Your client meetings are one of the most important focus points when it comes to your business. It also happens to be one of the most intimidating moments when you are starting out your business – so here are a few tips for dealing with clients.
No. 1 – ALWAYS be on time, if not early.
Timing is key. Showing up late to appointments makes your clients feel as though they are not a priority to you. It also makes them wonder whether you will be able to show up on time on the day of the event they are looking to book you for.
No. 2 – Offer a unique product.
There are probably hundreds of people offering the same general product as you in your area – what sets you apart? Think about your client meeting as a sales pitch – what is it that you can offer them that nobody else can?
No. 3 – Make your client the centre of your universe.
During your client meeting, turn your phone onto airplane mode. For the next thirty minutes to an hour, all that matters is your client. Make sure that you are giving them your undivided attention.
No. 4 – Make it personal.
Take the time out to really get to know your client. Get to know their story in and out. Treat them like a friend. Your outcome will always be better if your client feels comfortable around you, and nobody feels comfortable around a stranger.
No. 5 – Listen to the clients wants and needs.
Make sure that you don’t brush off any of the clients wants or needs simply because they are inexperienced in your field of expertise. If they have a certain editing style which they prefer, have a discussion on how that style could work for the shoot in question. If they have shots which they wish to get from the day, listen to them and take note. Make sure you deliver on the specifics which are requested.
No. 6 – Make contracts.
I cannot stress the importance of this point enough. It is crucial for any agreement to be made in writing with signatures under the dotted line. This will cover both your own butt as well as your clients – JUST IN CASE. Even if it’s your friend. For a post on the importance of writing contracts with your friends, click here.
No. 7 – Cover all the bases.
Go over all the hypothetical scenarios which may arise on the event day (weather changes, last minute schedule changes, cancellations, etc). Make sure that you are covered no matter what happens, and that there is an agreement in place for all of the hypothetical situations.
No. 8 – Consistent communication.
Even after the event has finished and you are editing the images – make sure that your client feels valued. They are probably itching to view the finished product, so don’t brush them off. Send them sneak peeks. Send them a thank you message for hiring you and tell them you’re so looking forward to getting them the product. If in doubt about two edit styles, ask the client which they prefer. Consistent communication will keep making the client feel as though you want to give them the best product possible.
No. 9 – Never hand a client a product you are not proud of.
If you are not impressed with your work (and let’s be honest – we all might have those days), do your best to salvage what you can. If it is a shoot which can be re-staged, offer to take the images again. It’s better to try again until you get a product you are proud of handing a client, than to give them work which both you and they are not pleased with. Make sure to have honest communication with them. Your lifeline is your clients. We all rely on client reviews. Make sure that everything that leaves your edit suite is worthy of that praise, and if the product isn’t – make sure that you have handled the situation with the best attitude possible where at least your personality will get an excellent review.
No. 10 – Know when it’s time to close a case.
Sometimes clients are insufferable. There’s a reason that www.clientsfromhell.net exists. Make sure that you aren’t being stomped on and know when it’s time to let someone go. Make sure nobody is taking advantage of you. This is why you write contracts, so you know what is your obligation and what isn’t. Sometimes the best thing you can do is simply respond with “I apologise that you feel that way, but I have held my end of the bargain. If you feel that I have somehow not reached our contractual agreement, please let me know how and I will be glad to explain further. Have a good day.”
About the author:
Viivi here. You may see my name on a few posts around here. I’m a photographer currently based in Plymouth, UK. I travel with Viivi N. Media worldwide covering weddings, engagements, portraits and family shoots. Head over to our Facebook group and let’s have a chat!