There is probably nothing worse than hearing a coffee grinder whirl up as you talk to your potential clients. While coffee shops can seem like an ideal and neutral location for a meet up with a client, it can also be distracting. Here are some other locations for photography pre-consultations with a client.
1. Vendor office space
As photographers, we work with lots of different vendors that are close by and that over time, we can even become friends with.
Find a vendor that has an office or retail space and ask them if you can rent the space to hold your pre-consultations. Perhaps they have a small office they don’t use or a large open floor plan where you can hold your meetings.
You could even swap the rent with free sessions or artwork for their space. This will also bring more business into their space while you get to hold your pre-consultation without distractions and in a beautiful space.
Be sure to keep your samples or products that you plan on showing during your pre-consultation. If you can, talk your vendor friend into letting you use a corner where you can set it up just right for your meetings.
It will leave a much bigger impact than you have invested in making friends with other vendors you trust enough to hold your meetings there.
Clients will feel more comfortable and be able to ask their questions and get all information without the barista yelling out names and coffee orders.
2. In your own home
Many photographers don’t have a designated studio space, which means that you probably work from a desk somewhere in your home.
Having a pre-consultation, in-person sales appointment, and any other general client meetings, in your home means that you’re able to control the impression you leave on your clients.
Designate a space in your home where your clients will be able to sit and talk with you comfortably. Have your products all ready to go, and perhaps some candles or incense burning to create a nice ambiance.
Bringing clients into your own home also builds more trust between you and the client. You have all your products right at your fingertips along with any beverages and snacks to offer your client.
Also, you can use your television as a screen to preview photos, show a slideshow of your work, and even play music in the background.
3. In your client’s home
If don’t feel comfortable having consultations in your home, you can offer to hold the pre-consultation at your client’s home.
This can be really convenient if your client has small children and you need to work around their schedule. Also, this will allow you to view locations for wall portraits and various products that your client perhaps may not have thought of prior to the pre-consultation.
You can take your products, laptop, or have a printed product guide for your clients to view while you sit in their living room chatting about ideas for their upcoming session.
Ask your clients if they feel comfortable with a pre-consultation visit and offer them free measuring for wall portraits while you’re there. This might give them the incentive to have a consultation at their home.
Take note of their design style, color schemes, and architecture. This can be really helpful when you do an in-person sales appointment and you’ve correctly matched frames that fit perfectly into their already decorated home.
4. At the venue/location
For wedding clients, the perfect location where you can meet is at the location where the couple will be getting married, if possible.
Walking the location can also be a good time to look for photo spots that would work perfectly for the day of wedding portraits. You can walk through and get an idea of their style, and it makes the meeting a little less formal.
For portrait sessions, you can choose a favorite location like a park that you have used before where a bench and seating are available. This is because you might be meeting with clients with their children, or you might want to show them your portfolio on your laptop or phone and your products.
If the weather is comfortable, use an outdoor space that you particularly like that isn’t heavily crowded, like a plaza or benches where you can talk with your clients comfortably.
Remember, some of these places may not have internet, so everything you need should be downloaded or pre-loaded onto your devices. That way, you can show your client without delays or issues.
5. Shared workspaces
Shared workspaces, like We Work, offer members lots of perks and amenities that are just like having an office or studio space of your own.
Some of these locations have conference rooms you can reserve ahead of time to have your pre-consultation with your clients.
Many shared workspaces have reception, lounge areas, coffee and tea bars, and many other perks that also include internet and distraction-free space. You can hold your consultation without having to sit cramped at a small round table and cafe chairs.
If you’re holding quite a few pre-consultations and in-person sales meetings a month, you might want to consider paying the monthly fee to use the shared workspace. Or perhaps talk to a friend who has used one and get their take on it.
Many a photographer has had the coffee shop pre-consultation client meeting and while it is practical and neutral, these alternate locations may just prove to leave a more professional impression on your clients.
Do you have any other locations for photography pre-consultations that you’d like to share? Please do so in the comments!