Pre-Consultations: The Art of Language
Presenting your policies is vital ok? It really creates and confirms all expectations it is the pre nuptial agreement and your client has to sign it I will not photograph my client unless they sign for my policies simple is that it's a contract waiting for doctors are masters at this because you got to cover your butt right? Something happens you got to cover your butt porter clients don't think that portrait farmers don't think that way and they don't have their clients sign of portrait contract which blows my mind because it's just the same as a wedding the expectations have to be laid out there okay, so I have an electronic form on my website that on our client information website and that's the questionnaire the precession questionnaires on there and then they also have to sign for the model release they have to sign for the portrait agreement that they have read and understand the liability release in studio a terms of service is what I call it okay, they can click on that and rea...
d it all and then they can electronically sign for it data and the bottom it says how did you hear about us? We'd like to thank whoever sent you are way clients who were for us received fabulous was reward through referral program what am I telling the client? If you refer me, you'll get rewards e pretty much right there why did you choose? You'll images pour to design I want to know why they picked us an excuse I give is we thankyou your answer helps us keep our client satisfaction high and maintained with the community enjoys about our business okay, so why did you pick us? We get all kinds of answers I love your style you know we love what you saw at the hospital etcetera, etcetera so all those questions will help you in the long term and when you present those policies and make your client signed for it all of a sudden things become a little more formal. They realize that this is a business and there's a transaction that's about to take place and they need to agree to the sandbox. Okay, I want you to play with me but you have to sign an agreement and say the magic passport before you come in. Okay? That's pretty much what I'm saying yeah, insurance you had and where you got your contract my contract I writ up myself with an attorney's evaluation um and then the answer to the question insurance I have liability to million dollar liability policy and then we have equipment and building and all that good stuff, so I think I pay about twelve hundred a year for it I just upped my stuff you can get in the door for his little is five hundred bucks a year and that will give you a million dollars in liability plus equipment insurance up to like ten thousand dollars and then if you're a member of people which I highly recommend you get a certain amount of insurance automatically just by being a member so that's really cool the but it's a super important how I mean you guys have heard all the stories what is that girl in canada have trashed the dress session thank you trust address session she was sitting an ankle deep water her dress got so heavy it pulled her under and she drowned I mean, you think that photographer wasn't sued hockey I wass I mean come on that's scary stuff a baby can roll off a bean bag in a heartbeat somebody's not watching for shooting by yourself can you imagine not only how bad you would feel but what kind of trouble you'd be in if you don't protect your business what are they going after your house, your retirement, your family everything you better take care of yourself. That is a really serious stuff here and it's very important and it cost you five hundred bucks a year forty bucks a month worth it? Yeah no, not yet about to be late, but yeah become incorporating that that helps with the liability as well protect your family so yeah, we're in the process of doing that, okay any other questions before we move on here policies are important legal, legal smeagol but it is important it's really critical that they signed for it um like I said, then it becomes that formal agreement you lay out what you're going to give them you lay out what you expect of them there's no surprises okay? And you know, like I said, what clients do this great and it's important for portrait clients to do it as well? I really think and when you make people sign for things it sticks they read it it sticks some photographers I know even outline the policies in the pre consultation ok, we're going to go over our portrait agreement this is what's included this is what we're going to do for you this is what we expect out of you you know, no cameras in the room below available you can't use images copyright but no you say all these things and then you say what you're also going to do for them okay, this is what you can expect out of us and when you say those things verbally and then make him sign for him again it's the same thing make it stick people learn in very very specific ways and each person is different so if you hit audio they hear it if you hit visual they see it and if you hit kinetic they do it they learn it beat them over the head with a stick of you after I make sure they know what they're expected of them you sometimes you've got to be brutal about it I mean people are dense they just little who you say it once you know you say that so I know I emailed them that and they know nobody reads their email you know I mean that's always got this look on her face like I know what you're talking about it's true you said these emails like why didn't they read the information because people don't read they need to hear it they need to read it they need to see if they need to do it okay so if they didn't read it then they'll hear it if they hear it then they do it it's like in the doing part is one of most important things so hit all of these and your client will get it at least you've done everything you can to make them