You’ve read all the books. You’ve surfed the whole ‘net. But you are still having a hard time convincing clients to spend their hard-earned dollars. They keep opting for your less expensive products, smaller sizes, or “just a few prints.” You’re about to throw your hands up in the air and say, “I give up!”
Don’t worry. We’ve got your back.
It all boils down to psychology. You need to understand why clients buy and what they buy. And there are some fairly simple things you can implement today to help those clients help you.
Everyone loves it when people go out of their way to notice them. By using a client questionnaire, not only are you evaluating your ideal clients, you’re also discovering key info you can use to woo your clients in the future. By asking the right questions, you can speak directly to your client’s wishes and desires.
Maybe you’ll find out that a favorite family activity is canoeing. You can design a shoot to incorporates canoes, whether it’s at an actual river or a canoe simply set against a rustic wall. How fun would that be to shoot? And they’ll love that you went the extra mile to create the custom portrait of their dreams… and you can bet they’ll want the wall gallery AND the album.
People like to know that they are working with experts. So the more professional information you can give, the more your client will trust you. Send a gorgeous Welcome Packet to answer all their questions, get them excited for the session, and get them thinking about the products they will be purchasing from your studio. Your packet will set you head and shoulders above the rest and your clients will undoubtedly show their friends your stunning presentation.
One of the best ways to win your clients’ hearts is by involving them. They want to know that what they think matters. To do this, you need to appeal to all of their senses. Set the stage with a cup of coffee or tea (taste and smell) and soft music (hearing). Then show your clients the physical products (touch) that will proudly display their images (see).
Simply stating that you have albums for sale isn’t enough. Show them a gorgeous, swoon-worthy sample. Let them see how their images will be perfectly displayed for years to come. People want to know that they are getting value for their money.
Your story. Their story. Whatever the story, people are suckers for a good story. First, you bring your clients in by telling your story. What makes you tick. How you became you. That’s how a client decides if you’re worth the investment in the first place. You want them to say, “Hey, this photographer gets us!” Then, once you’ve been hired, you need to show them their story. Those questions you asked at the beginning can help you shoot images that speak to their story.
You’ve heard the saying – under-promise and over-deliver – but that can be tricky. People are smart. They know when you’re not being realistic and leading them astray. So make sure your timeframes for delivering on your promises are realistic. And be honest with them if anything should change, especially if you need to adjust their timeframe. You can still be realistic and exceed their expectations.
For example, you tell your portrait client that it takes two weeks to get images ready for them to view. But then you deliver in two days. You’d think that clients would be ecstatic because you got their images to them so much sooner than they thought. But then they hire you again, and this time you take the full two weeks to get their images to them. Their trust has now been broken. Simply because you didn’t deliver based on their previous experience. Yet, if you’re being upfront and honest and setting their expectations every time, clients will trust you. And trust goes a long way, my friend.
Be authentic and interested in in your clients. It’s the only surefire way that you’ll acquire and retain them. When you do those little things that make them feel like your only clients in the world, they will no longer be just clients. They’ll be your best friends forever. So send a note. Ask about their kids, their jobs, their ill mother-in-law. And them about yours. Good relationships don’t last if they’re not reciprocal. Make sure you give them every reason to trust you.
Dear Ashley and Graham circa 2008,
Your business will not live and die by social media. You're going to be tempted to put more time into Facebook and Instagram than you do into in-person relationships because it will feel like that's what everyone else is doing; it will feel like the only way to keep up. Resist that temptation. Resist the urge to jump on the ever changing hamster wheel of social media. When you get on that hamster wheel it will feel like you're running as fast as you can and getting nowhere. And that's exactly where sinking unscheduled, unintentional time into social media will get you: nowhere.
Next to framed art, albums are a favorite, no-brainer product you should be offering every client. Albums are the one product that truly stands the test of time and will be treasured for generations to come. Not long ago, album design went a bit “photographers-gone-wild” with acrylic, metal, and even fur covers. Remember that panoramic ultra-wide album fad?
Luckily the tide has turned back to favoring a classic, luxury presentation.