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Negotiating

Communicate WIth Your Client To Aid In Negotiation

NEGOTIATING TIP 101: 

Get the most information in the shortest amount of time with a good old-fashioned client Phone Call. Use the phone time wisely to get those “awkward to ask” questions about budget, first choice, competition, and lowest bid topics. It’s that one-to-one camaraderie with off-the-cuff, less self-aware personalized touch moments. 

How To Avoid Getting Trapped In Bid Prices

Save yourself from getting trapped in bid prices without correct production tasks by naming your estimate as a BALLPARK BID. Your costs can be listed as menu options instead of included in your total. “Costs may change depending on the information provided.” All the ways to be as accurate as you can with the information you’ve been given. 

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. 

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.

OVERTIME

Q:

Thanks for your OVERTIME post for photographers;  do you also see OT charges for producers? Never once in my career have I charged OT for me. Have I been shorting myself all these years??! In my experience, the Photog and Producer are the last to get paid and never get OT. I hope I am wrong.

A:

I’m with you. This is a new one for me, but I’m noticing some producers (and photographers) now charge for overtime. Some (or most) clients will reject this, but if some accept it – we should all try it and go for it! Perhaps it’s a new norm, so let’s join the OT trend and get paid fairly for your time over 10 hours. 

Recognized Company With Low Rate

Q:

I’ve spent time sending samples of my work for a company I thought I’d be perfect to work with. They finally responded with some interest in me by holding some dates, but they released me. What shocked me was the rate of $1500 for the shoot. Is this normal? I understand I am just getting started, but it felt low for the company’s size and brand recognition.

A:

Kudos to you for getting your work out there to the companies you want to work with. That is step one. I see the increase of $1500 rates due to a heavily saturated industry with more in-house marketing clients, more photographers, and more marketing opportunities for all of us to be in direct contact with our dream clients. Take the feedback as a stepping stone to growing your dream client list, increasing your marketing options, and fine-tuning your testing/branding focus.

Saving a Client Relationship

Q:

How do you try to save a client relationship after messing up repeatedly?

A:

Client relationships are usually not personal. They see the work you do and want that look on their brand. Treat this as a professional by showing them how they will achieve their goals using you. You can always offer a free test, but most importantly, tell them what matter-of-fact calculated new system will improve the situation. Get yourself to that level, and then with humble confidence, express how you will do it right. In the comments, please share examples of this dynamic and what you did.

Negotiating a Rep’s Percentage

Q:

Has there ever been a case of a photographer negotiating down their rep’s percentage? Does this simply lead to bad morale in the relationship? Is there a workable solution to this or might parting ways be the best option?

A:

Reps are negotiators, so there are workable solutions to commission percentages. “House” accounts are the standard norm for lower commission rates based on fair compromises. The one thing you don’t want to do is slow down your rep’s time/effort by removing financial gains. My answer is to determine the undercurrent issue – is this a teammate who brings a quality you need in your career trajectory? If not, well, that may be the answer.

Legal Obligations to a Bid

Q:

When you submit a bid – are you legally locked into it?

A:

My answer to this is not from a lawyer but my own rep opinion: Why submit a bid if you don’t want to be locked into it? Perhaps you get busy and are offered a higher-paid job? Whatever the reason is, you would probably lose that client in the future if your availability changes after providing them the 1st hold. I say be honest and give them a 2nd hold if this is the issue. Be upfront if this is a client you want to keep. Once either of you signs a contract, you may have legal issues, so you can protect yourself by including the term – “Estimate is valid for 14 days from the date of issue.”

After a Campaign Shoot

Q:

Hi Andrea, how do you charge clients after a campaign shoot, after they made the agreed amount of selects, they ask for additional images with no edits for them to have extra content for product pages, emails, etc? Thank you!

A:

This is your golden opportunity to create some package deal options for them to buy more image usage.