Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Pro Business Discussion => Topic started by: kevs on November 18, 2019, 11:03:39 pm

Title: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: kevs on November 18, 2019, 11:03:39 pm
I've noticed that of the 6-7 inquires I have gotten in the last few years,  from those are too busy to call to discuss their shoot,  none has ever ended up booking a shoot.
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: Rob C on November 19, 2019, 05:10:31 pm
I've noticed that of the 6-7 inquires I have gotten in the last few years,  from those are too busy to call to discuss their shoot,  none has ever ended up booking a shoot.


Are you sure it wasn't a fishing expedition, where all they want is a price to play around with for whatever reasons?

Rob
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: kevs on November 19, 2019, 05:19:00 pm
Thanks Rob. Well this last one from supposedly a UK company. It was sent from a legit company email. ANd he had some legit looking text about the job and a mood board.  This one did not seem scammy. Still all these Millenials who wont call to discuss their own inquiry. And even when I quote a rate, by email, just guessing as I don't have all info I need; I never get the gig... Yeah. I do think they are probably fishing for a cheap rate, and are with a cheap company that does not value photographers or quality.

 I could forward you the email if you want to PM me....
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: Martin Kristiansen on November 21, 2019, 02:35:27 pm
I wonít book a shoot until I have met the client face to face. Never been scammed.
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: kevs on November 21, 2019, 02:50:07 pm
Thanks Martin, great reply! You need a meeting, not even a call suffices.

But listen, the clients I'm writing about are not heavy duty big advertising. Small fry -- but not consumer.

Could be publicity company who has been hired to shoot some corporate headshots or an local event. These are not dreams job, but could pay, $500 to $1500 for a few hours.. So easy rent money.

I can't turn them down flat.. many are actually legit; but I find it highly annoying some (probably young millenials who don't use phone much), so wont call or do a call, even though I've emailed to call to discuss it - which would take 6 minutes or so.

That said, of 6-7 that I've emailed rates to, I've never gotten the gig anyway. So even though I need the money, and is probably legit.. I'm thinking of composing a letter that I can't do business with them and keep me in mind for future gigs that are important enough to call; or maybe just not respond to their response which informs me they don't have time to call, but need a general quick quote...
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: Martin Kristiansen on November 21, 2019, 03:04:14 pm
Different countries have different cultures though Kevs. What works for me in South Africa might not work elsewhere. Also I donít work much for agencies. I prefer to work directly for manufacturers and importers and distributors. I am particularly fond of manufacturers that are owner managed.

Years back most of my work came from Agencies. For many reasons I slowly got out of that and I pleased I did.
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: kevs on November 21, 2019, 03:11:36 pm
Martin, so of these companies, (and they sound small a bit like ones I get inquires from); How often you get an email, after your email requesting to talk live, where they respond they don't have time to call, but would just like a quote?
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: Martin Kristiansen on November 21, 2019, 09:35:25 pm
Martin, so of these companies, (and they sound small a bit like ones I get inquires from); How often you get an email, after your email requesting to talk live, where they respond they don't have time to call, but would just like a quote?

Once I get an email I call. I like to go from email to call to meeting. A bit old fashioned but Im almost sixty and it works for me. Its an interview process and from both sides. Pointless trying to work for someone when its not a good fit. If the person can't engage in this manner we are most likely not really going to be a good fit
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: Alan Klein on November 21, 2019, 10:13:09 pm
When I owned a construction subcontracting firm, the general contractors would ask for a quote for my work which required considerable time to review construction plans and work out an estimate.  They often had their regular subs who they would give the work too regardless.  But they needed a lower price to beat down their own sub's prices.  Waste of my time so I stopped giving them pricing or a really high price off the cuff.  This might not be the situation in your case.  I don;t know.  But it is the kind of thing that happened in my industry.   

People tend to shop around and ask numerous firms for prices so they can buy the lowest price, especially if it's a one-shot deal and they never need you again.  Regulat companies need dependable subs so they tend to go back to them often or just a few that they can depend on.  On the other hand, I've seen big firms only buy lowest price no matter what.  They're all kinds. 
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: kevs on November 21, 2019, 11:03:33 pm
Thanks Alan/ Martin again. so Alan, you concur that people who send email inquiries, of which I reply "sounds great, can you please give me a call...."   And they email back "I don't have time right now to call... but can you please send a quote .... You would not bother replying with a quote? Something fishy there? They are either weird or just fishing for the lowest bottom feeder photographer..?
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: Martin Kristiansen on November 21, 2019, 11:22:27 pm
Thanks Alan/ Martin again. so Alan, you concur that people who send email inquiries, of which I reply "sounds great, can you please give me a call...."   And they email back "I don't have time right now to call... but can you please send a quote .... You would not bother replying with a quote? Something fishy there? They are either weird or just fishing for the lowest bottom feeder photographer..?

