incomes.
Connect with Megan
[00:00:00] Megan DiPiero: Stop looking at your art and start looking at sales and service, because I think so many people spend so long comparing themselves, taking too many classes, waiting until this magical day when they will be a master. And that day comes when you do your 10000 hours and when you stay in business long enough that you’ve had thousands of shoots. But so many people, they’ll cut off their successful legs because they’re like, I’m never going to get there. I’m never going to get there. You’re never going to get there. If you’re treating it like a starving artist, you’re going to get there when you’re in the game because you’re charging profitably and now you’re allowing your business to thrive. Now you can pay your bills, which means you can stay in business longer, which means your art will continue to grow.
[00:00:50] Lisa DiGeso: Welcome to the Art and Soul Show, where we dove into heart opening chats on photography, business, life and that messy in between. I’m your host, Lisa DiGeso, a mom, a photographer and entrepreneur. And I’ll be sharing honest conversations and advice for photographers with insight on mindset, entrepreneurship and creativity. The goal of this podcast is for you to be able to gain insights and strategies that will get you real results. Because, let’s face it, having a photography business can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. This is the place you can go when you need a boost of encouragement, a kick in the pants and inspiration to pick up your camera. This is the Art and Soul Show. Hello, my beautiful friends. Welcome back to the show. I am super excited to dove into today’s conversation with Megan DiPiero. She has been on my radar for ages and she has the most incredible book for photographers called She Sells: The Empathy Advantage. She’s a frequent imaging platform speaker, photographic craftsman and Grand Imaging Award nominee. And she’s helped thousands of entrepreneurs earn breadwinner status and six figure incomes. My friends, I am beyond excited to get to know her and to have her share her insights and wisdom with you today. So without further ado, here is Megan.
[00:02:13] Megan DiPiero: Hello, Lisa.
[00:02:14] Lisa DiGeso: Welcome. So tell us who you are and what you’re passionate about.
[00:02:19] Megan DiPiero: Okay, so I’m Megan DiPiero, and what I’m passionate about, I think could be best summed up in one word, and that word is sales. That’s what I’m most passionate about. We are now at four business enterprises that I started and Eric combined as well as business partners together. And you know, as we add each new venture, people always say to me, hey, which one would you pick? If you could only do one, what would it be? And I said, Listen, end of the day, if I could only do one, it’s sales. I would do whatever is sales. Because to me, selling is the joy of problem solving with your clients and serving them. And any time people are afraid of the word sales, I might just swap it with service. And now you can feel really amazing about it.
[00:03:01] Lisa DiGeso: I love that so much. Now you’re the author of the book, She Sells: The Empathy Advantage. And I love I love, love how you broke down that we’re not just photographers. Our clients come to us because they need confidence, they need validation, they need empowerment, and they need us to honor what is special to them for the portraits they crave. And it’s really just a souvenir of that experience. Now, can you share a little how photographers can make that shift to go beyond just their job description, to really shift into this mindset and how it can really change everything for them?
[00:03:30] Megan DiPiero: So when you think of your role as the role that’s on your business card, you are going to be limited and you’re also going to be defined by that role. So if you look around and say, Oh my gosh, there’s so much competition. There’s so much competition, I’m like, Yes, if your role is photographer, there’s so much competition. But I don’t see it that way because I see again, I see myself as a problem solver and I think, what do my clients need? What are they bumping up against as stressors and pain points? And how can I take that off their plate for them? So I look at the number one thing that moms especially are afraid of. It’s like, How do I get my kids to wear what I want them to wear? That is so challenging. How do I get my teenage son to not wear track pants? How do I get my husband to be excited about this, you know, all these things? So again, if I’m just a photographer, then they’re going to show up with what they show up in. And that stress is there. No one has alleviated that for them. So what I do is I say I go right to the root. I want to be in the same room with mom when she’s making that challenging decision. And so what I do is I introduce the styling concept consultation, and now I’m in her home and I say, we’re going to take all this work off your plate, we’re going to do this together. And now I can be a liaison. I can introduce the outfits to the kids and to the parents and make sure that mom has what’s absolutely the most flattering. Because, you know, we know portrait rules. We know what’s going to look good on our clients and they might just be thinking fashion rules or whatever is on trend, but we can tell them, hey, this is going to really be great on your arms or Hey, we’re going to highlight your little waist or whatever it is that she wants to bring out about herself. We’re there for her. So it’s really about when you want to move beyond your job description, you want to look at what’s the most amount of problems I can solve for my client. And if you hear a client say the same problem over and over again, go to the source and say, How can I get that off their plate? And now I’ve elevated myself in their mind because now who else are they going to go to next? Next time they’re going to have to do the old ball and chain move, getting everyone on board and getting those right outfits and they’re going to look more fondly on the experience they had with me.
