Introduction to Studio Systems Bootcamp Part 2
Okay, we all kind of like thinking about our business and ready to take it to the next level. I am ah gosh, okay, little story. So I just briefly within the green room, refreshing my lipstick and I briefly looked at facebook on the group and the group that we're in and there was a um I had posted my story earlier in the week about how my husband lost his job. There was a girl who posted that she had been talking about that and mentioning my situation to her fiance and how hard that was and wow and gosh, people go through hard things well, she just revealed that hey broke off his engagement with her and told her to move out and she has, like thirty days to figure out if she's going to close your business or try to make it work and he's not renewing the lease on their house shoes in like san diego or something where the real estate is incredibly expensive. So she's faced with a thirty day decision on do I keep my business going and make this work? Or do I get a real job? And yeah, I just...
broke my heart and I just wanted to tell her that I felt for her been there, done that right now that need to grow your income quickly is, um, overwhelming thought, but you could do it on dh sometimes fate god destiny whatever you wanna call it gives us throws things in our lap that make us own up and step up to the plate and I think this is one of those times for her and me and many of you so some of people have it more worse than others and there'll always be someone more worse off than you the way I like to put it but I think with some determination fate will not put in your lap what you cannot accomplished and if you have a positive attitude and own that you will get through it and I always say to people who are going through health crisis or things like that there's been just proven day after day research that says a positive attitude really helps heal the body and I think that's true whether it's a health issue or a business ah positive attitude really helps you clear out the clutter it gives you a focus it gives you a positive energy to create from and really making a business and doing the systems is creative work creativity is problem solving that's what creativity is so by doing these systems were being creative and if you're not allowing positive energy and empathy and really nurturing yourself there's no way you can make positive creative choices in your business if you have a negative influence in your head so it truly is a choice to be positive, it really is my mother has mental health issues so she was very negative person growing up so I can learn how to be negative and it wasn't until my mid twenties that I took a look myself wow, you're really being negative about stuff like other people had to tell me and you kind of, you know, negative nelly giving me a rough time like, oh, victim, you know, I won't I won't be that you wanna be my mother, so be positive and I had I had to train myself to be positive about stuff and it's not easy, it's not you have to be able to be self aware enough that you go oh, yeah, okay, I'm not being very happy right now. I'm kind of down on myself. I need to change that and because you're doing more damage to yourself by being negative, then you are the problem. Okay, so you need a couple systems, right? That's changed the subject. Big deal. Three systems here in there, right? I know it seems like it seems like a big deal, but we're going to start one by one. Okay? The first one we're going to look at a service customer service maria spends like two days on this the next two days on customer service, so tomorrow on wednesday we'll be all about service, but let's have a look. Have you ever missed something in order? We have done it lots of times. I still do it. You gotta fix that system. Ever had a customer angry with you? Oh, yeah, I have ever lost session. Image is been there, done that. Forgot to notify a client about something bomb to sail, forgotten their name, still do it. Belinda is a master. We do newborns, okay? She knows both parents names all the kids and their birthdates. Oh, yeah. Nice. That someone's family. They have little baby as well. He was born december. Such and such she's one of those weird people. How does she do that? I do. And it's amazing that I will never have that skill ever. Okay, but you can create systems to help you. Okay, so now we have a booking sheet that has all of their information cause she's in there type in it, which I would do if she didn't have her. And I have every little detail about them that we've ever talked on the phone about. So, like here on the phone with them and booking, because we're going to talk a lot about booking the next two days and how to book clients in a system for that, and, uh, she'll talk them and connect with them and are they redecorating their house? Are they remodeling who's the kids in school and she just like writes down everything about where they are what they do with our lifestyle is like and then we have that information so I can say oh mary smith so good to see you how little sets in such oh blended tells me that you're remodeling the house and you had some issues with the living room how did that get resolved? You know when you can just automatically know them by simply writing down information about them and having air disposal is a huge customer service coo nobody else and when nobody else does something it makes you look better right? So if you chase that system for customer service you're going to see the growth customer service well how do you system I that okay don't I just be nice everybody is that you must do you think that right? Shouldn't I just be nice um okay really what what is it? What is customer service it's about a good experience, right? Are you guys a retail business knew you might think you are you are service business you d'oh custom commissioned work do you have a product at the end of it? Yeah, but technically you are service, so that means that half of that product is your service so your customer service is part of what you sell so it better be good, right? I love this quote by katie therms we take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone this is my husband and son that's a beer bottle I took this with my new well used knew at the time contact six forty five meeting format film camera at our beach house and that way have a rental be tell us that we go to and my husband was drinking a beer in the hot tub and my son take the entire beer adopted in the hot tub and then proceeded to fill it up with water important my husband and I took picture. I love this picture. What did I just tell you? I told you the experience. Every time they look at the images you take of them they will think of their experience. Why do you go on vacation and take pictures? Why do you take pictures on your vacation? The only way to go back to the experience of being in hawaii on the beach is toe look at the photograph. It triggers the experience memory, right? I hope I'm in grading on you how important customer service is in this last five minutes I did honestly, I did not get this until about a year ago and it finally dawned on me and I went oh my god customer experience