You and Your Clients
I want to talk a little bit about identity we're going to kind of switch gears a little bit here but it's all related because it's all related to the brand that you create an experience that you offer and um if you're deciding to add in pet photography to your business that's changing your business identity um a little bit as well so I ask you what makes you unique ask myself what makes me unique this is actually I lived into paul for six months when adopting her daughter and this everything's unique over there and I see that sign and I wonder what's a unique chicken like I just want a plain chicken like if I'm gonna eat it like I don't think I want to see the chicken that has something unique about it uh but anyway, I I asked that question in all seriousness um like ask yourself like what makes you unique and and maybe it sounds a little cliche and I know you've got to be unique you got to be different to stand apart you know from your competitors but the best way you could be unique ...
is to be yourself I'm going to say that again and again and again because nobody could be you and if you love on your clients and you really take care of him and you give him that experience, it took me a while to figure this out but like I don't have to be the attire for for everybody in fact I'm not really the photographer for most people not really the tire for for my family and friends and that's okay? And I have to be okay with that um I need to be unique and wanted bhai x amount of clients to make my business run and make the money I need to make to keep doing what I do and so again I just challenged you to to be true to yourself and that will shine through I love this quote from oprah um this was, um actually after I had spent the six months away from my business in nepal and we almost lost everything and I came back and I had kind of a disk you can ask anybody who saw me right after that kind of going through some kind of culture shock sort of thing I was there long enough and and I was a mom like just that alone, you know, it was a big change in our lives and, um I just couldn't I just couldn't jump back into the game where I was at like I just couldn't do it like that wasn't me anymore like I had I've changed I could not come back and do what I was doing before that interpol experience and after spending the time you know, in that country um where people don't have the opportunities we have like that's one of the biggest things that I really um brought home from there is you know, I became friends with people there who, um we're really happy with having a lot less but like didn't really even have the option to do the things we have to do like we really can do anything you can watch the scenes, you can decide I'm going to be a pep tarver you know, like there's people still living under a caste system that, like, they can't do that like it's not going to fly it's not gonna work. So, um, I think it's really important that I've been I've been spending the last two years just doing a complete de clutter process of really trying to simplify and figure out like, which stuff is not really me and there's stuff in there like the priorities will be be, like kind of figuring out like, where do I want to go? Where do I want to be, um and that's gonna change too? Like I'm definitely a different person now than I was two years ago, so just, you know, I encourage you if their stuff really bugging you down, um, and really holding you back teo, find a way to kind of de clutter that out of your lives and I think it's really important to not lose your identity in your business as far as I've done it totally I've done it I've been there done that but I've shown you all these images of the studio space and I know we've invested a lot in there we have the space and it's part of our brand I was at a point where in my mind I thought my business like I was my business to the point that like I had to just be there all the time and do everything and that my business was also like the building like if I didn't have that building and I put my blood sweat and tears into it like I couldn't do it so it actually was like the most amazing blessing to be removed from it somewhat not by force but by choice but be removed from it for six months and I got this like crazy like outside perspective of love wow wow like I have a chance to totally change all of this and so um it's just cool to see how now what I'm doing the business I'm that much happier with but on a smaller scale and the artist say no I love this uh because it's so you can enjoy the yeses so this may mean for you it may mean if you want to jump into this pet photography game they're actually maybe things you need to say no to so you can really follow this passion you want to do with this pet photography and I don't know I can't answer that for you guys maybe that's some stuff that people could bring up on we can talk about but it also could mean you know, sometimes your clients you need to fire like sometimes that might that might be easier said than done but that might be um you know, what's dragging you down but set those boundaries and like for me it's what's really cool this has also been part of like being that high end brand there's actually something powerful and not being super accessible if that makes sense like I used to be okay, you want this okay, I'll do it okay, you want to start off harvey okay, I'll do it oh, you want this on sunday? Okay, I'll do it thinking I had to do that because I wanted this business toe works that much and I'm not saying it's not going to take hard work because it's a business it will but it was at a point where I was kind of like I was with weddings where I had to say okay, my business can't survive with me, you know, not working weekends or evenings then I don't want the business, you know, it's like I keep kind of hitting these like these these