How I more than tripled my clients | Part 1

In 2013 I moved over 200 miles away from my very established clientele, that was terrifying! My family moved from a town of approximately 500,000 people to a town with a whopping 7,000 residents. Our previous town had a great, stable economy and sadly our new one is quite poor. So, how did I go from 17 paying sessions in 2013 to 83 and a wedding in 2015, all w ith no rep or referral programs. I listened to my clients, I put myself in their shoes and rocked the heck out of every single session!

I know, you want to know more...grab your hot cocoa and a comfy seat, you may be here a while :)

I asked questions & listened
I don't mean that I made small talk, I mean I asked the meaningful questions I needed to know. I asked each new client a few questions.

1. How did you hear about me?
     I asked how they heard about me because I wanted to know what was working and what wasn't.
2. Have you ever hired a professional photographer before?
     The typical answer was yes, so why not hire them again?
3. Why me?
     This answer was mostly that they were unhappy with either the experience or the images from the previous photographer.

Once I knew those answers I KNEW what I had to do.
I knew I had to quit wasting time where it wasn't fruitful. I knew I had to make my clients laugh at every session. I knew I had to make it feel easy and planned. I knew I had to follow up.

So, how did I figure out WHERE to share my business? I made up a person in my head by asking myself a few questions. You can do this right now!

Is my ideal client that I am trying to catch their attention a woman or a man? 
What does my target person do?
Stay at home mom, or just starting a career

Are they married or single?

Do they have kids?
Yes, 1-3

How old are they?

What are their priorities?
Kids and social mom life

What is their average annual income?

Where are they online?

Now that I know where and who to look for, I do it! Where does my target client frequent? Since she is a mom, she is at her child's school. She is also always on FB, because in a small town they are often technologically behind the times, so IG and Periscope aren't quite the it place to be...yet.
Step 1: Contact local PTO to volunteer a gift certificate for a fundraiser
Step 2: Contact local Senior group to give cards at next parent meeting
Step 3: Join local FB groups and share fanpage link
Step 4: Once you get new client, make sure to tag them online
Step 5: Find local boutique and ask to partner, or at least leave cards 

What made me think I could outshine the other local photographers? Nothing, I can't beat anyone else...I am no better than any others. What I can do, is make my clients feel like I am their only choice because they couldn't dream of working with anyone else.

I am honest with my clients. I let them know I am busy, this way they know that my time is valuable and that every piece of information I share with them is important. This is from the moment they contact me all the way through their session and after. I find that my clients are in the same boat, wearing many hats and corralling several little darlings.

I prepare them. I have a client catalog that covers what-ifs, full cost disclosure, their next steps, wardrobe, make up, tips and everything else they could possibly need to know. At the session, I walk them through it step by step. Hand here, chin here, relax, elbow here (I don't do crotch shots) lol.

I let them know I value their input. I don't simply say 'your session will be here at this time' and just wait for the day and show up. I ask them their style, I have them make or view a Pinterest board and we discuss locations, colors, feel, etc. I show them different ideas on outfits, why things work and don't work. We talk about everything so that they can be proud of their memories on the wall.

I am their girl! Women are the hardest critics of themselves, they hate this or that and no matter how amazing everyone else is in the picture...if mom isn't happy with how she looks, it won't go on the wall! At the session I tell mom how to pose, and more importantly WHY. For example, put the weight on your back leg and bend your front knee (I then show the difference with myself), I show how it creates a much nicer line. I tell her, I show her and I honestly rarely EVER need to tell her again :)

If you start with a handful of clients, make sure they are full prepared, feel comfortable with you and themselves, make sure that they feel well guided throughout the entire process. You can begin to spread your business via word of mouth and be too busy to breathe in no time :)

Want to learn even more? Check out my Discover You program.
Stay tuned for Part 2!


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