is like what I do that's my product I don't sell a piece of paper I've always known I don't sell a piece of paper with an image on it I sell the experience associated with image of course it's the memory of the baby being all cute and snugly in two days old or whatever but it's the experience if my clients have a bad experience with me well that's not good in the photo weight class I talked about a client of mine who she brought the baby to me freshly he had just been circumcised sorry for team effort to meet people but it's a total effect of life in newborn photography we deal with it every day you and the baby screaming the whole time we had to reschedule the session and I had accidentally on the sibling wrapping her in fabric and I accidentally clamped her in the back with the clamp and put a huge gash and bruise on her back. And of course, she's I mean, imagine the terror of the session. I mean, it was like screaming kids. I felt so I mean, even to this day, I the memory of it is just like I was probably the worst customer experience I've ever given someone in my life and it was all accidental it wasn't anything that I was doing on purpose like I wasn't malicious in any way? Of course not, but just you know how those someplace just everything keeps bad happening with them done on ly them like why is it that they keep having things wrong and it like snowballs down the hill and you're like, oh my god, I can't believe something bad happened again with this client you can't win do you know you've never had those clients? Oh my gosh and you just feel like you're on a train wreck this was a train wreck and she wrote me an email that was so gut wrenchingly awful and basically told me that I had maimed her children that she did not know if they would ever recover and that it was like the most horrible experience when she was dead serious and a year later belinda saw her in a baby store and she mentioned it and comment and go I just took so in sort of the doctor last week and the doctor says that he'll be okay because the circumcision was hurting him and he bled a little bit because that was my stupidity I was stupid. She will always remember that when she looks at her newborn images that was a screw up to the degree I mean like you can't screw up more than that and that kills me that she is going to associate her beauty of motherhood with the balls dropped that I dropped sucks customer service is your product line so what are you doing to maximize it and system eyes it fifty percent of your product is your customers are that's a big number? How many do you feel like you're customer service is really at a reliable consistent works every time with every client situation ah when did be nice if you knew that every single customer who came to the door is going to get this this this this this and every problem has a solution when I'm nice yeah because then you know you're producing reliable the results if there's a complaint you can nip in the bud right away and with efficiency and with good I mean think about when you go to a store or worse yet for getting the phone call on tech support hold for like an hour you know I call my phone company or whatever the internet company and you have to sit there to elevator music for like twenty minutes before you could talk anybody don't be that company you know I'm saying be proactive be quick be efficient has solutions to problems immediately we're going to talk about that tomorrow and wednesday creating that system what this is really what it comes down to the question is what are you doing to make your customer service absolutely irresistible and when we talk about the client booking cycle and the marketing customer service feed that cycle that's I mean scripture is so important to me customs haven't branding a probably top in the business okay? First of all, you're going to create a customer service road map or manual okay, you're going to deliver on your promise since your clients they're going under promise and over deliver you're going to create that personal connection with them and create a system for doing that you're gonna know your client in week five we're going to talk about finding that ideal client and defining her typically it's a her commercial photographers may be a little different but most photographers the woman is the purchaser in the household so what does she look like? Who is she? What does she do what's her interest what's her lifestyle you are going to dive in and be empathetic to who she is and empathy means actually being her being in her shoes when you fully understand your client not only can you target them specifically when your marketing but you can also provide exemplary customer service, remove barriers to information connective ity and collaboration your client wants all of you they want information they need to know what's going on you need to communicate it for your benefit and you need to communicate that information about the session for their benefit. I tend to look at the information that I need to communicate to them for my benefit as being the bigger benefit a plants the sea to the sale right it gets them thinking about what they're going to do with their images connectivity remove the barriers to collectivity are you an email on lee studio do you get on the phone and talk to clients you should be is everything just cold and no human connection sometimes that's good sometimes it's not so ask yourself where those systems are goingto improve upon things in my market my plants like talking to phone my sister is anyone photographer in southern california her clients in a hurry los angeles a man we have movement will look like curry she's got a systemized everything so that there's like it's all done online like her clients don't want to talk on the phone they want to be on email they wanna be on text they wanna book online bam bam bam thank you ma'am we're done there are in such a hurry so you have to know your client know your market no the culture immerse yourself for those of you that there's one person here just moved to seattle who is that it's her what you mean valerie valerie just moved from boston, boston to seattle and she's gotta start over in this market you gotta researches markets yeah was a whole different culture a culture than boston were there little couple here? Hey, look you up tonight? I'm just kidding I'm just kidding. I love seattle actually it's a really cool town but there's a different mentality here east coast could be very conservative very you know everybody's very no, we don't warm up until we get to know what kind of thing well on the west coast and I was like, I gotta bury one microbrew you know everybody's really casual here make sure you recycle all so know your market know your client? No, you're targeting because that's going to help you deal with things like customer service and of course, you know, targeting your market for brought only brandy but also marketing promotions knowing your client is one of the single most things you could do to put yourself heads and shoulders above your competition because what happens when you know your client you target that person, you get rid of the diseased gord, get rid of the nasty