Too busy to make to take a call so where will they find the time to brief properly or process an invoice and make a payment? Anyway an email takes no less time than a quick call and the call can quickly resolve issues and actually save time. Itís bullshit in my opinion.
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: Alan Klein on November 21, 2019, 11:23:01 pm
Thanks Alan/ Martin again. so Alan, you concur that people who send email inquiries, of which I reply "sounds great, can you please give me a call...."   And they email back "I don't have time right now to call... but can you please send a quote .... You would not bother replying with a quote? Something fishy there? They are either weird or just fishing for the lowest bottom feeder photographer..?
I don;t know if it's fishy, but it does sound like someone's fishing.    You could send an email back asking them when it would be convenient for you to call them to discuss the matter further.  You'd like to go over the details so you can be most accurate in your quote.  Especially if you never met them or worked for them before. 

Another thought.  Some organization need three quotes to give out the job to the lowest bidder.  They want to give it to someone they know but are required by organization rules to get multiple quotes.  So they called a few and submit the higher priced ones and then give it to their friend who has the low bid.  Or they just use your quote, give its price to their friend who submits a slightly lower quote and they award the "lowest bidder".   

That's why you want to meet someone.  To line them up.  They still could be playing games, but it gives you another chance to evaluate them and their honesty and forthrightness.  Like I said.  I don't know your business.  So I could be all wrong.
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: Martin Kristiansen on November 21, 2019, 11:26:06 pm
You can clearly hear that Alan has been around block in business and I agree with him totally.
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: Alan Klein on November 21, 2019, 11:27:19 pm
You can clearly hear that Alan has been around block in business and I agree with him totally.
Thanks Martin. You see.  We can agree on things. :)
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: kevs on November 21, 2019, 11:36:12 pm
Thanks guys. Ok well I might work on a short email reply to that, and post it later... I'll include that bit about me calling and it helps  me set up the price.

That said, most of those types (none of who I know at all yet), are probably just firing out a bunch of emails and want to get numbers fast... so obnoxious, but it is what it is.. again.. newer generation mostly who don't talk on phone as much.. The world of impersonal communication.. But this is not the norm.thankfully;  only get this type every few months.... again I  never land the job... So thinking of maybe not even replying at all to that.. but maybe I write a short two sentence blurb.
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: Alan Klein on November 21, 2019, 11:49:27 pm
Nothing wrong with responding especially if it only takes a couple of minutes.  People are busy, even millennials.  :)
Good luck.  Tell us how you made out.
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: Martin Kristiansen on November 21, 2019, 11:57:42 pm
Thanks Martin. You see.  We can agree on things. :)

Well of course. Why wouldnít we?
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on November 22, 2019, 12:24:11 am
Ok... Iíll admit...I am perplexed... what exactly is the issue here? People ask for a quote and then donít want to waste their time listening to a sales pitch? Perfectly normal, Millennials or not. I personally try to avoid a call at an early stage, when I just want to get an idea of what the price might be. All other reasons Alan mentioned are possible too. Especially obtaining three competitive offers.

Ever seen those websites where they promise to give you competitive offers for, say, car insurance, real estate, or mortgage? Before they display the results, they inevitably want your phone number to proceed. At that stage, I simply drop the inquiry and leave the site. Do I really want to give them my number, only to be called incessantly in the next few days by sales people?
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: kevs on November 22, 2019, 12:52:25 am
Thanks Slo for that perspective, gives some understanding on it... but in world on photography, most people will be ok with talking to the photographer about their job....
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: David Eichler on November 22, 2019, 01:47:25 pm
Ok... Iíll admit...I am perplexed... what exactly is the issue here? People ask for a quote and then donít want to waste their time listening to a sales pitch? Perfectly normal, Millennials or not. I personally try to avoid a call at an early stage, when I just want to get an idea of what the price might be.