get it let's get into lingo language saying it right is half the battle okay there let's take some questions well he's still working on that thank you by the way, you should absolutely do ladies have any questions right now okay, well we did have some questions that came in why don't we just do a quick review I've I've noticed in the chat room people are still confused about the timeline of these events okay, so let's just do it just a quick overview of when you first talk to the client the pre consultation in the timeframe between each to get to this ok and it's I understand why there's some cute confusion and it sometimes it's different with every client with a client who perhaps is um, attorney client and calls me, you know, at thirty weeks and we're not going for three weeks of pregnancy and we I don't photograph pregnancy until about thirty four weeks so it's going to be four weeks until our session so I might do the crease pre consul on the phone with her right when she calls and kind of center the questionnaire and let her fill that out sometime before her session. So if that's the case it's going to have a long stretch, she wants to come in right away. We'll do the pre consult then and then her session isn't until four weeks down the road, so that could be a really long stretch between that's okay, as long as right before the session, we actually go over everything again. So when she comes in from attorney session and I'll say as she's getting dressed, getting ready, we'll talk about what sit her down, we'll take her through the studio again, okay, this is this what we really like to pre consul are we still on board with this? I know you wanted to put maternity images in an album that have both maternity and newborn images in it is this still the direction that we wanna go? Yeah no, whatever the answer maybe so I kind of solidify everything again before we go into the session and then same thing with a newborn session if they're just coming in for a newborn session and it's last minute they call me from the hospital and that baby's coming in like five days we'll do the consul on the phone and then right when they come in we'll do another a little pre consoles while babies being fed and mom's getting ready, etcetera, etcetera so the timeline can vary depending on the client I can understand why there's some confusion there? I don't know I guess what I'm saying is I don't it really is a matter timeline how it goes as long as you reiterate things as you go along, you know, and we're good to go with the internet suite I could pop up the thing that really helped I think that helped people just doesn't matter how many times you've talked to them on the phone or just keep reiterating the same information, make sure they understand they're going to forget, you know it's like okay, well, well oh yeah you said that perfect b I mean you'll think you're being a broken record I mean you'll think you're talking to a dummy but you're not they just busy they got their lives I mean think about it she's especially baby seven baby they're in school they're rustic final exams or seniors they're not thinking about pictures you know you've got to remind him that's good advice maybe you should think of it like you should I feel like you're a broken record and if you don't feel exactly and you haven't told them enough time exactly exactly true you hit the nail on the head right there so I feel like a broken record you really should okay, so I'm gonna briefly show you kind of what we d'oh for that client questionnaire so it's a password protected site and I do that on purpose you know it's just information from my client but when you get on here there's it looks like us web wise and it says where do I start and in bold it says please take a few minutes to fill out your pre session questionnaire which is located the top of the page so we have information how it works, what to expect with each session okay we have what to wear where to shop I promote local businesses in my town local boutiques and things like that I really want those businesses to be endeared to me and I want the client to feel like we're all about local okay? Because I live in a small town and that's really important to people who are just even in seattle. Start with your zip code. I mean that's a great place to start on, dear. That zip code you need to know policies copyright product prices, size your walls, planning album, digital files. All these things in here kind of get them again thinking about the final result planting the seed of the sale then the question here if we go to it, it really just talks about all these questions are in your packet. By the way, it really just it says we're through with the opportunity to photograph you. Police felt this questionnaire well before your session the information will provide will help us plan for your session and get to know who you are. The more you provide, the better we will be able to photograph a session that you love. None of this information has ever shared. It is strictly to help us create the best portrait's possible for you. Okay, so I mean that's just I need information guys share with me. Tell me who you are, what you do, what you love so here we just basic information, their address, I wanna know where they live you bet I want where are they in the tallest part of tribute where all the big fancy houses are they over the side? You know I want to know where they live that tells me a lot about them. Um child name number one newborn child number one birthday what type of session are we doing if you're pregnant please tell us your due date additional children and birthdays newborn statistics I really want to know how long that baby is concerned babies fit in certain buckets you know I mean really that's that's thiss poor girl amanda told me that leo was twenty four inches and I went now I've never had a baby he's twenty she wasn't