Taking care of your clients is one of the most important things you can do for your business: over 84% of consumers say they either completely or somewhat trust recommendations from family, colleagues, and friends, according to Nielsen. Because word-of-mouth referrals can be so powerful, it’s to your advantage as a business owner to ensure that customers have the best experience possible from the moment they first interact with your brand.
Start Out on the Right Foot
From the beginning, make your potential clients feel as though hiring you as their photographer is more than just a business agreement. “Prompt replies to emails and phone calls makes people feel like they’re a priority,” says Amanda Watson of Amanda Watson Photography. But, she points out, being quick to respond is not enough. Answer emails personally and with warmth; remember that your early communication is the first step in creating a lasting relationship.
Spoil Them Rotten
If you want clients to talk about you, give them something to talk about! Go above and beyond to make their experience with you one they will never forget. Phillip Blume of Blume Photography explains that his couples get the royal treatment at their sessions and events. “We try to think ahead. We have cold bottled water for them on hot days. We bring umbrellas when there’s a chance of rain. There’s always a sewing kit nearby for last-minute fixes or emergencies. We have towels handy for sitting on or even for wiping glistening foreheads!”
Are family portraits your thing? Snag a few coloring books and packs of crayons from the local dollar store and keep the youngest kids happy while you snap those shots of Mom and Dad alone. Get little ones to look at the camera without tears and lots of prodding with some Lens Bling, and wow family members with your techniques.
What’s important is that your clients know you’ve got their backs and that you’ve thought through the what-ifs of each scenario; give them the feeling that your main concern is their happiness, and they’ll be singing your praises.
You probably know how important it is to be clear about policies early. When clients know your intentions and understand you as a business owner, they’re better able to manage their own expectations. Over-deliver, every time, Watson says: have proofs ready earlier than you said you would, get print orders delivered sooner than you promised, and have products packaged in a way that looks professional and effortless. Give your clients something to gush about when they share their experiences with friends and family.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
At the end of session or event, come right out and say it: “I’d love to know what you liked about your experience with me so that you can tell your friends. What did you enjoy? What can I do better the next time I photograph you and your family?” Sometimes, the best (and easiest) way to get a referral is to ask for it!
Set up a survey (we love Survey Monkey’s free option) that asks for feedback and reminds clients how important referrals are to you and your business. Include that survey link in the final automated email you send your clients or to those who place orders from your galleries. Showing clients that their opinions matter is just one more way to build a lasting relationship.
Say Thank You
Yes, you’re in business to make money. Yes, your clients have paid you (hopefully handsomely) for your time and expertise. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t important to show your appreciation. They chose you, probably out of dozens of others, so end their experience with a bang.
The Blumes give gifts (a Starbucks gift card, a custom ShootProof Mobile App, and a handwritten note) to their brides and grooms. “Our clients appreciate that our gifts aren’t seeking a further sale. They have value, but they also help market our brand.” Surprise your clients with kindness and let them tell others how touched they were to be treated as friends and not just another job.
Don’t forget your vendors! Their referrals can also go a long way. After events, make Mobile Apps vendors can use to showcase their work and your photography at the same time. Look into tangible products like this Vendor Marketing Kit from Design Aglow to show your appreciation for their partnership while putting your brand in their hands.
Have a successful referral program? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below!
Ready to make those Mobile Apps for FREE? Sign up for ShootProof now; no credit card required.
You May Also Enjoy...