by Courtney Fanning
I recently posted a question asking other business owners what their biggest struggle was in their business and almost everyone gave me the same answer.
How do I book my ideal client?
Isn’t that the goal. To find a tribe that loves and raves about you to all their friends! Those are your people! But sometimes finding the right people can be stressful. I wanted to share a few tips to help you book your ideal client and create a business you LOVE!
Get To Know Them
The best thing I ever did was to start to get to know my couples when they first inquired with me. I want to make sure they are the kind of people I want to work with and that I am the type of photographer they would love to take their photos. Have you ever had a client experience that was horrible and you hoped they never booked with you again? Well, that was not your ideal client! My goal as a photographer is to book clients that want ME to photograph them, not just any photographer! They have to have ME! I know that after we get to know each other, they either love or hate me. And either one is okay!
So how do I do this in my business. Well to start, when a couple or family inquires with me, I ask about them before I ever send them my prices. I want to see if we are a good fit because why waste time chatting about the awkward price topic if they don’t like my personality anyways. ALSO, if you are just sending your prices right away, you are asking yourself to be price shopped! You are not doing anything to set yourself apart. You are giving your potential client a set of numbers for them to put side-by-side next to the other ten businesses they inquired with and picking the cheapest one! I don’t know about you but that is not how I want to book my clients!
The next big thing I do BEFORE I ever book a client is I set expectations. They know from the beginning what they can expect from me, how much it will cost them, and anything else I think they should know. I want to make sure they are fully educated and EXCITED to start this partnership. I think this is why I have been so blessed to never have a bad client experience yet.
A few things I do, when we are in the “getting to know each other stage” I ALWAYS ask if they have seen my previous work. As a photographer, my images are the product and I want to make sure they love my previous work before ever hiring me. Otherwise when I deliver images consistent with my work, they might not like them if they had no idea what to expect. I also have a very laid back style when it comes to my posing so this helps to make sure that is what they want. I have had someone want more posed images (which I do not do) and that helped prevent a bad experience. I simply recommended another photographer and we parted ways.
This is also why you should ALWAYS be using a contract! I have all my expectations in my contract. This not only helps to cover myself but it lets the client know they are protected as well. I want them to know I truly care about them and I will take good care of them. This mutual understanding with my contract creates a trusting relationship from the beginning.
You have probably not been told this before but I believe it is SO important! ESPECIALLY if you are just starting out! I will always over-deliver when possible! Why? Well because I am a business owner, this is how I am making my living so I want to impress my clients as much as possible so they are more likely to rave about me to their friends and family. Will my client be happy with their promised images? Of course, but if they see I value them enough to take extra time and deliver more images they will trust me even more.
You are probably wondering why this matters since this is where we end our relationship. Well for one, I want them to come back next year for family photos. OR if they are a bride and groom, I want them to tell all their friends and family how amazing I am and how they got even more than they paid for. Seriously, referrals are the biggest way I book new clients. Paying thousands of dollars to a wedding vendor can be stressful for them so I want them to know they made the right decision when everything is said and done.
Maybe you only want to deliver what you promise and no more. Good for you! But I always want to do more and be better than they expect! I want to wow them! The last thing I want them to think is that I only photographed their wedding for the money! I truly value them as people and I want them to feel that as well!
If you are just getting starting your business or are still dreaming it up, you will love my new freebie.
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