Step 0: Building Rapport & Trust
Now let's go through step by step. Let's talk about each of these processes. Step zero, that it doesn't need to be said step, let's just build some trust first. Let's build a relationship. Okay, build your rapport, create the trust there. And this is where you talk about anything but photography. I don't care what you want to talk about. This is your personality and how you conduct your meetings but think about this from a friendship standpoint. If you were encountering a new friend, what things would you say to get to know that person? Treat it that way if it makes it easier for you to think about. This must be genuine, not feigned interest. I have learned all of your names, not because I want you to feel like I care, I want you to know that I care because I actually care and I want to know your names. I have a genuine interest in hearing and knowing about each of your lives and what that needs to come from within you because otherwise it's very easy to detect if you're not being genu...
ine. We'll talk about some clues when we go to the advanced side of sales and fine tuning. There's certain things that we do body language wise that gives off feigned interest. Like you all know that sales person that smiles just a little bit too quick. It's an interesting thing, smiling quick, it's the actual speed of the smile. How fast you go hey, versus it's really great to meet you guys. The speed of the smile actually will indicate a false genuineness in a person. And I can think of all these different like the typical wedding coordinator. Oh my gosh I'm so excited that you're getting married. Are you really that excited that I'm getting married? (laughter) But you know what I'm talking about because you've all encountered someone at some point who has had that feigned genuineness, right. And one of those things is being slow to smile. Slow to smile, be natural, that shows that you're being genuine. Now I don't want you to show it. I want you to understand what things can come off as being fake or perceived, I want you to actually be genuine. This is where coming into being a better photographer is gonna help you. This is the unfortunate perception that we get in the industry, because we see our clients as money. We see them as a customer, we see this, they just got engaged, oh man, that's an engagement session right there, that's a potential wedding. That's what I see. Slow down, slow down, what am I gonna say?
Slow down muchacho, thank you. Thanks, Joe, that was solid. This is the reality, okay, when somebody comes to the door yes the perception is they just got engaged but this is his reality. He played football in college. He wanted to go pro but he got injured. He met a lot of girls but he's never interested. He met her at the gym. She was the first girl to make him laugh. He loves her smile, he love her intellect. His favorite features are her eyes. He feels like she would be an amazing mom. I mean knowing this, would that not help you to be a better photographer for those people? Oh yeah, it would. Majorly, but not to mention, I'm hoping that you stop seeing people as this. And instead see this. And you see her reality. She focused on her school and grades. She didn't really date that much. Most guys seemed shallow. She religiously exercised, loves the outdoors. Hmm, in all of the things that somebody might say to identify themselves and who they are, you can sit here and grab items out of here on how to better document their journey and their lives. Loves the outdoors. Loves his drive and motivation. Makes her feel like a better person. Can you picture, maybe a photograph where he's standing there holding her hand and she's looking up to him. Like all these different things that she might see in him documented in a form of a photograph. This is her reality. How about they're having a baby. Oh another maternity client, great. Get some pictures. I'm gonna sell some wall art. Here's the reality. I'm loosely basing this on some of my experiences. We had two very, very difficult pregnancies. And if I'm gonna hire a photographer to document my children, they better damn well be in tune to what we've been through. Had difficulty getting pregnant. She feels like a failure. Wants to adopt but's scared. The pregnancy was a miracle. She's excited but she's scared. There's several complications. Dealing with emotional stress, fear of miscarriage. Trying to have a child for years. frustrated by the difficulty. Thought of adopting. Finally got pregnant. Nervous to be a father. Feels unready. Worries for her health. Finances are tight. Can't wait to see his child's first smile. The first step is starting to kind of see clearly who it is that you're engaging and who it is that you're talking to. Understanding they don't give a crap about what you're selling and it's not to do with you. It has nothing to do with you. Now do each of you see the people walking into your door or the potential people coming in and patronizing your business a little bit differently. Is that an odd thing? They went from another customer to people, individual people with their own wants and their own needs. And that's what we're gonna get to. Because our questions then, should be open ended. Leil Lowndes as a great book on how to talk to anybody. I'm gonna give you a couple thoughts from it. She gives an example of open ended. Questions need to be open ended, thoughtful and with purpose. So we avoid things like what brought you in today? Well duh, I do wanna get some pictures. I do want this product, this service. We can ask what do you do for work. But we're gonna be careful with that statement. Ladies will know this. Why do you be careful with that statement? Stay at home moms. Haldis you are amazing. Stay at home moms, if you ask what do you do for a living, or what do you do for work, that's kind of insulting because if you are at home, that is your full time job. But yet that's a very stigmatic question designed for, it's kind of sexist to be honest. So instead, gentlemen, it's a better question to ask what do you like to do with your free time? And you know what, if she's a stay at home mom and she also works, she will also say I work a lot but when I'm not working. And then you can ask, what do you do for work? Oh, easy, we can back our way into the same like place right without asking questions that are insensitive. Ask questions like how did you both meet? I want to give you guys ideas on how to get to what you saw in terms of our perception and the reality. What questions do you ask. How's the pregnancy been? Careful guys, careful. If you haven't gone through it, probably don't ask about it. She better be ready to burst before you ask this question, because I think we all know, you don't go just asking somebody hey are you pregnant? That's a terrible question. But if you've been through it and you can empathize and you know how difficult it is, then okay, how's the pregnancy been? My wife had a really difficult time too. I can't completely understand but I can sympathize. That's where we would ask those kind of questions if you understand. Girls you have a little bit more of this kind of empathetic strength on this side. Where you can pretty much ask whatever you want. To both sexes, and you're good. One of my favorite questions, all right, so who made the first move? This kind of fun, quirky, awkward sense of humor that is me, it goes very much into my shoots, my meetings, everything, I love it. I even say things like, Erin, I'm gonna ask you to tell me three of your favorite physical features on his body. Be clean with it, Erin, don't get dirty. And then I always get that laugh, right. And they take the joke. But you know what I actually want to know those things. And give me that answer. I know it seems odd, but tell me. What are three things you might like on a guy. No it totally counts. Okay. So she said smile, personality. Now I said physical features, so physical features. Three physical, smile is one of them.
