Convincing a prospect that your work is worth paying for at or above your asking price boils down to how well you can communicate value.
If you already have the basics covered: a great website showcasing your photography portfolio and range of services, an active social media presence, and a network that brings in regular referrals — your last touchpoint will almost always be a meeting to hash out the details and seal the deal.
Even the strongest referrals will still need a good deal-closer. Meetings tend to work best in this area. You can be both personable and professional in a meeting.
Your unique perspective and insights can be fully expressed in your own words. You can also get a verbal commitment from your client that can have the psychological effect of solidifying the deal before the contract is signed.
Photography booking meetings also have more staying power than an email thread or a proposal with an attached quote. Your prospect might have fielded a lot of offers and will likely go with whoever left the strongest impression.
So, think of your first meeting as the opening act of your ultimate finisher. Your goal is to assuage any doubts that your client might have about their project (budget, time, feasibility) and persuade them that you're the best fit for their specific needs.
You could structure your first meeting as a discovery call that helps you and your client get to know each other, or you could turn your initial engagement into a sales call, where you show off your best work and walk them through your process.
Whichever format booking meetings for photographers take, you'll benefit from seven key steps that should be a part of any face-to-face or online client interaction:
Your potential client might expect you to work on projects that are outside of your specialty. While a bar mitzvah might not seem like a stretch for a wedding photographer, an aerial drone shot of a Pelican migration might be too far out of scope.
Meetings make it easy to clear the air and dispel any mistaken notions on either side. You can qualify your lead by ensuring that their project is within your area of expertise, aligns with your going rate, and fits within your schedule.
Your initial quote might not have factored in a necessary trip to Alaska or included the time it would take to deep-fake the face of a drummer that fell out with the lead singer a week before the band's music video was scheduled.
Screening your client means more than just finding out if their project is workable and their budget feasible. They should be comfortable with your style and aesthetic, and appreciate your artistic approach.
You should dig into your prospect's background to see what their interests may be, so that you know ahead of time that a Goth-themed glamour series is exactly what they're looking for, and if they're a business, you can figure out what their key selling point is and try to echo their branding in your pitch.
Value is subjective. Your photo of another man's trash might be worth a lot to the garbage truck company that desperately needs great stock photos.
That's why explaining your process: the why and how you do what you do can go a long way into creating value in the mind of your prospect. They'll not only be able to reflect on the effort that goes into production, but they'll also understand that your process is vital to their success.
If your prospect is interested, you can delve into the nitty-gritty and give them a thorough view of what the project will entail. If they're not so keen on details, give a broader outline, and show them that you have a vision in mind that closely aligns with their goals.
Knowing how to direct the conversation and keep your prospect engaged is an art form in itself. But you'll get better with practice, and for that, you'll need to book even more meetings.
Unless you've honed in on a niche that few have experience in and your clients aren’t simply interested in online booking for photographers engaged in macro Lego shooting, you'll have to explain why your unique experience makes you the right person for the job.
Your experience doesn't have to be out of the ordinary. A long list of happy clients is just as persuasive as a famous portrait of Princess Diana.
Your prospective client already knows you can do the job once they've seen your portfolio. Your meeting is solely to convince them that you're their best option.
Understanding what is most important to your prospect and giving special attention to what they've highlighted will give them the impression that you're genuinely interested in their opinion and that you'll provide a high level of quality service.
More often than not your prospect will present a project that isn't structured properly. They may have missed a few key steps in their assessment or seriously underquoted certain aspects of the project.
Rather than give an outright no, you can use your first meeting to reduce the scope of the work, streamline their budget and retool the project until both parties are happy with the expected outcomes. A single meeting can turn a pie-in-the-sky deal into a down-to-earth project that has everyone on board.
With a meeting, you can introduce any partner service providers you recommend offhandedly, or ask for insight into your prospect's existing team composition (if they have one) so you know exactly where you fit in. A lot can get lost in an email thread, so a meeting can be the best place to rope in all the important stakeholders and make meaningful progress when discussing your work in the proposed project. Besides, such a friendly approach is bound to please your clients, so the next time they will book photographer online, you’ll be their No. 1 candidate.
It's harder to say no in person. That makes client meetings easier and harder to deal with. You'll want the terms to be favorable to you while still keeping your client excited about what you're offering.
Compared to a conventional sit-down, emails are terse and tend to look more like checklists than an ongoing conversation. If you arrive at the table prepared, with background knowledge on your client, an estimate of the cost of what they're looking for, and notes on prior conversations, then you'll be a much better negotiator.
Meetings often also have both the nuances of body language and intonation. You can usually tell if your prospect is interested or if they just can't wait to end the meeting and book photographer online from another company.
Use your meetings to test boundaries. Suggest additional services that you think a client might like and see if the idea catches on. Once you've established boundaries, you'll know which areas your client is flexible with and which areas you'll have to tiptoe around.
If the person you meet with is calling the shots and they like your pitch, push for some kind of commitment. Every meeting should end with an actionable step: book a follow-up meeting if needed, send a quote or an invoice, share a draft of a contract, or summarize what was discussed in neat bullet-points that will help your prospect recall the conversation and feel more empowered to quickly make a decision.
If you follow the outlined steps, you'll be able to close more deals in your first meeting and negotiate better terms in your follow-ups.
Of course, actually photography booking a meeting is your first step to getting more gigs with better pay. For that, you'll need the right tools. Use time management software like MeetFox to easily book meetings by including a booking button in your email signature or a simple link on your social pages.
You can also embed a booking page right on your website to have your prospective clients book a meeting with you when their interest has already peaked.
This daily planner app is also a great way to host your meetings. You can share a link to host a video call in your browser without the need to install anything—no plugins or downloads. It just works.
Your clients will be impressed by how easy it is to get in touch with you. Add some of your own branding to MeetFox, which can be customized with your logo, colors, and style, to give yourself a professional flair that will set you apart from other photographers that seem to be stuck in the Netscape era.