Episode 22: Why You Aren’t Attracting Better Clients
with Sarah Petty
When you book sessions with photography clients who aren’t exactly your ideal client, you start to panic.
Here are seven things that you can start doing every day, without advertising, to help attract better photography clients.
#1: Don’t Shop On Price
First, do not be cheap.
Quit shopping at cheapeverything.com.
You have to start valuing the businesses that you use.
Get to know the business owner.
Talk positively about them on social media.
If you want better photography clients who value you, be that buyer for someone else.
You don’t have to have a ton of money, just choose where you spend your money and consider you might want to do fewer, better things with the money you do have.
#2: Tip Well
If you were raised with freeple-cheaple parents, you probably weren’t taught to tip.
You probably don’t know what’s appropriate.
The top sales and service people are rewarded for taking great care of you and providing great service.
They’re not paid a normal fee or wage.
They’re paid a very small guaranteed wage, with the assumption that they will generate tips.
I believe that tipping well is required.
If you say you can’t afford a tip, don’t go to a restaurant.
I feel strongly about this because that’s how people in the service industry are paid.
Have gratitude and tip well.
#3: Pay Quickly
When I was at the advertising agency, the owners had a policy to pay all bills within seven days.
I bet a lot of people were raised by parents who thought if a bill was due in 30 days, they could go 60 or 90 days before the fees start.
The advertising agency owners wanted to be the best clients of their vendors because they knew their vendors would take good care of them in return. I’ve really mimicked that in my business.
I ask myself, can I pay this bill quickly?
If not, I don’t buy it.
If you’re buying something that you can’t afford, you’re not going to make the vendors who are taking care of you very happy.
Trust me, it doesn’t go unnoticed.
Vendors are more likely to help out the person who always pays early.
They will help you out on Saturdays or redo a job if you’ve made a mistake.
For the client who pays late, vendors stop returning calls and don’t go the extra mile.
In a situation where two clients need something right now, who are you going to help?
The one that always pays early or the one who says the check is in the mail and blames it on the postal service when it isn’t delivered?
Who do you think has priority?
That is what’s fun about working with great local entrepreneurs and paying quickly. People take care of you.
#4: Pick Quality Vendors
Pick quality vendors and treat them like your partner.
People want to work with you when you take care of them.
They take care of you in return and you make them look good.
White House Custom Color has been my lab for 15 years.
I’ve had a lot of labs try to get my business over the years, offering me lower prices or to sponsor me.
I know there are many lower priced labs, but I love White House.
They take care of me, they are amazing, and I’m never leaving them.
If you were raised to go with the cheapest, you have the freedom to change your thoughts.
We call this participating in your own rescue.
I’m an entrepreneur.
I have to think about things differently.
You can change your thoughts in the world.
#5: Build Relationships
Always build relationships.
That’s one of the best things about the world – the ability to build relationships with people.
Know the names of people where you shop, eat and do business so you’re not just a transaction to them.
Start building relationships with the businesses and people you work with.
#6: Own Up To Your Mistakes
This is a big one.
We all screw up in our personal and business lives. And when a mistake is made, own up to it.
This is what you would want your clients to do for you.
If you’re picking quality businesses to work with, building relationships where you spend your money and not shopping on price, ASSUME they want to fix anything that they did wrong.
I do and I want my clients to assume that about me.
We all have fear that we’re going to screw up.
It gave me so much confidence knowing that there’s a right way that this can be handled.
If you’re the first to go talk badly about another business or call and scream at them without giving them a chance to fix it, what kind of clients do you think you’re going to attract?
I don’t always handle things in the perfect way, but typically I try to catch myself. I give them a chance to fix it.
Start being aware of how you handle mistakes.
#7: Be Loyal
Loyalty is so important to me.
I don’t jump around because someone else has a cheaper price. If you have loyalty with other businesses, you’ll have confidence to know better photography clients aren’t jumping around either.
I have many clients that I’ve taken care of that have had many cheaper opportunities.
But, they love coming to me.
They love the care and attention that Andria and I give them.
Do some clients leave and go somewhere else for different reasons?
It’s a free world and I’m okay with that.
I’m never going to be a perfect fit for everyone.
You aren’t either.
Be okay with that.
I’ve been able to run a thriving and profitable photography business for 22 years, because I have loyal clients.
Isn’t it cool to be a part of your clients’ lives as their kids grow up?
Have an Abundance Mindset
Are these seven things going to be hard if you aren’t used to them?
If you want to live in abundance, you start with having an abundance mindset.
This has to start before the money pours into your photography business.
Start being conscious about where you spend and invest your money.
Are there places you can cut?
Cut on commodities like groceries, cell phone rates, gas for your car and flights.
But be sure you’re prioritizing the relationships you have with local businesses.
I’ve been there to cheer these businesses on when they’re down and vice versa.
I love being able to share this philosophy with my students and watch them grow.
I teach in my programs how to take these relationships and escalate them into mutually beneficial partnerships that help you both build your business.
It starts by looking at how you spend your money and how to treat your business partners better.
I’m not telling you to throw your money around like it’s growing on trees, but I am suggesting that you pick the highest quality vendors and be their best client.
Doing this will help you attract those same types of clients. You attract what you are.
Are you somebody else’s better client?
If not, you have work to do.
I'm Sarah Petty
I’m a photographer living in the middle of a cornfield (central Illinois), momma of three teenage kiddos (plus a cat & dog) and an educator for all things photography business. Favorites: Earl Grey Tea (not coffee!), anything orange and clothes that are made for tall girls