Creating the client experience… {with smell}

First I need to tell you that our very awesome Kathy (Mrs. Soup)… I know lots of you have gotten to talk with her as she takes care of things for me and enjoy her comments and love around Go{4}Pro… needs prayers for her husband Ryan who at the age of 27 suffered a stroke on Monday morning. It will be a long road to recovery for him and I know they would appreciate all your prayers.

I also need to warn you that I am ridiculously behind now. Kathy is my RIGHT arm and RIGHT leg… She’s the hold right side. Now she of course needs to take care of Ryan. But I’m not as good at her job as she is and I’m really not good at her job and mine at the same time so please, please be patient with me. If you’ve emailed me this week, there is a good chance I haven’t even gotten o read it yet. I’ll do my best to get back to everyone as I can.

This is going to be a slow in coming series but I thought it would be really fun to talk about how to create the client experience by using the senses. I totally geek out over stuff like this and love learning random facts, I seriously get giddy at the idea that there is scientific evidence behind some of my many zany ideas. I’m hoping I’m not the only one who finds all of this interesting and thought maybe you would enjoy some fun ideas and learning this stuff too.

So bottom line is that we want to create an incredible experience for our clients. It’s when you bring together all the well thought out little details that your truly make their experience meaningful and worth remembering!

Did you know that, “our sense of smell has a unique way of doing it – since it follows an opposite path. Smell sensations are relayed to the cerebral cortex only after the deepest parts of our brain have been stimulated. In other words, incoming aromas first trigger an emotional response, which is then followed by cognitive recognition.” (w.Garner) This means an emotional connection has been made long before your mind even recognizes what the smell is.

Each time a client comes to the studio I bake chocolate chip cookies about 15 minutes before they are due to arrive. No. No. No. They are NOT from scratch, I just buy the frozen box at Costco and pull a few out each time. The idea behind it is this… More often then not, they have never met me, they are probably a little nervous and unsure, plus they are coming to my house not a studio which can feel even more awkward for a new client. I want to help put them at ease and make them as comfortable as I can as quickly as I can… As soon as they walk up to the door they can smell fresh backed cookies! They walk in, I present them a plate and they usually say something like, ‘I thought I smelled cookies’ or ‘mom? please!!!!!’ I’m instantly the crowd pleaser!

I have found this to not only be a great ice breaker but also create an awesome mood through the whole session. I have actually noticed a difference in their overall attitude. Not that my clients ever had bad attitudes (at all) but they seem genuinely happier through the session all the way to when they leave, and I don’t think it’s just be cause they are ready to be done with me either! Chocolate chip cookies are a childhood smell at the same time, any anxieties we feel about pictures also probably stem from childhood. Maybe somehow by having the warm cookies I’m able to trump the camera anxieties? Food for thought (oh yes, that pun was very much intended)!

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  1. Morgan says:

    I hope that Kathy and her husband are doing as best as they can be at this time!

    Leah-This sounds really dorky, but I always take my clients something when I go and drop off their stuff. I will make cookies, bread, oreo truffles, ect. Sometimes I get the tropical monsoon smoothie mix that honeyville makes and I will put a ribbon on it and give that if I am too busy. I think that it just gives that extra touch that you really do care about them, and that you don’t just want their money.

  2. Leah~
    I so appreciate this entry! I, too, have clients come to my home, and while I have thought about what I could do to help ease the new relationship…you have put it so very well. I always have my favorite season-appropriate scents helping to keep my home smelling great… but you have gone the extra mile–instead of just a great scent…you have a whole treat to go along with it too!

    Your new friend,
    Nataly

  3. I remember watching Bill Nye the Science Guy back in the day and he talked about how the sense of smell and memories are connected. That has stuck out in my mind ever since. I can definitely see how the smell of cookies could bring up fond memories and warm, fuzzy emotions in people. Great tip!! And I love how you make a point of noting that they are not from scratch, lol. I was thinking, for people who were seriously pressed for time they could look into getting candles or tarts that they could burn while the client was there. My sister is soooo into tarts — she has been ordering them from little companies online and finding all these amazing, realistic scents, which is what made me think of the idea in the first place, lol. I bet you could find some really good scents online.

    P.S.
    I *LOVE* your blog! Since I’ve been reading it, it has inspired so many new ideas for my business. Thanks for all you do!! 🙂

  4. Christine says:

    Oh no. I am so sorry to hear about Kathy’s husband I am hopeful that he will make a quick recovery.

  5. Elyse says:

    haha. This idea instantly reminded me of Clueless – when Cher throws a roll of cookies on a cookie sheet to give the smell of baking for Christian, but forgets them and they burn. 🙂

    Great idea, though! I’ll have to do something like that!

  6. Sunday says:

    What a great idea. I have a question off the subject but along the same lines. What would be a good idea as a small gift to give to clients with my Christmas card that I am sending out?

  7. Krystal says:

    Hmmm, I wonder how I can keep the smell and warmth in when I travel to clients homes? Hmmmm??

    • Leah Remillet says:

      I thought of that too. Wear one of those lotions that smells like sugar cookies and bring some to enjoy as a snack before the shoot! 🙂

  8. I will pray for Kathy’s husband. How scary. My friend Quincey suffered a stroke at the age of 34. It was terrible. I feel so sad for their family.

    The cookie idea is brilliant. How fun. What a great smell and icebreaker : )

  9. Carrie says:

    I’m sooooo sorry to hear about Kathy’s husband…he will be in my prayers for sure.

    Yes, the cookie idea is brilliant!

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