3 Steps to Win the Client Over After the Initial Creative Call
Question: When an art producer makes the initial creative call to me, how can I indicate my creative compatibility and a willingness to collaborate on the project? Are there questions I should be asking, such as what their vision is, and then express mine?
When an art producer reaches out regarding a potential project, this is your time as a photographer to step up to the plate and shine. Obviously, there is already some form of interest in you, your capabilities and your voice. So you need to make an impression that puts you over the top as THE photographer for the project.
Step One: Prepare for the First Call
The initial phone call is the time to gather as much information as possible. You must:
- Listen, take notes and think on your feet
- Show your interest in the project, the client, the brand and the people that are involved
- Make sure the conversation is interactive - listening is just as important as questioning
- Ask purposeful questions
- Pose some initial “potential” ideas or solutions
So what are the questions that you want to ask when you are on the initial phone conversation? Be sure to ask all the basic, yet important questions like:
- What is your vision?
- Does the brand have a certain style that you need to achieve or continue?
- What are your feelings on how you would like to approach this project?
- Are there any set parameters that we must contend with if and when we move forward into production?
- Budget, time constraints, location stipulations, media usage, product availability, talent needs or expectations, client approvals, etc.
Asking these questions demonstrates that you have an understanding of everything that may come into play when working on a production. It also shows that you have a strong grasp of how to handle a project whether big or small.
At the end of the call, suggest that you’d like some time to review the specs and that you will be back in touch (specify when) to have a collaborative discussion. Then it’s time to get to work.
Step Two: Make the Most of What You Know About the Project & Client
Now that the call is over, you need to do your research. Find out as much as you can about the creative team that you could potentially be working with, the type of projects that they have worked on, the brand vision for the client and consider what you can bring to the table to make you their answer for the project under consideration. Also, try and learn who your competition is and gather information about them as well.
Once you have a better understanding of the client, take this insight and begin to weave your magic:
- Prepare a competitive bid that fully lays out all of the items and crew members needed to handle this project.
- Provide potential options to allow the team to collaborate on the final solution, but come to the table with your perspective and how you would suggest handling the project.
- Create mood or style boards* that specifically outline your thoughts for how you would suggest moving forward in partnering with the creative and the client to bring their project to life. Pull examples of styles and create strong descriptions that provide perspective and vision for how you would like to move forward.
*Style or mood boards should include, but are not limited to:
- Styling/Props/Hair & Make-up/Locations/Surfaces
- Inspirational Swipe
- Production plans
Step Three: Win the Bid
Go back to the conversation you had with the creative and their thoughts and direction for the project. Make sure that your solution and approach ensures their vision will be executed, and then push the envelope. Today’s creatives not only want to make sure that their vision will be executed, but they are also looking for a creative collaboration with a photographer who can bring something more to the table. They want an artist who will push the project as far as possible to potentially take the finish to a whole new place that may not have been dreamt of previously.
You truly need to find alignment with the vision that is initially articulated when conversations begin with creatives, but, you MUST also find a way for your voice, perspective and style to shine too. All of this can be accomplished with information, research, a little bit of intuition and an extra dash of creativity and inspiration!
Katherine Hennessy is a representative and consultant with a proven track record based upon a strong creative background, practical and street-smarts education, and high ethics, paired with agency experience, relationships throughout the photographic industry, and pure gut instinct. kate & company
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