When I started going full force in my photography business after my twins were born, my confidence was shaken a few times.
It was enough for me to question whether I had what it took to book more photography clients than I had when photography was just a hobby.
It has probably happened to you, too, no matter how long you’ve been in business.
I wasn’t used to feeling so uncertain about my abilities.
I’d had 10 years of successful career experience in sales and marketing. And while I was newer to photography, I didn’t expect to have any issues booking more photography clients than I had when I was just part-time working days at the advertising agency.
But I did. This was ME selling ME, not another company or product.
I’ll never forget the first time a potential client called to ask about my photography and they didn’t book a session.
15 years later, I still remember her name.
I was crushed.
I KNEW we had a connection.
We talked for a long time about this being her first baby.
I reminisced about when my twins were born.
I was building rapport.
I was SURE she would choose me.
But then…she didn’t.
And I started to second-guess myself.
Replaying the conversation over and over in my mind.
Were my prices too high?
Did I say something to turn her off?
Did the neighborhood my studio was in hurt me?
Was my photography not good enough?
After a few months of going through this and beating myself up each time, I got fed up.
And I FIXED it so that I started booking more photography clients. Here’s how:
1) I got clear on what makes me different from any other photographer in my market.
Sure, I may be the only photographer who has this backdrop or lens or a studio in a certain area, but my clients don’t CARE about that.
I had to do some digging and find out what they cared about in choosing a photographer and what I had that made me different.
And once I could explain this, I was able to book more photography clients because I made it clear what the advantages were of working with me.
A lot of what makes me different is in the experience I deliver to clients when they are with me.
The portrait experience starts with the first time we speak on the phone and continues as we meet in-person to plan their session. I see my clients at least 4 times after they decide to book a session with me. When I invest that much time into a session, it’s easy to see how I’m different than a cheaper competitor.
2) I wrote down what questions I needed to ask on the first phone call that would help me weed out the clients that weren’t right for me .
Now I can do these first phone calls in my sleep and BOOK more of the photography clients who are right for me nearly every single time.
I ask things like:
“How did you hear about me?” This helps me to determine if they are a referral and which samples of my work excited them.
“What are your kids involved in? and “Where do they go to school?”
These two questions help me find a shared affinity that they won’t have with most other photographers.
“Why do you need a session now?” This helps me start to understand what type of products they want me to create for them (it’s never going to be a high res jump drive of images because I don’t sell digital files of my photography).
After I did these two things, an amazing thing happened.
I started booking the clients who were right for me and selling my photography. Every single time.
No more second-guessing myself or my abilities.
Now I know EXACTLY why a prospective client doesn’t book me when that happens.
I follow this same process and ask these same questions every single time a prospective client calls.
It takes me 15 minutes and it’s fool-proof.
I only book the right clients for my photography business and the ones who get away, get away for a reason. They are the clients I don’t want.
If you have questions on what my first phone call booking process looks like, ask away. I’ll do my best to answer what I can below.