sure but that's ok, but that helps me if I have a nineteen eighteen inch baby was a little tiny primi I can fit him into some of my smaller buckets which will give me a little more creativity so that's just kind of for that that purpose. I also want to know if the baby's born full term or not full term babies tend to sleep better than preterm not always but sometimes okay girls tend to sleep not quite as good as boys general definitely pencil personality, but if I know those things at least it gives me a little heads up facebook idea few fan our facebook business page we will post watermark images of your session after your viewing appointments ooh fun what are your major portrait session goals and look what it says next to it if you are interested in the album or wall siri's please let us know as soon as possible sessions with thes display goals require us to photographs and a little differently so we can easily create the final product desired what does that do same thing I've been telling you all day long plants to see to the sale gets them prepped yeah I guess we do want an album and if they see that and shut this block's album and they read that they go oh yeah okay we do want it on we better tell her they've just softly committed to a product okay, tell us about your home style on the course same things we just we just went over if you could shop for furniture anywhere with an unlimited budget where would you go please tell us colors you have decorated or nursing with and just please describe the decor what specific wall do you wanna hang a portrait where not do you will you where and what open ended questions directions to photograph your well I need to fix this is one of those little things that teaches them how to do a room view images so we can install it in our software they can even attach images of their home in this form so I could see what it looks like describe the space, what color tones you're drawn to do you like black and white images or color? Both described things that unique to your family. These are all the same questions. I just post them on the phone, hear it, see it, do it. Okay, so this vision for the session, then the model releases on here I agree, or I don't. And then the same thing I just showed you for sign for a street policies. So this form here has been wonderful for kind of avoiding really long in depth free consultations in person, you know? So we can kind of get away with just doing one on the phone, doing this and that doing a many one, right when they come in for the session before we shoot them. That's very, very helpful. Okay, let's, go back to keynote. If we could, that would be awesome. Thank you. So the art of language let's get into that we have about twenty minutes left here and I'd like tio. Yeah, of course. Stephanie go for revelation with the form that I was thinking about how I struggle with photographing actors because sometimes they don't know what they want or what roles they're going for it it helps so much in the session. If they are really specific about what kind of actor head shots they want, what they want like if they want to look like they belong in an office so they look like they want to belong on a cruise ship you know they need to be really specific and if I had some sort of form like this an advanced they'd have to think about it narrow down whether they have an agent whether they're going for an agent yeah, all those kinds of things that apply to their business that will ultimately help them but of course it's going to be helping me and make them convinced by more than just the one yeah keeps you efficient you're not shooting the whole enchilada you're shooting what you need to shoot for the product they need, you're not shooting everything and if they don't know what they want, you're trying to push pressure on what they want right when they get there it's like I'm talking to think about this, you know and they get a little panicked where is if you give all this some of the advance, they get to think about it along the road and then you're shooting for the product they want not more, not less, you know and it's just more efficient so planning planning, planning, planning it's a big thing saying it right is important can you speak english you know, it's, really, the language is so critical and it's so words can mean different things, and they have different connotation. Some words have a negative spin. Oh, that's, cheap chief can mean a lot of things, right? It has kind of a negative connotation to it. It's, inexpensive, it's, less expensive. That is a little bit better, right? Not perfect, but a little bit better. So when you're using words in the pre consultation and in the sales session, for that matter, try to really think about words that are elegant and positive and have a positive connotation. Your client will say, picture, I just wanna keep picture when you do, when you do rankings like search engine optimization on your website, you want people to search, they're going to search baby picture, so you better have good ceo for picture, not in it, but when they come into the studio, all of a sudden you want to elevate the meaning in the status of a picture to an image or a portrait. Don't ever call a picture a picture in your studio. It's always an image or a portrait elevated, make it seem important. Invest versus cost. Oh, that cost this most people spend this most people, you know, by this no, the value for your investment those kinds of words most people invest in okay those air more because it is an investment over time he's doing it more valuable right? So treat it that way you don't hire us to take your picture you commissioned us you've commissioned me to create art for your home it's much more elegant higher end word that has a more positive expensive feel to it right? You know, hire me you commissioned me but it sounds much more professional okay, enhance