pumpkins. You don't need those nasty pumpkins. You want your ideal client? Okay, customer service communication is key. You must communicate and it's like dating it seriously is like asking for a day it's gotta be all about them write all about making them feel like they're the most important client and they're the only client you have it's hard to do but you can do it with a system as a matter fact it's easier to do with a system that it is not okay welcome complaints and respond quickly and with quality the woman with the two kids whom I basically named I mean her whole session was free that's the least I could do should I check in with her? Yeah, I'm scared I don't want to call her because I'm like afraid she's going to give me the riot act and you know how it is it's scary to do that so I haven't called her yet I should someday I will when I get up the nerve to do it, but I really should be I should be checking in with her and responding and making sure she's okay and that's where I'm kind of dropping the ball about mike. My point in saying this and admitting my flaws here is to tell you that no system is totally perfect, that you will be faced with your inner demons and you will be safe faced with things not always going the way you want, but if you know the processes, it makes it easier to solve the problems, okay? I know the value of the rule of reciprocity. We're gonna talk about buying triggers in the last week, week five but the rule of reciprocity basically means if I do something nice for you, chances are you're going to pay me back it's human nature but if somebody does something nice for you you're going to want to return the favor, especially when things are unexpectedly nice. So and I'm not talking about giving away something free, and they're done that who cares? Boring, I'm talking, thinking of them, knowing their family, asking questions that no one else is asking dating like you want to marry this person so you need to be fully vested in them emotionally and that's khun b draining at times. But if you keep documentation of everything in your customer service workflow, you're goingto know these things. Trust me when, mike, right before my client comes running for the door, I am in their file going his assistant editor. So I remember everything about them, and then I could go downstairs and go oh, hello, missus. This oh, yes, I heard about the accident. Are you guys okay? You know, whatever it could be a simple is oh, my gosh. Your mother in law left yesterday and she get out of town safely. Simple little things like that that they have told you on a whim. Right? That stuff down that's. Awesome fodder because nobody does it. So when you do it, you look you just raise yourself head and shoulders above the rest that's such an easy thing to d'oh ah, hand written note every single client who books the session in our city and you guys will get to see all my market material and we talk about collateral branding, but we have a little welcome card and it's a hand written we sign it at the studio and it's just a little wonderful welcome card this cute little baby on it says we're so excited shoot your session and we talk about the value of self esteem and how much it instills in children's hearts when they're photographed and research, you know, stuff like that and it's just quick and easy, it very friendly and we send it snail mail with a little hand stamp on it that says this is your story I mean, cute, adorable people want good snail mail I don't know, I think comes his junk and bills right now, so if you send something pretty and happy welcoming, they're going to be like, oh my gosh, thank you I could even take a step further if I want to spend more money and like, send a little gift. What if I sent a cute little pacifier or something in the mail and there's a hundred different ways you can do that? You have to assess your budget, how much you want to spend on these kinds of projects, but those and little things and it's just part of our workflow the cards are all the desk upstairs and we book him write down their address, grab one envelope it sign it, stamp on it and out the door it goes I mean it's just part of the work flow and every client you have to hip it realize yourself into doing that and make it easy and put it so that the cards are sitting right there on your desk it's just automatic thing you do after you book a client he's, right? The card out band put a stamp on it and send it out the door. Ok, tiny little extra thing that means so much. So customer service has two areas in the internal part and the external okay, the external part of it is the part that the client sees so that's the part that the client experiences when it comes to your customer service, the internal part is everything you do to make sure the external happens. Does that follow? So in other words, we'll talk about this tomorrow we have a huge white board on our wall upstairs that has every single process the client is supposed to go through and we literally check it off when it's done client name here, check, check, check, check, check and you'll see all this on as we go through the next few days here, but that keeps us on task has the welcome card consent has the contract been signed? What's the kids. Name ages. Sex, bird, boy, girl, whatever. Session date due date. It's complicated labor. I mean what? Just everything is written down on this board to help us keep our checks and balances with customer service and that's what makes the client experience perfection? Okay. So by creating the system inside the studio, you make the client's external experience better. Okay, this there's some interesting facts. Seventy eight percent of customers have bailed on an intended train faction because of a poor experience. That's a research study on my american express. Okay, seventy eight percent. I've done it. You walk into a store, people are kind of cranky. No, we want to talk to you. I really need some help with some rules. And I was gonna buy a thousand dollar tv. Whoops. Bad customer service. In two thousand eleven, eighty six percent of customers quit doing business with the company due to a poor transaction or service experience, versus fifty nine percent in two thousand seven. What does that tell you about customer service in business? Going down the drain? Almost all businesses across the board. If you are doing a small business sole proprietor owner occupied, you are expected tohave good customer service. I mean think about it I mean like a lately I've been walking we've been walking in the harbour star's home depot and lows and like we haven't able to find somebody to help us my husband's and construction so it's really frustrating when there's nobody around to help him like on a sunday morning is it not a lot of people there on the honey it's sunday just be patient he can't deal but it's now it's kind of expected so he goes in there knowing he needs something so he goes in there knowing is not going good service so he just tries to find it he spends all extra time finding what he needs okay, which is sad but with a small business if someone walks into my shop and I don't don't go downstairs and greet them oh my gosh who that bad you