This is one of those topics that, although it’s not fun, is necessary. Especially as we head into a busy season you need to know how to set boundaries with difficult clients! After being in this industry for years I’ll just let you know that if you haven’t had a challenging client… they’re coming. Which is why this episode will be helpful! I’ll share some of my personal experience and give you pointers on how to work with them. But before unpacking that, I have a free class just for you! It’s all about how to double your photography revenue this year. We’ll touch on some business basics but dive deeper into business marketing! Rather than relying solely on pretty pictures you can drive your business with excellent marketing. Now, onto the “fun” clients…
It is so important to deal with clients with kindness. Remember, you’re running a business and your conversation or interaction represents the brand/the business. It’s very easy to match your client’s attitude and energy especially if you don’t mind confrontation. Some of you may be people pleasers and negative confrontation is a challenge, but remember kindness goes a long way. Stay professional and give your client a hefty helping of kindness! You have an opportunity to handle situations with grace and I suggest doing it over the phone. You don’t want to give clients ammunition so even an email would be beneficial.
Pointing back to your contract gives you a backbone to lean on. And that’s why it’s crucial to have a legal contract that will hold up. I have one in my shop you can grab and they are there for a reason! A few things I have in my contract that protects me is found in editing. I have it in my contract that I do not remove things that wouldn’t be gone on their own within 1-2 weeks. I won’t altar someone’s body because all bodies are beautiful and deserve to be captured. I also hold the right to including or excluding photos from their gallery. Sometimes the shot is blurry or simply doesn’t turn out. I want to include photos that will not only be a good representation of my work but turn out well!
This is one of my favorites because it helps you illuminate the positivity and serve your client but protects you as well. You need to be taken care of which is why we are talking about how to set boundaries with difficult clients! So, give your client a yes but with a realistic boundary. For example, if a client wants something edited that’s outside of your normal scope of editing. Maybe they want a car removed but the session was in a city. You can say yes, but only for 3 photos. Don’t be a doormat, but serve your clients and try to go above and beyond.
I’ve had clients in the past that posed challenges and gave opportunity for me to respond by burning the bridge so to speak. But because I chose to be kind or work through it with them I gained a client who books over and over again with me. Some clients threaten to leave terrible reviews or just look for the negativity, however, you can always offer a full refund and just delete their gallery. If you can avoid that, do it! Find the resolution! But at the end of the day you may need a “do not book” list.
Hopefully these were some practical things for you to apply. Don’t stress or be intimidated by challenging clients. Try to find a solution and always extend KINDNESS! The world as a whole needs more of it and why not let your business reputation be that you were professional and incredibly kind.
Stay Professional and Kind (7:42)
Refer to Your Contract (9:28)
Give a Yes with a Boundary (13:23)
Avoid Burning Bridges (15:11)
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