we don't retouch her retouched images we enhance them okay editing or retouching sounds kind of like you have to change it we want to enhance the images we've already done for you we don't shoot people we photograph them right? I will call it a shoot or recession but I won't say I'm going to shoot your baby I'm not going to shoot your baby photograph your baby I mean really come on I'm gonna shoot your kid my tiffany said found this great joke the other day online she goes photographers they're really violent people they framed you, shoot you and hang you on the wall kind of funny I liked most clients invest most people by just think of those words and when you want to say a word, ask yourself if that's really the best connotation positive or negative of the word okay always ask this and this comes back to the question that lance was asking online always ask open ended questions who what where when why that's journalism one on one right there it's really hard one for me to learn but I did learn it basically on the road with a with a tv camera and a microphone especially with politicians don't you dare ask closed in question to a politician my goodness yes no it was standard because they are comfortable with silence the person who is not comfortable silence silence is more like your client especially if you ask those opening the questions who what where when why they're going to answer you mean stephanie gave me a beautiful answer about her children and your client's going to do the same thing so stay away from yes or no questions unless the client is a chatty chatty cathy if they're tiny tiny kathleen you're like oh my gosh I got used to shut you up then start asking yes or no questions okay the phrase tell meabout works great tell me about your kids sometimes those vague questions are the best ones because it gives you information and it lets your client go in the direction they want to go which is the way that's comfortable for them um why is having your family portrait taken a good thing for you and your family right now? What a loaded question that is but it's a good question because it is a good thing and it really gets their client thinking about why this is so important and it's another great one why is this so important for you right now? Does this mean to you? Oh, what a great answers you can get and what does that do to your client? Gets them inside themselves thinking about why this is so beautiful and wonderful and people don't buy what you sell, they buy what you believe and if they believe what you believe they're gonna want to buy from you and what you do just proves what you believe. What you do simply proves what you believe okay always listen to what your client has to say and respond in kind if they start saying crazy things to you I mean, like I've had women oh, christi, I love her dearly very good friend now she's also a client and we just did her was it one year session tiffany with her little son thomas? Um the she came in and it was very clear that she was sad and was going through those hormone things. So I told her my my story and the next day she went to her doctor and got some help, and she wrote me a beautiful email that says, I'm so glad that you told me your story because it gave me the confidence to go into my doctor and say that something was really wrong and now I can enjoy jason's first few weeks instead of you know, being upset about it and those kinds of things when people in clients get really deep into their lives, you have to listen and you have to respond in kind and you have to be empathetic with them and really and that's why this is an emotional business and I get a little too attached sometimes to my clients and they keep coming dear to me and we were jim and I were talking about this was that yesterday we were talking about how when you first start it's like how do you get people to purchase it's very you want to give away the farm? Oh, just take it and susan was saying you were friends when we could just have that your friend you know what? Just do it for free you know what we get like we want to give to people we love well, then you get the opposite problem when you start getting good business and clients come in and they're repeat and you start to really fall in love with them you're like, oh, I don't think he's paying you you just endear so much suddenly become still mostly involved that you want to start giving the farm away again and you can't do that, you got you got to try to stay strong and yes, I'll give little freebies and gifts in addition to what they've already purchased, but I try not to give a discount just because you know you gotta protect your business, but it's funny how the opposite problem starts to happen is you get more, more clients you're like, oh, just nice tio you're so great, so when you get emotionally attached, sometimes those little problems start creeping up on you, so the net result of a good consul to your client feels listen to just powerful stuff powerful what do you feel when you feel like someone's listening to you, especially a woman? I want to ask the women of this audience men of a little hard time relating to this when your husband or boyfriend, whoever they you really feel like they've listened to you and they get you has it make you feel understood and almost powerful a little bit? Yeah, yeah, very validating and same thing and it goes both ways the men feel when you know my house, sometimes I don't listen to my husband and I'm going to fight and none of us wants to concede and we're all defensive and walls are up and the minute we relax and start listening really listening and mirroring back how that person feels and then giving empathy certainly I understand I can totally see what that would feel like all of a sudden you feel engaged, you feel empowered if, like this person really cares about you. So when you can listen and you could be