Wether you make wedding videos, corporate shorts or branded content – if you are a solo videographer or small production team – you’re going to have to hit the pavement and do sales. After countless rejections, unreturned e-mails and unreqited love – it’s really quite exhilarating to landing that first video production meeting with a potential client!

Now sales and marketing is a complex concept that we’ll dig into as the site grows; but let’s start with one thing … the number one mistake I see filmmakers make on a consistent basis during the initial client meetup is focusing on landing the sale as opposed to building a relationship and establishing your credibility.  Call it lack of sales training – but contracts aren’t won on the first client meeting. Rather, think of a sales meeting like going on a first date – it’s a chance to get to know each other and see if things are a good fit!

That’s because sales is less about service/delivery/value and more about trust, credibility and long-standing relationships. Most of my clients pay me more not because I am an all-star filmmaker, but rather – because they know I am going to represent them well and that I will deliver an amazing that makes them look good to their boss.  The only way to build this trust during the first video production sales meeting is to focus on building a relationship with your potential clients.

So what DO you do when you land that first meeting? Here are a few tips:

Build a Sales Deck:

Get your sh*t together and build a sales deck. It will make you look more organized than 90% of your competition. We’ll go through how to build one in the future but on the high-level, your presentation deck should be a presentation that incorporates your experience in the industry, team members, examples of previous work, clients worked with, testimonials and any other relevant information that adds credibility to you and your company.

Understand Client Objectives:

Try to truly understand your clients’ objectives; at the end of the day, they’re not creating videos for fun! They likely want to sell a service, build their brand or simply capture an event without any major hiccups. Ask as many question about the project as you can and demonstrate that you have their best interests at heart.

Don’t Go in With a Pitch:

Oh god – I made this mistake before. I went into the meeting pitching a client on the services they need – without understanding what the client wanted or their objectives. Chances are, you aren’t going to know what your client wants or needs – so go into the first meeting with a list of questions as opposed to a pitch.

Ask About Their Concerns:

This is a big one. Simply ask your client if they have any concerns partnering with you. Maybe they think you don’t have enough experience, they require a level of quality that you can’t provide or that your services are too rich for their blood. By knowing this information, you can provide answers to calm their nerves and show that you are the proper vendor to work with. Over time you’ll get used to these types of concerns and be able to deflect them at any of your video production sales meetings with super human ease … just be nice about it and don’t be a jackass … always respond kindly and with a proactive answer.

Stop Pretending:

If you are a solo videographer/freelancer – it’s ok to admit it. Chances are, your potential client has a good concept of who you are and how large your company is; and although it may seem smart to sell them on being a ‘full service commercial production company’ to look good at your video production sales meetings – they’ll eventually sniff out the white lie which could lead to a lack of trust in your offerings … thus putting your business relationship at risk.

Followup:

After the meeting, wait about 24 hours and follow up with a brief email thanking them for their time. Explain to them that you’ve had some time to think about their needs and have some exciting concepts to share. If they’ve asked for an estimate – send that along as well and focus on getting that second meeting …. this next meeting is where you can land the sale.

 

OK … so I seriously tried to make this article short but went way over – and quite honestly … I could write a book on this, so I’ll stop now. If you’ve got some sales tips of your own … drop them in the comments section below!

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