A fellow photographer friend of mine, Kevin Seifert, recently gave me the nickname "The Closer." My assumption is that it stemmed from my ability to turn a lot of the inquiries that I get into paying clients which I usually do pretty well with: Tip #3 is the number one reason that I don't turn an inquiry into a paying client.
Kevin got me to thinking about the things that I do which lead to this blog post: "The Closer" - 9 Tips To Help You Close More Photography Business. I hope the tips below will help you in your business whether you are a photographer or not because the tips can really apply to virtually any business.
Be Responsive - Return Calls and Emails as quickly as possible. Answer calls personally when possible.
Let Your Passion Shine Through - When you love what you do, people can hear it in your voice and see it in your actions.
Don't Be The Lowest Price - Being the lowest price only sets you up for failure. Even if you do photography part-time, don't make it your goal to be the lowest price. If you are trying to build a portfolio, you might be better off saying, "I would normally charge "X" to shoot this (not the lowest price in town), but I'd be willing to shoot this at no charge to expand my portfolio." The other option is saying, "I would normally charge "X" to shoot this (not the lowest price in town), but I'd be willing discount this to help you out." With both options, the client knows that your regular price is "X." Also, let them know that this is a one time offer, so if they refer friends and family to remember that your price is "X." You don't want to open the flood gates with FREE or DISCOUNTS.
Specialize - Don't be a jack of all trades. Shooting Weddings, Newborns and Corporate really are 3 different specialties. For example, if you are currently shooting newborns but want to start shooting corporate: 1) Are you willing to sign long contracts? 2) Do you have liability coverage to be able to send a certificate of insurance? 3) Do you mind waiting 30 days to get paid? That's just a few quick things to think about not counting that shooting newborns and a CEO are two different things. I let people know when they contact me that I TRULY SPECIALIZE in the Corporate Photography segment. Most corporate clients appreciate that.
Get Results - No matter what type of photography you do, are you able to get the results that your client base is after? You should be! So share those results with new inquiries. Tell them stories about past projects.
Share Your Experience - This ties into the last part of get results above. You need to share your experience with potential callers. Yes, it's easier if you have been doing photography for years and have lots to share. However, if you are new, share what you have and don't say that you have only being doing this for 90 days.
Be Confident - If you are confident at what you do and you should be, make sure the client can tell that you are confident. Confidence will come more over time but even a newbie with a few projects completed can be very confident about his or her work.
Do More Than Expected - One of the things that I do for corporate clients is to scope out the location in advance of the shoot. That's one way that I can go above and beyond what they might be expecting. I tell the potential client that in my communication with them if it is appropriate for the type of shoot they are considering me for.
Keep It Simple - Don't have a system that takes a rocket scientist to figure out especially when it comes to your pricing model. The more you complicate things the more you are putting barriers up for your potential clients to have to overcome.
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