CASE STUDY: In a professional forum this question was asked:
"Hi everyone. So a photographer that has referred 3 of her clients (so far) to me asked if I was available Thursday morning to do her makeup for an event she's presenting at. Here is my response and her reply. I have mixed feelings about her reply. How would you respond to this?"
Makeup Artist: "Hi XXX I typically charge $75 and that includes airbrush makeup and lashes....".
Photographer: "Thanks so much. Not sure I can swing that right now. My makeup artist before and I had an arrangement whereby I got a certain number of makeup credits for every referral so that I could get an occasional free session. Are you open to doing that now or sometime in the future?"
Everyone except one person gave the advice to basically put this photographer in her place, say no, send her to the mall and to cut their losses and stop doing business with this person.
I am actually blown away by the responses. You have someone willingly sending people your way and giving you the business that you haven't had to work for, pay to advertise for and has already proven that this was not a one-time thing, but something they are able to do for you multiple times and people are wanting to sever this relationship?
It's not about focussing on the way she asked for the freebie. Yes the photographer should have asked up front, but the bigger picture is that keeping this photographer happy is going to get you more work, and if you're doing it right, you're getting at least 2 additional bookings from every booking you're doing, so the possibilities of business this person could be getting is huge.
She's not demanding that this first makeover be free. She's asking if the makeup artist would be open to it in the future.
The Makeup Artist could offer any terms she wanted, it is her business, the ball is in her court to make it worth her while. For example, after every 10 referrals, the photographer gets a free (or even better, discounted price) makeover. Doesn't that sound reasonable? And that means she now has the photographer keen to get her at least 7 more bookings so she can get her discounted makeover. She can also put in a clause that the makeover must be when she is already booked to be in the studio. It's a win-win situation. Whereas, if she flatly refuses - what incentive does the photographer have to continue referring people to her?
As entrepreneurs, word of mouth is paramount, we really need to be thinking about building strong networks with the people that are willing to help give you business and spread the positivity about your work.
I hope this helps some of you see the bigger picture. Remember when faced with a conflict, don't just look at the problem. Look at how it's going to affect you long term. You could easily look at this as a cheeky client trying to get a freebie from you - or you can look at it as a chance to build a really strong business relationship that will continue to grow over time and bring in more income for you as the referrals continue to come in. Life is a negotiation. Look at how this picture plays out in the future, tweak it to suit your business needs, and present this as your referral program. There are always ways to make things work for everyone involved.
Much Love & Success,