"Am I on to someone from eloPhotos Studio?"
It was the voice of a gentleman in his mid thirties. Apparently we had been recommended to him for a photography job he had.
He asked if I knew a luxurious Hotel situated on Lagos island and I replied in the affirmative. He explained that he needed me to take just about 5 or 6 pictures of the Hotel for him to use to develop the hotel’s website. "So how much would it cost," he concluded.
I explained to him that I don’t just take "5 pictures" and that he needed to send a mail explaining in full details what he was expecting from the photographer. I told him I can’t just give a price over the phone for something like that; the price quote was dependent on the time & skill level it will take to get those 5 pictures. He sounded like I was making a big deal out of nothing and didn’t seem to understand why I can’t just give him a price right "now". He insisted that he needed to send the quote to his boss in 3 minutes and that I shouldn’t waste his time by telling him to send a mail; besides he just explained what he wanted.
So I finally gave in to his autocratic demand. I explained to him that the last job we did for a hotel took us over 2 weeks to document. The hotel was (& still is) based in Abuja and they wanted pictures of the different parts of the Hotel for their yearly calendar. I explained that we billed the hotel N150k "per day" for the shoot and concluded the conversation with a question that made him pause for 1.5 seconds: "Do you have that amount as a budget to start with?"
He responded with the words I’ve heard so many times from inquiring potential clients: I’LL GET BACK TO YOU. There was a way he said it that made me sense that he probably would NOT get back to me. I sense that he may have gotten the impression that either I was proud or too expensive. Sometimes people misinterpret as PRIDE the responses you get from a confident service-provider who knows his worth. I think I tried to be as diplomatic as possible.
However, My rule still stands. I usually don’t recommend giving prices for products/services over the phone unless I’ve gotten a detailed email breaking down the expectations of the client. Either the client or service-provider could forget what was discussed but no one would forget if the conversation was done via mail.
Or how else do you think I could have handled the luxurious hotel "potential" client?