There’s plenty of information on the internet about how to grow your wedding photography business but there’s one general rule that guides over 90% of all sales & marketing advice – understand your clients and their needs!!
Yep, 6 words is all takes but much easier said than done. In my career I’ve had extensive discussions with over 500 couples who were looking for a wedding photographer. Most of them opened up to me about how stressful the process of selecting a wedding photographer is. Trust me, these people are in pain and we are the reason.
Now here’s 3 things that you should start doing immediately to take away your clients’ pain and in the process, get more clients who trust and respect you.
1. Respond and Respond Quickly
I can not stress this enough – when you get an inquiry or email from a client, respond as quickly as you can. No client email should go unanswered for more than 12 hours. If you’re too busy to send a detailed response, at least send a one line acknowledgement and if you do get delayed in sending a response, apologize for that delay.
A large number of my clients have told me that they liked me from the beginning because I would respond to their emails very promptly especially when compared to a lot of photographers who either won’t respond at all or directly send across a quote after 4-7 days. This is not professional behavior.
Remember – Sending a delayed response to a client doesn’t make you look like a busy, hotshot photographer. It only makes you look like the guy who doesn’t care and that won’t earn you their trust or their business.
2. Make it Personal
Please don’t send a quote or even worse, a list of packages as a first response to a client inquiry, even if that’s exactly what a client asks for. Yes, money is a big part of the equation but let’s not forget that we are in a business that is all about emotion. We want a working relationship with our clients and not a transactional deal. Sending a dry quote upfront is a surefire way of attracting clients who only mean business and will treat you like just another paid vendor (read shit).
In your first response, briefly tell them about your work and try to set up a meeting or a telephonic conversation. Engage with your client to understand who they are, what they are looking for and then advise them to the best of your ability. Only once you deeply understand their needs is when you give them your solution along with the relevant quote/packages.
3. Help Clients Understand Your Work
Our clients are not photographers. A client may have contacted you because they “liked” your work but they’ve probably equally liked ten other wedding photographers. The onus of helping a client understand your work, your vision and the value of what you bring to the table lies on you – the photographer!
While talking to clients, I often ask them which other photographers they are considering and they usually respond with a list of photographers whose work has little in common with mine. It used to leave me puzzled in the beginning but now I understand that they are doing this for the first time and it is easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number and variety of choices available.
This is where you step in. You need to know your clients better, handhold them through your work, explain your vision (in a language they understand) and help them figure out how it matches their requirements. This is what makes you a trusted adviser as opposed to a paid vendor.
Bonus: Sometimes in your discussion with the client, you may discover that what they are looking for is not in agreement with your style of photography. The right thing to do at this point is to let them know that you are not the right fit for their requirements and if you know of a photographer who you feel is a better fit, then point them in that direction.
My communication with my clients is the foundation stone of a healthy and mutually beneficial working relationship. To know what that looks like, go through some of my Client Testimonials.
In fact, my photography comes much later in the process but I’ll talk about those aspects at another time in another post.
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