Let me challenge you for a moment. How much marketing do you do for your business? If you really think about this, I’ll bet that you are currently doing more marketing for your photography business than anyone else that you know. Let’s exclude any other photographers that you are conscious of and think only of the other creatives in your circle or the people that you know who are employed. How many of them have created a website or know how to update and manage one? How many run social media campaigns and show up on their channels regularly? How many have ever created ads on Facebook or Google? How many know some of the principles of SEO and how to apply them? How many do all of the above?
Can you think of anyone? I’ll bet the answer is no. Because pretty much every photographer that I know is already marketing way above and beyond what most other people and many other businesses do. In fact, most businesses have multiple people fulfilling the roles that you are. There will be a person or a department just for the socials and another for SEO and those people will not be the ones designing or managing the website. When you really think about it, you may regularly be performing the duties of many people in an average business and this is before we even think about admin or lifting an actual camera.
When photographers come to me for mentoring, the first thing that I do is look at what they are already doing to market their services. Even those right at the beginning will have set up an Instagram account or been picking up jobs via word of mouth. Yes, that is marketing too. What do you think PR is? Public Relations? Getting people to talk about you and refer you for work.
So what’s the problem? Why are we all not reaping the rewards of our amazing marketing skills? Why do we not have our pick of the clients if we are so great at promoting our photography?
The trouble is that ALL photographers are already going above and beyond in terms of marketing. When a couple starts their wedding planning journey, that quickly becomes apparent and they will encounter many excellent photographers who are excellent at marketing. So what’s the disconnect?
It’s Not Marketing You Suck At – It’s Sales
Once I realised that this is where I was letting myself down, I started to apply diligent processes and tried and trusted strategies. To my surprise, I not only increased my conversion rates and my bookings but dare I say it, I started to enjoy the selling process. It’s not that I’m like Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire yelling SHOW ME THE MONEY but I do get a thrill out of making a sale.
The really great news is that selling isn’t as hard as you might think. First of all, we are not sat in a godforsaken call centre cold calling people who have never previously shown an interest in our service. We are dealing with potential customers who have made the first move, they are already warmed up. Then, you do this one thing – and this is sales 101, the very first and last thing that you learn at sales school (made up place). You identify their needs and wants and you show how you can accommodate those needs and wants.
Sales Techniques for Wedding Photographers
This is every sale under the sun.
You NEED a bed because you WANT a good night’s sleep. The bed salesperson sells you a bed.
You NEED to get around so you WANT a comfortable car. The car salesperson sells you a car.
You NEED to have photos of your wedding and you WANT it not to feel awkward. The photographer sells you their service.
Show couples that you have those needs and wants in mind and that you know how to alleviate any worries that they might have around being photographed at their wedding. Because yes, another thing that Brits tend to be bad at is being comfortable in front of cameras. Not everyone but at least 90% of my clients will at some point tell me that they do not like having their photo taken. I often think it must be what it feels like to be a dentist!
I’ve devoted the first piece of text over on my website to addressing this because right from the get go, I want them to feel that I’ve got their back. I understand their needs and wants and right away I’m showing them how I can accommodate them. I’m also setting up my sales process.
This continues via my contact form. My rates are not visible on my website until someone fills this in and not only does pressing send reveal my rates but it also triggers my Three Magic Email sequence via Studio Ninja – the studio management system that I use. The purpose of these is to funnel the clients into a Zoom call with me and then I actually use a sales script.
This might sound like a lot but having a structured method cuts out a lot of the guesswork and it saves me so much time – something that I’m always keen to free up more of. The first email is an autoresponder that reassures them that I have their enquiry and will be in touch when I’ve checked the date for availability. The next email is mostly from a template but I will personalise parts of it according to what information that they have given me in the contact form. This might be talking more about their wedding or them as a couple. It’s designed to build upon our relationship, to connect us more. If they don’t click on the link in that email to book a Zoom call with me, and I want to shoot the wedding, then I will follow up with a third email that goes deeper into relationship building.
My sales script that I use on the calls is designed to help them feel guided, to reduce their stress about the wedding photography and to show that I’m the expert that they’ve been looking for. Yes, we could just chat and most photographers will do that but it’s incredible the difference having a script can make. The call feels more structured and I help them to identify those all important Needs and Wants themselves and then it’s super easy for me to show how I can help.
If all of this is sounding like something you want to explore more, a good place to start is my Three Magic Emails online workshop.