If you’re selling your photography to brides, families, schools, editors or collectors, etc., you have to think about building relationships. Often, the photographer who gets the sale DOES NOT have the best picture, they have the best relationship with the photo buyer.
Here are some tips for improving your relationships with clients. A great deal of this is common sense.
1. Listen. Your clients will give you a wealth of information, if you listen that is. Too many marketers approach selling situations with a script. They have a prepared pitch that overtakes the client’s needs. Sometimes the simplest product pitch is “What are you looking for?” Let the clients tell you what they need instead of trying to sell them what they might not want.
2. Be open, transparent, genuine, authentic, gracious and helpful. People will want to buy your photos over and over if you can do that.
3. Put the client first. That’s it. Just really, really try to put their needs above your own. This may cost you a short term sale, but will almost always lead to long-term business. This may mean saying something like, “I’m not the right photographer for that job, but let me put you in touch with the person who is.” It takes guts to do this and it pays off in spades when you can muster the courage to do it.
4. Do things that positively impact the people in the community where your buyers interact. Be seen as someone who is a helpful resource for people in that community. Be the person that your community turns to in time of need. The visibility this offers makes people want to trust you.
5. Follow through on every promise you make to your clients, no matter how small. This is critical to building relationships. If you say you’ll call them back with a price tomorrow before 4:00 PM, do it. Nothing is more important. In fact, follow through in a way that leaves no doubt you’re committed to the relationship. Under-promise and over-deliver. This leads to long-term business for any photographer.