Have you ever wondered why some photographers have their doorbell ringing all day long while others are struggling week to week in order to sell their work?
The secret is simple – successful photographers are also successful psychologists who invest most of their time and effort in developing long-lasting relationships with their clients.
Building bonds with people may get rather challenging, but after all, it’s not a rocket science. In this article you’ll find out some simple yet essential principles of creating strong and fruitful relationships with your clients, and thus, grow your photography business.
1. Ensure timely communication
You need to take care of your communication with clients at all stages of your workflow. For instance, if you say you deliver photos in 5 days or 4 weeks, you’d better do it.
Underpromise and Overdeliver are Photographer’s Best Friends
You don’t want a client to call you to find out when the photos will be done. Make sure you’re the first who makes a call to find out when your client can collect the photos.
The same principle works in other areas of your communication: meetings, photography sessions, pricing quotes. Do your best to stay on top of your schedule and delivery.
2. Create a Networking List
One of the biggest mistakes photographers can make is failing to know which people they need to meet. Many beginner photo’preneurs let their communication with clients and other professionals evolve naturally, like friendship. However, things are not going to work this way if you’re serious about your business.
Going out for lunch can be your single most effective networking tactic #photographybusiness
Take time to make a list of people you need to develop relationship with in the nearest future. Who does your business need in order to grow? It will be your ideal network. It should include your ideal clients, other photographers, photo bloggers, editors, make up artists, assistants, and other people who can help you book more sessions and sell more photos.
3. Never have “past” clients
It’s been a few months since you delivered your beautiful pictures to your clients… Have they heard about you since then? If you simply closed a sale and forgot about your client, don’t be surprised to find out that your client is open for other offers.
Remember the 80/20 rule? If you look at your financial books, you’re likely to notice that 20% of your clients drive 80% of your sales. It’s critical to stay in touch with everyone you’ve photographed via both online (email newsletter, social media) and offline (season greetings, thank you cards) channels.
As you’re striving to grow your business, it’s natural to put your efforts in extending your reach and gaining new clients. However, your current clients may be your inexhaustible source of business, so make sure you’re investing in building permanent relationships with them.
4. Ask for Feedback
Of course, it’s quite difficult to hear criticism about your work, no matter how much experience you have in photography. Most photographers fail to admit that not each interaction with clients is great. Asking for a general feedback before and after photo session can help you find out your weak sides (and get rid of them) and retain your clients.
From email surveys, to quick polls in social media and even direct calls, there are many ways you can collect customer feedback.
If you want to receive more honest answers, consider asking for anonymous feedback. The easiest way to do that might be adding a feedback form on your website.
5. Be a Good Listener
As a good businessman you need to learn to listen to people, would they be your clients or people who can potentially help you grow your business. People love to talk about themselves, so give them this amazing opportunity. Ask questions and smile, make eye contact. Think of this as making new business friends.
No one cares about you trying to build business or make money, everybody cares about themselves. You need to make it easy for your client to reach you.
We have two ears and one mouth – use them in the equal proportion during your meeting with a client #photographybusiness
The five tactics described above should give you a general idea of how to set up your relationship marketing on a fast track.
Download the free Relationship Marketing Checklist for Photographers to find even more valuable tips on how to book more clients and, more importantly, KEEP them for years to come. These best practices of relationship marketing are gathered in a single PDF which you can save or even print out and have them on hand as you’re setting up your photography marketing.
Get Yourself Out
Don’t expect that you will build good relationship overnight. It requires hard work and time. Communicate with your clients, try to listen to their needs, and deliver the best service you can. This way they will return again and again.