know there's a certain expectation with a small business especially a boutique high in business like mine where we're right there trust me sometimes I really don't want to eat them because it says by appointment only on the door and nobody listens you get my point it's important to be there no matter what but when they come through the door and that external picture of your business contributes to the brand and what is a brand I mean all this intertwines right? What is the brand a brand is how your client's experience feel and sense your business, it's the impression they are left with whether or not they decided to buy at that time or not that's the brand. So customer service is a huge component of the brand because it's part of what they experience, right when you have good customer service, you differentiate your business from others. So many photographers dropped the ball on customer service so many it's an afterthought which killed me because to me, it's like one of most important things in your business. It's half your product line it's an experience when they look at the images, they are going to remember the experience. It's a fact. Okay, so this is good for all you, because since most everything, even after afterthought, you don't have much competition when it comes caption customer service, you just have to elevate your customer service and really could provide a great experience for your clients, and you're gonna put yourself head and shoulders above everybody else immediately. And of course, that's when you get referrals, right when that customer service is incredible, those really top big pumpkin clients start referring other pumpkins to and those pumpkins are big, they're nice, you become unique and you got a lot of big pumpkins in your yard everybody's going how bumpkins okay, you set yourself apart which is always what we've been preached to do right be authentic be unique find your unique selling point of the audio that we hear that all the time right customer service is part of that and it elevates the client's idea of your business in their mind they feel good working with you they want to come back you guys all know that eighty percent of your business comes from twenty percent of clients right yeah so deep in your relationship with them and make them come back through that amazing experience which overall elevates the brand which overall ella rates your impression of your business which overall elevates the referrals and bam bam bam bam bam bam all of a sudden your pumpkin is prize money okay? Okay organization there was someone in the back who was worried about organization who wasn't was one of you two what's your name becky I'm gonna have a hard time remembering everyone's name is going to try back just so you know, I'm really disorganized to authorizations hard that they actually say that creatives have to be a little messy in order to be creative like there's been a research study on it I forget exactly worth from but yeah I read that sheared that syria somewhere some universities just call up harvard right? I don't remember but it was the river study I do remember being a university research study that creatives need a little clutter I know where everything is that's all that matters right? Well, not quite but a little clutter is okay um yeah that's pretty much me hot mess um I'm sure most of you have hot mess tendencies too but I so love what albert einstein said he said if a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind then what are we to think of an empty he's exactly right? And albert einstein is one of the most creative people in the universe of all time so to me I feel ok being a little cluttered with limitations you have to be ableto access things easily ok, there is being cluttered and there's being a hot mess okay hot mess means your client files are all over the place you don't know where things happen he don't keeping track of orders your files they're everywhere you guys shouldn't see my desktop like three days ago it was a nightmare, but if you can keep the really critical components of your system's organized, you're going to feel a lot better and when you create the systems and you get them hot mess once or twice you're going to your lesson really quick and you're going to drop something drop a ball, something happen customs will be upset order won't get play, something will happen and you'll be like it was because I was really a hot mess okay that'll force you to get into a more organized state it will make your life clear so in this course we're going to talk about studio organization on location organization not only with your props, your background, your equipment storage how to deal with all that but we're also going to be discussing how to keep your office space is organized you're filing system's organized your computer workflow images organized everything should have a place yes. Do you have four coffee cups on your desk from the last four days of you working like crazy? Yes, I I left them on my desk when I left bend yesterday um but I understand that you'd be cluttered and its okay, but ultimately the pertinent things the stuff that makes the business run has to be in the system booking do book more than seventy percent of the clients who inquire nice job nice work. So you're booking, but then the question becomes are you making the average you want with all of them? Yeah that's where we're going to learn to get rid of the crappy plans. Okay, you may be booking a lot, but you want to book the right people, right? Ok, what happens when the phone rings? The temptation to just want to e mail him back is like huge or let it go to voicemail oh my gosh, yes, I know we'll see who they are and see if they sound right then I'll call him back way all do it okay and trust me, I sometimes I still do it to this day I'll be like when we don't have time just let it go to voice mail and the key is we respond within twenty four hours usually less if it goes beyond twenty four hours sometimes I'll just like even go my bad ignore it, make it go away make it go away and I won't even call back period which is really mad but the goal is to call them back same day and, um I prefer for belinda to pick up the phone and I want you to know belinda came on as my nanny. I hired her in two thousand seven when my son was born and I found her from care dot com her educational background is in child development that's her degree okay, she wanted to own a daycare initially she was great with kids. I loved her, my perfect nanny for my baby because I needed I needed I had to hire somebody going back to work I can't take my kid to work with me in studio doesn't run without me, so she came on and she was so bright and smart that I said we'll shoot when my son sleeping, why can't she do other things so she would sit with dean in the moby rap on her chest while you sleep, and she would. She learned photo shop, she learned booking. She learned phone conversations, she learned how to email she oh, you should see her the first time I made her pick up the phone and book a plan, she was lying, shane, you know, routes don't listen to me don't go away, I don't want it. I mean, she was so nervous, and I don't blame