milestones in these points and so that's even changed now becoming a mom those times are different like there's times after I like to go to work that before I would have not like tio and so it changes it can't it's not going to remain the same but what I challenge you to do is to charge appropriately for that so the way we've always controlled that is all sessions and clued in all our pet sessions are specials are dog days of summer is that you pre pay um over the phone it is no different when you book a hotel room right? How do you want to reserve that you pre pay uh give a credit card so that we'll eliminate no shows and that's going to be really important when you talk about any limited editions or these fast sessions were clients coming like every ten fifteen minutes because that really confess you out if people are showing a play not showing up you've reserved the spot but also I have days I just won't work it doesn't matter like I won't do it it doesn't matter who it's for or I'm okay with doing it but it just costs more and people respect that like that's what schools as you grow your business and your clients really started come your friends like they have lives too they have families they have kids they they realize your time is valuable so it's putting that value like realizing that value first yourself and then they're going to realize that uh I think one of the biggest things you can do in your business and again this falls under everything italian experience uh is importance of relationships like my goal when I started this business was tio have these clients for life like I get the concept that it's easier to keep my client's already have than to constantly be trying to get new ones but I realized that could be a challenge if somebody's watching this like why I don't have any clients I am brand new how do I get those clients and that's where some of these marketing ideas it will be great but that's where the relationships even with vendors are going to be really important that's something like I would ask you to kind of have your note pad be thinking ok? Like who are some who are some people that I can start to connect with you somebody I can commit to may be call next week that maybe they have a great you know, facebook presence already or a database that they're willing to co market with you something and all the sudden you're going to go from not having a database or clients to having having those clients so the importance of listening to people a lot of our relationships we've had with even the pet photography clients um it's just because I talked to him like these people don't just come in and get a shot and leave get a photo taken and leave if they keep coming back like we're going to get the conversations and find out like oh really your brother's a vet like in the town next door so you know that's all part of that experience if you don't rush things and you take the time to really get to know your clients those doors will actually start to open up for you and so teo really take the time with your clients and really that is a big thing to to applies to vendors um I mean there's all the vendors that we work with you know are giving all kinds of crazy cool stuff away this weekend but it's because we love them and we have a relationship with them it's not just because they were giving stuff like these are people who have been there for us they've had our back way before when we were speaking or doing anything like just you know, great vendors they're like we give him our business and and they take care of us and now we have friendships and relationships with these people so I I just I challenge you to think of your business in that way this actually, um is a client who has come to every one of my dog days of summer events so these are her dogs and actually there's more pictures in there that we couldn't fit in. So this would be an example of just talking to a client having that relationship, even with the way things have happened with creative live, it was amazing how it worked out like I already had my dog days of summer events on the schedule, right when creative live called asked me to do this this event so all the senators having access to all these people who are coming in with their pets that I was excited about it, I was telling them, hey, I'm going up to seattle and doing this, you know, pet workshop, they were super excited. Oh, tell me what we can do to help and this woman's actually a vet that I'll show you in a minute, some images that we decorated her office, so we get clients on business from her office, but she also has a property with courses and all kinds of cool animals, and she let me come into her office into her home and photograph and do video and get, you know, just just because she was excited. I mean, I'm going to give her images for helping me out in doing that, um, but she's giving me so much. It wasn't us, you know, that's what's gonna be your biggest fan. You don't have to spend, you know, good jillion dollars doing all kinds of marketing things. Once you get some of these core people who, you know, they can sing your praises better than you can. You know somebody else talking about your work on dh loving what you do is going to go a lot farther than you talking about it that's in her office. So there's henry with his picture that he had taken the year before hanging out, he actually lives at their their office. But this would be an example, and I'll have more later to show you when we talk about relationship marketing, but the type of things we would put in a the type of things we would actually hang and put in an office scenario that would advertise for us. Plus we put brochures in the office. Um I just have a couple of quick things we're going to cover still, and this is something that is not necessarily pet driven, but it's really easy to dio pretty much cost nothing, and it's