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Clients

Reaching Out To Clients To Create Their Content

Q:

I reach out to clients with my ideas to create their content, but they often interpret this as non-paid free work. How do I offer my concepts as a business offer instead of a free-be?

A:

Two ways to handle this:

  1. Include pricing (or a pricing range) in your request to put it on the table without potential confusion. 
  2. Go for the clients who always pay for content instead of those using unpaid images.

Connecting With A Client Is The Best Sales Pitch

The BEST SALES PITCH I can recommend is to humanize what we call “sales” by listening. So simple and yet the most powerful way to negotiate, stay in front of clients, or sell ourselves. Take the first hello moment on a Zoom call, notice something about them, and ask a question. Connect by listening to get your foot in the doors. 

The best sales pitch is to humanize the clients and be real, honest, and listen to them. Humanizing the clients means to understand them, empathize with them, and treat them as individuals, not just as potential customers. Being real and honest means to not make false promises or exaggerate the product’s capabilities. Listening to the clients is crucial as people want to be heard and understood. It doesn’t take very long to notice something about them and ask them a question, which can help build a rapport and establish a relationship. The best sales pitch is to recommend the product or service that meets the client’s needs and wants, not just to sell something for the sake of making a sale. The key is to build trust and credibility with the clients, which can lead to long-term relationships and referrals.

How Should Photographers Handle Job Date “Holds”

Q:

How should we handle job date “holds” when we prefer to get the higher-paying or more interesting offer when holding those dates for someone else?

A:

I am careful how I respond to job date holds. Instead of quickly saying “yes,” I’ll say, “As of right now, they are available on those dates.” Once a 2nd hold is ready to officially book you for the project, you can CHALLENGE the 1st hold to get hired on another job. It is a sensitive topic that needs clear communication before choosing one client over another.

Should I Thank a Client For a Job With a Gift?

Q:

Should I thank a client for a job with a gift?

A:

Most clients do not expect a thank-you gift as the work itself is what they are looking for. Some corporations do not allow gifts as it can be unethical from a legal standpoint. Ask clients if you can send them something and get their instructions. In my rep opinion, the best business gift has a warm personal slant that keeps you in front of them, with a friendly reminder keeping you on their mind. 

Initiating Contact With New Clients

Q:

There are so many new clients I want to work with, but I’m not sure how to initiate contact with them. Do you have any tips on getting in with new potential clients?

A:

Our industry offers a mixed bag of ways to connect with clients, from SEO to Instagram engagement and everything in the middle. My question back to you is, what are you good at? Can you take a client to lunch or enjoy an in-person (maybe Zoom) meeting? Sell yourself by completing the steps that sell you the best. Have new images – put them out in an email promo – cross-pollinate!

Bidding Prices Should Include Time Spent Working With The Client

Bidding Prices should incorporate the real cost of the time-consuming back-and-forth process because your business time = money. Just as we charge for the equipment you own, the same goes for managing your time.

Value your time in the bidding process. Part of the bid that is often overlooked is the time spent negotiating with clients and managing their expectations. While this time may not be explicitly spelled out in the bid, it is important to factor it into the overall cost of the project. We recommend adding this time to the creative fee, prep days, or production fee to ensure that it is covered. By doing so, we ensure that we are compensated for the time spent on client management, which can be a significant portion of the project. Ultimately, the goal is to have a bid that accurately reflects the time and effort required for the project, including the time spent managing the client.

Producer vs. Photographer

Q:

I’m a freelance photographer who recently took an in-house photo producer job because my area’s industry has been slow, and I need a steady income to get back on my feet. Did I just set my photo career back by taking a temporary in-house producer job? In the future, will clients hire me as a freelance photographer again after they may see me as a producer?

A:

The plain and simple answer across the board is dependent on your branding, which is dependent on two sticking points:

  • Will you be branding yourself correctly for clients to consider you when looking for a photographer?
  • Will your photo portfolio be strong enough to impress clients?

How Specialty Impacts Commercial Photography Creative Fees

What is your specialty? One CREATIVE FEE component that may get overlooked in fee formula calculations is how much the client needs you for this campaign. The specialization you bring to a project goes a long way, and you should be paid for it. 

When setting a creative fee for a project, it is important to consider how specific and unique your creative skills are to that particular project. This can involve evaluating whether your look or style matches the needs of the project better than others and whether your particular skills and experience make you the best fit for the job. By taking into account these factors, you can justify charging a higher creative fee for your work.

How Honest Should We Be When A Client Asks For Our Availability?

How honest should we be when a client asks for our availability? Dates of potential jobs shift and change constantly. How to not lose one job because of a “hold” from another is what we are up against. I have learned that clients present their shoot dates and usually have more flexibility than we are receiving. One way I like to phrase it is, “Right now, we are not officially booked on another job at that time.”

A lesson we learned about holds and availability. A client we wanted to work with had mistakenly assumed that the photographer they wanted to work with was unavailable on certain dates, based on a previous conversation. The client decided to look elsewhere for a photographer. The lesson learned was that it’s important to be honest about availability but also to make it clear that a job hasn’t been bid on yet and that there’s still a possibility of availability. We suggest doing a “first hold challenge” to ensure that the job is secured before cutting off availability. 

Using a Rep for Larger Brand Clients

Q:

I want a rep to help me get larger brand clients. I’m working with good mid-level clients, but I’m at the cusp and ready to see which larger clients I can work with. What steps should I take to find the right rep to help me take my career to the next level?

A:

Reps can open doors that may be tougher for a photographer to do themselves. The key is to find an agent who will see your talent as a potential income stream for both of you. Who are the reps who work with clients you can be working with? Do you match their branded style and fit within their roster? Do you have anyone in common who can recommend you to the rep? Have a short list, focus and engage, introduce yourself, and communicate on all platforms to see who is interested in your work.