her. It is very okay, because it's such a process, and since we have such a system for that conversation, to get them to book, she had to own up that system, and the success of it was determined by whether or not the client book the session. So is a huge amount of pressure, and she did her first one. I think it was ten months ago, ten months ago. Eleven she's like I don't remember now, I've got so many of them she's back there, like shaking her head at me now, she's a problem? I'd rather do it that may, because she'll do way better than I will, okay, so she this is something that can be trained to be done to effectively book almost all the clients who call and inquire now, of course, there are people who call o last year we got our pictures taken in walmart but they should down and we just want one couple digital files how much of that uh I'm here for you somebody down the street click okay, that happens a lot in the studio but those air diseased goard's and I see them coming a mile away and I don't let them into my garden okay that's you're gonna have to learn how to discern between the people who are disease and people here okay? Healthy money interested happy passionate about you're my ideal client okay, so when the phone rings customer service wise what should you do? Answer it I know you don't want teo I know but I'm gonna teach you how to do it I'm going to teach you so that when you pick up the phone you will confidently know that you will have done your best to book that client and whether or not they book if they don't book it means they are not for you and you will gladly hang up and go it's okay more time for something else okay it's okay to not book everybody you want to book the right people the people who own your brand lovett who are your ideal client whom you connect with okay that's what's gonna make your pumpkin grow big and strong so let's start with that first inquiry a phone call or email which one phone call in los angeles may be a little different maybe you should think about responding than the email with lots of information that kind of makes me cringe but that's because I live in bend, oregon people still like to talk on the phone in bend, oregon, but I have to consider my market I'm in a very tight niche newborn babies by clients are twenty to thirty five years old they are high tech gen x millennial type kids okay kids I say kids lovingly you know what I mean when I say that I'm not trying to be derogatory anyway, but they're younger than me and they're built on technology that's where they were raised I mean they text there are photographers who booked me a text which blows my mind but it does happen and sometimes that's good, you know and that's that's something on my radar as an entrepreneur and when I'm forty two years old so I am just beyond that that generation but I have to look at that younger donation and what technology I have to get into my target client tells life and if she's on text and e mail than I need to think long and hard about whether or not that's an appropriate response for me and do I get into that and how do I get into it with the best customer service so that's, where I go, okay, I tweak my system, tweak it, make it grow, change it, make it more effective to the target client always be thinking about your tart clinton, what she needs now for me right now, the phone is where I can truly connect and relate with her, and this happens to go through those buying triggers, rule, reciprocity, liking authority, social proof we're gonna talk about all these in week five, but if I can get her to like cmmi, chances are she will book me. Okay, so there is an art to that conversation and there is a system to it. We're going to make a phone script and hash out all the scenarios that occur to maximize the phone call for your benefit and her love of you. You write out a response to any objection and you practice how many have actually practiced conversation with your friends either in sales or in booking very few if this makes you nervous and you don't like to pick up the phone, why are you not practicing? Practice makes perfect. I have a friend, pick up the phone and talk teo and pretend that she's interested and a friend is great because they don't know any better and they're they're uneducated, the photography industry, so you're gonna have a real life scenario to it if you make a script and write out all the issues and problems and everything that you need to address with the client for your benefit, for the sales benefit for the sessions benefit for the brand's benefit, if you write all those points that you need to get across down a piece of paper, and when you first start looking people, you go through that and you'll hear them talk and you listen, okay? I need to make sure you bring that up. You, khun put a mark by it, highlighted as you talk, we'll be a perfect time for that. That part of the conversation to come into play and you'll be able to get a point, all your needs connect with them on an emotional level, and if you do that, you've provided incredible customer service on the phone, which is the hardest way to do it, mind you. That first phone call is the hardest thing you'll ever do when it comes to getting clients in your door, and it depends on which area they are in the buying process. Some people are just considering they know they have a problem, they need salt, you know, the first situations when they're completely unaware of the prop want to take your pictures, huh don't even know there's a problem those people are the hardest to book. Chances are, if someone's enquiring with you, they're already moving down the customer cycle, and they're in the process where they know they have a problem there, considering who to to help solve that problem and whether or not you can do it for them, okay? And then they make the purchasing decision, and the purchasing decision often is made based on those buying triggers, rule of reciprocity, liking social proof all those triggers that makes someone by something happens in that conversation, so that's, where they're going toe buck you, and then we go through that whole buying process again, through the sale session and into the appointment where again, the social triggers will take place and you'll get the sale or not at the price you needed to get out. If you think about these things, when you're when you're dealing through client, you're going to start analyzing your business from a very large, a logical and systematic perspective. Oh, she's, she's right here, I need to apply the liking and social proof component cause she's told me that she had a friend who is in the such and such group, and I'm a member of that, so I need to tell her that a two of her other friends have booked with us and dunne, their babies, that don't give her social provincial book you don't think about these things I talked really fast and you guys just follow that ok maybe I should slow down just a little bit so we're gonna make a phone script for this kind of thing so that when people call and inquire you're going to be eager to pick up the phone because you're going to be challenged to want to look up I'm like okay I got this down I got a system I know it works