In my city, there are about 6 Walmarts, but I try my best to only go to one of them. I bet many of you are like that with certain stores. With my Walmart, I know where everything is, I can get in out and quickly, it seems cleaner, and overall, I just feel more comfortable. It’s not that the other Walmarts are bad, but I’ve found one that works for me, so I stick with it.
5 Tips To Keep Your Photography Clients Happy and Coming Back
Let’s face it, there are tons of photographers out there these days. If a client isn’t completely happy with me, he or she can easily go and find another photographer. We all need to be like that favorite store. We need to be the photographer that makes things easy and makes them feel comfortable, so they will always choose us. That might sound difficult, but there are things you can do to create those return customers. Let’s look at 5 Tips To Keep Your Photography Clients Happy and Coming Back.
1. Call Them By Name
One of the things that really amazes me about my bank is the manager has somehow learned my name. I can’t remember when it started happening, but one day I walked up and she called me by name before I even said anything. From that point on, I felt completely different about that bank and about that manager. I felt connected, cared about, and I continue to go there every time.
Names are powerful. It’s a part of who we are, and using someone’s name gets his or her attention and makes them feel special. You need to be using your clients’ names as often as you can. This starts when you first are introduced to them and continues throughout the shoot and any other time you see them. If you run into them in the store and you can remember their name and their child’s name, I guarantee you that will make an impact.
A lot of people struggle with remembering names, and I am one of the worst. Not only will I forget people’s names once the shoot is over, I sometimes forget names during the shoot. I don’t know why I have this issue, but it is a real struggle. There are a few things you can do to help remember names. First, when you meet someone, repeat their name back to them right when you learn it and say it a few times in the next minute. Two, make some kind of connection with the name. Does it remind you of something or someone? Connect that with the new person and you’re more likely to remember. If neither of these work, there’s one other sneaky trick that works at least for the photo session. Put their names down somewhere. It could be a piece of tape on the back of your camera or a note inside your phone. Just make sure they don’t see it!
2. Ask Questions and Talk about their life
Have you ever started talking about something important to you and the person wasn’t really paying attention? How did that make you feel? We all have things in our life that are important, and we like it when other people care about the same thing as well. That’s usually how we make friends. We find people that have something in common, like a sports team or a hobby.
If you become interested in your clients’ lives, they will think of you more as a friend than a photographer. They will enjoy being around you more and will be more likely to book you again and again.
This isn’t that hard to do either. Simply be interested in who they are. Ask questions. What do they do? What do they enjoy? What’s their favorite movie? Do they like sports?
Keep asking questions and when you find something you connect on, focus on that. You’ll enjoy it because it’s something you care about, and it will build a bond with the client.
3. Clear and Constant Communication
There’s nothing more frustrating than not knowing what you are doing or being confused. I hate going and doing something new because that means I’ve got to try to figure out how everything works. How do I get to this place? Where do I park? What do I do next? It really makes me feel uncomfortable.
Your clients are the same way. They need to know what to do throughout the entire process, so they will feel comfortable. The best way to do this is through clear and constant communication. Before the session, explain how all the pricing, session, and ordering work. Then, during the shoot, tell them exactly what they need to do. Where should they stand and what do they need to be doing? Of course, you can go too far in this and make them feel awkward, but it’s better to give too many instructions instead of too little.
Remembering everything you need to tell a client can be overwhelming. The best way to go about it is to have a workflow and documents already made. With a workflow, you have steps that you take with every single client. This way, you do it the same way every time and you don’t have to remember what comes next. Then, create email templates or documents that you can reuse over and over again.
Several years ago I ordered for the first time from this print company. When I opened the box, to my surprise, there was a sucker! Now, a sucker is an extremely cheap thing, but for some reason, I felt really happy about this sucker and appreciated it.
Gifts are a great way to build relationships with your clients. It makes them feel special and they will think highly of you. The awesome thing is they don’t have to be something gigantic. All that matters is you are giving them something that they aren’t expecting.
I would also make sure it is clear that it’s a gift. If they don’t know they are getting something extra, they won’t appreciate it. All you have to say is, “Normally you’d get _____, but I wanted to do something special for you, so I’m gifting you ________. “
There are several different things you can gift your clients. It could be something photography related like extra prints, digitals, or time. All of these cost you very little, but they have a high perceived value. A print might cost you $1 to $10, but you might say it is worth $50-$200. Besides photography related things, you can give other things. I’ve given gift cards, wine, and candy. One smart idea is to find out what they like and go with that.
5. Say kind things
Can you remember a time someone said something really mean to you? What about when someone said something really nice? We remember the words people speak to us, especially when those words are on the extreme. If you are extremely kind and say wonderful things to your clients, you will make their day, and they will remember that.
I do this in a few different ways. When someone books me for a wedding, I send them a thank you card telling them how excited I am. I do this again after the wedding and I make sure to tell what my favorite thing was about the wedding. During the sessions, I make sure to reassure them about how they look and compliment them about different things depending on the situation.
I’m not asking you to change your personality and be really fake, but everyone can say something nice. Be real and find real things to say to your clients. You can compliment them on their outfit, their smile, or simply tell them how much fun you had hanging out with them. Any of that will make them feel better about the session and you.
Getting new clients is the hardest part of running a photography business. Once you get them, you have to make sure you keep them and that they keep coming back. The easiest way to do this is to make sure they have a wonderful experience and that they enjoy being around you. Try out a few of these tips and see how things change. You might be really surprised at how different your clients and you feel.