It’s not easy to be great at communication and negotiation. Often it takes years of practice to get good at the business part of the photography business. Communication feels fake and unnatural. You feel as if you are selling. Yikes. What can you do to get better?

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Just yesterday I was on the phone with a photographer client in the UK. He wanted to know how to bring the job home. He was uncertain as to how to ask for the close, how to steer the conversation in the right direction, and what do you do when the client wants to know how much it is going to cost them. After I hung up the phone I thought that this is a great idea for a blog post and started writing the seven essential things you need to know about communication and negotiation.

  1. Get clear about what the objective of your conversation is. What do you want to achieve? Do you want the client to confirm you as the photographer? Or get an idea of their budget? Do you want to walk away with shooting dates? Make sure that you keep going back to your objectives throughout the communication. Ask them point blank. What are good dates for you? I’d like to get this tentatively on the calendar because I tend to get booked up.
  2. Paint the picture. It is your job to create a visual picture that makes your potential client see what it’s like to shoot with you. Describe in great detail what you would do, the type of models, the location, the colors, etc. The more you can have your clients ‘see’ what you see the more likely you can close the deal. Ask them to add their details to this mental picture.
  3. Avoid using “F” words like features and facts and instead use “B” words like benefits and bonuses. When buying a Ferra