I can make this happen then you're confident you exude that confidence and your clients go wow they really know what the heck they're doing authority they're pros okay getting them to book involved language connection and communication relating and understanding service and inquisitiveness to their problem and putting their needs first now this depends on the market obviously los angeles unb in oregon are different but most potential clients who are serious about looking will want to talk so email I avoid it I get a lot of email increase of course we do if they enquire from website files uh yeah I got to call him and start educating right but I have a slot for a phone number if they put hash marks on the phone number do I send them a response? Yeah, but it's a canned response and I asked for their phone number we need to discuss this with you on the phone if we're gonna book you I don't give them the option to do all this female like if you really want to book me you got to call me on the phone because to me a really serious client is one who's gonna want to discuss the situation with you I'm a high end studio you're gonna spend at least a thousand dollars coming in to see me and I want to make sure we have a talk about that before you decided book customer service keeps the client cycle rolling when you first start out this is where you are those of you starting a business you have this huge marketing thing to deal with because people need you are just a tiny little speck of dust on a sea of a big floor full of other businesses and you've got to make sure people know about you right it's daunting especially in a huge city trust me it's a lot easier to market a small town that it isn't huge city I always suggest taking by zip code just focus on your zip code right now and then grow it into other zip codes as you grow but you have to get new clients in the door so when you're first starting out that new clients arrow is critical to grow in your business right and you'll take anything headshots commercial weddings, babies, dogs, whatever you're right I did it trust me been there done that and what happens is though as you get a new client the first thing they experience people make a brand impression on your business within seven seconds seven seconds when they walk in your door that's the time you have to impress them with your brand a brand is visual style moral promise it's emotional response to you and your business you have seven seconds to make a good impression, whether it be on the phone, on your website or in your space. So if this sucks, you may keep the client to the cycle, but you won't see him again. How many of you have good repeat clients who come to year after year? You're probably doing something right with your brand and your customer service you've getting these pieces in place if the the first thing that new client experiences is the brand they book because they like what they see and something has triggered them to buy, they go through the session the experience, the product line, campus wall, whatever albums yana yana, the customer service that you provided to them is the cycle that keeps them going throughout this and if it's high quality and good they were going to get over here and go that was amazing I'm gonna refer so and so and they will spend money they will become loyal evangelists of your business and they will refer people like them to you so customer service is the wheeled energy that makes this with water real go around and eventually you start getting more of these then you do of these then you don't have to work so hard at this at first it's a herculean effort trust me I spent five years pushing that darn snowball down the hill until it was big enough to rule by itself it's exhausting and I kept asking him interest doesn't ever and I just can't keep marketing like this it's it's exhausting I'm sure you all feel like that right like that's all you ever do is market working, working, working like crazy it does end, but it won't if these components are not in place if your brand sucks fixed it, learn about branding learned how to make a good impression on your client and your customer service if you're customer service stinks why shouldn't may come back to you attach your product line is what they remember when they see the images I think you guys can see the importance of what I'm getting at sessions do you have a system for your sessions? How many images you shoot in the session port wedding portrait are obviously different so wedding um I'm not super experience and weddings, so but I mean I've shot a couple in like ten thousand images good great with the second shooter like ten thousand narrow it down to five hundred for the client whoa okay, what about portrait sessions? How many images are you showing your client how many thirty two numbers forty anymore than that know any less than that more than that yeah when I'm doing an individual I'll show them between twenty and thirty but if I'm doing a family and doing breaking up the children and it's with more yeah up to fifty but I don't I don't do more than that of course gets overwhelming that's exactly it it gets overwhelming how long do your sessions take? I used to do for five our newborn sessions correct grey yeah sorry ifyou're doing for if you're not crazy I was it is crazy but my point is you need it systemized that's a lot of time wasted now are there hard babies in the world? Yes I was at molly studio last week and we had a pretty challenging baby and I think the session took two and a half three hours three hours which is long for me I was also shooting in a new location with new equipment I don't even have my own gear it was pretty incredible but that's why it took a little extra long but my sessions if they take longer than two hours I start to go crazy because I'm realizing that I'm wasting time and I'm gonna overwhelm my client this is my big mantra write this down in huge letters across your forehead I want you to tattoo it on your eyelids and I want you to draw blood and write it on your paper less is more in everything that you do less is more less is more unless there's more less is more okay I'm a couple students who beat this into their head and all they say to me when they see me listen listen it's true though less is more session systems create efficiency, consistency, reliability know overwhelmed clients the concept of scarcity which is a buying trigger remember you know how things like on sale himself for a limited time so I don't know when we'll get a good price that's scarcity creative life is a mess that okay by it now it's on sale that is buying trigger called scarcity when there's a few images that are really good they go wow, we gotta have them all and it raises the perceived value because if they're all beautiful and good we can't just take one home okay that's the concept you want what about post editing sessions? First system for their how long is it taking at a session? Uh everyone, this is the big one. Can you edit an image in under two minutes? Who said yes uh hot seat you guys I want you on the spot I see is like not me you should be trying to edit your everyday images for clients in under two minutes apiece, so