2011 is here and as the seasons change so do the styles, likes and desires of the wedding consumer. By now you’ve probably read many different articles on the topic of latest trends, so I thought it would be helpful to review what NEVER goes out of style and what our clients are always looking for so you can achieve wedding photography success in 2011:
1) Excellent Customer Service - This never goes out of style and as competition rises with prices, the expectation of solid, reliable customer service increases. Make sure your making it easy for your clients to do business with you. Are you easy to communicate with, or are you forcing your views upon your client? Its one thing to have your own style and approach, its another to be so rigid that your turning off potential business.
2) Price for Value – In a consumers mind (usually at a subconscious level) price is only a question in the absence of value. Value does not mean cheap! In this example it refers to what your providing for the price your asking. If your price is out of line with the service and quality your providing than all of a sudden price becomes an issue. Now of course clients are going to have a budget in mind for your service and you won’t always be able to meet those budgets, that’s ok. Its a numbers game so boost up those leads and wash out the clients that don’t want to afford your level of service.
3) Do What You Say Your Going to Do - This is an oldie but goodie. You will be judged in the end, not by what you promise, but by what you deliver. Isn’t this the truth? You hear promises all the time from politicians and CEO’s, but at the end of their terms they are judged on what they delivered. In business it is best to under-promise and over-deliver. I know we like to make our service out to be the best in the world, and want to promise everything our clients want in the quest to get the deal signed. However you will find that consumers will be more impressed with your follow-through and doing everything you said you would do, when you said you would have it done by. Upfront, honest expectations goes a lot further than sales jargon and promising the world.
4) Be On Time – I touched on this in item 3, if you promise to agree to be somewhere at a particular time, or have the final results delivered by a certain date, MAKE IT HAPPEN. Trust me, you do not want to be on the receiving end of the “Where are my photos?” emails or phone call. In the internet age, it only takes one unhappy client to post something negative on a review site or bridal resource for you to see a drastic reduction in your inquiries and business. Its not so easy to get these negative comments removed once they are posted, so make sure they do not happen in the first place. BE ON TIME all of the time! If you’ve got so much business that you can’t meet this basic requirement of good business, then its time to hire someone to help or to leverage some new technology to help, or to reduce the amount of business your accepting so you make sure your doing the best job possible.
5) Follow Up – Following up before, during and after the deal is completed is the hallmark of a true professional. In our industry you can set yourself apart just by following up many times during the process to check in, ask questions, answer questions, provide resources and referrals, ask for more business etc. and generally being the one vendor that has truly connected with the client. Your client is going to have contact with entertainment people, venue sales dept, dress makers, travel planners, limo, florist, etc. YOU want to be the one who provided the best follow up so when that client is recapping her experience with their friends, or posting reviews on-line the only thing they will have to say is how connected they are to you over and above the other professionals involved and how you truly followed through with great service and results.
By simply following these 5 tips you will have some incredibly satisfied customers willing to speak positively, refer you, and write some great testimonials for you to increase your business for 2011 and beyond.