really worked out well for us. Um, we decided a couple of years ago there were certain clients that we realized, hey, we haven't seen for a while and they were good clients or they're just other clients that have been coming in every year still and we thought we just want to do something that they're not expecting this is kind of the whole experience exceeding their expectations let's do something for these people that they're going to be really excited about and we don't want to lose them like I'm not tom like I know there's more photographers now than ever and if it's a literally just oh who's doing good work in whom I'm going to go to that they have lots of great options there's tons of amazing photographers in the area so I really need to focus on that factor of wow I have this relationship with them and yeah, we'll pry loose people a little bit here and there and game people but the core clientele like I really need to spend that time and effort with them because I could lose them they have lots of other options and places they could go so we created this little kind of on a whim but viper program that all that was there was no like science to it besides that we do use a business off where success where that's able to give me amazing numbers so I can know like two a penny in two seconds who's spent what and when they were last in and how many sessions they've had so I basically took all that information and and we picked our v I p clients so um some made the cut some didn't some we added even if they didn't make the cut because we really liked him um and we want to make sure they keep coming back and literally we just made these little bee print white house he's little business cards front back the I p it's no different than you get from other boutiques and stores and stuff that they get ten percent off everything until twenty twenty and there's no rhyme or reason to what twenty two I just thought I want them to keep coming back every year so um and we'll revisit it you know and in uh seven eight years from now but um literally when we sent those out we sent him in the mail and we got a couple calls within that first week from clients the one specifically I'm thinking of she had not been in for a couple of years but was one of our bigger spenders came in and she's actually been in a couple times sense spending that money so like my cost was buoyant like fifteen twenty bucks maybe I mean pretty minimal um that if it didn't go well, I really wasn't out much, but the residuals from that were awesome actually the return on the investment was awesome other just things we've done I do little gift cards with my fine art prints we've done mouse pads that some of them get a little more gimmicky but it's just fun you slip in a wallet and give that with their order when they pick up but you and if you think about it where do you want your clients to go your website so if they've a mouse pad where is that probably next to their computer ifyou're websites written right on there and there's a picture in it and they have it at their office you know you just think about how all that could work to your advantage and a co worker sees that um you know it's just kind of subliminal subliminally to go check out your website and you know, ornaments and get perfume with your images on it and just make sure you give your client a way to share the love so like everything we're talking about it's all these ways that you know you can love on your clients and build these relationships with them but we have so much like so many great opportunities to give them ways to share that love with their friends so with social media with facebook some of the things that we've done I actually sent out on her facebook a couple months ago just did a thing where it was um hey post post images of your pictures of your vehicular prints in your home and we'll give you I think we did like a fifty dollar coupon off of a session fee kind of a thing and then it was pretty cool and it wasn't just that people posted it all this set and we had people commenting again and it was just like driving this traffic of people don't like gosh, I love those pictures and then their friends are seeing it and so I mean, you guys know how social media works, but that was just a really easy all I did I was like, type one line like, you know, when a status kind of a call to action I thought I mean, what did I have to lose? And so we actually booked sessions and got people in from that, so it just some really simple, subtle ways to get some business and with pets one of the ways we use facebook, um, with all our sessions, but since we just did our dog days of summer, we actually, um when we go through pricing, you'll see, but with all our normal sessions, we include a face book image so it's just very lower his file with our logo that will put on our facebook page on dh then when it gets tagged, then it's you know, on their facebook page a cz well, so um with our dog days of summer, this is what's up on the screen right now because we've been we've been doing this, but we actually because the pricing structure is different for dog days of summer. We said they had to spend x amount before they got this digital file and most people did, so it was really kind of a nonissue. I kind of look at that facebook image, you know, a few years ago, I was a little bit like, you know, giving people digital files, it's, not a portable file and it's it's like back in the day of proofs, you know, when it was film it's just marketing it's just, you know they're going to market for us. They're goingto promote our business, and that actually takes us, I think, to break or questions. I'm not sure what the next thing is. We dio, but we're going home after break jump right into dog days of summer because I keep referring to it. But I want to really go over the details and give you kind of the nuts and bolts of the