1. Give your clients lots to read! Your most valuable piece of real estate is your website, but what I don't understand is why so many photographers junk it up with paragraph after paragraph that just don't say anything! If a picture is worth a thousand words, then keep the copy on your site to the bare minimum. Every outstanding image demonstrates why you're a professional. You don't need to add a lot of words if your images speak for themselves.
2. Never bother to check your website. I've written about this several times in the past. There are still those of you who are convinced nothing can go wrong - after all, it was working okay yesterday! Ever had an unexpected problem with your car? Maybe it was a dead battery or a flat tire or just maybe somebody hit you in a parking lot. Your website is no different! When the gremlins get involved and your site locks up or is just too slow to load, it can cost you serious business.
3. "I'm too good to have a network." Yeah, I know, you're so good you don't want anybody to know what you're working on. Plus, you're so smart and you absorb new technology so fast, you don't need new ideas or help from other photographers. Seriously, a great network takes time to build, but every new photographer or vendor you meet at a local guild meeting, state/national convention or workshop helps you expand your expertise. Your network can help you through the toughest challenges in half the time and time is your most valuable commodity.
4. If it ain't broke, don't fix it! No, it should be if it ain't broke, you haven't looked hard enough! Need I say more?
5. And the last one on the hit parade: criticize everybody else! Negative sell because your potential client really wants to know what's wrong with your competitors. NOT! Negative selling just doesn't cut it. Ever had a contractor like a plumber or an electrician do some work on your house? They'll always tell you the last guy did it all wrong! Don't get caught up in negative comments. Instead talk about your own work, but spend time listening to your clients first. They need to know you understand what they want. You want to develop that special level of trust that will allow you to step into their lives and capture the moments most important to them. You won't get there if you sound like a cheap salesman who only wants to close the sale.
Thomas Edison is quoted as saying,
"Hell, there are no rules here - we're trying to accomplish something."
Don't be afraid to throw out the "rule book" and show your creativity, in your marketing, your images and in building your relationships. You don't need to give up business to your competitors if you stay focused on integrity, customer service and quality in your images!
Illustration Credit: © iQoncept - Fotolia.com