Book more photography clients with this step-by-step framework.
Hi, I'm Brooke! I'm a believer, wife, mama to two, Oklahoma photographer, and photography business coach.
I help photographers grow profitable full-time businesses from home.
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One of my favorite things about my business is building relationships and having my clients refer me again and again. This is because they receive such an amazing client experience that they want to tell everyone they know. Today I want to go over five things that will make or break your client experience and help you get more photography business testimonials.
Now that busy season is winding down, we should be thinking about our business for 2024. Many of us are entering into a slow or a dead season. And if you haven’t checked out this post yet I want you to take a look at it right after this one. In that post I give you winter marketing strategies that you can be implementing right now so that you don’t have a dead winter season. It’s ok to have ebbs and flows throughout the year. In fact, that’s completely normal. You’ll start to notice patterns the longer you’re in business. But being at a complete standstill at any point of the year means that you have parts of your business that you need to work on.
One of the strategies that I teach photographers is the life cycle of a client and how to craft a client experience that will wow, create retention, and help you with photography business testimonials. Oftentimes I ask photographers how they would rate their current client experience and I’m always surprised by the confidence and the high numbers. But as I begin to break it down with photographers individually, I start to realize that it’s not really as polished as they think.
Your client experience is not just you adding in styling help or having a faster turnround time. There is so much more that goes into it. So that is why I wanted to highlight these five things so that you can improve your client experience and increase your photography business testimonials.
You have to be very professional when responding to inquiries. When someone emails you and says something like, “You take beautiful photos. What’s your pricing?” You can’t just reply to these inquiries with, “Hi, thanks. Here’s my investment guide.” Ask questions and make sure you understand what they are looking for. This is where you can respond with something like, “Hi Sarah, thank you so much for that compliment I appreciate it. I would love to share more information about my pricing and packages. What kind of session are you looking for?” You have to have a conversation. How else will you know if they’re a good fit? I’ve also noticed that the more conversational you can be, the more they’ll feel like you truly care and are getting to know them. So that’s the first thing you need to look at is how you’re responding to inquiries.
Then you need to make sure that you’re responding to these inquiries within 24-48 hours. The longer that inquiry sits in your inbox the less chance you have of booking them. You can even have an automated option just letting them know you received their inquiry and what your expected response time is. Something like, “Thank you so much for inquiring with me at Brooke Janae Photography. I’m so excited to get to know you and see if we’re a great fit. Just wanted to let you know that you can expect an email response from me in the next 24-48 hours. If you need anything before then don’t hesitate to email me at email@example.com.”
So really lean in and think about how you feel about the way you are currently responding to inquiries. Are you being professional and conversational? Are you prequalifying the person? Responding in a timely manner? Do you have an automated response that goes out as soon as they hit submit?
How are you speaking to the client from the time they inquire in every encounter you have with them? Are you being professional? Make sure you aren’t doing or saying things that are making your clients feel awkward or uncomfortable. You have to be professional at all times. You also need to be very timely in responding to people. This isn’t something that stops at the inquiry. You need to have consistent communication with your clients.
Always remember that you are serving a human. So treat people with kindness and respect. You have to come at this with a heart centered attitutde and remember that everything you do and the way you treat people is going to be remembered for a long time.
So does your overall client communication feel organized? Are you responding in a timely manner? And are you coming at your clients from a heart centered approach?
Have you ever had a less than ideal experience with another creative in some way? Maybe another photographer, or a videographer, or a hairstylist? Have you ever just been in a situation where you have not loved what you received? It could have been how they acted, or that they were running late, or that what you asked for is just not what you got. It’s really important that what you are promising is what you are doing. Otherwise you won’t have repeat clients and you won’t get photography business testimonials.
The most obvious example would be turnaround times. If you say two to three weeks are you delivering that gallery in that timeframe? Turnaround times are the quickest way to break a client experience. Photographers who are running behind are not managing their time, they’re taking on too many clients, or they’re not running their business properly. After you leave someone with a bad client experience they’re going to talk, so you have to deliver what you promise. This includes when you deliver sneak peeks, if you’re going to style someone or send them pictures of your client closet. Make sure you’re doing it! You set the expectations for them by telling them during your booking process what it’s like to work with you, what their experience will be like, and what to expect. And if you fall short on any of these then you have absolutely tainted their experience.
