Tuesday Tutorial: When to Part ways with a Client
While I personally subscribe to the we work for our clients and will try to accommodate any requests that come my way from a client, there are times that one has to realize and walk away from a client that isn’t a good match. How do you know when if any time is a good time to do such a thing? How does one go about “firing” a client? Here are some ways to figure out if it is time.
When it could be time:
They are asking for images out of your skill set. It is never ok to lie to a client or potential client about what you can and can’t do, so if they are dead set on backlit shots and you haven’t got that down, you may want to suggest a new photographer for them.
If the very thought of working with them puts you in a bad mood or makes you uncomfortable, it is time to suggest someone else.
When a client continuously compares you to and keeps asking for your competitors pricing even after booking with you. This is a relationship will be continuously awkward and forced-She won’t be 100% satisfied and neither will you. It is best to let her go to the competitor instead of fighting her on pricing.
When a client pushes to change your standard contracts or asks you to do or allow illegal ‘things’, it is time to fire your client.
If you ever feel abused in way by a client, yes this happens folks, it is best to end that relationship stat.
When it is not time:
When a client asks for selective color or weird blur effects. No it isn’t what you do, nor is it in your profile, but if they are paying for it, why not make them happy. Asking for something like this is not a fire the client option in my book.
When a client wants to do their own hair and makeup. Sometimes we have clients that are very particular about their hair and makeup and that is ok, it does not mean you “fire them”. If you force her to use your hair and make up artist and she isn’t comfortable from the get go you are doing her a disservice and making your job 100 times harder in the selling department.
It is not ok to fire a client for asking a lot of questions. They are nervous! they need reassurance and to feel secure, and that is your job. Answer their questions with a smile and make them feel comfortable-and you will have a wonderful client for life.
It is not time to fire a client when their look doesn’t match your portfolio. It is never ok to turn down or fire a client because of some physical trait or characteristic they have or don’t have. Not only does it hurt your business but more importantly it hurts your would be client-and again, that is never ok.
Trust your gut!
At the end of the day ‘red flags’ make or break a booking. If a potential or already booked client keeps giving you red flags and bad vibes, my limit is 3 of them, it is probably time to send them packing. Make sure you have a list of alternative photographers to outsource to in these once in a blue moon times along with a kind a gently worded response like: “Hey potential client, I am so glad you chose me to work with however i really feel that so and so over at ‘whatevertheirnameis photography’ will be able to service you better than I am able currently. Here is their information and I hope that you have a wonderful week, and enjoy the experience with them. sincerely, whaterveryournameis.”
If they are already booked rephrase that to include something along the lines of “Thanks for booking me, but I feel that so and so’s vision over and blahblahblah photography will better suit your needs. I will be refunding your retainer and any money you have paid towards your session in the next 24 hours.” then actually refund their money!
Do not end a relationship on a bad note and always try to end it positively, even when ending it prematurely. it is very important in maintaining your brand and a positive business outlook. Hope you don’t have to fire anyone any time soon, but if you do, or have, let us know in the comments below. “The time I had to fire a client…”