Explaining or Being Defensive? There’s a difference
As I sat there on the other line I was being questioned, “You charge $500?! And he doesn’t get 500 photos?”
I sat there in silence and let his words flow through the phone.. as a few moments passed I simply said, “Yes. That was the package he chose.”
I was asked,
“He only gets 24 hours to view his images before selecting the ones he wants?”
“He only gets 50 photos?”
“If you took 500, why can’t he get all 500.” First off, I typically do not take 500 for a head shot session, like ever. But, this gentleman’s concerns weren’t any judgement on me, although, it certainly could have seemed that way. His concerns were a reflection of the photographers he’d dealt with in the past. It was a reflection of his unanswered questions on why I do what I do.
As a business owner, I’m learning that sometimes I just simply have to explain my reasoning. For example, once I talked with this gentlemen more and listened to his questions, I realized what was going on. I didn’t get offended. Instead, I answered them to the best of my ability while trying to understand where he was coming from.
I said, “Yes, 24 hours is the time the gallery is left online. In the past, we use to have it opened ended, and the Client could tell us what images they wanted. However, months and years would pass before our Clients would ever select there images, therefore, we put a time limit on the galleries, which in return, they get the images that they’ve already paid for.”
He only gets 50 photos?! Why not 500.
I do not take 500 pictures during a head shot session. I don’t discuss how many I take, but it is certainly not that many. However, I use to take hundreds of photos, and I use to give the Client all of the images. Then, I began having people come to me and saying, “Why aren’t you narrowing it down for me?” “You’re the photographer, aren’t you suppose to be choosing the best of the best?” “I hired you to tell me what looks good, and what doesn’t.” “This many photos is overwhelming, I haven’t even looked at them all and it’s been over a year.” Needless to say, my clients concerns made perfect sense to me. Why should my Clients have to narrow it down and sit there and look at 20 similar photos? I should be doing them the service of narrowing down the images, looking at the details, etc. They’re trusting me and my expertise. So, my policy changed and I now narrow down the images for my Clients.
At the end of the conversation it was smooth sailing. He respected me for my boundaries, for telling it like it is, for taking the time to explain our studio polices, for explaining our “why”, and overall my genuine honesty. See, he wasn’t my Client, he was someone that was helping my Client choose their images for head shots. My Client trusted this person and wanted me to talk with him, so I did.
All in all, when someone questions you, learning how not to take offense is key as a business owner.
At least in my book.