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Telephone Archives - Yep, it's groozi!

Telephone Posts

Phone Inquiry? Remember These Three Tips

Selling on telephone photographersYou receive a phone call from a prospective client asking you to “bid” on an upcoming photography project she has. It’s an opportunity to forge a new relationship with a new client and you really want the job. Here are a couple of guidelines that have served me well, resulting in me being selected as the successful “bidder”:

1. Never, ever, give a “ballpark figure” for the project; you’ll surely overlook something if you provide an estimate on the spot. It’s just impossible to quickly throw together a figure while under the pressure of “I want an estimate now.” Instead, gather information by asking open-ended questions and let your caller know you’ll get back to her quickly with the estimate.

Why I Don’t Quote Prices via Email

michelle kawka

Thanks to New York Photographer Michelle Kawka for this guest blog post.

Often times, I will get a price request for my photography services via email. Generally, the inquiry looks something like this:

I need a photographer for X photo or video project or event and it is on X day and time. Are you available? How much do you charge? Please email me back with your price.

To which my email response is generally along the lines of:

On Selling, Negotiating, Commodities & Differentiation

Negotiating for PhotographersThis essay originally appeared in the handbook given to attendees of the American Society of Media Photographers‘ (ASMP) very successful Strictly Business three-day conference series earlier this year. The essay is reprinted here in its entirety. (ASMP’s updated-daily “Strictly Business” blog is another great resource for photographers.)

Selling and Negotiating.  The words strike fear into almost every creative person I’ve met.  As creatives in the photography business, we love to take pictures and have a strong desire to satisfy our clients.  The selling process, by its very nature, involves give and take, and at some point along the way, we’re likely to not give the client (or potential client) everything he or she wants. And, keep in mind that sometimes we won’t get everything that we want. That’s negotiating.

But We’re a Non-Profit!

At one time or another we’ve all received this call. Usually the conversation goes something like this:

Client: “We have a project coming up, we saw your website and absolutely love your work. We’re looking for a photographer we can build a relationship with.”

Me: “That’s great, thanks for the compliment, tell me a bit about your project.”

The client gives you the details, closing with, “And as you probably know, we’re a non-profit, so please give us your non-profit rate.”

It’s at about this time I want to blurt out in response to their, “but we’re a non-profit”: “WELL, I’M NOT!”

A Potential Client’s Website Speaks Volumes

When a new potential client calls on the telephone, one of the first things I do is look up the caller’s website.

What I’m looking for are two things: their level of design sophistication and how they’re currently using photography. These two bits of information can give valuable clues to what sort of budget he or she might have for photography.

Lack of pleasing design and imagery might be a good indicator that I am talking with someone who has likely not historically spent money for higher end professional design or art. It might mean they’re used to working with budgets that are small or doing the work in-house.

Ideally, the client’s website makes good use of color, makes use of an attractive font, and it’s navigation is intuitive. It will also look as if it was created specifically for them instead of being made from a template.

Most of all, I’m trying to determine to what extent they use excellent photography. Does it look as though they’ve done a lot of it in house using a point-and-shoot with no lighting? Does it look professional? Do they credit the photographer?

This analysis takes just seconds and can be done during the initial part of the conversation. If it appears they haven’t worked with a photographer of your skills, you’ll know you have to spend a lot of time talking about the value you bring to the project. Put another way, you’ll need to convince them that you’re the correct person for the job and worth the money.

Remember, if you focus the conversation of price, the price will likely go down. Instead, focus the conversation on value, what you can offer that everyone else cannot, the price will likely go up.

Good luck!

(This article originally appeared on ASMP’s Strictly Business blog. Photo copyright 2010 Mary DuPrie, used with permission.)

How Do You Answer the Phone?

I know a photographer here in Detroit who answers his phone, “Studio.”

We get one chance to make a first impression. Don’t make it sound like you’re rushed and bothered to be taking a potential client’s call. I remember working in a toy store back in High School and thinking it was silly how they wanted us to answer the phone, but now I get it. In this age of “good enough” be grateful that your phone is ringing and the client didn’t go out and buy a Canon G10 so they tadalafil could take their own photographs!

Answer the phone with a smile, the caller will “hear” it on the other end. I’d suggest something like, “Firefly Studios, this is Blake.” It lets the person know they’ve reached your studio and who they’re talking to. Then let the conversation start. Two tips: be a good listener, and if you get in over your head, you can always let the FedEx guy save you!

Photograph by Tambako licensed under a Creative Commons license.