At the Nikon AIPP Event in Hobart this year, Blake Discher provided some great suggestions for handling telephone calls for commercial photographers.
“Most people only want to book you based on price – let those people go.” According to Blake, they are not the right clients for the long term.
“You’ll also hear clients tell you they are a non-profit business. However, I’m not and I tell them so, but I do it nicely because you never know when you might get recommended in the future.”
So how do you deal with a client when they ask straight out, ‘How much’? “What you need to know is your value. What do you do better than everyone else? This is what you have to figure out before you answer the phone because you can’t compete on price forever.”
So what are you good at? “Maybe it’s your photography style, the speed at which you work, or your people skills. you need to figure it out. And then you may still need to increase your value by providing something additional, especially if you’re not delivering enough for the price you want to charge.”
Blake explained that your job on the telephone is to listen and to ask open ended ques tions. Don’t ask yes or no questions because they won’t lead to a conversation. you want your prospects to talk about the job and their business. your job is to be an active listener.
“Don’t take people beating you up on price badly because that’s their job, to get you as cheaply as possible. your job is to show them the value of what you do and to get the price back up.”
And never educate the client about the costs of your business. “They don’t care if your camera is expensive or if you take extra time in post-production. All they care about are the pictures.
At the end of a conversation, Blake will say it has been great talking to them and that he’ll send them an estimate for the job. “I also explain that if I’m not the most expensive, I’ll be in the top two and then I explain why. I explain my values and why they should hire me. And then when I have finished, I ask them if they have any questions they’d like to ask me.
Blake Discher specialises in photographing people for editorial, advertising and corporate. He is also an international presenter and works closely with the ASMP in the USA. He writes a regular blog on negotiating, sales and web marketing which you can register for at www.groozi.com.