So, what are we, give us an idea of, what are we negotiating today?
It's usually going to be either commercial photo session, or a web job.
Okay, so, well, let's decide on one or the other. So are we gonna do a web design, or are we gonna do photography?
Let's go photography.
Okay, let's go for photography. And is our intention, in this, is it to have the clients under contract, or to agree to, for you to be the photographer, or is it a preliminary conversation? What's the intention for our first contact?
Well, I'd like to get a contract signed, generally.
Okay, so let me ask you this. When you go into, when somebody calls you, do they tend to sign a contract, the first time you talk to them?
No, I'm usually information gathering on a first call. So I'd like to find out from them as much information as I can get. I'm usually asking, you know, what, setting, where are the images gonna be going, where are they gonna be used? What usage rights, that sort of thing. So I can f...
ind out, you know, what kind of a budget that they're looking at, and then try to build as much of that in, as possible. What size is the client, you know, as much information as I can possibly get there.
So what I'm hearing you saying is not that you're, generally, your first conversations with your clients are closing calls. What I'm hearing from you is that the first conversation is a fact-finding, more exploratory phone conversation.
It depends on the size of the client.
Okay, so. Well, you want to look at this very realistically. I know you prefer to have this be a closing call. But if the first conversation tends to not be a closing call, then you're setting yourself up for failure every single time. Because, then, if, let's say, 60 or 70%, or 80% of your phone calls, are exploratory, which I probably think they are. You may have 20%, or 30% closing. Then the intention might be to figure out, is this a closing call, or is this a fact-gathering conversation? So that would be also a good intention, because that determines which way you go, on your negotiation. Because there's nothing wrong with having two negotiation prep sheets ready to go, and have the first intention be figuring out which one is it, right?
Mm-hmm. But I want you to not set yourself up for disappointment. If they just want information from you, and you think you're closing, and then you can't close, because they're not ready to close. Because then you go like, it's just not working. So would it be okay to set the intention as a fact-finding, or an exploratory, which kind of phone call it is?
Yeah, yeah, no, I always do best if I can them into a meeting. So if I can get into, my best arena is to get into a face to face, or if I can get to where I can pitch, the more I can talk, and the more we can discuss, that generally works best.
And what do you think your intention should be?
To get into a sales meeting, or to get with. (laughs)
To get there.
Yes, put that in the intention. If you know that that's how you do best, then your intention is, get them to the table, as fast as you possibly can. Great intention, because, then we don't need to do all this other fancy stuff. Because then she can work with what she works with and figure out what the clients want and then think on her feet. But yes, great, wonderful. So, now they're in front of you. So what must you get from then, and where are you negotiable? For example, do they have to pay you?
Eventually, yeah. (laughs)
Yes, okay, so, no free jobs, I must get paid, paid jobs, that's a must-have. What else is a must-have? Do you have to like them, or do you not care?
No, I need to like them.
You must like them, or it's okay if you like them? Tricky, I know.
Well, no, so I've been in business a long time. And there's got to be generally a good vibe. So I've learned, over the years, that bad fit is bad business, and saying no, learning to say no is probably the best lesson I've ever learned in business.
Good, so then you put that in the must-have. I must like my clients. You know, some people don't care, because they have a system, and they just put them in, and they're snap-snap, and they're done. But that's not you, so your must-have is, you actually have to like them. You have to be able to have a rapport with them. So your must-haves are get paid, like the client, anything else? This is good stuff.
Sorry, just writing.
No, no, no, you're supposed to write this down. All right, let's talk about the negotiables. You said, get paid eventually.
Well, that was more of a joke. (laughs)
No, no, no, no, yes and no. Of course you're gonna get paid, but, for example, the reason I heard this is because, that could mean that they don't necessarily have to do a deposit.
No, they do, they absolutely do.
So that's a must-have.
I do have, as part of my agreement, there is a deposit, there are terms for that. And those are part of the must-haves. They do have to fit my payment terms.
Okay, so the down payment is a must-have. Is the duration in which they're gonna pay negotiable, or not?
Not really, no. So that's 30 days, or 15 days, or day of the shoot. Okay, good, so, now, see how we are now adding up more must-haves in this negotiation? And what's a negotiable for you?
There are, so, negotiables for me, I don't do discounts, but I will do added-value things. That's something I've learned over the years is I will not take money off, but I will do added-value things for clients. So I will throw, I'll give them, maybe, make them feel like they're getting extra things from me. Maybe a little extra time, or a little extra, in terms of digital products, or things like that. Depends on what the job is.