[00:05:35] Lisa DiGeso: Yeah, I love that so much. I love you. It’s like switching that mindset from feeling like you are selling, feeling like maybe there isn’t a service that you’re there just showing up. And I love that so much that when you switch that mindset, you are in that mindset of problem solving. I think that’s fantastic. Now let’s dive in a little bit to pricing because I think this can be such an awkward and uncomfortable topic for so many of our listeners. When told to raise their prices, the knee jerk reaction is always, My clients will never pay that. Now can you share what mindset shift needs to happen in order to make yourself able to increase your prices and the price yourself accordingly to make a profit?
[00:06:13] Megan DiPiero: So the biggest thing that I can share with people that will really help them understand this is to understand that we don’t live in the same economy now that we lived in when we were kids. And there has been so much that’s happened in the generations since. And some of us are still stuck in that old mindset. Like I think of when I was a kid growing up. Then we all stayed in our lanes and I would go to this lane if I didn’t have a lot of money, and I’d go to this lane if I had all buckaroos. And so, you know, my family, we grew up lower middle class, and so we were very much resigned to the Mart stores. And now if you think of the Mart store’s like, you know, the champion of them all would be Target or possibly even Amazon. We all shop at Target, right? We all shop at Amazon. And to open your mind to this, think about the last time you were in a Target shopping mall. Have you seen a Porsche? Did you see a BMW? Did you see a Range Rover? Is it possible that two different classes can exist in the same parking lot? And the answer is yes, because in today’s economy, we have this phenomenon called trading up, trading down. So when you think about it, my clients would never spend that money. First of all, yes, they can and yes, they will. Because if you look at your own spending, think about whether you might day in, day out, be a target shopper or a smart shopper. But guess what? You spend thousands of dollars on things, too, because I dare any photographer to show me a camera bag that has less than $5,000 of gear. Like or, like. Show me your prop stash. Come on. Like, yeah. We spend thousands of dollars on things. We spend it. How do we do that? How do we spend so much money when we tell ourselves, No, no, I’m frugal. No, you’re not. You’re frugal in the things that don’t hold value. You are spending on the things that you value. And if you can do that and you consider yourself to be of humble means, then I promise you your clients can do that too. They can decide when they want to trade up, and that’s going to be special money that they save for the luxury moments, for the important moments, for when they have a problem, they need salt. They’re going to spend that money. And for all other times, yeah, they’re going to trade down. So I even have clients who have told me, Well, I’m just going to hire a shoot and burn photographer for the day-to-day stuff. But I’m going to see you, Megan, for the milestones. And they’ll spend $4,000 with me on a big milestone session and then spend $400 the next year. And it doesn’t matter. They can do both. And that’s what we’re here to do, is to serve the client who values what we offer. And how much more satisfying will it be when you have a client who is like, You’re the person I’m going to spend it with because you have the solutions. You have what I want that is so rewarding for you.
[00:08:51] Lisa DiGeso: Yeah, I love that and I love how you touched on that. Your clients can go to both because I think photographers get a little chippy, a little chip on our shoulders when we see our clients going to someone else. But when you explain it in that way, like I love going to really fancy dinners. I love spending money on amazing dinners. But also I really like McDonald’s French fries.
[00:09:11] Megan DiPiero: Yeah, just.
[00:09:12] Lisa DiGeso: Because I like french fries doesn’t mean I can’t go have a spending dinner either. I can have both.
[00:09:16] Megan DiPiero: Yes. And here’s another important piece of the puzzle, too. So think about like I think about when I had more humble means, like, you know, when I was starting out as business owner or like earlier in my life as a child with with more humble family means it would be a big deal if we would go out to someplace like a Ruth’s Chris steak house or something. That would be a big deal. That’d be like once a year or ten year anniversary or, you know, something big and important and monumental. That’s what we would do the rest of the time. We’d be shopping at Pathmark, eating humble meals, you know, things like that. So the other piece is that as people, families get more income, they may spend more often on higher end purchases. So what for my family might have been, you know, a once a year activity for other families might be a once a week activity for other families, might be a once a day activity. So there are two pieces to this. Number one, we can and should serve everyone who values what we do, and that can be someone from any walk of life. They can choose to trade up. But number two, when you’re looking at spending your marketing dollars, you’re going to get more output if you seek a clientele who has more disposable income. So I open the door to every client who wants to work with me. But when I put my very valuable time and resources into marketing, I’m looking for where’s that pool of clients, that circle of clients who can go to Ruth Chris every week and I’m going to have more success if I put my dollars behind that. But all the while serving everyone from every walk of life.