We’ve talked about this one already but your galleries should never be delivered late. It should never take months to deliver your galleries unless it’s an event or a wedding. And if it is taking you that long for a portrait session then you need to take on less clients. If you can’t afford to do that because you need the money then you need to raise your prices. I don’t ever want turn times to take eight to 10 weeks for portrait sessions. I don’t care if it was a model call, a free shoot, or a paying client. It should not take you two to three months to deliver galleries. And I’m telling you this becasue this is the number one complaint I see about photographers.
Your turnaround time also needs to be reasonable. But if you can’t handle it then you need to find a solution. One of the ways you can set yourself apart is by having an amazing turnaround time. I’m not saying the quicker the better. Those of you who are taking photos and then delivering them in three days, I don’t think you’re spending enough time on them. To really wow your clients and have them sending you referrals, make sure you have a reasonable turnaround time that you can meet every time.
Are you being proactive and getting ahead of people’s questions, objections, and issues? How are you proactively trying to solve something before you ever realize there’s a problem? If someone isn’t happy with how you responded to them or maybe they didn’t like their gallery, again make sure that you are coming from a professional, heart centered response. Not a my feelings are hurt, self centered approach because that is not going to make the situation any better.
So you need to be thinking about how you’re going to handle situations when they come up. What will your solution be? Are you finding the same question or the same pushback over and over again? How can you communicate or answer that question before the next person even has time to ask? Sometimes this is adding it to an email or creating a prep guide or just hopping on the phone with a client and mentioning it. So make sure that you are looking for ways to be proactive to where you clients don’t even have the opportunity to ask.
An example of dealing with a difficult client situation would be if they don’t like their gallery. This does happen and sometimes there’s nothing you can do. I know this can be heartbreaking though because this is your art. It can cause you to feel very self critical. But the first thing I want you to do is to walk away for a moment in these situations. Feel the sting, feel sad and decompress before you respond in your feelings. If you respond when you’re angry and upset you’re only going to pour fuel on the fire. So take a moment and sit with it. Then I want you to think about how you’re going to handle the situation.
The next time someone let’s you know they are unhappy with their images I want you to dig a little deeper. “Hey Sarah, I’m so bummed to hear that. Can you be a little more specific and let me know exactly what it is that you’re not loving?” You’ll be able to uncover if this is a self conscious issue and something you can’t fix. Or if there’s something you can improve or change.
So dig a little deeper and determine exaclty what they’re unhappy with. You may find that it comes down to something like their husband looks really unhappy, they don’t like themselves in the photos. If it’s something like that that you can’t fix then first validate their feelings. Let them know that you tried multiple things to get their husband to relax but that was the only face he was making. Explain that if they are interested in another session in the future maybe you can have a conversation about a different approach.
But let me give you an example of something you can control. Let’s say your client let’s you know they feel their images are too dark. Let them know you’re going to relook at them and re-edit them. You’ll start with one or two that you think they’re probably talking about and go back and re-edit those to see if you can make them better for your client. I know many of you are thinking but that’s not my editing style. But they didn’t say they wanted completely different looking images where you’re going into Photoshop and adding all of these changes. Yes you have a certain editing style but you’re also serving a client. So do you want to leave this client with a bad experience and let them walk away? Or do you want to try to salvage what you can and really serve this client?
I just want you to change your perspective in every interaction you have with your clients so that you can truly enhance your client experience. There’s a bonus lesson inside my Blueprint program on how to deal with difficult client situations and what to say. I go through each and every one and give you examples. So if you loved this post you will love that one inside of the Blueprint.
These are the five things that will make or break your client experience and referrals:
I hope you enjoyed today’s deep dive into client experience. I hope it really really helps you take a look at what you’re doing. Maybe you realize wow I’m not a 10/10 with my client experience. Or maybe I’m more like a five and I need to work on this. I wanted to give you this post now so you have a few weeks to work on this before you kick off your best year yet in your photography business. If you loved this post and if you have any questions come send me a DM right now on Instagram. Let me know what you thought of it, share it in your stories and tag me. I would love to have a conversation with you.
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