I seem to recall that you are not a professional and you seem to be responding from the perspective of the sort of client under discussion here. There is nothing wrong with not wanting to speak with the photographer from their perspective. However, for many professional photographers, prospective clients whose only criteria is price are not the sort of clients on which to build a sustainable business. Aside from that, many photographers tend to need more information about the assignment than the prospect provides in the initial inquiry, and a phone conversation can sometimes be the most efficient way to achieve this.
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: kevs on November 22, 2019, 02:06:50 pm
David, great point. This guy from the UK, sent a mood board with all these complex portraits, and said he just needed some to "grab a few photos" - which is laughable -- from 2-4pm and did not have much info beyond that. I had  4-5 questions to price and shoot this.  He would not call. He said the date in a few days and just wanted a rate.

Would you even respond the that response, or maybe create a little blurb, for these dufas types?
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: David Eichler on November 22, 2019, 08:54:25 pm
David, great point. This guy from the UK, sent a mood board with all these complex portraits, and said he just needed some to "grab a few photos" - which is laughable -- from 2-4pm and did not have much info beyond that. I had  4-5 questions to price and shoot this.  He would not call. He said the date in a few days and just wanted a rate.

Would you even respond the that response, or maybe create a little blurb, for these dufas types?

There are a lot scam emails about photo assignments out there, especially ones that purport to come from major publications and seem to use valid email addresses.
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: Alan Klein on November 22, 2019, 09:17:54 pm
Well of course. Why wouldnít we?
I don't know.  For some reason I thought we didn't agree on things. Must be age on my part. Now it's nice to know we do.  :)
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: Martin Kristiansen on November 22, 2019, 10:06:10 pm
I don't know.  For some reason I thought we didn't agree on things. Must be age on my part. Now it's nice to know we do.  :)

Iím sure there are things we donít agree on. I have no issue not agreeing with people. Itís normal. The trick is to look at the argument the person is making and decide on its merits and to not disagree simply because of who made the argument. I admit that can be difficult at times with some people. Your arguments and insights on this thread agree with my own experiences and are well put and clearly useful to the general discussion.
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on November 22, 2019, 10:24:28 pm
I seem to recall that you are not a professional and you seem to be responding from the perspective of the sort of client under discussion here. There is nothing wrong with not wanting to speak with the photographer from their perspective. However, for many professional photographers, prospective clients whose only criteria is price are not the sort of clients on which to build a sustainable business. Aside from that, many photographers tend to need more information about the assignment than the prospect provides in the initial inquiry, and a phone conversation can sometimes be the most efficient way to achieve this.

David, you are right, that is exactly the point I wanted to make, that there are two players in this scenario, with opposite agendas. When I did do professional work, I used to do it initially face-to-face with their marketing director. I also used to deliver the final work in person, which gave us the opportunity to discuss what can be done differently next time (I did eight architectural projects for them). Before the next assignment, we would discuss it over the phone, if there are specific circumstances that differed from previous projects. You can hardly beat that type of communication.

If a client is really interested in you, they would call and discuss the project. What was described above sounds like a fishing expedition with a lower-level clerk just providing a ballpark to their boss. There is always an option to ignore such requests, as in all likelihood they wouldn't lead to a serious business. However, it wouldn't hurt to respond in brief, yet professional manner, as one never knows when it might turn into a gig, now, or perhaps months down the road.
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: tcphoto1 on November 23, 2019, 10:41:56 am
People are busy being busy and do not want or prefer not to speak on the phone. Many will send a note with the details that they chose to disclose and expect me to read their minds. Rather than give me the information I need to draft an estimate, they merely want a number for the project. They don't want to hear about licensing, travel expenses or anything else, just the number. When I receive these types of notes, I rely on my 25 years in the business and do my best to provide them with the basic quote. Let them process the information and compare it to the others they probably requested.
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: Alan Klein on November 23, 2019, 10:54:13 am
People are busy being busy and do not want or prefer not to speak on the phone. Many will send a note with the details that they chose to disclose and expect me to read their minds. Rather than give me the information I need to draft an estimate, they merely want a number for the project. They don't want to hear about licensing, travel expenses or anything else, just the number. When I receive these types of notes, I rely on my 25 years in the business and do my best to provide them with the basic quote. Let them process the information and compare it to the others they probably requested.

What's your percentage in getting the jobs?
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: kevs on November 23, 2019, 12:04:47 pm
TC so you reply, do you ever get these jobs.  I replied with quote 6-7 times over last few years, and I have never heard back. My guess is they are bottom feeders waiting for lowest number. That quality is not of importance, hence why wont call to talk..

