Why most Photographers don’t get the Referrals…

It’s almost cliche, because everyone’s always talking about how important referrals are to their business. And I know you’ve heard many a time as photographers share how they’re almost 100%  referral booked and yet despite your best efforts you may be scratching your head at how to get the referral wheels a move’ n. How about some helpful, hands on tips for making referrals happen!

1. Set up expectations. On that first phone call when you schedule the session, talk about what referrals mean for your business. Explain right from the beginning that you’re going to work hard to give them an experience matched with beautiful photography that they can’t help but want to talk about and that when you deliver their art pieces you’ll check to make sure they loved everything about {your business}.

2. Exceed Expectations. It goes without saying but now you have to deliver. Remember your clients expect you to do a good job, they wouldn’t have hired you if they didn’t think you could do a good job. ‘Good’ is not a reason to talk but ‘great’ is! Go above and beyond and create an experience that they’ can’t help but want to tell friends about.

3. Give em’ something to talk about. Make it even easier for clients to talk by putting the perfect products in their hands that they can easily show off! My two favorite conversation pieces are the iPhone Cases and the Mini Albums (free template available at the bottom of the shop). Pair each of these with a few custom referral cards and these products make it impossible NOT to share the fun.

4. Incentive Program. Come up with a juicy offer as a thank you for referrals. Make sure it’s enticing enough that they won’t forget it. This could be anything from a future product credit,  being entered into a monthly drawing or a gift certificate for a local hot spot. Come up with something that will get your clients excited and then present your referral program in a well crafted print format.

5. Ask for them. Moment of truth, it’s time to see how you did. If you’re given critical feedback then you’re being given a wonderful opportunity to turn a dissatisfied client into a happy one. Take notes, make it right for the client and determine if anything in the business needs to be changed. Of course 99% of the time, clients are going to be ecstatic with your business and that’s when it’s time to ask the BIG question… Try saying this, ‘You have been such an awesome client to work with! I’d love to work with more people just like you, in fact you were so awesome that I’d like to send 3 of your friends a gift certificate for {$your amount} from you. Who are your three favorite people that would appreciate and love custom photography the way we do?’ HOT TIP! Have the client write a personal note to each of the three referrals on your custom stationary and then send the gift certificates and referral/testimonial card in the mail for them.

…Make it Actionable! Share this article or leave a comment and tell me which tip is your favorite. Then go & do!

You might also love reading <a href="The Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market ItselfTHE REFERRAL ENGINE by John Jantsch

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  1. That is a *FAB* idea to send gift certificates to their friends on stationery for them! I give cute little discount cards for them to hand out instead of biz cards but I really like this idea of a personal note with a gift card…so much more custom and personal. Thank You!

  2. Kalli says:

    I loved #5–to ask for referrals! I have often wondered how people get referrals, because mine seem to be few and far between–though I feel like my business and images are great! I have just started to begin asking and the response has been overwhelming.

    I also like the idea of the handwritten notes from the client. But how do you go about getting those? And when do you ask for the referrals? At the ordering appointment? Upon delivery of their order? Or later after follow-up?

    WONDERFUL blog post. Seriously one of my favorites.

    Thanks, Leah!

  3. Alison says:

    I have been struggling with this recently! Thank you so much for your ideas!

  4. Kym Boswell says:

    Le-ah-mazing!!! That’s my new name for you!!! Fabulous information!! What a great bonus after an inspirational week. I don’t always get a chance to comment, but I visit your site daily, and I can’t thank you enough for all the inspiration and ideas.

    • Leah Remillet says:

      Kym-possible! That’s the best play on my name I’ve EVER SEEN! I love it, you made my day! I promptly sent that off to all of my sister too! They never came up with that one when we were little, nope – instead it was Leah-tard. 😉 I’m so glad you loved the post… I’m gonna really try to get some good juicy info coming more often to help catapult your businesses! Stay Tuned… AND STAY COMMENTING! 😀

  5. Krystal says:

    Leah, do you give them the mini album and iphone case for free? Just wondering how that works for you.

    • Leah Remillet says:

      You can do it a few different ways! I don’t give them for free, I consider them ‘after thought’ purchases. So it’s like the gum that you grab when you’re already in line at checkout. The iPhone cases and mini albums are shared at the end of the ordering appointment as if they are that juicy pack of gum you just have to throw in! 🙂

  6. April says:

    #5 with the handwritten notes that you send is by far my favorite!!!!

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