In this guide, I show you how to choose who to pitch, how to find the right contact information, and how to craft a winning pitch.
I am a food + product photographer & educator specializing in eco-friendly and sustainable brands. When I am not working with clients, I empower creatives to start their journey by sharing my knowledge on the business of food + product photography.
As a product or food photographer, your business extends far beyond the camera lens. You also have to focus on landing perfect-fit clients who in your creative niche! A key component to finding the best-fit clients for your business is the discovery call. You may not love selling your services, but you can make the process easier by leveraging a discovery call script.
A discovery call is like a two-way interview process. Your client can learn more about your personality and services, while you learn more about your potential client.
Many photographers (especially those with introverted personalities) dread the discovery process because it means having to advertise their worth. But using a discovery call script will take the edge off!
During a discovery call, you should:
Be sure to remember that even though you’re trying to impress your potential clients during a discovery call, you are evaluating them just as much as they are evaluating you! A discovery call really is a great way to qualify your clients before agreeing to work with them. Keeping that in perspective will help calm your nerves and land more well-suited clients than ever before.
A discovery call script is not meant to be written word-for-word or recited verbatim with every client you meet. Rather, it’s a list of talking points to remind yourself of the direction the call should be headed!
Here’s the gist of an effective discovery call script:
Of course, you can go off-script to dive deeper on certain topics, especially if your client seems particularly interested. As your first real interaction with a prospective client, every discovery call offers you an opportunity to demonstrate your flexibility, fun, and professionalism. That’s why it’s important to use your talking points as a guide (or a checklist) but not be so dependent on them that your personality gets lost in the sauce!
If you’re ready to create your own discovery call script and try it out with your potential photography clients, you’re in the right place. Have a look at five valuable tips to set up a winning script!
At the start of your discovery call, you want to frontload your intentions for the rest of the conversation. This demonstrates to your clients that you’re prepared and ready to steer the discussion, which ultimately puts everyone at ease.
Of course, take the time to introduce yourself and allow your client to do the same! But the goals of your call should follow closely behind, leaving no room for confusion or rambling on irrelevant topics.
Preparedness can mean the difference between ultimately signing a contract or missing out on a potential client. Some of the questions you prepare should be general and suit any project on the books. But you should personalize most of the questions based on what you know (or have researched) about your potential client.
It reads well across the conversation to be able to say, “I see your restaurant serves a variety of healthier dishes. Are clean foods something you wish to showcase on your menu?” Let your client expand on their thoughts—every piece of information helps you make an informed decision!
Going in blind to the conversation (knowing little or nothing about your client) makes it seem as though you don’t really care. It only takes a few minutes of browsing for basic information about your potential client to make a real impact.
You may think that typing or writing notes during your call is distracting, but it’s actually very important! Notetaking shows your clients that you’re taking their words seriously.
Use your discovery call script to make this easier—jot down important points from your conversation. You can plug your notes in directly at the section of the conversation that it applies to.
Pro tip: use your client’s exact words when taking notes so you can repeat them back later in the discussion. Using your client’s words demonstrates that you were actively listening and understanding their feelings on the matter.
Never give a price on the phone! It’s too easy to under-price your services in the heat of the moment.
Plus, every food or product photography project is different. You need time to put together your quotes based on all the details you have gathered during your conversation.
On the other hand, you can ask your client if they have a budget. They may ask for a ballpark figure in return— just keep it broad! For example, you could say, “when I worked on a similar project, I charged between $XXX and $XXX.” (It’s best to use a price-anchoring method…and always make sure to start with the higher number!)
Again, these key phrases and general responses are important to include in your discovery call script! The last thing you want to do is forget something or feel overwhelming pressure to suggest a wildly low or unreasonably high price in the heat of the moment.
Do you know how adding a frame to your images makes them feel done (or “ready spaghetti” for all of us in the food photography business)? You should also take time to frame your discovery call towards the end. Make yourself seem like the solution to your client’s problems and the perfect fit for their project.
Your client likely won’t be ready to book your services at the end of the call. (Remember, you haven’t discussed pricing yet!) But they will have a sense for if they want to move forward with a second meeting or having you put together a quote or proposal.
End your discovery call script with clarity. If you don’t think that you’re a good fit for their photography project, be sure to let them know. If you do think that you’re a good fit, tell them that you look forward to the next step and let them know when they can expect to hear from you!
As a food or product photographer, don’t let discovery calls be a stressful part of your job. Master them by using a discovery call script! After just a few times working through your notes, you may find that you actually enjoy talking with prospective clients during your discovery sessions.