I’ve been mulling over this post in my head for months now, finally getting it typed out. Just when I was about to hit post I came across this fabulous post by Lara McCulloch-Carter (aka @ready2spark) regarding the similar topic. I’ve followed Lara for YEARS and she is brilliant. And in her particular post there is an awesome, must-see video.
You’ve heard the cliche, “the customer is always right”. I’ve never really liked that saying. Of course, customer service is critical to any business and going above and beyond solidifies yourself among your competitors.
However, having a spine like a jelly fish (do they have spines?), will not help you or your client.
This is why.
Clients make demands or requests based on their needs or wants. It is our responsibility to educate our clients as to why their need or want is not feasible based on our experience. You will do yourself no favors by making promises or agreeing to ideas that you cannot deliver.
Example: You’re a photographer that is a “fast shooter”. At the client consult they are running down their rough timeline and they are literally giving you 45 minutes to shoot: the whole family (both sides), entire wedding party (all 16 of them) and then bride and groom photos.
I don’t care how experienced you are, you know that you need more time. You can’t make more minutes in an hour, nor can you expect 30 people to respond quickly like robots at a wedding to be able to get the 100 portrait requests.
Do yourself a favor and let them know this information up front. Their expectations will not be met by you, nor any other photographer. Something will give and it will probably be less photos shot. Which they won’t know until after the wedding. And they will not be happy.
Remember though, don’t come from a place of “no”. Instead offer up some suggestions and alternatives for them to consider. You’ll appear firm, knowledgable and have the ability to generate new ideas.
ps I had to google if jelly fish do actually have a spine. Alas, they do not, says cha cha. But you get the point.