I'm gonna go with smile, overall physical health, and mental health.
Like fitness and mental health?
Gotta be stable, need to be stable. That takes me out of the running right there.
And me too.
But you saying smile. Now I could play into that very easily. Erin, would you love a photograph of your significant other looking into the camera with that genuine smile that you mentioned that you love? And you're standing there right next to him, looking up towards him. Is that a shot that you might picture that you might want? This is why I ask those types of questions because if you love his smile, I want to document him from your eyes. And then she's like oh, now I understand why you asked that question. But I'll play the awkward humor side of it until we get to that place, and then I bring it back and give her the meaning. How did he or she pop the question. You got it, it's up there, it's fine. Have you ever had a she pop the question? I haven't yet. I'm waiting for it. Girls, you guys gotta step up on this. Go start asking them guys. Is that, can you not do that. Oh you can't, yeah. Anybody, anybody, be you, ask the questions that are genuinely you. 10 tips on being genuine and genuinely interested. Simple 10 point checklist. Adore your clients. Vision, mission, values, we carry that back, right. Sit forward, mind your body language. This is pretty easy. Body language is a big thing and we're gonna talk about how it carries over to actual in person, phone, all of it. Smile but smile slowly. That was that whole thing like yes show your excitement. Yeah it's perfect. So probably don't want to be doing this. Too casual. I don't want you guys to sit back and even when you're on the phone, when you're laid back on your sofa and you're on the phone and hanging out, you sound like you're laid back and on the phone and hanging out. So I want you all to have a upright, sitting forward, leaning in and engaged posture. Doesn't matter whether you're talking on the phone or in person, but make them feel like you are present and engaged with everything that is being said in that conversation. Use their names frequently. Listen and understand. Oh man this is a big one. How many of us when we're talking to somebody will be thinking about the next thing we want to say. Almost constantly. There's a good reset for this. If I'm talking to you and I kind of lose presence, I can actually look at your shoes. I look at your shoes and I trace back up and it pulls me back in. Okay so if you can just mentally think, like while talking, if I just. If I'm dazing, if I'm out, if I'm thinking of my next question, if I'm thinking of something else, just trace the shoes and go back up and now you're back in. It's just a simple mind game where when you make that action, your mind goes back and focuses in on what it is you're trying to be present about. And you do it enough and you can stay present a little bit more. Micro expressions are gonna betray you. So if you don't actually feel genuinely interested, all those little things and quirks are gonna betray everything. Most are self serving. Remember how we talked about most of us just wanna figure out how do we sell our product to them. So just by differentiating this factor of focusing on them, you've already differentiated your service and who you are between the next person. Who simply sold themselves. Give words and praise that's genuine only. I think your hair's adorable. I actually do, but if I didn't I wouldn't say it. 'Cause if I didn't feel that way, it would probably come off as disingenuine. Right, so it's one of those things like you don't just go throwing out praise just to throw it out. Disingenuine praise, it has a harmful effect versus a positive one. It's not about you and stop talking. So Haldis and every single person here, I want you to take the 70/30 rule into every one of your conversations. Where if you are 70% of who's talking, dial it back and go back to the 30%. And you know what's interesting about this? Let's see, How To Win Friends and Influence People, a Dale Carnegie book from I don't know how long ago. Is still so useful in all the things that it teaches you to do and a lot of these things are listed in there. As well as Leil Lowndes's book and all these other books that talk about being genuine and how to make people like you. But one of the biggest ones was stop talking. Because being a good conversationalist means that you're not talking. Isn't that weird. In a survey, being a good conversationalist, they did tests and they're like oh yeah, everybody said from this test that we did that the better conversation was actually the person that spoke less, they didn't know it was based on the number of words, they just simply completed a series of tests. Talk less. Listen, sense, and move on when it's necessary, not out of your own need. Because you know what, I've had so many client meetings where we never talked about photography. We just talked about them, their lives, what we're gonna you know, everything. And I'm like cool guys, I have a contract right here, let's go ahead and just, my studio manager will get this signed up for you guys and we're good to go. I'll shake their hand and I'll leave. We didn't even say a single word about the pictures we're taking. That's okay too, what's your rush? Why do you gotta get to the, why do you gotta sell them anything, you're just, talk, get to know them.