by Skip Cohen
It's Marketing Monday, and here's a concept I wish I could make mandatory, at least to read, for every photographer in business!
I started this blog over ten years ago. Today there are thousands of posts, many of them guest posts or ideas I've shared, thanks to other photographers, educators, and business owners. One of them is good buddy Doug Box. Loaded with wisdom and outstanding marketing concepts over the years, he's never stopped sharing or helping artists maximize their business. Every few years, I like to pull one of my favorites from his archived past posts.
While I'd like to take credit for the foundation of today's post, it's all thanks to Doug. I first heard him talk about this concept with his bakery demonstration at least twenty years ago. So while I've written about it before, most of you need the reminder!
Paraphrased from Doug's presentation: Pretend you're a baker, and somebody calls and asks you, "How much are your cakes?" For most of us, we'd ask a series of qualifiers: How many people do you want it to serve? Sheet cake, layer cake, or ice cream cake? What flavors would you like? Is anything to be written on the top? Any allergies we need to know about? When do you need it? Will it need to be delivered? And the list goes on and on.
Why, then, when none of us own a bakery, do we know what we'd need to ask, but as artists, most of you ask almost nothing? For example, a potential client calls and asks, "How much are your 8x10s?" and most of you would answer with a price. That's it - nothing more to clarify what the customer needed, and no effort made to upsell with ideas of other products you offer, package pricing, cross-promotions with other vendors, holiday specials, etc.
While I originally shared Doug's concept as a preview idea for holiday seasonality, it's a practice you should use EVERY day. With that new focus on family coming out of the pandemic, there's an increased demand for portraiture and creating/capturing new memories.
Take a minute and think about everything you have to offer a client. From holiday cards later this year to prints to capturing memory-making events. When you're contacted, don't just answer their question. Instead, take things one step further and give them something to think about that ties back to your skillset and everything you have the potential to offer.
Another good buddy, Tony Corbell, has used Disney as an example over the years. If you ask a Disney staff member when is the Electric Light Parade, they'll answer you, but then include, "And you know where there's a great place to watch it?" They'll then give you a suggestion on where to be in the park to enjoy it the most. They never just answer your question.
Your success with every client is based on exceeding expectations and making yourself habit-forming, even when they're contacting you for the very first time. Don't just answer their questions - give them a little more to think about and help them understand why you're the best choice for their imaging needs.
The bottom line is simple - we've been experiencing it with every fast food order we've ever made...
"You want fries with that?"
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.