How to satisfy any photography customer?
Picture this: You receive a phone call from the client’s husband following a nice order and he is not happy about his wife purchases? Obviously, he was not present during the viewing of the images of his family.
It is more common these days to have some of our clients not understanding the true value of photographs. I often see photographers sell their price long before any mention of the word value. So, it is our duty to educate them on the importance of their images and what they will bring to their family heritage.
Unfortunately, some people can be aggressive in their comments and behaviour. Therefore, finding a resolution becomes more difficult.
5 steps to effective conflict resolution
Before going any further, this message is for photographers whose goals is NOT to be the cheapest deal in town. If your objective is to demonstrate value, elevate the perception of quality, then keep reading.
From the very first contact, you have to initiate a creative process once you have determined “WHY” this client wants these images. It is not during the unveiling of the images that it is time to sell the value and share your process and or prices. It’s too late then. You will most likely raise suspicions as the client may imply that he did not get the right information before making the proper decision.
Personalize each project according to the client’s needs while keeping it simple. Too many choices create confusion and a small order is often the result. You have to address the digital files issue as well. What is your policy on digital files?
Once the project is well defined, write a proposal with all the details you have discussed including sizes, prices and special arrangements. Do not give away your full price list that includes all your services. This will only confuse the client even more. Stick to the project at hand.
For the viewing session of the images, insist on having both decision makers on site. If one or the other cannot make it, suggest another date. Your justification: “This step is very important, because you will both live specials moments when viewing these images, therefore the choice has to be made by both parties.”
This is not negotiable and it must be said during the first meeting with the client, not after the session is done.
Once the photo session is done, set the date for the viewing and selecting experience. Go over the sales informations, once again as well as the products available. If there have been any modifications in the original concept, it is then that you bring it to their attention. They must accept the changes.
If you see a possibility for a misunderstanding, let the client voice his concerns then, here’s what you can say:
“Sir, I understand your request. Can I share a few details with you?
The large majority of my clients come to me for my creative talents and all have profound feelings for their loved ones.
They all have a special project in mind that involves getting good quality photography; a style that they cannot perform themselves.
My job is to transform their dreams into a physical reality in the form of printed images following a set business model that is appreciated by all or else, I would not have been in business for so long.
Do I make money with my talents? Yes, I do. For me, it is more than a job, it is my mission to serve my community. It is also a way to provide for my family.
Whatever you do to provide for your family, I am certain you do it with pride and honour.
This is where we share the same goals.
If you decide to cancel or modify the order, I am fine with this. My goal is to serve my clients the best way I can.
This is the reason why I cannot comply totally to your request.”
At this moment, keep quiet, do not say another word and let the other person speak.
You can modify this message to suit the situation.
Trust yourself and be ready to change, or even cancel the order. You will notice that the most aggressive client will eventually change the tone of the conversation.
In conclusion, solving conflicts is part of the process as well as gaining respect. Clients will respect you for having a structured system and you will respect yourself for being able to deliver total satisfaction.
Andre Amyot, otherwise known as the PhotoCoach, offers his training and coaching services to professional photographers since the year 2000. Before this, he was the owner of one of the largest commercial studios in Quebec, Canada for 25 years. His business generated more than $1,8 million sales. Today, Andre offers a new Photocoach online Business System, which delivers professional photographers the much needed solutions to reach their own level of success.