Not going to lie, it’s been a rough couple of weeks! I had to put up my first “vacation away message” on my email, and it felt strange. I assumed that with family issues going on, I would welcome the distraction with working on my business, but that didn’t come so easily. I had lots of catch-up work to do, but I think I’m finally on my way to being at where I need to be. Today, I was dealing with emailing a potential client that has been going through a similar family issue herself, and it was so difficult for me to find the words that would genuinely show how I  cared about what she was going through–without sounding too sales-y and like I had an end goal in mind (confirming her as a client).

This led me to research and ask around about the best ways to deal with uncomfortable situations like that, and I came up with several tips below:

  • Start from the heart. The client will likely be able to tell whether or not you are being genuine and honest, and these days transparency is #1 on a client’s priority list when looking to work with an individual or a company. Write out what you’re going to say to the person and truly mean it before thinking of how you can close the deal or or at least keep up with the professional connection.
  • Prepare. Even when you’re coming from a genuine place, your nerves can potentially get in the way when dealing with situations of grief that you aren’t used to handling with on a daily basis. Make sure that you prepare your message, and even if the message is to be said over the phone or in person, have a couple of talking points in mind.
  • Entrepreneurs respect other entrepreneurs. That being said, don’t make you message too personal because then you are in danger of breaking your business relationship. Keep things professional while offering help both with what they’re going through and what you can do to help their company.
  • Assume that everyone needs help–secretly they are looking for people that fill the gaps with people that intersect with their vision. When you assume that the individual or company needs help, your messaging becomes a lot more clear.

How do you find ways to deal with current or potential clients that are going through a rough time in their life? What kind of messaging do you use to show them that you’re there and supportive, but also want to help out in their business? Comment below and share your wisdom!


One Response to Client Manners when Dealing with Grief

  1. This isn’t necessarily about helping another coworker, but a situation that I found relevant to this post that I experienced recently. Thought it may help fellow photographers, or even other business owners.

    I recently had a photography client who booked me for maternity and newborn photos. We did the maternity photos and had a great time. They are a couple I know from church, but do not know well. I took the opportunity to get to know them and share in their joy of their first child. A few days after our maternity session, they lost their baby in utero. They were (and still are) devastated, as was I. I had thought not long before this happened about how to handle situations such as these due to a conversation I had seen started on a networking group of photographers (which is why posts like this are so important!). And I was thankful to have processed it a little right before having to actually face such a tragic loss.

    Each situation is different, but if it’s a situation of grief…grieve with them. While I understand (and respect) the boundary of not letting business become personal, people need other people. I also understand that each relationship is different and you have to be able to establish for yourself what is appropriate in that moment. Also, the part I love the most about my job is that people allow me to see into their lives just a little bit, and hopefully more over the years as I become their family photographer.

    In this particular situation, I felt so very honored that they allowed me to be a part of that time in their lives. I was able to share in the joy of a new baby as well as grieve in the loss of him, as well. I was able to refund their money, give them the photos of their maternity session (after asking if they would like to have them immediately or I could save them for whenever they were ready) and offer my prayers to them.

    Thank you for posing such an important topic!

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