[00:10:44] Lisa DiGeso: I love that. I love that. Now, you also touched in your book a little bit about the power of having a personal phone call to get to know if you’re the right fit for your prospective clients. Now, you shared about a beach session client you had at the beginning of your book, and I think that often for photographers, this is such a missed opportunity that honestly, I’m totally guilty of two. So would you mind sharing a little about that story and why that personal connection mindset shift over a slick and salesy kind of phone call will radically change your business. And. How we connect with our clients.
[00:11:14] Megan DiPiero: So, okay, how it happened, how it went down, you guys have probably seen this before. You’re in a Facebook group or you’re on your personal page and somebody says, Hey, I’ve got this for this client and she needs a shoot. I’m not available. Who’s free? Drop your Instagram or whatever and we’ll get in touch. So here I am on this thread, and of course it immediately explodes. Everyone’s like, me, me, me. You know, everyone wants that easy, breezy referral. But I think in their minds they were thinking, okay, this is a beach shoot and we’re in Florida. So everyone does beach shoots and it’s an out-of-towner. So they’re probably price conscious. You know, they were telling themselves all these stories and they’re thinking, hey, this client probably just, you know, quick and dirty shoot and I’m not going to make a lot of money, so whatever. I’ll throw my hat in the ring. Now, everyone was dropping their connection points, but no one was putting their phone number. And I was like the seventh person on the list. And I said, Hey, have her call me. Here’s my information. I’d love to be in touch. So by the time the client reached out, she had been about with something like two or four days later, and she said, Oh my God, thank God you answered the phone. You are the first person who’s picked up. And I have left messages with people and no one will call me back. And I’m just so frustrated because I’m the number seven. So you imagine how frustrating this has been for her. So immediately I shift on empathy. I’m like, Oh my gosh, that must be so frustrating. I hear you. Hey, I am here for you. Let’s talk, let’s talk about your needs. Now, through the process of developing this out, I’m always looking for what problems I can solve. And very quickly, I realized this is in no way just a simple shoot. This is not because we’re out of towners on vacation. What actually happened was that they had a year prior lost their very important family friend. And this was someone they’d been vacationing with for years. And this was like a brother and it was, in fact, one of the family members’ brothers, and it was the kid’s uncle. And it was so important. And then in the midst of all this, the grandfather, the patriarch of the family has Parkinson’s disease. And so they have all these extra complications that add to that, like he can’t walk very far. We’re concerned about his mobility, his attention and all these things. And so I’m like digging in and I’m like, how can I make this better for them? And I start problem solving. Hey, we can go. I know this beach access is going to be really easy for him. I know a prop rental company and we’re going to make sure we have comfortable chairs, but we want to make sure we take pains to make him feel dignified. We don’t want him to just be sitting on a beach chair. We want him to feel like he’s a prominent member of the family. So we start talking about this and then of course, I want to honor the passing of their family member. I say, You know what? I really see this as, let’s do an album. Would it be okay with you? Could you guys provide a photo of him? And I’d love to include that in the album. And they’re like, Well, all we have is a selfie. And I said, Don’t worry, like we’re going to take care of it. I’m going to make it look as beautiful as all the other portraits. We really need to honor him because this is such an important part of your story. And so, of course, she’s hooked. And of course I’m hooked. You know, this isn’t self-serving. I’m here to really deliver for my clients. And she was like, when it came down to the price point, I said, you know, hey, most of our clients who do extended family shoots, they spend upwards of $5,000, some as many as 20,000 or more. Will that work for your taste, your budget? She said, yes, and I can tell this is going to be a really important shoot. And I’m so glad we found you and I was so glad I found her because I couldn’t imagine leaving this life-changing shoot to someone who would just show up. You know, that’s not what I wanted for her. I wanted her to have the whole thing, everything she deserved. As I say, sell a client their story. I wanted her to have that story. So I felt like it was a match made in heaven. And it was really powerful to me. And what I call it is I call it the time I stole a sale because like, did I steal that sale? So here’s the thing. Like, I kind of did because but I kind of did it. What had happened was the date the photographer put on Facebook was that they needed March 18th. I was not available March 18th, but I still threw my hat in the ring because I know how connections go. And I was available the day before and the day after, and I would totally move heaven and earth if I had to and make myself available if I had to. But I threw it out to the client. I said, Hey, would it be all right? Do you have any flexibility to change the date? And she’s like, Yeah, of course, I’ll totally change whatever we need to do for you, Megan, I was like, okay. So meanwhile, the original referring photographer didn’t even know that was an option, never took the time to connect with the client to even find out what they were creating. And so I do think I stole that sale from that photographer. I stole it from the list of seven people above me, and I earned it. So I want people to really think about, you know, fight for your sales, but fight for your clients and be there on their side and deliver what they need and take the time, because it’s your responsibility to understand their story so that you can deliver that souvenir for them.