Good, so this is where you would put all of that in, now, in the negotiables, where you say that your must-haves are the fees, and the payment terms. But the negotiables are how much you're willing to give to them, so that's wonderful. Now, once you sit with them at the table, what's the objective that you want to achieve?
Well, ideally, I'd like to book, so. (laughs)
Sign at the dotted line, that's your objective to achieve. It's important that you get clear, when they come in, that you say, Now, we went through this, we went through this, we went through this, and now I'm gonna ask for the close. What reasonable benefit does your client have, working with you? Why would they hire you, and what's in it for them?
With, again, kind of, with all clients, so. I talk to them about, um, so, I'm a lifestyle and environmental portrait photographer, primarily, so most of my clients are coming to me because they want to get images that are gonna help them come across as being more personable, or give people a real sense of who they are and what they do. So, for some of my clients, to get people in the door, or increase sales, or, for other portrait clients, just because they want to feel more beautiful or whatever it is. It's meant to increase sales for them.
So what I recommend here, then, to do, because it sounds like there's a variety of different reasons people have. Ask them, and I would put that very much in the front of the conversation. Say, what is it that you want? What would you like to get out, what would make it successful for you?
And I research them first, so I generally walk in and I tell them. (laughs) That's part of the pitch.
Well, there's two trails of thought about this. So, one is to do all of the research. And then have them come in, and already know a bunch of stuff, and then there's this phenomenal designer, out of Los Angeles, who actually taught me something that I never thought about. And this might work for some of you. He says, I do no research. And the reason I don't do any research is because I want them to come in, and I want them to explain it to me. And if I can understand what it is that they want, good. But if they can't explain it to me in such a way that I can actually understand it, I know there's a disconnect, and it'll really change the way I approach the job. So that would be another way to go about it, depending on how good you are with your intuition. Putting that together. But I believe that it's good for you to ask. It's good for everybody to always ask, what do you want, what would make this very successful? And if you remember, at the very beginning of this particular class, what do I ask you? What do you want, and what will make this very successful? Because you want people to start thinking about what creates success. Then, when you close, at the end, the what's in it for them, guess what you do? You just repeat it back to them. You said, when you came in, that, this will be very successful if we do this, as you can see, we went through the whole thing, and we have arrived, but if we do this and this and this, which is your skillset, then we arrive. At the logical conclusion that you get exactly what you want, please sign right here. Does this make sense, in the negotiations? Does this help you a little bit, to get your head around this, any questions?
No, I think I just need to circle back. I think, for me, my biggest challenge in some of this, as I've been transitioning between, or bouncing between different size clients. I don't always, um, I don't always, I think what I do. I think it's just a head thing for me, like, I need to go, yes, I can get the big clients in, and treat them the same way that I do the little ones. And it's really more of something I do in my own head, that I can go, why don't I get the big ones in for a meeting the same way as I do the little ones, and just talk to them the same way, because... I'm perfectly capable of doing that. If I sit down with them, then there's no reason I can't do this.
That's only, like, huge, what you just said. I mean, can we like... (Beate and audience applaud) That's exactly right, is it the same amount of work?
It's really just about me knowing that I can talk to them, instead of going, ah.
Exactly, so, to secure that huge client is the exact same amount of work as it is to secure the small client. Which client should you go after first?
Probably the bigger one. (laughs)
Well, thank you so much.
This has been phenomenal, I appreciate you sharing this with us. So did you get something out of this? Yes? How about our live audience, did we get any feedback?
We have Jennifer who is saying, very good information, I'm weak in negotiating. And so this was really helpful. She says she works a regular hourly job, but she is wanting to start her own business. She's an artist and a crafter and is trying to rebrand herself right now, so that, that was really helpful for her, so thank you, Nicole.
Yeah, thank you very much. And I know it's a little awkward, sometimes, to be up here and be so on the spot. So it does take a lot of courage to do that. So I really thank you very much, for allowing me to probe you a little bit, and go with you through this. It's really unbelievable on how much other people who are watching this, take away from this, because they can identify with you. And they say, well, you know, I'm probably the same way. So I get it, but, you had, that was exactly, I couldn't have said, I couldn't have set it up any better than what you arrived with. Is the big ones are just as much work as the little ones. So let's go for the big ones first. (laughs)