Eye on Business | Are Your Clients Disappointed?

Welcome back!  Ready for your next dose of Eye on Business advice to skyrocket you to the top of your senior photography game?  I’m the homeschooling mama behind the lens of SUZANNE MELLOTT PHOTOGRAPHY and I’m back to share with you another mistake I’ve made along the way to building a successful business.

After last week’s post, you sat down and followed my advice, right?!  If not, you delinquent student, ensure that you are not making this HUGE mistake.

Now, onto a mistake that can make or break a potentially amazing session.  By a show of embarrassed hands, how many of you show up to a session and it’s the {G A S P!} first time you’ve met your clients in person?! Yes, I know the excuses.  Your clients are out-of-towners.  You talk with your clients over the phone, FACEBOOK or email so there’s no need to meet in person.  Uh-huh. I’ve told myself all of those things along the way too.

Well, you are missing out and worse, so are your clients.  Are you leaving the session wishing your senior had made better wardrobe choices?  How about when your senior casually mentions that she inherited a collection of amazing antique goodies that would’ve added a unique twist to her images?  Or, when the mother talks about the swoon-worthy property that’s owned by the family just as you’re ending the session?!

Let me introduce you to an important secret to becoming the “It” photographer who nails every senior session:

IN-PERSON, PRE-SESSION CONSULTATIONS.

Nothing can compare to the vibes that are created while having a real life conversation.  Am I right?  When given the opportunity, your clients will undoubtedly share their expectations, their hesitations, and their ideas.  How can you possibly meet their expectations if you do not ask?  You set yourself up for failure.  This is an opportunity to start selling too.  Yes, selling  just what you offer as their photographer = You.  It also won’t hurt that you will feel more like a familiar friend behind the camera which will absolutely calm some nerves come session day.

Most of my clients come to our consultation and admit that they have no ideas of what they want, they just want to look fabulous!  Those are my favorite kinds of consultations, freedom to create a perfectly tailored session to my newest senior.  The creative process that happens during a consultation builds excitement and the senior becomes more invested in their session.  More personal investment = More monetary investment.  No lie.  No longer will you hear that they’re only at the session for their mom.  Parents realize that this is one of the only opportunities that their senior can shine in front of the camera for all to see.  If everyone is excited, it’s a win-win. The images will completely radiate their excitement!

Here are a few tips to get you started for your first consultation.  I invite clients into my home or to a local coffee shop.  I utilize my iMac or my iPad so there’s no excuse if you do not have a studio space.

  • Create a slideshow of your favorite senior images that reflect your current style and start the meeting off with it.  Ask them what images stand out to them as favorites.  Here’s an example of a slideshow that I share during my own consultations:    Check out my Class of 2013 VIDEO!
  • Interview the senior and their parents.  There are plenty of obvious questions you can start with and there are several great questionnaires you can find online.  This will guide the creative discussion.
  • Show samples of all your print and product offerings so that they’ll know exactly what they can get and you’ll be one step ahead when you invite them over for that in-person ordering session 😉
  • Pinterest.  I can’t help you if you’re not already a pinterest junkie.  I mean it, get on there already and have some fun putting together inspiration boards but don’t blame me if you end up on there for hours 😉  Check out one of my SENIOR BOARDS that I send my seniors to all the time.
  • Be available.  I tell my seniors to text or email me pictures of their potential outfits, locations, and ideas.  Again, by being helpful, you become a trusted confidant, not just a picture-taker. You can guide them in order to achieve just the “look” that everyone wants, including you!
  • Worst Case Scenario, if it’s just not feasible to meet in person, how about Skyping the consult?

I want to know how you get your seniors excited about their session and if you plan to implement pre-session consultations!  Join me over on my WEBSITE or on FACEBOOK as we can brainstorm ways to improve our businesses together!