Have you ever found yourself stumbling for the right thing to say? A client asks something of you that is really not very reasonable but instead of politely explaining your position (like the confident business woman you know you are) you start mumbling, kicking at the dirt and suddenly find that you’ve just agreed to pick up their dog’s poo after the shoot. (You get what I mean) How do you keep control over each situation, even when caught off guard?
I have had it happen so many times. A client asks a question with good intent but they just don’t understanding the stress or time investment of what they’re asking for. (i.e. could you shoot half of the session today and the other half tomorrow – oh and it’s an hours drive each way) Being someone who really likes to please, I have found myself agreeing to things that were just not good either for me or my family. And who should come first? Family! I’ve since learned that as the photographer / business owner, it is my job to keep my business Positive, Professional and Persuasive (the 3 P’s) so I need to direct my client into a better option that suits them and me. Here are some strategies I’ve been implementing to help me create a strong business front that my clients will respect and enjoy.
1. Learn to say no when you need to but always follow up with a fair alternative.
2. Believe in the value of your work. If you don’t, no one else will either.
3. If you go in as the new/cheap alternative that’s often exactly where you will stay.
4. Know who you want to be. This is such a critical step that most new photographers are skipping. I did. Sit down, study, evaluate and determine what it is you want to accomplish.
5. Market yourself! Create a company image that’s worth a double take!
6. Sometimes you’re UP, sometimes you’re just not. If you’re stuck feeling low – find a way out! I know that’s so much easier said than done but you just can’t be productive when you’re down. It’s the fastest way to kill creativity.
7. This is your business. Don’t be a copycat, it’s the originals that last the test of time.
8. Grow. Always be looking for new ways to learn! What ever your education budget might be… use every penny. That may mean late fees at the library or workshops on the waterfront but it’s critical that you invest in your growth!
9. Give! You didn’t get where you are all by yourself. If your reading this blog I know that’s true! Don’t be afraid to share your services and your resources. When I’m on a low it’s the friends in the industry who always bring me up the quickest!
It’s always a work in progress around here, I just have to make sure I keep moving forward. Cheers to our success!
Need more inspiration? This book by Barbara Stanny was recommended by a photographer friend from NAPCP. I know lot’s of the NAPCPeeps have read it. I’m about 1/2 way into it so far and am really enjoying it. Pick one up and we can discuss it together!