[00:15:59] Lisa DiGeso: I love that so much. I think over the years I’ve been stepping back and taking less clients and increasing my prices. So I am like, I switched from being that not we wouldn’t say shoot and burn, but I was a high volume client. Like business. I wasn’t like I was finding I wasn’t having the time to connect with my clients. And the reason I got into photography was so my heart was attached to it.
[00:16:23] Megan DiPiero: Right. Yeah. So that’s why we do it. We love connection, but then we let it go. Why?
[00:16:29] Lisa DiGeso: Somehow that fell through the cracks. And so then we get burnt out and frustrated because we’re not having those experiences that make it meaningful. So I love this story so much on how you can tap back into your heart and maybe restructure your business in a different way. So it does connect with you and your client again. So I just wanted you to share that so much because when I heard that, I was like, Oh my gosh, it lit a spark in me again.
[00:16:52] Megan DiPiero: Yeah.
[00:16:53] Lisa DiGeso: So just a beautiful, beautiful story. So you had a line in your book that I adored, and it is such a beautiful mindset shift about why we purchase luxury items that are meaningful to us. We’re purchasing a piece of our identity. And my jaw really hit the floor on this one because it was truly bang on. So what tips do you have to direct clients to see that this is a meaningful experience and not just a photo shoot? Or maybe they already do, and we’re just the ones that don’t realize it. And how can we switch that frame of mind?
[00:17:22] Megan DiPiero: So what I talk about is I talk about this idea of the need beneath the need, because most people will present the surface and they don’t realize it. And this is why it’s our job to draw this out of them because they think, Oh yeah, I need photos, for example, like we do a lot of headshots. So obviously that seems like a real service need. I need photos. I need photos for work. Okay. Why do you need photos? Like, what does your work say about you? Who are you trying to connect with? How would you like your clients to perceive you? Why is this an important moment in your business right now? You know, these are the questions I ask to draw them out because you would be amazed when you start asking questions. And I say, you know, you want to talk about their baby, talk about that thing that’s special to them. And as business owners, we know our business is our baby. We love our baby. We nurture our baby. We’re here for it, you know? And so you think about how this client nurtured this business, this baby, and now it’s so important to them that they need to trust who they’re going to hand it to. So they want to talk about how if they could just bring confidence to the shoot, that could help them empower others. They want people to see that in them. They want people to trust them. So we need to talk about what’s important to them, what are their clients, what should their clients feel about them? And we show them that. And in the meantime, I always say to myself as a headshot photographer, if you’re a model or an actor, you probably don’t need me. I will tell that to people all the time. Like, you know, if you just show up in front of a camera and look great, hire anyone. What I do is I help people look fabulous who have doubts and insecurities. If you’ve never had a great photo of yourself before, I’m your girl because I’m going to do the steps that it takes from that style consultation to having a hair and makeup artist to having an assistant greet them at the door, taking their clothes, literally taking things off their shoulders so that we can make their whole experience more enjoyable. That’s what I’m there to do. And then I take my time. I pose them with care, I light them intentionally, and now we can really bring out their best. So that’s my goal, is to give the client the opportunity to express why things are important to them and draw them out through the question and answer process.
[00:19:29] Lisa DiGeso: I love that. And even how you said pose with hair and light with intention. I love that so much because it does. You’re approaching things from such a different way than just like, Here’s my camera, I’m showing up and I’m shooting. Yeah, like, it’s just why.
