You work hard as a photographer, you put passion in everything you do, and your photo sessions are flawless. Even your new clients are absolutely thrilled with how you handle their first order.
But that second order doesn’t follow up as often as you would expect.
What’s going on?
Most photographers, despite their solid experience and an already existing pool of clients, do not always have a full agenda.
If crickets sometimes chirp on your side of business, maybe you could use a shift of perspective.
Adopt these 7 habits of top-performing photographers, adjust the way you interact with your new clients a little, and soon enough, you might find yourself swamped with bookings.
Here’s how to take your photography business to the next level:
1. Raise your prices with confidence
How on earth are you going to get new clients for your photography sessions by charging more, you wonder? It’s pure psychology: people who want the best will always suspect the lowest prices – “You get what you pay” they say. Professionals know it well and that is why they always raise the stakes. If you’re confident with the quality of your work, make sure you reflect it within the price.
Just keep showing evidence of quality and present their benefits of working with you, throughout the entire conversation. In this way, you will keep them focused on the most practical aspects of their project, so that they won’t even get the chance to wonder or ask “Why so much?”.
When clients are dazzled with your offerings and you ooze confidence, bargaining will be out of discussion. And if they still make a try, they are definitely not the type of client that you are after.
2. Push prices on a secondary plan
I get it, you are afraid of keeping your clients in the shadow about your prices when that’s what they really care about… Nevertheless, the point is you do not have to keep them in the shadow, but simply postpone giving a quote. You are not being elusive, you are not avoiding the subject, you just keep the conversation focused on other aspects, showing your real interest in their needs.
Top-performing photographers save the price discussion for the last, when all the other things that matter were covered.
They avoid displaying their prices not because they make a secret out of it, but because they know every project is unique. Before you give any ballpark figure, you really need to know all the details and the accurate needs of your clients. Let them know that prices vary and that you make personalized offers upon their demands. Best clients will always be interested in how you can help them, above anything else!
3. Advertise benefits instead of services
You might think that talking about your amazing services is the best way to hook new clients. Actually, nope. Customers couldn’t care less about how awesome you are. They care about what awesome photos they are going to get from working with you. So make sure that all your messages focus on the clients, underline their needs, their pains, and the solutions that they are going to get from you.
Otherwise said, you should be presenting your experience, your accreditation, and your results from your client’s perspective.
Instead of saying:
“I’m an innovative and creative photographer who knows how to capture the true personality of his photography subjects”
…say something like:
“Your family portrait will be superbly captured, in a way that reflects their true personality, while my creativity and innovation will produce a unique memory that you will forever cherish!”
The difference between benefits and products or services is quite easy to spot. The first category will answer the question “What’s in it for you?” while the second category will answer the question “What can I do for you?”. And every single item listed as “What can I do for you?” should be easily followed by “And this will help you to….”.
Always begin your claims with that “will help you to…” part in mind.
4. Surprise by offering a pre-session meeting
Yes, it will take more time, but it will offer you the chance to win their trust and make them feel like you are truly taking care of their needs. The best professionals take advantage of this pre-session consultation to attract the clients and make them more willing to accept their suggestions during the actual shooting.
Talk to them and explain your working process. Go on pointing out the most challenging parts of what they are asking. And by all means, underline the importance of getting their project right from the start, no matter how much work it will require, again, by showing the real benefits.
Tell your client “I’d like to know more about your specific needs. Can we get together and discuss your project, so I can offer you some clear indications and make you a personalized offer?”.
5. Make them visualize the benefits of your artwork
Some clients have a clue of what they intend to do with your work. However, even they might lack a thorough perspective. If you are doing cold marketing, approaching people you’ve never met or talked to before, who are not even sure that they want or need photography services, you have even more reasons to make them visualize the utility of your work. Inspire them to display your photographs above the fireplace, to set up a small family gallery corner in their homes or to hang their kids’ portraits throughout the house.
Eventually, you will help them realize how useful your services would be.
This is an essential part of encouraging people to place orders. Not everyone feels comfortable posing and not everyone has inspiration as to what to do with his or her photographs. From this perspective, convincing clients that they really need to create valuable memories that will stand the test of time is somewhat tricky. Make sure you stimulate their imagination in advance and your chances of making them your clients will skyrocket!
6. Focus on selling physical products
Sure, it all starts with the digital files… But why lose the chance of increasing your revenues by convincing clients to turn them into physical prints and products? If you invested time and energy into educating them on how to use your photos, bring clients in after the shooting, for an in person sale.
Project their photographs on a wall and offer them a vivid experience. Motivate them into ordering the physical products from you. Otherwise, they will most likely go home and throw the DVD in a drawer and that was it.
Instead, make sure that they put your photographs on their home or office walls. That’s the best living advertise you could do to your business. It will either constantly remind them that they could get another amazing shooting session with you, or inspire other people who visit them to order your services!
7. Offer a limited range of options
It might seem counterintuitive to provide clients with a limited range of options, but do not ignore the odds of going overboard and overwhelming them! When you give people too many choices, you actually make it more difficult for them to choose. And it has nothing to do with their zodiac sign (even though Libras might need an eternity to make a choice regardless the options), but rather with how the human brain works.
Creating a limited selection of your most successful photographs could be challenging for you too. Yet that’s another thing that professionals get really good at. So just focus on presenting the most convincing frames and make your clients sigh of delight, not of uncertainty.
The most reputable photographers already master all of the above. But rest assured, they once were just like you – full of passion and with lots of uncertainties and worries.