Starting next month there's some terrific new content coming in the Marathon blog, but in the meantime check out the archives! I found this post from last year by Sarah Petty. She's hitting on one of the most important concepts in sales/marketing - connecting with your client.
I'll admit, locking up your computer is a bit extreme, but I'm hoping it helps me and Sarah make a point.
NOTHING beats a personal call or a face to face visit! While I love the reach the Internet gives us, so many of you think the easy way to book clients is simply to answer their questions via email. Many of you have template correspondence forms on your websites, which are fine, but you're answering them the wrong way.
Sure, it's easy to send back a canned response or even a custom response via email, but here's the challenge! An email doesn't show your enthusiasm and passion for the craft. Your personality doesn't come through to your client. There's no level of trust being established with that first contact.
Also, remember 98% of the purchase decisions to hire a professional photographer in the portrait/social categories are made by women! That means most of the time your contact is "Mom" or a bride. A personal call immediately establishes a level of sincerity and starts the process of relationship building.
Take the time to read Sarah's thoughts on email and then think about how you handle customer contacts. You'll only get back as much as you're willing to invest!
NOBODY can sell you like you!
Why I Don't Book Clients From Email
I’m not right for everyone. In fact, I’m not right for MOST people who are shopping for photography. I hear "no" a lot and that’s okay with me.
I’m not the photographer if you want photos of your kids to only share digitally on social media. I focus on creating art for my clients’ homes. I have a passion for decorating kids’ rooms that reflect how special and different each one is and I’m definitely not the cheapest photographer in town.
Because of that, when I’m booking a new client I will not book a client by email.
Have I tried it? Sure. But I found after 13 years in the photography business that it didn’t work for the type of clients I want to attract. My business model is about developing high-touch relationships with my clients. It’s about individual connections, creativity and one-of-a-kind experiences and all of that is lost over email.
- We can’t develop rapport.
- We can’t bond over shared experiences.
- We can’t connect.
- And they can’t see MY personality and what makes an experience different when they choose me as their photographer in an email.
Think about it like this.
Every day we buy things and services and we have a choice every time we buy something.
1) We can choose the lowest-price provider. We all do this with certain things we don’t value – like my fake glue-on fingernails, gas for my car, daily play clothes for my kids, etc.
2) Or we can choose to pay more. When you choose to pay more than the low price provider, you expect MORE in return.
- More conversation
- More connection
- More attention
- More choices
- More service
- More perks
So what do I do when I get an email asking for my prices or if I’m available on a certain day? I pick up the phone and call the prospective client and I have a 15-minute phone conversation.
I just follow my "7 steps to answering the phone so you get booked" process.
I ask specific questions, I follow a specific order of what I ask and when and I book from that 15-minute phone call if a client is right for me.
It works every time to ensure I never pick up my camera unless I’m going to meet my sales average with the session. When I don’t book a client, I know exactly why so I don’t beat myself up or go searching for reasons my business model may be broken or my pricing is wrong.
If you’re trying to book clients via email and you’re following the boutique business model, I challenge you to pick up the phone. Stop hiding behind your computer and talk to your prospective customers.
And if you need more help, grab my free guide, “7 Steps to Answering the Phone (so you get booked” Get it here!