I’m gonna tell it to you straight. If you’re bad at running a business, people won’t hire you. If they’re not hiring you, it means they don’t trust you to perform your service well. If people don’t trust you, you won’t be in business for very long.
Ever wonder why some people succeed and others fail? Why Joe Shmoe photographer down the road who, frankly, isn’t producing very creative or technically “good” images is getting booked left and right? While Suzy Que photographer on the other side of town is closing her business even though she is one of the most outstanding and amazing creatives you’ve ever seen?
Trust. Client satisfaction.
You could be the Elizabeth Messina of your town, but if you don’t have those client talking about you like you’re the best thing to come along since sliced bread, you might as well hang up your camera right now and quit wasting your time.
(I never said this photography business thing was going to be easy.)
There are things you have to hear if you’re going to be in this business. You HAVE to invest in your clients. You HAVE to pay more attention to them than to the ones who haven’t hired you yet. You HAVE to care about what they care about and give them reason to trust you.
Because wedding memories, newborn baby memories, grandparents who might not be here much longer memories, THOSE are why they trust you. To preserve those things for them. You have to deliver on those memories. Every. Single. Time.
So how do you build trust with people who don’t really know you?
- Give them a good experience. Right from the second they inquire with you. Don’t wait until they hand over their money. From the very first reply back, my clients are bombarded with congratulations and lots of exclamation points. My excitement for their engagement and wedding day practically leaps off their screen and chokes them (no clients were harmed in the making of this newsletter.) It should only get better from there. Take them on a journey from inquiring, to booking, to shooting, to delivering the images. And then surprise them with anniversary cards, birthday wishes, just because texts. They are more to you than a transaction, so treat them accordingly.
- Answer their questions. Do you have business hours? Do you stick with an “office open from 10 to 3” policy? Forget about that. If your client is emailing you after your work day is over, email them back. (Don’t pretend you don’t get email on your phone, we all know you do.) If it’s a question or an issue that will take you some time to resolve or answer, just be honest and let them know that you’re out of the office for the day, but that you’ll tackle the problem first thing tomorrow. If there’s a major issue or your reputation/ good experience is at risk, CALL them right now. Tone doesn’t come across very well in email, and if there’s a serious misunderstanding or you’re at fault, you need to convey your sincerity.
- Talk back. This goes along with what I said above. Don’t be a mythical creature that stays hidden and out of sight. Interact with your people. Did they post a cute video of their dogchild on Instagram. Show your love with a bunch of heart eye emojis. Walking through Target and see the most perfect sweater for their little girl to wear during their family session? Send a photo and offer to pick it up while you’re there. Your couple can’t get enough Chipotle? Drop a gift card in their card box at the wedding. Think of them often, and let them know you do.
- Prove your skills. Remember Joe Shmoe and Suzy Que? What if you had the ability to pull in clients like Joe and give them images like Suzy. Oh wait. You do! Can you imagine what it could be like if your clients loved you to pieces AND they were blown away by the images you gave them? Don’t forget, you have the power to make people feel like a million bucks. Care about them, love them, and grow your skills so you can give them something better than they could have wanted.
Working hard, or hardly working? Ready to take your photography business to the next level? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for mentoring information!
All content and images in this post are copyright of Alayna Parker Photography and can not be used or reproduced without exclusive permission.