It goes without saying that if you want to build a successful photography business, you have to be adept at communicating with your clients.That means every email you send, every meeting you have with clients, every phone call that you answer, and every post, tweet, and blog you write needs to be on point.Of course, the problem is that no one gets into photography because they write great emails or love to talk on the phone.That means that a lot of us might be lacking in the communication skills department.That’s where this quick tutorial comes in!If you’re not all that confident in your ability to communicate with your clients in a consistent, professional, and effective manner, try these easy tips.
The way you communicate in person, via e-mail, on your blog, and so forth needs to be along the same lines as you communicate in your photos.By that, I mean this: There is a time and a place for formality, but more often than not, simply being personable, candid, and friendly will go a long way.Yes, there need to have boundaries, and you need to do and say the right things when communicating with your clients. But don’t take the need to be professional with being cold or distant.Just like you strive to help people connect with your images by triggering an emotion or a feeling, recognize shared emotions or feelings with your clients.
For example, if you have kids you can use that experience to relate better to a maternity client. If you’re married, you can parlay your knowledge to wedding clients.You get the point…People don’t just seek you out as a photographer because of your photos. They do so because of who you are too. Whenever you communicate with clients, show them who you are, and your communication will be more successful.
There’s no way around it – the best communication is timely communication.This goes for current and prospective clients alike. For example, if you’ve just wrapped up an engagement session with a client that hasn’t yet hired you for their wedding, don’t wait for months after you deliver their engagement photos to talk with them about their plans.A better strategy would be to give them a follow-up call or email a couple of weeks after you deliver their engagement photos.But…the focus of your communication shouldn’t be, “Hey I photograph weddings too!”
Instead, focus first on being grateful for their patronage, and inquiring about how they like their photos or if there’s anything they need from you.Only after you put their needs first should you bring up the topic of their wedding. And even then, you should strive to be authentic and not pushy.The point here is that you have to strike a fine balance between being an effective salesperson and being genuine and honest. You have to be timely without being pushy too. That takes time to master, believe me!
Streamline Your Communications
One way to be timely (and informative) is to work on things you can do to streamline your communications as part of your efforts to simplify the business side of photography.For example, a lot of clients ask the same questions – How long before I get my prints? What should I wear? How much do your services cost? – and so forth.Rather than answering the same questions over and over, find a way to communicate those things to potential clients.
This could be something as simple as a FAQ section on your website. You could also email them to prospective clients as part of your sales pitch.On another note, your mass communications need to be streamlined as well because you’ll have precious little time to devote to posting regular blogs, social media posts, and emails to clients.For example, sit down and write several blog posts in one sitting, and then schedule them to publish a couple of weeks apart. That will prevent the “I’ll do it tomorrow” line of thinking that often turns into weeks without any new blogs on your website.
imilarly, you can automate social media postings on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and so forth. Again, schedule posts in bulk so you have a constant stream of posts to keep your subscribers engaged and interested.When it comes to emails, using a platform like Iris Works allows you to use email templates (pre-made or customized) to send out at any time, for any occasion.
What that means is that you can still send emails to clients that have that personal, friendly touch, but because sending them is totally automated by Iris Works, you don’t have to spend a ton of time putting your emails together.
When you’re in business for yourself, there can be a temptation to try to do everything on your own.What you’ll likely find going down that path is a lot of stress and frustration that takes away from your ability to provide your clients with the best products and services.I’m not saying you need to hire an army – far from it.
But what you can do is arm yourself with the best photography management system around, the aforementioned Iris Works.Iris Works is the ideal studio assistant because it helps you achieve all the communication goals outlined earlier – being personable, timely, and streamlined.
Remember the automated email function? Well, Iris Works has tons of other features that help you be a master communicator.In the Iris Works dashboard, you can see your daily to-do list, so you have reminders right at your fingertips for sending out emails and other communications.With Workflows, Iris Works reminds you to send invoices, questionnaires, and emails, so you’re always on top of timely communication.Iris Works even allows you to send contracts and get e-signatures for quick turnaround time, and then you can keep all your important business documents in one place, nicely organized, right in Iris Works. Talk about streamlined!