Let’s Talk about being Welcoming! Do you ever think about the message you leave behind … We all like to be recognized for what we do! It makes us feel important & needed. So why not keep this in mind throughout your day, because you’ll usually find several opportunities to make this happen.
First, might be the way you answer your phone, and I mean actually answering your phone. If I try to call 10 photographers, I might have one answer. Don’t try to screen your calls, you never know who it is or what services they need. I owned a catering company years ago and I told a bride that I would get in touch with her photographer to get some questions answered. He picked up the phone and gave me a riot act about soliciting and hung up on me. It took two other calls to him to explain why I was calling. (Bad business 101)
So when you answer the phone, have a smile on your face and if it turns out to be a solicitor, be nice and let them know you’re not interested, but thanks for calling. Note: Since you are in the photography business, if the solicitor is selling something relating to photography, take a couple of minutes to see what they are offering… you might learn something even if you do not buy anything. This rings big at trade shows too. Do not get mad at your caller, you never know if this person could be a customer down the road. When you answer with a smile on your face your day will go smoother and good things just might happen. I had a good friend who would answer (Hello this is Larry from Wojcik Music, how may I make your day better) a little corny, though it always made me smile.
One of the biggest mistakes I see photographers make is not thanking the customer after the sale. If they do thank them, they do not add an action. Such as additional opportunities for future business with the thank you.
“Thank you Mr. Connors! We appreciate your order and we hope you love your new photo. It was a lot of fun at Johnny and Linda’s wedding, they sure are a wonderful couple. If you have any questions or you would like to see other products, such as Christmas cards, framing etc., that we can design with your photos, give us a call!
Also, I want to let you know we are a full Portrait, Senior, and Family Photography Studio. Here is a coupon towards a family portrait session, our regular cost is $495.00 and this coupon will make it only $100.00. It’s a way to show you more of our work and earn your future photography needs. Because at Happy Photo we love to make memories!”
“Thank you from all of us at Happy Photo” (Maybe have the staff all sign the card.)
It is very important to send the thank you with the product, not after and not in an email! (beware of drop shipping from lab) If you must drop ship, try to get your lab to add your thank you.
There are many other areas you can tighten up the way you treat people. Keep your eyes open as you go about your day. One year when I had my catering business I told myself, “I’m sticking to my prices this year!” Not more than a week later I received a call from a bride to ask about our services. She said she heard great things about us. She knew what she wanted, and told me she had already called another catering company. They gave her a price of $8.50 per person. I had to bite my lip not to price match. So I told her, “I’m not your caterer” and she said, “Why”? I told her our price would be $12.50 per person, though I would do $12.00. Then, I waited for an answer and after a moment she said, great, where do I send the deposit. I kept true to my decision, and with a smile on my face the whole time, it paid off!
Bottom line, always answer your phone, (80% of people go with the first person they have talked to) keep the tune throughout your conversation. Many people may start out with “How much do you charge”. You might say something like, “Because there are so many variables, let’s get together and discuss your needs and see if I’m even a good fit. Knowing the variables will determine the prices.”
If you do not want to be the cheapest company in town, do not be cheap yourself. Customers notice these things… if you do not want to pay for something of value why would they? I say that because some photographers will try to get the cheapest deal on everything. We all do this to a point, though it seems photographers take it way over board. Spend money on your Brand – Logo – Website – even the way you dress – create beautiful example albums – these are things that will make you and your business shine!