Monday, May 14, 2007

Teaching People

If every time you speak to a prospective client, you capitulate on demands, you deserve the bad deal you get. Last week, we had a client experience were we sent them an estimate with our standard limited rights package. First, they called, wanting to limit re-use, with the stated objective that the subjects didn't want to end up on my website, or as stock. Ok, I can work with that. Then they wanted a broader rights package, then they wanted 10 years' use, then unlimited. Then, when we outlined the additional fees that would apply, they balked, wanting to pay the original fees for the broadest of uses. Then they opted for just a five year package, but wanted, again, not to pay any additional fees. Then when we stuck to our guns, they started in with "is that the best you can do?", to which I responded, "yes", and stopped talking. Then they tried the "we are expanding in DC, and will need photography in the future, and want to be able to use you, and want to know, is this the best you can do for us?" I thought to myself - did I just hear an echo? "Yes, this is the best I can do. You've expanded the rights package, and, as such, the fees increase, that's only fair." "Ok, fine", was her response, and the deal was done.

It would have been easy to capitulate. My office manager herself said she would have just given in at some point. I told her "then you would have lost on that additional fee, which isn't anything to sneeze at."

We teach people how we expect/want to be treated. We teach people how much we value ourselves, and the work we do, and how we value that work. When we acquiesce to bad deals, we have only to blame ourselves.

ASMP has a great PDF - On Buying Photography, that helps you teach your clients about your work. I have a web page - On licensing and Usage, and Usage and Rights Analogized, that are helpful for clients. Dwight Cendrowski has a FAQ for clients.

If we remain, for example, in an abusive professional relationship, we are teaching people that it's ok to continue to treat us that way. Abusive relationships, in our personal life, are the same. Dr Phil says the about teaching others how we want to be treated, so I'll leave that aspect of the debate to him, but I do agree.

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Bryan Mitchell said...

John, I read your BLOG daily. That is great they went with you. My problem is everytime I have stuck to my guns so far this year the client walks. I figure I have lost a few thousand already in 2007. It is very hard to let thses jobs go when money, or lack of it, is a real problem right now. You don't feel very powerful intalks when you NEED the money. For me its bad enough I might have to find another job and leave photography, but I'm not giving up yet. (if it wasn't for weddings I would have folded long ago.)-Bryan

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