When I hear about a photographer telling about a client that was annoyed or angry at them for something, most often it can be traced back to unmanaged expectations. In other words, you didn’t prep your client to expect something in particular. Most people don’t like surprises. I know I don’t. Okay, surprise birthday parties excepted!
Here are some key times to manage your client’s expectations:
- On the initial phone call let them know all that is involved in working with you. If you require separate consultation and viewing appointments in addition to the actual session, let them know the time commitment in working with you.
- At some point either in the initial phone conversation or during the design consultation, talk about pricing so your client knows what to expect. Even if it only a range, or what clients “typically spend”, something is better than nothing.
- At the design consultation let them know how the session will work so they know what to expect and how the day will go.
- If you think that the animals are going to be difficult to photograph because they won’t cooperate, let the client know. You will do the best you can, but you are limited by what the animal will allow you to do. Don’t let the client think you are a miracle worker, because you aren’t. Right?
- At the session, if you are getting great images, let the client know. On the other hand, if there are problems with the animals, it might be obvious to you, but maybe not to the client. Say something. Gently. The client shouldn’t have to wait until the viewing appointment to find out you didn’t get what they wanted.
- After the session, tell the client what to expect at the viewing appointment. Tell them about the process, how much time will be involved and that they will place their order then. Tell your client how to prepare for the viewing and ordering appointment by measuring their wall space and listing gift recipients (assuming they haven’t already done so).
- At the viewing and ordering appointment, before you get started, tell them how it will work. Be honest about the images they are about to see. Remind them again that they will be placing their order at this appointment.
- One thing to remember about managing YOUR expectations- if you have been dealing only with one spouse throughout the process and the other spouse decides to attend the viewing, do not expect that the first spouse shared any pricing information. Head off sticker shock by introducing pricing gently in case the first person didn’t share that information with their spouse!
- Lastly, tell the client when to expect delivery. Remember, under promise and over deliver. Give yourself enough time to do the work and deliver the order early!
There you go. A few ideas about making sure your client knows what to expect and there are no unpleasant surprises. Managing expectations will go a long way to having happy, repeat clients!
Do you have any suggestions about managing expectations. Comment below and share them!