Monthly Archives: September 2012

The Clients loved me, why did they book someone else?

We’ve all experienced it.  The client loves our work.  In fact, they gush over it.  We get along like old friends.  We make plans to hang out and vacation in the Alps after all this is over.  We both love dogs and tacos and unicycles or whatever.  They friend you on Facebook and envision how your work is going to look on their walls.  They just need to go home and think about it…..

And they book someone else.  Someone who sucks.  Someone whose work is lame and uninspired.  How the hell could they pick that guy instead of me?

Sure, someone might have undercut you.  Not much you can do about that save better communicating the value of your brand.  But they already loved your brand. I have a theory.

I believe that a client can walk away from their favorite photographer if someone else better addresses the thing they are the most afraid of.

I think often we spend time chit-chatting, or building rapport, or selling ourselves.  We may not put much attention on understanding why exactly the client is hiring a photographer, what they expect us to deliver on, and what they are concerned about happening (or not happening).  Sure, they may love your photos, but they could probably love a lot of people’s photos.  What they have are needs and fears – the person who manages them is getting the job.

- trr

 

PS – In case you missed it earlier we’re speaking at Mystic Seminars 2013.  Check out the details here - www.mysticseminars.com.  Also, Jamie and I are teaching a 0ne-day intensive on Networking, generating word-of-mouth, and booking new, profitable business WITHOUT SPENDING MARKETING DOLLARS to book it?  Interested?  CLICK HERE

 

 

 

Check out our Live Streams

Hey everyone, just wanted to drop a line to pimp out last night’s live stream.  We ended up going 3 hours and it seems like everyone had a great time – we covered a lot of ground, fought like cats and dogs, and took a ton of questions from the live audience.  Check out the recording here:

The …a Man to Fish… Photography Business Livestream – Episode 3 with Sergio Motolla and Chuck Anerino

Also, be sure to kill some time by watching our previous episodes:

The …a Man to Fish… Photography Business Livestream – Episode 2 with Stacy Reeves

The …a Man to Fish… Photography Business Livestream – Episode 1 with Spencer Lum and Seshu

The …a Man to Fish… Photography Business Livestream – Episode 0 – Test stream/ Sexy Business Sunday

 

I’m always taking topic and guest suggestions, so please leave any remarks in the comments below, or feel free to shoot me an email at [email protected].  We’re dark next week (I’ve got a networking event next Tuesday night) but join us the following Tuesday, Sept 25th for Ryan Brenizer.

 

- trr

 

Should I outsource post-processing in my photography business?

Most photographers I know are either over-worked or really happy with their work-life balance.  The happy folks all seem to have something in common – they can either edit their work (sessions, weddings, whatever) in a scant few hours and get back to their life or they outsource that work and get it off their plates.  One way or the other the happy business owner isn’t responsible for cranking through the finishing of the images.

The business owner also tends to be the driving creative force in the business, so understandably some people have a problem with that person not doing the processing work on their images.  I can’t really speak to that, either you are comfortable with it or not.  I will say that generally speaking anything can be broken down into a system and mastered.  So I would tend to think that processing could be reliably broken down, codified and outsourced to a trained third party – obviously your mileage will vary.

So instead of attacking this issue from the creative side I’m going to address it from the business side.  I’ve come to believe that every photography business has 2 primary directives that it needs to execute on to survive in the long term, and it needs to prioritize them in this order:

  • Goal #1 – Book new business
  • Goal #2 – Execute on existing business

On a business level, if taking care of goal #2 infringes on your ability to do your best to take care of goal #1 you probably ought to consider outsourcing.  You definitely have to get your work done, but you can’t get so bogged down in getting your work done that you don’t put everything you’ve got into getting the next job in the door.  For idealists this can be a weird concept, after all most people who start a photography business do so to do the work.  There is nothing wrong with the work, but the business owner wears a few hats, and the job that you can’t outsource is running the business and driving the value proposition – that’s the primary engine that brings business in the door.  Better to outsource everything else than to drop the ball on being the business owner.

Then again, I’m just one guy with an opinion.  Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

- trr

P.S. – We’re Livestreaming again tomorrow night.  Our previous 2 streams have been quite a hit so please check out Episode 1 with Seshu and Spencer Lum and Episode 2 with Stacy Reeves.  Tomorrow night (9/11) at 9:15 EST I’m going to be talking travel weddings, associate programs, and the importance of sticking to your creative guns with Sergio Mottola and Chuck Anerino.  You may remember those guys from Episode 3 and Episode 1 of our podcast (respectively).  You can tune in to the stream on our Photography Business Youtube Channel tomorrow night and ask questions in the Live Comments section.  Or you can leave questions for me, Sergio or Chuck in the comments section below or send them anonymously to [email protected].  Hope to see you guys on the stream, but if you miss it the recording will automatically upload to The …a Man to Fish… channel to watch (or rewatch) later.  If you like the streams and want to see more please subscribe to our channel, leave us a “like” rating and share the channel out to photographers you know.

How to sell “fun” in your photography business?

Everyone wants to have fun.  Everyone wants people to think they are fun.  Like “passion” and “quality” I think “fun” is the next commonplace, inane thing that we all claim to sell that I think we ought to give up.  But hang on, hear me out.

David Mamet is one of my favorite writers.  State and Main is one of my favorite movies.  It revolves around a big-city film crew coming to a small town to make a movie.  As the big-city folks mix with the locals one of the film crew observes that in a small town you have to make your own fun.  That’s when the local replies -”

“Everybody makes their own fun. If you don’t make it yourself, it isn’t fun. It’s entertainment.”

The wedding websites will tell you that brides want to have fun.  Who doesn’t?  Is it our job to make things fun?  Or is fun what they are having when they aren’t busy dealing with wedding vendors?  The client is making their own fun – that’s the whole point of the party and celebration aspect of the wedding.  So you have to make a decision on whether you are getting out of the way of the fun, or whether you are the entertainment.

Yes, I think you should be a good person to be around.  You ought to be pleasant – a sense of humor is a benefit.  But selling “fun” is sort of a difficult thing.  If you are creating the fun, then you are entertaining people, and if that is what you want to sell you are going to need to show the market exactly what your brand of entertainment entails.  Video works well, but if the benefit of working with you is the entertainment that you bring you have to make sure that they want to watch the same show that you’re putting on.

I’m going to buck a trend and tell you not to try and create “fun” in your business.  I think you should enable them having their own fun by managing expectations and getting out of the way.  But if you are going to sell the entertainment aspect of your service you basically have to demonstrate it.

Portrait photography is somewhat different, in that nothing else is going on other than the picture taking so “fun” or “entertainment” may be more relevant.  Again, I think the points above about entertainment and showing what entertainment means to you are relevant if that is what you are selling.  If you want things to be fun my advice would be to have the client focus on doing something – they can enjoy the act and endeavor of trying to accomplish something, and doing something keeps their mind off of performing for the camera.  So if you do want them to have fun, and you do want to enable that, help the client focus on what they are doing, not what you are doing.

Thoughts?

- trr

By the way – I’m pretty jacked about our new Youtube channel and our Livestreams.  As of the publishing of this article (Tuesday Sept 4th 2012) we’re planning for our second live interview tonight, this time with Stacy Reeves.  You might remember Stacy from Episode 10 and 11 of our podcast.  We’ll be taking your questions live in the stream so please send them in prior to the show or join the stream and post your them in the Live Comments section.  We’d love to hear from you.  Please Tweet and share the Live Stream with your friends and colleagues – www.youtube.com/amantofish.  The stream drops at approximately 9 PM EST.