Still this is rare, most will call/ talk.... but it's annoying enough to post ask....
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: tcphoto1 on November 23, 2019, 01:04:03 pm
What's your percentage in getting the jobs?

Thankfully, not many. These types are typically bottom feeders, they are not influenced by quality but only want the lowest price. The desirable clients are looking for quality images and typically want to establish a longterm relationship, those people want to discuss the project, see how well you communicate and understand their brand.
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: Alan Klein on November 23, 2019, 02:48:17 pm
Thankfully, not many. These types are typically bottom feeders, they are not influenced by quality but only want the lowest price. The desirable clients are looking for quality images and typically want to establish a longterm relationship, those people want to discuss the project, see how well you communicate and understand their brand.

It's like when you shop for a camera.  Buying on the internet is convenient.  But it's nice to handle the material, see how it fits in your hand.  Buyer and seller like to line themselves up with each other to feel each other out, to establish a relation.  Those that buy on price will only drop you like a hot potato if the next guy is cheaper by a nickel.  Then you got to chase them for payments.
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: kevs on November 23, 2019, 05:20:36 pm
TC I have never landed one, so debating weather to even reply, but you do reply because... you never know..?
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: chez on November 23, 2019, 08:12:30 pm
TC I have never landed one, so debating weather to even reply, but you do reply because... you never know..?

How much does it cost you to reply? I've been in other businesses that ask for ballpark quotes off a high level description of the project. They make a short list of potentials and provide much more detailed information where they expect a much more detailed ( much more cost to come up with the proposal ) proposal with final costs and deliveries. This is standard practice is many industries.

Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: kevs on November 23, 2019, 09:10:14 pm
Thanks Chez, well, I may reply to their email that they wont talk, but I think it will be a reply that I don't do business with those who don't don't.. but keep me in mind for future assignments where the job is important to talk live. Something to that effect.

I doubt that is even worth the effort.  But I don't think I'll continue sending rates as that takes some energy to calculate, and again, I never these no discussion gigs, as my rates are higher than most others, and my main selling point is quality.  I never find out if they like the quality as we are communicating only by  impersonal email.

but who knows. if I'm drooling for it maybe I send a rate, but rare. Again 95 % will call, but this is for those annoying 5% who wont.....
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: Martin Kristiansen on November 23, 2019, 11:34:55 pm
Imagine you phone a supermarket and say you need groceries for a family for a month, please send a quote. No you canít say how big a family or what they eat. How useful is that actually? Who has time for that type of crap.
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: chez on November 24, 2019, 09:11:19 am
Imagine you phone a supermarket and say you need groceries for a family for a month, please send a quote. No you canít say how big a family or what they eat. How useful is that actually? Who has time for that type of crap.

Why can't the e-mail contain the information you need to get a good ballpark quote? Do you really think a customer will just ask for a quote without giving any info?
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: Alan Klein on November 24, 2019, 10:10:58 am
You could give a range saying final price depends on review of detail requirements.  Keep the low end low to keep yourself in the ballpark.  If they're interested they'll get back. 
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: chez on November 24, 2019, 10:58:49 am
You could give a range saying final price depends on review of detail requirements.  Keep the low end low to keep yourself in the ballpark.  If they're interested they'll get back.

That's a good approach and is exactly what I did when quoting on projects in another industry.

If replying to an unsolicited e-mail request is too time consuming then it appears like one would have enough work being busy already.
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: Alan Klein on November 24, 2019, 11:32:53 am
I'm not familiar with your industry.  But I think something along the lines of:  'A day's shoot runs $850 -$2500 depending on the number of assistants and required props and special lighting you need and other factors.  Please call me so we can go over the details and pin down the final price" or words to that effect. Short and sweet.    I wouldn't list every issue.  Someone buying previously knows there are many issues affecting price including the above as well as overtime, location of shoot and travel time, how they intend to use your pictures, etc. . Just enough to make it obvious that an exact price cannot be given at this time. A novice buyer is only looking for the cheapest price and is wasting your time.     
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: David Eichler on November 24, 2019, 03:56:25 pm
Do you really think a customer will just ask for a quote without giving any info?

It happens all too often. Want me to photograph your building for you? I need to know if it is located in my city or half way around the world, how many different views of it will be needed, whether the photos will be used on your website only or in a wide variety of other media, how much access to the building I will have, and so on.

Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: chez on November 24, 2019, 04:08:43 pm
It happens all too often. Want me to photograph your building for you? I need to know if it is located in my city or half way around the world, how many different views of it will be needed, whether the photos will be used on your website only or in a wide variety of other media, how much access to the building I will have, and so on.

So the e-mail is just "I want you to photograph my building". That's it? If so, then delete e-mail and move on. But things like how many views, access, usage etc... are details that come later when you are asked for a final quote.

Put it this way, do you want to do all the detailed work to come up with a detailed quote...likely hours of work, if you are one of 20 people that have been sent this request?
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: kevs on November 24, 2019, 04:21:07 pm
David E. thanks. Do you respond with a quote or ignore..   You agree, it's the bottom / pathetic of the inquires you receive? As been saying only 3-4 who after I send my blurb asking to call, those 3-4% reply they wont have time to call or talk; still really annoying. Of all times I've sent quote, never got the job anyway.
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: David Eichler on November 24, 2019, 04:27:13 pm
Put it this way, do you want to do all the detailed work to come up with a detailed quote...likely hours of work, if you are one of 20 people that have been sent this request?
  Different people have different ways of dealing with this and different kinds of briefs will also determine whether you can give some sort of quick-and-dirty initial response or really must provide a detailed, written estimate. For example, if an architect or custom home builder tells me they need a variety of photos of a home for their business website, and it is a local shoot, I can generally give them a quick ballpark estimate, subject to refinement based on additional info later on.
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: David Eichler on November 24, 2019, 06:16:54 pm
  Different people have different ways of dealing with this and different kinds of briefs will also determine whether you can give some sort of quick-and-dirty initial response or really must provide a detailed, written estimate. For example, if an architect or custom home builder tells me they need a variety of photos of a home for their business website, and it is a local shoot, I can generally give them a quick ballpark estimate, subject to refinement based on additional info later on.

I don't necessarily just dismiss these, but I try to guage how much effort I should try to put into it. If it is a relatively new, small business, or one that just hasn't had the need to do any marketing until now, then they might just need education. The really frustrating sort of thing is when you get these sort of inquiries from established companies that clearly have established marketing programs of some sort and should clearly have the budget to hire people who should know better.

Also, bear in mind that this all depends upon the type of photography. I might be perfectly reasonable to simply ask for a price for standard business head shot, but it is quite another thing for a type of photography that is much less cut and dried, as can be the case with advertising or architectural photography.
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: Martin Kristiansen on November 24, 2019, 10:38:21 pm
Realistically the type of response Will be partly determined Ned by how busy you are and how much financial pressure you are or arenít under. If you are quiet and desperate for work put in more effort. If you are swamped delete and move on.
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: Alan Klein on November 24, 2019, 10:56:30 pm
Realistically the type of response Will be partly determined Ned by how busy you are and how much financial pressure you are or arenít under. If you are quiet and desperate for work put in more effort. If you are swamped delete and move on.
+1
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: kevs on November 24, 2019, 11:16:58 pm
Good point Dave.. but even Headshot... I needed to know usage, what type lighting, background,  and few other things not in the moodboard...... pathetic as one short call = 6 back and forth email.. anyway never got to either.

Also good point -- if busy or super slow has big effect on how much abuse, I mean work you can be subjected too...
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: RichDesmond on February 11, 2020, 09:45:33 pm
Kevs,

A couple of things.

First, I'm not a pro photographer, but I have owned a business, and I was in sales for a number of years.

You've mentioned a few times being "annoyed". That's not useful or productive. It's just business. Those people likely have no idea what goes into a professional product.

You can either try to educate them, or blow them off. Sometimes one's a good decision, sometimes the other is. For people who didn't seem to be worth a lot of effort I had a few email templates that covered the common situations. 30 seconds or so of personalization and off it went. If I got a reasonable response then I'd spend more time. If not, a quick email thanking them for their interest but saying that we weren't the right vendor for them got them off my plate. Very little effort, no annoyance.

In a small business you have to realize that every customer isn't going to be right for you. Figuring that out early is important, "firing" a customer later (which I had to do a few times) is much more of a headache.
Title: Re: Those who wont call to discuss their shoot
Post by: T1MC0LE on May 12, 2020, 03:07:34 am
I would also check the profile of the sender on LinkedIn. If itís a person with a credible title contacting then itís probably legitimate. If they donít have a profile or are just an intern then itís just fishing.