if you're showing thirty images that's sixty minutes to edit a full session, how many of you are doing in under an hour? Nice work two hours it's about us under two hours and about us so we're not quite there yet, but belinda, I could really do in about two minutes depending on you obviously each don't even just different if I've got a baby with like acne and you know that's a little harder but a standard image under two minutes is not a problem belinda's down to what three you under three she's under three I think she's two and a half right now I'm going to make you do this talent okay it's so important to get that fast and consistent and everything looking the same photographers asked me well, don't you know don't my clients want something unique and creative and different for me? No, they want the exact same thing that's on your website they want the exact same thing you gave their friend susie two weeks ago if you start changing it up, you look inconsistent and unreliable, everything is added the same and you don't need fancy actions you don't need the audio ana just do it clean and simple, okay beat that and your brains work low does everything every time happened in a predictable order no, I think they're so cute I'm sorry I'm making you out to be a hot mess I don't mean tio how are you keeping track of your client and their order you need a step by step tracking system and of course this is all in the worksheets you need to create a system that you can either print and check off or I have a huge white board in my studio that has all the tasks that need to be completed in our workflow information about the client it's almost like a combination customer service and work floorboard so all the steps in customer service and all the steps in the workflow are on the list and we literally check them off and we can walk up the stairs look at the board and go so and so hasn't brought in their contract not shooting that session until I get that contract so valuable so valuable because a lot of times we send them the electronic contract they don't sign it do not touch that baby until that liability policy is released and signed so important so if I didn't have that board up there I wouldn't know that because I'd be rush to go to the session I want look at their father you know how it is and things get lost in the shuffle so having a visual reference when you can just go yeah baby that's my day is so comforting nothing is dropped okay what about digital there's all kinds of amazing companies out there that do studio management workflow studio cloud is what I use studio cloud integrates with pro select which is my presentation sale software and that's one of the main reasons I use it it's also free I have the page version but it's because I have employees but you can I used it for free for almost two years before I had to pay for it okay it's a wonderful management system there are lots of others out there and we listed them in the worksheets to help you out but but tracking both analog and digital will keep disasters from happening so we're gonna talk about how to do that exactly what about selling my favorite topic do you hit the average sale you want every single time a client sits on your couch know yes I know there are so many systems they'd go into place before that sale session ever happens okay? The concept of selling ourselves is so what I'm looking for it permeates every part of our insecurity and george's influence on us I put well I don't want you guys but I put my heart and soul into every product I produce every image I create every course I ever give it to me I'm literally vomiting myself into my work I am ripping open my heart going here take it you wanna buy it that's what I'm saying I'm saying is it am I good enough to buy in everything that I do and as artists I think we all do that our creativity and our soul and our hearts going your work right no matter what kind of photographer you are and so when you sit down with your client and go what's this worth to you are you willing to pay for it that's an enormous responsibility that we put on our self esteem right so ah lot of tigers hate to quote sell themselves because it feels really right like awkward you wanna buy my work yeah if you learn to step outside of yourself and use systems for selling it becomes less about you and more about the system system's run the business you just run the system the six piece of selling are my favorite system if you can master subsystems within pre counsel patients products pricing projection policies and purpose you will sell your average every single time a client walks through the door are average sale is climbing it's about twelve to thirteen hundred per client and that's very high for my market a lot people sam cheap like in other markets like understand town eighty eight thousand people a research the demographics and we're gonna talk about how to research a market week four five we're gonna break down how you find information about your market what your market comparing prices what your market hasn't clients and where that money is coming from etcetera, etcetera. So I have done that research in my market and this is what my market compare. I am considered the top top in my market ok, what about this guy that client the one you hate to work with who just objects to everything I imagine you have lost face? Can we order more later? We just want the digital files. I mean, how many times you guys hear these objections? Almost every single time a client sits on their bottoms on your couch to watch their images? I mean that the constant is that these air battles I fight every day and if I didn't have a system for them, it would probably make me want to go hide in a hole somewhere in the fetal position. So having a system for dealing with client objections and what they're going to save you and knowing the answer in advance is huge, we're going to talk about the language and how to do that. We're going to develop and implement system a systematic response toe every single difficult issue our client you've ever had that's a big order, I think I can do it products and pricing that you are incredibly intertwined and there's wonderful systems for this, we'll dive even deeper into how to develop a product line how to price that product line. Okay, how are you even figuring your prices right now? Pricing is one of those things photographers constantly asked me about my pride. I don't know why I like the source of agony for everybody, right? It's seriously makes you want teo give up sometimes it's so confusing. We're gonna break it down, okay? And then there's the art of pricing. Okay, there's the science and the art and baking packages is the art and that is even scarier because there's no set formula and everybody could do things differently. Everybody does do things differently, and the agony of knowing whether or not it will work or not is enough to make you want to jump off a cliff because you sit there and go ok, I have these new packages. I think they're gonna work, but I don't know and it doesn't happen until you try. And then if you're changing your pricing every three months, your client's going crazy, you know how that just