[00:19:40] Megan DiPiero: Why I use it. I used to just shoot at the beach. That’s what we do in Florida. We shoot at the beach. But now I’m like, Well, why would we shoot at the beach? Is this serving that client’s need or is that just convenient because it’s golden hour, you know, like, why would I do that? And a lot of times the answer is, yes, we do want to shoot at the beach because that’s a part of their story. But sometimes it’s no, we want to shoot in a model home or we want to shoot on their couch at home. You know, we want to shoot in the places that matter to them and that bring out their story.
[00:20:06] Lisa DiGeso: Yeah, I love that. A friend of mine Shalonda from Chubby Cheeks Photography. I chatted with her recently and she has started doing Happy Place sessions. Now she finds it where her client’s Happy Place is, and.
[00:20:18] Megan DiPiero: Then they.
[00:20:19] Lisa DiGeso: Go and do a beautiful, like, soulful family session in their favorite spot. And I was like, Oh, my gosh, you guys.
[00:20:28] Megan DiPiero: Yeah. My missing piece is my heart.
[00:20:30] Lisa DiGeso: Yes.
[00:20:31] Megan DiPiero: And like, how much happier and more comfortable and confident is a client going to feel if they’re in their happy place?
[00:20:36] Lisa DiGeso: Right.
[00:20:37] Megan DiPiero: And she took the time to discover that that’s really important.
[00:20:40] Lisa DiGeso: So I think for many photographers and maybe myself included, at times, we fall into that trap of charging what you’re worth. And I’m going to use a little quote, fingers on that, and then we sort of attach our worth to it. So what advice do you have to avoid this?
[00:20:54] Megan DiPiero: Okay, so whatever you think your worth is, it’s probably higher and away. That really helped me understand that I think women notoriously devalue ourselves and our contributions to literally everything. Our contributions to society, to our family, to our. Friends. And so a lot of times we will think, I am not worth it. So what I did that really helped me is I thought, you know what? I’m not going to look at this as myself personally. I’m going to look at this as what I bring value to my client and what I bring value to my family. And the family component was super helpful because what happened was Eric used to be the breadwinner. We went through a really tough patch during the Great Recession where his business went bankrupt. Our family had foreclosure. I mean, this is where my business grew and it was a crazy time. But I said, okay, well, I am now the breadwinner and if we are to replace that income, if I’m to keep my kids in private school, which our family highly values, and if I’m to help us have that reconnection time during family vacations, that means my income has to support that and I’m providing for my family. So what I did was I put it on the back of my product guide where no one would ever see it. I put a picture of my kids and every time I pulled that out of my bag at a consultation, my right hand was literally touching their faces as I would hand it over. And I was like, That was my moment to reconnect and say, you know, even if I can’t believe this value for myself, I believe this value for my family. I believe in what I provide for them. And even those of us who maybe have a husband who is a breadwinner or a spouse and you say, Yeah, but my income, it’s not relevant. Yes, it is. Your time is relevant. Every time you’re working with someone else’s family, you’re taking a sacrifice. And so you need to make sure that that time you’re spending away from your loved ones, that it matters to you and your family. And again, that it matters for the client. Like when your client spends big, they appreciate you on a whole different level. And again, back to the camera gear, because I know we can relate to this, your $5,000 camera bag of gear you protect, that you love, that you value, that. You don’t let just anybody pick up the camera bag, that’s really important and precious to you because you spent so much and you put that high value on it. That’s the feeling we want for our clients. So imagine that very valuable camera bag with all the gear in it, and now replace it with an album, that album that that client’s holding in their hands. What if that album was $5,000? How much more would they value that purchase? Because now they’re like, I’m the kind of person who I talk about that in a book. I’m the kind of person who this client is now making a message to themselves and broadcasting this to their circle as well. I’m the kind of person who values family, and I value them so much that I spend the best for my family. That’s that story they’re telling themselves, and you created that for them. You created the income for your family. So your worth is so great that I want everyone to just go and add a zero to everything and really put that value on it because it does nothing but serve you, serve your family, serve your client.
[00:23:57] Lisa DiGeso: I love that so much. Now, I think I have a huge fear, to be totally honest in it, switching my business from what I’ve always done to stepping into that luxe brand that I really want to be. So what advice do you have to rip off that Band-Aid?
