Sign up for my free business coaching call, March 3rd, at 5pm PT. Hi, this is Jay P. Morgan. As photographers, as videographers, we do dumb things. We’re kind of focused on our craft, our career, ourselves sometimes. The following are examples of what we do on set and with our clients that alienate them and ensure they don’t ever hire us again. If you do them, you’re going to lose your photo and video clients. I guarantee it.
1) Don’t have any idea what your client wants. Don’t have any idea what they’re looking for. You know, you’re the photographer, they hired you because of your eye. Your great portfolio, your style. You’re just gonna give them the image that you want them to have. That’s like going to a used car salesman that says, “This is the car you’re gonna have. You’re gonna have this one, whether you like it or not. This is yours give me your checkbook.”
The reality is if you’re gonna work with clients you’ve got to understand what they want. So with the client you can put together a mood, or an inspiration board. This is a concept from advertising. You add images to this board and you can look them over with the client. You put together a collection of things between the two of you that give you an idea of exactly what your client wants. Now when you’re shooting you can give them some images that satisfy their desire for this job and will make them much happier. They’re much more likely to come back to you
2) There’s no reason to worry about your client. How they’re feeling on set or what’s going on there. It’s your shoot. You’re in charge. You’re the one here that’s gonna get the images. This is hard for you. This is a tough day for you. You need everyone to concentrate on you so you can get great images.
The reality is photographers who work like this don’t get clients to come back. It’s the opposite that gets them back. Send a questionnaire out. Ask them, “What kind of music do you like? What kind of food do you like? How do you see the day going? What’s your favorite color?” Now as the photographer you try to give them back the things that you know they love and they want in that experience. You make this experience about them. How many images are posted to Instagram every day? There are billions of images posted every day all throughout the world. You’ve got to set yourself apart by giving them an experience that’s about them and not you. It’s one of the best ways to keep clients.
3) When things aren’t going well technically, you’ve got to concentrate on that. You’ve got to to go inside yourself and be able to solve those technical problems. It’s all about getting the image and you’ve gotta just start think about what you have to do to get that image. And pretty soon the whole day collapses around you.
No. When things aren’t going right you start looking outward. It doesn’t matter if the Titanic is going down and the last boat’s left and you and your bride are gonna die on the Titanic, you’re gonna get the most amazing image they have ever seen with the boat going down in the background and people freezing in the water. You start looking outward and you start including your bride. You’re telling her how great the images look, and it doesn’t matter if the images look like crap. And you keep working internally on how to solve it until it looks better and eventually it gets better. When we start collapsing inside and saying, “Oh my word, this is looking horrible, this is gonna be horrible,” it looks worse and worse and worse. But when we start getting more excited and more out there then it gets better and better and better. So be positive. Make it a positive experience even when things are going wrong. Because you don’t want your bride or your portrait client to say, “You know what, I’ll find somebody who can handle the pressure.” You always handle the pressure inside and emote excitement outside.
4) Just give them only what they want. The images are on the mood board. Just phone it in. Knock ‘em out. Get done, get home, collect your paycheck. Get out of there.
Photographers who keep clients give them the stuff they want on their inspiration board- a foundation of the things that they love and they want. And then they do something extra where the the client says, “I never would have thought of that.” That’s how you keep clients. Those are the images they’re probably going to put up on their wall, and the images that are going to make them remember the day, and you, the most.
5) There’s no reason to post to Facebook, or Instagram, or show the images. It’s probably not the best image you’ve ever done anyway. You gotta get home, there’s other things to do. You know, it’s been a long day, just get out of there. Get home.
What an opportunity to cement your client as a life-long client! Put the image up on social media. Tag them. Get them sharing it with people so they’re excited about the images they’ve shot. They’re excited about the day and what happened there. Make yourself do that at the end of the day, as hard as it is, so that your client continues to have the great experience with you, long after you’re done. Get that social media out there. It becomes a client keeper, a client connector.
6) There’s no reason to deliver your images until your client calls you two or three times. I mean, there’s so much you’ve got going on. And obviously, when they call you the first time you don’t need to respond because you don’t have them ready yet. So you’ll wait till they call a second or third time. Because you don’t want to call them back when you don’t have the images ready. You want to have something to be able to give your client before you call them back. So just let them keep calling until eventually you get them ready and then you’ll call them back to say the images have been posted.
You know that sounds kind of odd, but I’m shocked at the number of times that photographers do that. Tell your client you’re going to deliver their images in a week, and then deliver them in three days. You reach put to them first. Don’t let them call you. If they’re having to call you, you’ve already drooped the ball. You’re already losing your client. You deliver quickly, and make sure they’re happy with their images. Get them into their hands as fast as possible. It shows a lot of professionalism, and it shows that you care about the shoot that you did with them. Never make them call you to get their images. Never.
7) So the sale’s done. You’ve got your money. You know, if they want you again, they’ll call you. They know you did great work. They know you’re amazing. You don’t have to worry about it.
That’s absolutely the wrong way to keep a client. When the sale is done you send them a thank you note or gift. In advertising I always sent thank you gifts to my clients when we were done. And I tried to make it something funny that related to the project we just did. One time I sent a toy bodybuilder in a box of sand with some really nice sunglasses to a client from Philadelphia who had just shot with me in February. Loved working with you here in Los Angeles, enjoyed the sun with you, thanks so much for the shoot. But you do little thank you things after you’re done. You get them connected to you on social media. Anywhere you can, to be able to make them a friend and to have an association with them. You send them a thank you after it’s been a year, “It was great shooting with you.” Try to connect with them at least once every three months in some way, to be able to keep that connection alive. It does not always bear fruit immediately, but will bear fruit eventually. Keep them connected to you. Keep them thinking about you. When a person needs an image, they always go to the photographer that they can think of. And you want it to be you.
Clients are hard to get, so work to keep them. The photographer who can keep clients is the photographer who is going to really make money. One and off clients is hard. You have to keep working to get them every single time. But a return client is much easier to keep, and keep happy, than finding a new one.
I love talking about business so I’ve revived my business coaching class. On March 3rd we have a free call-in. Call in, join us. We’re going to talk about a daily routine for success. The things you need to do every single day that are going to make your photography or videography business successful. Join us- it will change your business. We also have a Facebook group there where you can talk to other photographers. We’d love to have you there as well.