A few days ago, I received an interesting call from someone inquiring what it would cost to get traditional portraits for the website. That's an easy enough answer and I certainly could have rattled off the price right there and booked the job. Instead, I asked, "So what do you mean by 'traditional portraits?'"
"We'd like them to have a similar look to what you might see on the wall of a legal firm, you know...black background, very formal, seated with arched back and slight head tilt, and suit and tie, of course," he replied confidently.
So now I should give the caller a price, right? Yet, I dug a little deeper..."What kind of industry are you in?"
"We are an XYZ agency." the gentleman answered.
"And how would you describe your target client?"
"Hmm..." he began. "That's a really good question. Well, I guess I would describe them mostly as young Millennials who are beginning to make their first big purchases in life and trying to learn how it fits with their financial wellbeing. They are seeking an authentic relationship with someone who can guide them to the right decisions that fit their unique needs."
"Great, can you tell me about the personality or culture of your office..."
"When people come into our business, we want them to feel like this is their living room, that they can hang out and chat with us like friends. We want to be advisors they feel they connect with and can trust." the caller explained proudly.
"Have you considered that the portrait you are asking me about might be the wrong style for your type of business?" I asked.
"Uh, what do you mean?" he asked slowly.
So I laid it all out for him, saying “We could create super high-quality, formal portraits, but you just told me that your ideal, young, and casual client wants to buy from someone who is real and relatable, that your team is trying to be relaxed and friendly, and that your role should be perceived as an accessible guide who is willing to walk alongside them, right?”
"Oh, I see what you mean," he said as the realization settled upon him. The problem was a severe mismatch between what he thought they wanted and what they actually needed.
Initially, had I answered the call and just given the price he wanted, I certainly could have sold a more expensive service. However, an authentic relationship is important to me as well, so I believe it is more important to first take the time to listen and understand.
Consider for a moment the last person you spoke to when researching a product/service…maybe it was another photographer. Did they just list out their packages or did they ask thoughtful questions to identify where you were coming from and where you wanted to go? Did they give you a one-size-fits-all price, or were they intentional about seeking an understanding of your needs and providing a helpful solution that fit?
By digging into the real needs, I was able to share how we could help our client avoid a big waste of money by simply going a different route that was more in-line with their goals and why it would close the gap between their current brand issues and what their clients actually desired. The bottom line is, despite having the best website and nicest marketing materials, it would all be completely pointless with the wrong images.
When you call us with a photography need, I am committed to taking the time to ask meaningful questions, get to know your industry and to understand the goals and dreams you have for your company before I try to win your business!