Sometimes when you hear or see a prospect for the first time you get a feel that they might not be a good fit. Sometimes their voice sounds like they’re sighing every word they speak. When you meet them their face looks etched with years of hurt, frustration and sadness. Life has probably beaten them up and unfortunately, it shows.
So it was with a recent family portrait prospect of mine.
She called me and I chatted with her about her family and asked her lots of questions to establish what she was looking for and to get her thinking emotionally about the photos.
After building rapport with her and getting a better understanding of what she was looking for I gave her a ballpark figure of my prices, without going into specific detail. Price out of context is meaningless. Imagine buying a car, or booking a wedding venue over the phone!
We arranged for me to come and visit her to discuss things in more detail. There’s no charge or pressure Continue reading
As human beings most of us are terrified of the unknown. It’s pre-programmed into our DNA to help us avoid being eaten by a sabre-tooth tiger the minute we step outside our cave.
It’s the same reason we’re scared of everything from parachute jumps to giving a presentation. If I could magically guarantee that your next presentation would be greeted with applause and high-fives then you probably wouldn’t be nervous.
Without a guarantee many of us become paralysed with fear and take the worst possible action (i.e. none).
Think of it from your client’s perspective
As a wedding photographer your prospective clients are worried you’ll either mess up their treasured photos or behave like a surly oaf and upset their friends and family.
We’ve all heard the horror stories, and so have many of your prospects. You need to earn their trust and the best possible way of doing that is to offer a money-back guarantee.
This is a Guest Post from author and TV presenter Chris Widener that I have been given permission to publish. I felt the simple (but crucial!) message was very relevant to the Get Pro Photo readership. It seemed especially poignant since I’ve just finished my 100th post on Get Pro Photo.
Here’s the article from Chris Widener:
“The purpose of man is in action not thought”
Often people will ask me how I get so much done in my life. They wonder at how I am able to accomplish so many things. The answer is found not in what a great person I am, but in an equation I came up with a few years ago and remind myself of on almost a daily basis. And when I live this equation out, it produces big results. What people don’t seem to grasp is that this equation will work for anybody! Anyone can see results in their life if they will live it out!
In business your natural instinct is to regard your competitors as the enemy. You view them:
- With disdain: if they charge less than you feel they should)
- With envy: if they’re charging more than you could dream of
- Through the sights of a sniper rifle: if they keep stealing your ideas!
The last thing you might want to do is help them.
Some years ago when I was just starting out in photography a competitor emailed me to ask if I could tell him how I got my website to the top of Google. My immediate reaction was disbelief. This guy had some big kahunas to ask a competitor for such a big favour. The funny thing was he’d been around a lot longer than me, so I paused to think about how I could get something out of the arrangement. He had more experience, more clients and even his own studio, so I agreed to meet him.
If you don’t have a definite plan for how you’re going to build a successful photography career then it’s a bit like jumping in a boat without a map and hoping it will take you to the Caribbean.
If you’ve read my post ‘The terrifying chart that slaps photographers in the face’ you’ll know how overwhelming it can be to find the right path.
Let’s break this bad-boy down so things look a little clearer for you.
Painting photography by numbers
Do you get annoyed when people tell you ‘we all have the same amount of time each day?’
In theory we do, but in practice we all have certain things we simply cannot get out of. If you’re a single parent with 8 children and a full time job then you’ll have less time to dedicate to creating a new photography career than an 18 year old who has left college and living with their parents.
Nonetheless, the principles I’m going to share remain valid.
That’s about 100,000 words on blog posts alone. Then there are the three books I’ve written and guest posts on other photography websites. The dull ache of RSI is never far away!
I’ve worked Friday and Saturday nights – regularly. My spirit has been broken many times. I thought the results would come more quickly. After all, there are millions of photographers the world over and they all need to know this stuff. In fact most photographers are crying out for business help if you read the forums.
However, just like a budding photographer I was ignorant to scale of the challenge of launching an E-commerce blog. I still get disheartened.
I keep going.
When I started I knew nothing about blogging. I’m still overwhelmed by the technical side. Plugins, widgets, software, shopping carts, affiliate marketing – there’s a huge amount to learn and I’ve barely scratched the surface. I just want to write and not worry about the bamboozling technical hocus-pocus of running a blog. Maybe you just want to create photos and not worry about selling and marketing…
There may be a thousand ways to grow your photography business, but ultimately there are only three strategies for achieving it:
- Increase the number of clients
- Increase the order value
- Increase the frequency of purchases
The now famous ‘three ways to grow your business’ formula was developed more than 20 years ago by Chris Newton, the founder of Results Corporation.
Do you know your numbers?
Clients x Value x Frequency = Sales Revenue (of course that’s not your salary as you’ve not taken off your costs yet)
For example, if you have 30 wedding clients, who on average spend £1,000 ($1800) per order and who on average order once per year, Continue reading
Most of us are riddled with insecurities. I am. Almost every photography session I have I feel I’m going to screw up. What if the clients hate the photos? What if I get tongue tied during the session and we have awkward silences? I guess it’s like a singer dreading they’ll forget the words.
I’ve been doing this for around 6 years and I still get nervous.
I’ve sold family portraits for over £1000+ and I still worry I’m not good enough.
I’ve got 46 wonderful testimonials on my website and I’m still not sure I’m worth what I charge.
I just keep putting myself in these scary situations and as each year rolls by I flinch a little less. Repetition breeds confidence.
So, the answer to “how do you know if your photos are good enough to sell” is two-fold…
Put yourself out there and see if people hire you.
If people hire you then they believe in you, even if you don’t believe in yourself. If no-one is calling you Continue reading
Whether franchising your photography business is something you want to do or not, it’s a powerful question to ask yourself. That’s because the criteria behind whether a business is a good prospect for being franchised is something like this:
- Does the business make a decent profit?
- Are your business systems clearly defined?
- Are your business systems easy to replicate and teach?
- Do you have a strong brand?
- Do you have proven sales and marketing strategies that provide consistent results?
- Does your business have a good reputation?
- Is the system challenging enough that copycats can’t pop up everywhere overnight?
The thought occurred to be a couple of years ago and last week I received a call out of the blue from a franchising company to ask me if I’d be interested. It’s something I’ll be considering strongly.
Successful businesses are nearly always systemised, whether they’re franchised, chain-stores or Continue reading
The habits of successful people
If you’ve read Get Pro Photo for any length of time you’ll know that being able to create beautiful photos is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to building a successful photography business. I subscribe to a lot of different websites that include the world’s most highly respected marketing, selling, psychology and productivity leaders. This has helped me learn the habits of successful people and I’ve tried to replicate those habits in my photography business.
One of the people I follow is marketing legend Dan Kennedy and the video below is from one of his seminars. It’s two one hour seminars back to back. The first is an incredibly motivating and inspiring speech about the productivity habits of successful people. The second is by Dan Kennedy himself and is a very clever and amusing presentation that’s all about marketing your business. The second presentation starts at 51mins and 15 seconds. I strongly urge you to watch all of both performances as they both build and build to fabulous crescendos.
Most of the time it’s your own mind that undermines your chances of success. Your view of the world is just one view and it’s not always the healthiest one. For example, if you refuse to accept that selling isn’t evil then you’ll always struggle to sell effectively. If you refuse to accept that people will pay you thousands for family portraits and wedding photos then they never will.
It’s only through making a daily habit (first thing in the morning ideally) of reading and watching inspiring and educational information like Continue reading