empathetic with your client, you endear them to you and you developed that relationship a consul also, the result is your client knows what to anticipate moneywise and product wise. They kind of know what we're after there's a goal and there's a price to that goal. Okay, your client feels like you care about their session. They their client feels like they understand the expectations of them and what they can and can't do and what you will provide for them. They understand the studio policies and how things were going to go. There won't be any surprises. Your client is getting a great attentive experience when you do a pre council a good pre concert, they feel ready, confident and excited about the session. What a great place to be. When you want all your lines to be in that nice spot, your client has confidence in the session outcome. They feel like you know what they want and that's very important, okay, you understand your client what they expect, no, they're prepared and can be confident of a good sale how great would that be? That's what a good consul can do for you and I really feel like consultations air one of most important parts of that five, six p system if you can nail pre consultations you will be ten steps ahead of the game and I know you know we're going to go into pricing policies, products all this stuff tomorrow and and on saturday and I know this is a boatload of information I'm vomiting on you right now. Okay? I know I did just insane how much information I'm giving you and I know it's gonna be overwhelming and I don't want you to feel of around I want you to know I'm trying to divide these peas up into a little segments into little baskets of information and you could work on one of the time so decide which one you want attack first so I wanna do products first to get my product line all set up so I wanna get my pricing all set up okay, then I'll attack consoles you do one thing at a time but when you have all these pieces in place and you're doing each one of them well, you can almost guarantee yourself the right income you could really almost guarantee yourself a steady, consistent average with each client ah happy client ah, good relationship with that client who wants to marry you? What is that going to do for your business? You're just going to be like, ha! The weight is going to lift up your shoulder, you're going to know what to do with every single client comes to the door. You can train employees to do the same thing with every single client who walks through the door. There's a system there's a method to the madness and if you have a method and you keep that organization with every client who comes to your door, all of a sudden things become predictable and you don't have to worry about money anymore. You have to worry about getting the clients through a door, and if you only have that galaxy deal with it's not so bad that's not so overwhelming it's not so time consuming. So I know everything that I'm throwing at you is a little intense right now, and it is overwhelming, but if you could just attack one of these things at a time, you were going to grow your business, you're going to feel less anxiety. You feel more empowered because you have a business that rocks that's. What? I really hope that you guys end this with businesses that just rock. I want to hear all the phone calls I just doubled my awesome. So anyway, if you told me this is where to find me jewel images or instagram or twitter love chatting on social media it's kind of fun s o note those down, I also want to just give you guys a quick little resource is we use in love? This is not all of them by any means, but some very special people in my life help me run my business very well and I love them dearly, so I will do stop those up and let's start taking some questions for the last five minutes that we've got here ten minutes or so on gets, um, we can talk about what's going to happen tomorrow as well. We're gonna talk about products and pricing how to develop a product line fear studio that suits your brand. We're gonna talk about the different branding marketing there's a big difference in a lot of people don't know what that difference is, so we're gonna try to clarify that we're going to talk about how to price yourself, but not in the terms of the science of it more the art of it. More how to get your clients to spend mme or not necessarily we are going to talk about cost of good because I have to do that but I wouldn't be a good teacher if I didn't do that but I really want you to understand that pricing is a science and an art we're going to do all about the production appointment not only can you create the sale system as a system throughout the entire process with your client but the actual sales appointment can have a system too we're talking about that little system and they're of how to take your client through his sales appointment obviously going to show you my method with my pricing and we'll go from there and then of course amanda and thomas are going to come in tomorrow afternoon we're going to a live sale session you guys get to fly on the wall which is kind of fun of course I'll take tons of questions during that time period and we'll see how it goes live tv is great all right let's hang out with a few questions I want from stacy jay who asked so the pre consult is more like an interview question martin yeah to bring an emotion is it like when barbara walters gets them tio kinda maybe not quite on that deep of a level but yeah it's an interview it's it's let's get to know each other the date it's a date guys and girls can all relate to dating it's truly a date. You like me? I like you let's get together, let's, create something cool. Bring flowers. Chocolate? You know, I mean, seriously when you wouldn't you go if you're in on location, start when you go to their house, bring a little fruit tray, bring something with you, you