How to build an excellent relationship with your client as a wedding photographer?
How to build an excellent relationship with your client as a wedding photographer? Not good relationship. Not relation as: “It was ok” or “We are satisfied”. Relation that will knock their socks off and for the questions their friends: “What was your photographer like?” there is an only one answer “the best in the world”.
Before I will give you my ideas to create that kind of relationship I will tell you a little bit what you can get and why I’ve written this article.
I’ve been always interested in human relationships. Before I started studying psychology I read tone of books about body language and communication. My Master’s Thesis was about building good communication in an intimate relationship. Since I started my journey with wedding photography I asked myself: “How can I use my knowledge in contact with my clients?”.
What you can get by building incredible relationship with you clients?
You can get the biggest source of your new clients. Referrals. How much it will cost you? A lot of work and sometimes money. If you are ready continue reading.
First contact with a client is usually via email or message on Social Media. Here are my few tips to leave a good and authentic impression at the beginning:
Write back as soon as possible. Just it. The sooner the better.
I am informal and friendly from the beginning. I immediately say “Hi”. I use a lot of smiles, emoticons and exclamation marks. This is me. I don’t pretend someone else. I’m an expressive person. This is the way to show me as a me, so I show it in an authentic way from the beginning.
Tips to write a good first e-mail:
Personalise it. What does it mean? It means, that if a couple describes their wedding and their story tell something personalised about it, eg.
“Our wedding will be modest, minimalistic in a wooden church near Zakopane city. It will be rather small wedding for not more than 40 people”.
My answer would be:
“Yey! It sounds so awesome! You have no idea how much I love rustic weddings especially near mountains that I love so much! I travel there regularly in my free time. I also love small weddings. There are so intimate!”
Answer for your all couple’s questions. If couple asks about travel and accommodation costs answer. Don’t make them ask twice.
Surprise your couple and give them in first email many answers for their potential questions that they might have e.g. how far you travel, how much it costs, if they have to pay for your accommodations, how the photo shoot looks like and if it’s worth it to have an engagement photo shoot and why?
Send an offer to your couple which is clear and simple. My offer has one A4 page :) I have one package. I heard very good advice from one of my favourite photographer:
“Would you like to have or make weddings from the lowest package?” My immediate answer was: “No”.
Show interest. Ask them: “How have you met? Tell me your story.”
Offer meeting face to face or via Skype if they are from an another city.
Leave your phone number and information that they can ask you about whatever they want and you are happy to help.
This is the toughest one for us photographers. What if our package is too high for our client and we don’t want to go lower as this is our minimum? He has right to ask. But do we have to be angry and get it personal? No. Do we have to go lower with our price? No.
So what to do to stay assertive and not be arogant at the same time?
Let me show you with an example:
"I really like your package, but is there a possibility to do it cheaper? I’m talking especially about photo album”.
“First of all it’s an enormous compliment for me that you like my package and you like my work. Unfortunately my package cannot be lower, but as you really like it I can give you additional pages in album and additional prints as a gift. What do you think? :)”
The key word is BUT. I don’t know if you see what I did. Let me explain you. I stay assertive and with my price, BUT I don't leave my client with nothing. I give him something in return. I offer him a gift, which rewards him that I said him: “No" :)
If a meeting is face to face it’s good to ask them if they have their favourite place in a city. If not take them to your favourite quite restaurant.
Take your MacBook or iPad to be able to show them your photos any moment.
If a couple is interested in a photo album take it also with you.
My conversation with couple looks like with my best friends. I don’t pretend that I’m a Mr. Photographer. I act in an honest and authentic way. 80% they speak, 20% I speak. I mostly listen. They talk about themselves. I ask questions. “Where they got engaged”, “When”, “What their dreams are”, “How long they are with each other”. Practically the whole conversation is focused on their story. Few tips:
Ask a lot of questions. Listen. Be interested in an honest way. Be friendly. Smile a lot. Be informal from the beginning.
Have a contract with you.
After signing a contract I give my couples the Welcome Package: Wedding organizer or a book “how to build a happy relationship” + something sweet + the personalised letter
A photographer pays for coffees
I give an engagement photo shoot for free as a gift to better know my couple before their wedding
Time before a wedding
You signed a contract. This is not the end. This is just beginning.
In this moment I become a psychologist, a wedding planner and a photographer at once. I ask my couple all the time if they need something. Right after the meeting I send them my tutorial how to prepare to the wedding, a lot of inspirations and list of vendors.
One month before the big day I call them and ask if everything is ok and if they need something. I inform them that I will be sooner (even one day sooner), that we will drink coffee, talk and listen to music together.
During preparations I speak with everyone, with a bride, a groom and family members. I compliment girls (aunts, moms, sisters) :)
During the ceremony I try to be as much invisible as I can. During the wedding party I approach my couple to wish them much love and I tell them that if they need anything just let me know.
After finishing my job I hug a bride, a groom and their parents and say good bye.
I always, always, always, always, always give more than I was supposed to do:
I write personalised letter just to say them “Thank you”
I pack everything in a beautiful wooden box with a lot of flowers and plants inside
When my clients open a box they have to have only one reaction: “WOW!!!!”. That’s why it’s so important to decorate it stunningly. There are lot of inspirations on Pinterest. Here is my Pinterest.
Another ideas for gifts for couples:
Personalised book (e.g. new S.King’s book if you know that they are fans)
Cool personalised mugs with their names
Something related with their hobbies
The DVD with their favourite music
Wooden frame for a one of their print
You gave photos, but this is not the end of an excellent customer experience journey.
Right after the wedding I send few photos from the wedding
I invite them to my home for a coffee and board games
I send them Christmas Cards (you have their address in a contract)
I call them in their birthdays to say “Happy birthday”
Is it too much?
How do you want to build your business if you cannot take care of your clients? They are your fuel. Without them you will die. Nothing in life is easy. Start with people, as they are the most important.