[00:24:12] Megan DiPiero: Well, rip off the Band-Aid, yes. That’s it. Oh, yeah. You just have to. And the way to think of it is, you know, we talked about the example of, hey, if you’re going to get a burger, where are you going to get that burger? McDonalds or Ruth Chris Steakhouse? Those are two completely different establishments and every last thing is different when you step foot in one or the other from, you know, the way the menu is presented, the way the servers respond to you, the way that the floors are kept or not. You know, so we want to think about that when you’re changing from value to luxe, because really those are the only two lanes there are if you want to get into it. In the book I talk all about how the mid-market is dead. Run, don’t walk. It’s a horrible place to be but go with me on this. That Lux and value are the only two places to be, so you can’t just change a little bit. You need to change a lot because you need to project to your client in every way. This is different and it’s almost like if you go into a store and you get this sense, like you don’t even have to look at a price. You’re just like, This is going to be expensive. You just sense it. You’re like, It’s a little too clean, it’s a little too airy, it’s a little too bright. You know, there’s something that’s telling you this is more and for some people that’s repelling and they will walk away. They’re like, Oh, this is too expensive. This is for me. But some people, myself included, will walk in and say, What is this place about? And they get curious. And they’re like, This must be very valuable. So that’s what we want. We want our clients to sense that this is so different and so special that they understand why that higher price point is with it. And that’s why you can’t just do a little inch up tactic. You’ve got to just rip that Band-Aid off, go as far as you need to just right out the gate. I am a new business, and sometimes that means literally declaring yourself a new business, because McDonald’s can’t just charge $25 for burgers. Now you have to be like, no, if you’re switching that burger from $1 to $25, you need to become a new establishment unapologetically and just go for it.
[00:26:06] Lisa DiGeso: I love this and I really can’t believe the fantastic timing of this interview and listening to your book, because I just. And in January of this year that I was actually taking a sabbatical from my own photography business starting in July, just opposite, and really give it a glow up. And what I find fascinating is kind of the mind set block that I’m really and the limiting beliefs that I am personally bumping up on on my own art and my business. So what advice maybe do you have for me personally that I can actually start thinking about myself as a luxury brand and listening to myself to see my own value in what I do and want to provide and the experience I create for my clients.
[00:26:41] Megan DiPiero: So I love that you’re using the word luxury, and I would encourage you to use that all the time. It’s a wonderful, beautiful word. But for some people, I think the word luxury is very intimidating because they’re like, I don’t buy luxury. And again, we’ve already established. Yes, you do. You go to Ruth, Chris for a special occasion. You spend a lot on gear. You buy lots of props, like people do spend a lot. So if it scares you too much to think of luxury, just substitute the word luxury with full service and remind yourself of when you got in a business. Like a lot of us started in business because if it was like the way my start was, I was posting pictures of my kids on Facebook and everyone’s like, You’re so good, you should photograph my family. And then I started off just photographing friends, families, and everyone sort of pushed me in the direction to go pro, but I didn’t know what pro meant, so I just worked with my friends. But the thing that was so wonderful about those days was that working with my friends was so satisfying for both of us because I knew what I wanted to bring out about them. I knew how to get their kids to react. I knew how to make mom feel amazing. And so meanwhile, when we start getting into the hustle of it, we forget about those very important connections and we forget how wonderful it feels to just serve your friend. Yeah. So remember that when you go to a higher price point, you can get back to that original place, that place where you served with your whole heart. And guess what? Your client’s going to serve you. It’s going to be reciprocal. They are going to serve you with their gratitude and their thanks. One of the biggest, most shocking things we see is that when our students we have this thing called the Ten K Club and when they first hit their first $10,000 sale. First of all, they’re always shocked. They’re like, I didn’t know I could do that. But then they are also shocked at how easy and fun and grateful and rewarding it was. Because when people spend so much, it feels good. It feels good to be recognized and valued like that. And that’s what you allow your client to share with you. And you then share with them this really wonderful experience, too. So it’s really such a win-win for everyone. And I would just tap into like marinate in those good feelings of all that you have to give with people and then let the price point lead you there so that you have the time and resources to bring that forward for them.
[00:28:55] Lisa DiGeso: I love that so much. I love it. That’s such great advice. Thank you. I’m really excited about what the next year is going to hold.
[00:29:01] Megan DiPiero: Yeah.
[00:29:03] Lisa DiGeso: So are you ready for our lightning round?
[00:29:06] Megan DiPiero: I’ll do it. Yes. I got the brief for lightning. I’m ready.
