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Recently, I was asked to provide a bid on a project.  The agency, who contacted me, said that their client required them to provide them with three photographer’s bids.  I appreciated being considered but, must admit that I do not like bidding scenarios.  I think most bidding scenarios are created with a photographer already in mind for the work and then two other sets of numbers to make certain the one photographer isn’t going to gauge them.  Nonetheless, it is the way of the world.

The project was of significant size and the client’s client was a large corporation so it was worth exploring the possibilities and therefore we put forth a bid.  The bid was due on Friday and we were to have a decision by end of day Monday.  Monday came and went, as did Tuesday and Wednesday and, at the end of day Thursday, we finally received out answer.  They had decided to go with a photographer they had worked with before.  Was I disappointed, yes.  Was I surprised, no.

I was told by the Art Buyer that the long delay in the decision making process was that their client entered into this process intending, as I suspected, to rehire the person with whom they had worked with before but, when they saw my work, it gave them pause.  For 4 days they deliberated on whether to go with the “known” or to venture somewhere new.  As much as I would have loved them to go somewhere new, I understood the comfort in going with the known.

I was professional, understanding, considerate and calm.  Getting upset was not going to change the decision and yet, I know so many photographers who blow up when a decision does not go their way.  Being graceful, polite and civilized is a far better way to go.

A few days later a received an email from one of the Executive Vice President’s of the Agency saying,

“I am sorry the project didn’t go your way.

I referred you in to the project. I have been a fan of you and your work for many many years! I think it would be great to have you in some time to share your portfolio with our team so that we can make sure you are on the list every time moving forward.

Let me know who to coordinate with to get you in.”

I guarantee that if I had a fit over not getting that particular job, the preceding email would NEVER have been forthcoming.  I can thankfully say that I win more projects than I lose but how you lose it is equally, if not more important, than how you win.

Who knows what the future will bring but you only have a fighting chance to win the game if you are in the game.  At least I know, with this particular client, I am still in the game.

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