In order to achieve any level of success, one cannot assume that clients know what to expect. That is why large companies spend tons of revenue educating consumers on the ins and outs of their products. While people are becoming a little more comfortable with their spending, they are willing to spend lots more if it feels justified. Value is one of the most successful trigger concepts to promote spending these days. The more we communicate about our services and explain exactly what clients are getting, the more willing they are to open the checkbook.
Communicating your process
Your sessions will be so much more profitable and enjoyable if you are in charge of every move. Clients love getting direction from you. They’re usually pretty nervous about being in front of the lens, so they love to be told exactly what they need to be doing. When you are in complete control during a session, you are one step closer to guaranteeing a great financial payoff at the end.
I begin molding clients during the first point of contact. Instead of strictly talking about dates and prices, I want to build an experience that sounds very inviting and simple for them. I focus on the variety that we offer, and the fact that I will be there to guide them through every step.
At this point, they are either really interested or not. This way, we cut straight to the point of determining if we are the right fit for one another. Some parents and seniors come in and completely take over the session and tell you how things are going to be. I do my best work and have my best sales when I am in control, so this is another reason for such great communication during your initial point of contact.
Once a client has booked a session, that’s not the end of the conversation. This is where you really need to begin pouring it on. People don’t show up on time anymore. As the session approaches, I continue to communicate to my client the importance of being on time. I explain it in a way that lets them know we have two hours to complete their session. If they are 15 minutes late, that is 15 minutes of creative shooting time they will lose.
Since I began communicating the importance of time in this way, clients have very rarely been late. If you have ever had sessions run extremely long due to seniors taking forever in the dressing room, it is due to a lack of communication. I tell clients they can take as long as they want to change outfits. But I also remind them that we have a total of two hours. This encourages seniors to put some pep in their step while changing outfits.
Communicating with teens
All teens are on social media. Use it as an additional way to communicate with seniors and parents, something as simple as a post a couple of days before their session saying how excited you are about it. They love that you are taking the time to include them in your posts. Chances are really good that their friends will click on your username and check you out.
Snapchat is worth looking into. You can use it to create a story that documents their entire session. They will share that with all their friends, giving them a firsthand look at how awesome a session with you can be.
Communicating with parents
Communication is as equally important with the parents. You really want to work hard to create a genuine friendship with a senior’s mother, especially. She is in charge of the financial end of the session.
I always give parents a beginning dollar amount they should expect to pay. I never like putting a cap on what they have the potential of spending. If you are not getting the financial gain that you feel you deserve from your sessions, it is probably due to a lack of communication on your part. With proper coaching and steps put into place, you will have a much better chance of getting people to spend what you want them to.
Communicating about you
Take time to communicate with clients about you: where you came from and why you do what you do. Talk to them about your family. I always share with clients the importance of my family and that they are the driving force behind my working so hard to create impactful images for clients.
I also continually communicate just how genuinely thankful I am for their business. You will find that most people will begin to become emotionally invested with a photographer, and that is what keeps them coming back. Far too many people are treated like a business transaction these days, so the more personal you are, the more guaranteed success you will have.
Communicating after the session
Communication is very important before and during a session, but it should not stop there. In some cases, the actions you take after a session can be more important than what took place before. Take time to write each client a note expressing your genuine appreciation for her investment in your photography. It is rare that people receive handwritten notes anymore, so they are usually very appreciated. Add all clients to your database so they will receive any mass emails that include future specials and other information. Pick a handful of your favorite images from their session and post them to your social media avenues. Tag the photos and encourage clients to share with their friends.
Proper communication does not cost a ton of money, but a lack of communication can cost you a fortune. Lay all the groundwork that you possibly can. Communication ensures a healthy business, and can eliminate surprises—for you and the client.