[00:29:11] Lisa DiGeso: Coffee or tea?
[00:29:12] Megan DiPiero: Oh, neither. I really just like Diet Coke.
[00:29:16] Lisa DiGeso: Same.
[00:29:17] Megan DiPiero: Ah, yes. Give me caffeine. Give me some sugar. I’m a fan.
[00:29:24] Lisa DiGeso: Most luxurious vacation you’ve ever been on.
[00:29:27] Megan DiPiero: Oh, it was. It was literally this year we went to Italy and we brought the kids. And the year before, Eric and I went to Italy together for our 25th anniversary. So sorry, 20th. I fast forward to things 20th anniversary, but to have to see the wonder of a kid that was just magical, that was so wonderful to see them experience it.
[00:29:47] Lisa DiGeso: I love it. So is DiPiero Italian?
[00:29:50] Megan DiPiero: Yes. And we are in fact he is Eric is now is citizen traced his ancestry back and I am learning Italian so someday we’re going to be super fancy and return fluent.
[00:30:00] Lisa DiGeso: We’ll say love. I love that. Yes. So what was your favorite TV show as a kid?
[00:30:05] Megan DiPiero: You know, I don’t really remember or recall TV shows too much as a kid. And to this day, I don’t really watch them much. But I would say that I like anything that’s educational. And so I’m going to not even answer the child part of it. I’m going to answer the adult part of it. Everyone should watch The Profit, p-r-o-f-i-t with Marcus Lemonis. And I mean, that is like something I literally will watch with my kids. So maybe it’ll be their favorite show when they grow up. But it’s a great business education and I love watching any kind of show that talks more about business. That’s my jam.
[00:30:37] Lisa DiGeso: Love it. Love it. Well, I haven’t watched that. So that’s going on my little list and see.
[00:30:43] Megan DiPiero: It’s a little rough season one but they find their footing in season two and it gets really good after.
[00:30:46] Lisa DiGeso: Love that. So the last thing you did for yourself as an indulgence?
[00:30:51] Megan DiPiero: Oh, I stayed at the Ritz Carlton. I’m kind of obsessed with the Ritz. I go there whenever I can, and I love going out of state so I can see in other states what other cities are doing. And it’s such an education to me to see what customer service at its finest looks like and to make notes like good or bad. They did this amazingly, they did that amazing and quick little story about that. We were staying at the Ritz on points and we were at the front desk. There happened to be a customer in front of us and she said, okay, but do you have any bigger rooms? And they said, Yes, we do. That room will be $5600. And she says, $5600. And he says, yes. And then she said, And can I book that tonight? And he says, No, we’re booked out for the week. So I found it amazing that there are hotel rooms that are $5600 and they are booked up for the week. I mean, that was such an amazing thing. Like, I would have paid money for that lesson. That was great. And I thought to myself, you know, if all those rooms are booked, there’s a lot of people here in my market that can afford this. I’ll go have some more. 50 $600 sales. Yes.
[00:31:57] Lisa DiGeso: Oh, great story. I love that. So morning prisoner, night owl.
[00:32:01] Megan DiPiero: Absolutely morning by a long shot. Don’t talk to me at midnight. I’ll be, you know.
[00:32:08] Lisa DiGeso: I know. Hey. Same. What did you want to be when you grew up?
[00:32:12] Megan DiPiero: In my eighth grade yearbook, I have a quote printed in my yearbook that says I want to be the first female president and/or pope, and/or, and/or. I just thought that was really cool. Go eighth grade me and there’s still a chance, you know, because we haven’t had a woman president yet. So, hey, we’ll say we’ll see where the future takes me. Love, I don’t know. It’s work too, but we’ll see. We’ll see what I can do.
[00:32:36] Lisa DiGeso: Go to karaoke jam.
[00:32:38] Megan DiPiero: Probably anything with a musical like Hamilton. That would be.
[00:32:41] Lisa DiGeso: Yeah. I love that. What makes your soul light up?
[00:32:45] Megan DiPiero: Oh, it would have to be those ten k sales. And not even for myself, it’s the $10,000 sales when other people experience them because it’s always amazing seeing a $10,000 sale from a student, amazing seeing a client react to a $10,000 sale. Like it’s just so exciting to spend money on what you value and to receive money on what others value. So it just lights me up for sure. Love it.
[00:33:09] Lisa DiGeso: I love that. What has been the best piece of business advice you’ve ever been given.