know, endear them to you. Same thing in your space, you know, provide snacks or we have a curate my client's love the curate. Is that something that you do? You'll provide a little food in drinking if I haven't evening sales appointment all even provide a glass of wine and strawberries. Great. I mean, you know, you've got to do these things to just really make it feel like like a date and all those things add up, I guess that's what I'm saying, perfect. Thank you. Yeah. All right, ladies, think about any final questions that you have questions about our concerns, worries things you want to address us for sure. Quite a few people have asked during the day with regards to your pricing and sales if at any point you're looking at other photographers in your local area and so I did what you should and should not do I strongly advocate against it unless you know that photographer knows what the heck they're talking about and most doctors don't. I will look at another photographer if I think they know what they're doing. Most people don't know what they're doing and so be very careful about who you other star if you look out for pricing because chances are they might not have done it right. And if you follow them not knowing if they've done it right and when you want to be confident knowing that you're doing it right and that it's working for you because you figured it out and that's why I encourage you to do so. Yeah, I don't mind people looking other factories as long as they know that that photographer knows what they're talking about. It's market specific too. I mean, my sister charges way more down in southern california in l a then I can appear in bend, oregon. I'm in a little podunk town of any thousand people, she's in a metropolitan area of seven million. I mean, a lot more expensive to live down there, etcetera, etcetera. Market does determine your pricing as well. You have to take that in consideration. All right, let's, end the day with a maybe a big picture question. Yeah, so I'm watching you do all this and going over the priest consultation in the chute and talking about writing, and I'm just wondering if you do you love this. Do you love this part of it? And do you have to love it to do it? Well, maybe your introvert, maybe you're shy and you don't like talking to people, you know, I do like people anything like this. If you're not like you, yes, I truly, truly do you think you can? The conversation part will be your biggest challenge. You know the talking, but I think anybody can learn how to do it. And like I said, in the beginning, you have to do things on your show. Thanks. My sister cannot she's not as gregarious as I am she's, sweet and kind and wonderful, but she gets in a situation with a lot of people or with somebody she doesn't know and she gets a little shine reserved. So she does consulates strictly on the phone. It makes her feel more comfortable. Her method works great. She's got amazing sales. The woman's pulling in more than more than I am she's. Amazing. I mean so your strengths argue. And build your business on your strikes just because I do it one way doesn't mean you can't grow business on your strength why, I mean, think of all the businesses in the world, how successful they are and how different kinds of people run different businesses but offer the same thing do you follow so it's really important? Take your strengths and turned them into ways that benefit your business? I do love this part, I don't love it as much as I love the creativity and the shooting, of course mean arman artist, but they are one of the analysis this is a really doesn't really work for sale because I really believe that sales can be consistent and you can get the average you wanted every session, but marketing is a little different um and I always say that marketing is like fishing some days you're going down the river with a winston fly rod the perfect fly beautiful cast landed right on the water, nothing dragon sh nothing fish aren't biting some days you'll have a rusty hook and a bamboo pole and no bait and you'll catch mother like crazy the fish your clients always know you're there on the banks of the river, sometimes you'll have an amazing marketing campaign that you think it's just gonna draw men like crazy and you get jack squat from it and other days you're going to like it, we'll do a little face because what happens and everybody starts calling, you've got that bamboo hook, maybe rot in that rusty old hook and you're catching him like crazy. What on earth just know that no matter what, when you're standing on the banks of that river, no matter what marketing campaign you have, the fish know you're there, you may not catch him all the time, but you have to love the process of fishing. No matter whether you've got a bamboo pole or winston flat rock, you have to love fishing and marketing, you really have to love it, and I always say it's eighty percent business in twenty percent aren't you said, I think jim, was it you said ninety nine percent it's, whatever the numbers, it doesn't matter it's true, you do have to learn business more than you know art but that's okay? And once you realize that business is an art and that you can get really creative with it and kind of fun, it becomes a whole another world for you to express your creativity and your love of things and that's what's so cool and then you combine your art and your why your purpose, why you do what you do, why do you get out of bed in the morning? Why should I care that you get out of bed in the morning when you can communicate that to your clients? All of sudden, they're buying. Why you do it. Your world just becomes like I love what I do. Doesn't matter how much I get paid. Obviously, you need to make a living and cover your expenses, your family, but you feel fantastic, and you want to get out of bed every morning and that's what? I hope you guys, chief.