June 23, 2021
One of the most important components of building your client base and expanding your photography business is to provide an incredible client experience. The best way to do that is to CONNECT with your clients! If you haven’t already, the first thing I recommend is to read the book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. The rule of thumb here is that people love to talk about themselves, so the best way to connect is by making an effort to be interested instead of interesting! People appreciate that! I really enjoy getting to know my clients on a personal level; and a huge bonus of that is that they begin to know, like, and trust me as well! Especially if there are complications or uncertainties about dates or shoots, I want my clients to KNOW that I have their best interest in mind and am actively working to give them a wonderful product and experience. Getting to know your clients also makes them feel more comfortable while shooting, allows them to be more relaxed and have fun when being photographed! Here are some ways that I like to go about doing this:
1. Talk about what you’re doing!
During a shoot, these are the FIRST things I like to bring up:
“Is there anything you feel self conscious about?”
“How are you feeling, are you nervous?”
“Are there any specific locations you have in mind?”
Asking these questions really opens up a dialogue between you and your client. This conversation also reassures the client that you want the best for them and boosts the confidence they have in your skills! For example, the fact that you asked about any insecurities and will avoid highlighting those insecurities will put a client’s mind at ease and build that trust between you.
2. Ask about their story!
Get to know your clients and where it all began!
“How did you meet?”
“How did you get engaged?”
“I love your engagement ring! Is it an heirloom? What’s the story there?”
Ask about all things related to them as a couple! These kinds of questions will really let you into the kind of people they are and the story of their love. The engagement question specifically can really shed some light on their personalities and the dynamic between them. Sometimes, these stories can be emotional! A really great way to respond to that vulnerability is by sharing a story of your own; sometimes I’ll share the story of how my husband Brad and I got engaged for example! This swapping of stories and getting to know one another really helps the comfort level.
3. Ask about the wedding!
This is a great way to give advice where needed (also builds trust) and make some recommendations, which will be much appreciated (and will also benefit you!)
“How is the wedding planning going?”
“Where in the process are you?”
“What parts of the process are you liking the most? Which parts do you dislike?”
“How are you finding your vendors?”
These questions do a lot of things; One, they show that you care! Planning a wedding can be really stressful, and your interest in how it’s going and willingness to offer up suggestions/recommendations for vendors and venues can make the wedding day go so much more smoothly! You can also use this as an opportunity to clue your clients into the wedding day timeline (when to have makeup done for photos, when to be dressed, etc.) to make everything go smoothly. Before you know it, your clients will come to you with their questions, as their most trusted source!
4. Recommend vendors!
In that last point, I mentioned using your shoot to recommend vendors. let’s get into that a little more!
“What kinds of vendors are you looking for?”
“I recommend _________ for __________because __________!”
Suggesting venues, vendors, and shooting locations showcases your experience level and adds value to your clients’ interaction with you! Plus, you can make recommendations based on your optimal shooting conditions. For example, you can guide clients to venues that you know photograph very well, or to vendors who are professional and that you have good experiences with.
5. Ask what they do for work!
I LOVE to ask my clients what they do for work, if the conversation feels like it would allow for that.
“What does your day-to-day look like? What does your week look like?”
“What do you do for work?”
“Tell me more about that!”
I really like to dive into the details here, as often people are passionate about their work and love to talk about it. It’s another great way to get to know the client more and to get them talking about something they know and are comfortable speaking about.
I hope these 5 tips help you to cultivate great conversations and help you to build meaningful, long-lasting client relationships! Thanks for reading!
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