May 30, 2012

The Importance of Preconsultations

by Rachel Brenke


Business doesn’t rest solely in the shooting and delivery of product for photographers.  Marketing and pre-consultations are a part of the cost of doing the business, as well as a critical aspect of retaining business.  Without these being incorporated consistently into the business workflow there is potential for miscommunication and lost business through failed client expectations.  When approaching a pre-consultation it is important to represent your business faithfully and fully inform the client.


First, let the client know what your policies are, whether by a client guide or contract.  Laying out pricing and contractual policies will prevent future potential issues that could damage a working relationship.  Ensure that you are outlining your own expectations and honestly describing what you can deliver..  Include information about product turn around time, required product purchase deadline, method of delivery, and any other information that is pertinent to maintaining a professional and worry-free photography experience.


Second, ask questions that lend to a complete understanding of what your client expects and envisions for their session.  By explicitly asking the client’s expectations the mystery is gone, placing the responsibility on the client to relay their desire. This will give you an artistic foundation on which you can build the ideal session.   Reiterating the client’s expectations back to them will put them at ease as you take this personable side of the business transaction a step farther.  Photography sessions are already riddled with anxiety as many people are not comfortable in front of the camera. By consistently and adequately portraying your desire to fulfill the client’s wants and needs, it will lessen the anxiety and open the lines of communication.


Third, educate your client.  Now is the time to educate your client on items that fall outside the realm of contractual necessities.  This includes items such as styling tips, special props to bring to the session (if requested), video services, etc. 


Finally, use this pre-consultation time to express your excitement and appreciation for the client. Nothing leaves a bad taste in the client’s mouth more than feeling like another business transaction.  Be personable. Without clients you wouldn’t have a business. You should make them feel more than just a revolving door, so let them get to know you.  Show them you’re a person, too! The most important marketing aspect that you have is yourself.  Let the clients  get to know you outside of being their new photographer.


Pre-Consultation sounds overwhelming, but putting the extra effort on the front end of the business transaction sets the stage and tone for the remainder.  Utilize it to the fullest.  The clients have chosen you for your product and business manner. Don’t give them any reason to doubt your capabilities when you can ward off potential issues with this pre-consultation plan.

1 comment:

Cindy L. said...

Great article Rachel!