[00:33:14] Megan DiPiero: To shut your mouth. Just shut your mouth because your insecurities and your money blocks will trump all of your sales potential. So you say the number and then you shut your mouth and you do not respond until an actual objection arises. And if someone says, Wow, that’s really expensive, that is not an objection. That is an emotion. And you can simply handle the emotion by saying Yes, and that’s it and that’s it. You just acknowledge, you emote, you have empathy and that’s how it goes. But that’s the client’s opportunity to say yes or no to that. And most times when you shut your mouth, they say yes.
[00:33:55] Lisa DiGeso: I love that. What advice do you have for someone that is just starting out.
[00:34:00] Megan DiPiero: Stop looking at your art and start looking at sales and service because I think so many people spend so long comparing themselves, taking too many classes, waiting until this magical day when they will be a master. And that day comes when you do your 10000 hours and when you stay in business long enough that you’ve had thousands of shoots. But so many people, they’ll cut off their success at the legs because they’re like, I’m never going to get there. I’m never going to get there. You’re never going to get there. If you’re treating it like a starving artist, you’re going to get there when you’re in the game because you’re charging profitably and now you’re allowing your business to thrive. Now you can pay your bills, which means you can stay in business longer, which means your art will continue to grow. So I didn’t take my first lighting class until I was seven years in business. I started right away with business classes, marketing, sales, pricing. I’m really glad I did, and I think that that is the move that will work for so many people if they allow it to happen. You have to start with that business and your art will catch up because I know everyone’s passionate about art and they are going to hold themselves to a high standard. That goodness is coming, but let yourself stay in business long enough to achieve it.
[00:35:13] Megan DiPiero: Oh.
[00:35:13] Megan DiPiero: Great advice. Wow.
[00:35:16] Megan DiPiero: Great.
[00:35:16] Megan DiPiero: So where can our listeners learn more from you?
[00:35:19] Megan DiPiero: I would head on over to our Facebook group. I love to see new folks there. That group is Rise to the Top with Megan DiPiero. And I’d also love for them to be a part of our listening group and listen to She Sells. So we have a special gift hooked up. It is for anyone who’s listening to this if you go to SheSellsGift.com that is the audio book we’ve been talking about and it is yours free so we’re making that available for a limited time so hop on it, get that book, listen to it. And really my mission is that I want to see so many more women and men, of course, too. I want to see artists become business owners. I want to see people become breadwinners. I want to see women supporting themselves, their families and their clients. And so through that book, I really think people are going to have a lot of insights and eye openers, and I want them to take advantage of that. So SheSellsGift. And then join us and rise to the top.
[00:36:13] Megan DiPiero: Wow. Thank you so much. Anyway, our listeners are going to be really excited about that. So I love to end my interviews with this last question. And it is what are you currently curious about or artistically curious about?
[00:36:27] Megan DiPiero: Oh.
[00:36:28] Megan DiPiero: I am very curious about, again, the whole mission of how many breadwinners can we make. This is something I haven’t said to anyone publicly yet, except for my husband, but we are going to definitely work in the next couple of years. On making a super studio, a flagship studio, and we’d like to hit $2 million in revenue a year. Currently, my one man show is half a million dollars, but I want to go to 2 million and I want to see how many employees I can support with that and that they can support our community with. I’d love to have multiple six figure earners in that business, and I think this is really possible. I think that one of the most amazing things about being an entrepreneur business owner is that you have the opportunity to support yourself, your clients, your community. And being a job creator has been a very satisfying thing for me. So I want to just take that to the next level and see how big we can grow and possibly even different locations. That would definitely be on my radar. So I’m developing this and I’m excited by it and I know it’s going to be amazing for so many people.
[00:37:30] Megan DiPiero: I love that. Well, thank you for joining me today, Megan.
[00:37:33] Megan DiPiero: Thank you.
[00:37:35] Megan DiPiero: Oh, my friends, what a fantastic conversation. And I know you probably adored this conversation just as much as I did. And seriously, my beautiful friends, Arun, don’t walk. Go get yourself a free copy of Megan’s audiobook and I’ll make sure we link it in the show notes for you too. I really can’t wait to hear how this book transforms your business. I am sending you so much of my light and my love today and every single day. And we’ll see you next time.
share the love
I’m on a mission to create uplifting online experiences for photographers ready to elevate their art, their business and their mindset.(...and have fun along the way!)