Are You Listening to Your Clients?

We’ve all found ourselves in a conversation that is completely one-sided and almost difficult to get out of. You know, the one where someone corners you at a get-together and talks your ear off, and you’re looking around with pleading eyes to see if anyone can save you.

Think back to your last few client meetings. Have you ever been that person? The talker who monopolizes the conversation, and you don’t realize it until you notice the glazed looks on the faces in front you?

Stop talking about yourself!
This is going to hurt a little, but if I don’t tell you, I’m not sure anyone will. Our clients are contacting more than one photographer (I know this is a surprise, sorry for ripping the band-aid off!). But seriously, we need to stop sending emails that sound robotic and are filled to the brim about US. No one cares about that stuff. Clients already KNOW what we have to offer. They know it, so why are we wasting their time sending them boring emails?

If there’s anything we can learn from Dale Carnegie’s book ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’, it’s to listen to people!

One of the best things you can do for yourself and your business is to get to know people. Ask them questions, listen attentively, be sincere and honest, and take a genuine interest in people.

Photographers, listen up!

Three Steps in Applying this to your life right now:
1. Respond to inquiries with questions.
I personally like to ask a few questions just to see if the couple and I would be a good fit for each other. Some of the questions I ask include, “What do you like to do together?” “How do you spend your free time?” “How did you get engaged?” We need to stop doing all of the talking and let them do the talking.

2. Make REAL connections.
Stop trying to fit yourself into a box with your clients, and try letting your clients fit better with you. One thing I have learned is that if you try and force a connection between you and your clients, you will end up with unhappy clients. We already know from all of the literature and blogs out there that every client or couple is not going to be the best fit for us. Be genuine. Be yourself, allow your clients to get to know you as well and you will see that the process is not only easy, but natural. That is probably the best way to build your tribe.

3. Don’t rush or force it.
What do we all need more of? TIME, right? I feel like everyone is always saying that they don’t have time for this or that. When a client gives you their very valuable time, reciprocate with yours. Don’t rush your meetings or force things to go one way or another. In my experience, the most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who show care to their clients and share their time. People want nothing more than to feel taken care of and safe. Figure out how best to do that and do it well.

Questions?
Feel free to drop me an email at michele@micheleashleyphotography.com or leave a message below.

Did you Miss the last installment? Find it here!

Top Shelf | Book Clients Easily From Venues You Love Working With

Andy and I visited a venue during their open house while on the search for our own wedding. We fell in love with the venue, but more importantly, they had a selection of sample albums out to peruse while visiting. We found the PERFECT photographer. I mean, this photographer spoke to us in all the ways one can through their photography. We had to book them.

The problem was, there was no information anywhere on the album to tell us who the photographer was. The venue searched up and down for a clue to lead us to this mystery photographer. No dice. We ended up going with someone else, but had we known who the mystery person was, maybe we would have made a different decision. We still don’t know who it was. It’s imperative that you put your photography info somewhere permanently on the album, otherwise, no one will know who to contact.

But let’s back up a sec. The venue we fell in love with, also had an album from a photographer we fell in love with. Who would’ve thought we’d go somewhere and possibly make two decisions. Two purchases in one day. It’s the sample albums that venues showcase that help clients make those decisions. Are you following me?

Creating sample albums is one of the most IMPORTANT investments you can make for your business.

Here’s why:
Couples visit and book venues before they book photographers. We know that. But they book those venues based upon a walkthrough and what they envision their wedding to look like. Here’s where you come in. If you provide an album to a venue, they will advertise your work for you, just by showing couples what it could look and feel like.

Sample albums can be an expensive investment, especially when you are working at multiple venues. Instead, think of it as planting seeds. You’ll be collecting the harvest down the road.

Let’s do the math. Say you book 10 weddings a year, at 10 different venues. You create 10 sample albums, and you plant those ‘seeds’. Now every couple that visits the venue will have an opportunity to see your work, and at a venue they are interested in possibly using!

Even better, you may connect with a couple that saw your album at a venue they didn’t book, but was still blown away by your photography!

Also, venues are excited to show off new albums, especially when the album aligns with the season the couple is getting married in. Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter weddings don’t look the same. Help potential couples visualize their weddings and with your photos!

Couples are more likely to book a photographer who has worked at their venue. Win, win!

Sample album DO’s:

1. Create layouts that showcase the venue, couple, and wedding. You want this to appeal to couples while still showing off the uniqueness and beauty of the venue.

2. Meet with the wedding coordinator and deliver the album in person. If the venue is too far, connect with the coordinator and let them know you’re sending an album.

3. Make sure you add your contact information to the first page of the album. Think of it as a title page.

Sample album DON’TS:

1. Don’t wait too long before getting an album to a venue. Add it to your workflow.

2. Don’t add photos that don’t showcase your best work.

3. Don’t skimp on materials. Make sure this is an album you would share with couples you meet in person.

Tip: Create a layout in photoshop to import into each sample album with your contact info.