by Guest Contributor Amy Fraughton
If you’ve been in the business world very long, you may be familiar with the term “P and L”. It stands for Profit and Loss. It’s something businesses watch and analyze frequently to make sure they are always growing and not losing.
I’ve learned that “P and L” can stand for something much more important and have a more dramatic affect on your bottom line, and that is People and Love.
Investing in your clients and making them feel valued and important will be the smartest thing you do for your business! It can not only bring you many more financial rewards, it also is very rewarding internally. This business is all about people. Without your clients, you would have no business. Let them know how much you value them and they will pay you over and over.
This could not be truer for any business, but especially the photography industry.
We get a lot of time with our clients. We get to know them before the photo shoot, and lots of time during the session to interact and develop a relationship. Then we get to spend time after the shoot as we provide them with their images. Each of these times is an opportunity to show your client how much you love and appreciate them. The more they feel this from you, the longer they will stay with you as a client and refer their friends and family too.
I am always thrilled when my clients stay with me year after year. Not only because it keeps my business strong, but I love feeling like I have them as friends. I love talking to their kids and catching up on their latest activities. And I know my clients appreciate our relationship!
Here are a few tips of things you can do to build relationships with your clients.
1. Truly listen to them. Repeat back what they’ve told you so they know they have been heard. This is big. Clients are nervous that they are going to get the types of images they have in mind and feel much better when they know that you’ve heard their needs and wants.
2. Remember their names, their kids names, and what is going on in their lives. Treat them as though they are your best friends but they just don’t know it yet. I love asking how one kid
3. Give them the time that they need within your session. Under promise and over deliver.
4. Take a thank you gift to the shoot or deliver it with their products. Surprise and delight them. This doesn’t have to be something expensive, any gift will be a thrill for them. One morning I brought a box of doughnuts and scribbled a big thank you on the top of the box. I gave it to my clients after the shoot and they were so excited!
5. Follow up with them a month after the session to see how they like their images, if they need any help getting them on the wall, and if there is anything else you can do for them. No one expects this kind of a phone call, but it will be the thing that ties them to you as a future client.
Most importantly, just remember that your clients are people, not just your next paycheck. Treat them as if they were family to you and they will be your future!
Enjoy this free downloadable print for your office or working space.
About Amy: Amy Fraughton is the founder of Photo Business Tools, an online site offering business resources and education for photographers through blog posts, podcasts and downloadable forms.