Have you ever sat down at a great restaurant, and loved the food – until you spot a hair? Instantly your opinion changes, you push the food away, and always remember “the hair” when anyone suggests that restaurant. It not only changes your opinion, it alters it for always.
That’s because we focus on details that matter most to us. Every person has a different perspective on customer service. And if a store, restaurant or service doesn’t match our perspective, we form an opinion and take that with us wherever we go.
Think back for a moment; I’m sure there are several stores and businesses in your area that you won’t use because of an experience. It touched you, affected you, and you hold your opinion close to your heart.
The same can happen within your photography business. While you can’t avoid this completely – there will always be some people you can’t please – there are things you can do to put your best foot forward. It’s something that you can refine again and again, throughout your career. Here are 5 tiny details that impact you and how your customers perceive what you do.
Every word you use has meaning.
We use to use the phrase “we shoot people for a fee”, and it used to be funny. Until Columbine happened here in Colorado. Instantly that phrase took on a completely different meaning, and it was no longer socially acceptable.
That’s a little extreme, but the same applies with many of the words we use every day.
One hidden word can mean all the difference in the world to your potential customers.
Dig Deeper: How Much Power Your Words Really Have
We attend a networking group on a regular basis. It’s a group of professional business owners coming together to bring referrals to each other. We build up trust and reliability within the group, and the referrals you get you handle with care because of the integrity you build up over time.
A part of your integrity is the way you present yourself to the other business owners.
When the hairdresser shows up time and time again with a hat on because she couldn’t get up early enough to do her hair, you begin questioning how good of a job she can really do.
When the financial representative shows up week after week in shorts and flip flops, you begin to wonder how he will really handle your money.
They aren’t dressing the part. The same holds true with your photography business. If you are climbing trees and lying on the ground to get the perfect image, no one expects you to wear your Sunday best. But jeans to a wedding will definitely have a negative impact.
Your image stretches beyond what you wear or how you speak. It incorporates everything you do to attract and keep your customers. It’s how you answer the phone. Its what your website says. Its how you present yourself the day of the event.
When we were still photographing weddings with film, we consistently had guests come up to us at the end of the event telling us how great the photographs were. Its not that they saw the photographs – they were in a bag in our case. Its because they saw how professional we were, they saw how we controlled the situation, and they knew without ever seeing the images that they were going to be fantastic.
That image wasn’t built over night. It was created along the way. You have to think about how everything looks from beginning, to end.
Once you have your image in place, it moves forward into the way you project your image out into the marketplace.
When someone says “wedding photographer”, do they think of you?
When someone says “baby portraits”, do they think of you?
Whatever your specialty, whatever your niche, you have to be the leader for people to instantly think of you and mention your name.
No one knows a generalist. No one refers a generalist. You only refer people whose specialty you can instantly recognize, and think of whenever it is mentioned.
Is your experience like every other photographer out there? Or have you done something unique, creative, that makes your potential customers take notice.
Right now we are seeing a huge change in the photographic industry. Film has moved aside for digital. And many part time photographers are shooting for a few extra bucks, making full timers question how to package their services.
Dig Deeper: Photographers – The History Killers
Ultimately it’s not about what you offer, it’s how you sell it. If you create a package because everyone else has the same thing, you can expect the same results.
One of our biggest selling points has always been album design. Because 9 out of 10 people hand over a pile of proofs (or a CD of files) and allow the customer to put together an album, we made that our advantage. We didn’t give you “50 percent service”, we give you “110 percent by designing the perfect album based on the images we created. We were the professionals. We put together dozens of albums a year – we had the experience. The customer did it once – how would they know how to select the right image to tell the story?
So we provided the complete experience, beginning to end.
Think about what experience your customers have with you. What do they experience every step of the way?