rolls downhill, okay? The art and science of pricing. We're going to talk about breaking down your expenses, figuring out what you need to survive examine what you want to carry and figure your product costs don't carry the kitchen sink these trade shows we go to all these companies are like pretty shiny things buy me buy me and you're like oh, I want to put this in my studio it's so cute well, you better watch yourself okay being selective on which products you carry is critical to your brand we're going to calculate your time we're going to figure your perceived value on your products perceived value not hard value and we're going to price it for awesome profit and we're going to package it all up so your client cannot resist and they are incentivized to buy more that's a system and I'll love it because it's such a game it really is a game to get your client to buy more based on how you price and how you put it all together in a pretty little package is so fun okay this is strategic thinking finance and accounting okay your books and your money trust me, this is my least favorite topic I love to bring in money but I don't like to figure out all the other stuff. Okay? The question though, is do you know what you where your money is and it's a really important question? Do you know how it got there? When was the last time you reconciled your books huh? Last tax season that was my world for a long time trust me once a year, but keeping what's here week straight burning the midnight oil right? Totally been there, done that got that t shirt every year for, like, four years. Yeah, I mean, I screwed up, you know? We're not supposed to do that. It happens, okay? And especially when you're starting out and you're trying to get all these things in place, the books or sometimes the last thing you want to think about, okay, but keeping good finance systems are the solution to system ization of your books, tracking your money, preparing for uncle sam. Your bookkeeping for the year should pretty much be done in october, so you can plan what if you need it forthe spend more money so you don't have to pay so much tax you gotta you gotta know what you're going into before you get there. Still a way for later should you hire an accountant? We're going to talk about my studio in bend creative life came in and we did a whole interview with my new accountant and he's, an amazing guy, cody martin and he talks all about what did the count it does for you versus a bookkeeper. For those of you who are not in that world, when should you hire an accountant? What should you look for an accountant how is it what how could an account to help you and how do we the good ones from the bad he talks about all that so we'll do that interview I think in week week for maybe branding biggie branding one of my favorites this is your baby okay do you know who you are? I kind of do you own your artistic voice and style okay some don't you can find it through a system believe it or not just you can help yourself discover your style through a system you can dig up your unique selling point through a system you can uncover your business personality create your visual collateral communicate your ideals and define your moral promise through a system and then maintain a system so the brand keeps its allegiance to itself okay by creating a systemized guide for your brand for the visual and aesthetic components of your brand you will commit to consistency for your clients but a brand is so much more than the visual it's a personality of your business like let's look at some think about business for a second I was thinking something that international people will know to uh like he is an international company right furniture company it has a personality right you walk into a store and you feel something when you're going to like you right you feel broke I can't every store looks the same right every store visually entices you every store makes you think you could do it yourself right? Every store has that element of it really? Sometimes I just paid me five hundred bucks to put the darn thing together but do you see my point it's a very solid brand and feeling and personality when you go into that company whereas ethan allen american companies sorry for all you international folks ethan allen is ah hyeon furniture store here in united states totally different experience right? Totally different brand you get to sit down with the designer and she'll design your home for you and come up but I mean you spent a lot of money they're like yeah you gotta put to get herself okay but each brand has a personality and has a visual component and it has a moral promise the purpose of the company why they exist, why they do what they dio is deeply ingrained into their moral promise. Okay, I keep promises it will be cheap, efficient and easy especially since you know you got to put it together but hey, it will be cheap. Inefficient, right? Ethan allen totally different we do it all for you we believe in the ultimate in furniture luxury that the home should be a visual shrine to your style and high end ownership okay, totally every brand marketing system does promotions that feed that client cycle how do you systemized that this question I get all the time I struggle with clients with getting clients I think we all do at one point or another, and what I've learned over the years is that clients come in cycles um like all have a dry spell like I'm in the middle of a dry spell right now I think we shot two babies in september, which is totally low for us normally we're doing like ten years and I've turned down a couple because of creative lie because I found the time to do it, but I can feel a little, which is odd because september is usually pretty good month because that's when winter started nine months ago and everybody's inside so usually august september have a pretty decent number babies with them, but this month is a little weird, but I've and used to panic without what's wrong what's happening now I've realised that it's just kind of a cyclical thing. There is times when there's lulls you have to be prepared for those locals and you have to have good marketing campaigns in a system to attack those loans when they do happen. But we talked about this client cycle briefly before the client cycle the new clients the marketing gets new clients into the system, but then of course customer service branding, experience product all that keep them there with a with a good impression of your business okay system izing your marketing will get that snowball running down the hill at first you're gonna have to push it in the beginning you're like getting the snow ball together all your stuff to actually create a marketing campaign and then you go like movement and you hug it's super heavy when it's super heavy is right before it's about to start rolling down the hill by itself so just know that that's the time was the hardest to push down the hill okay when you just are drained on marketing but there is a moment in your business or your brand your customer service your product line all these things will come together in beautiful like symbiotic relationship and the snowball will begin to roll down the hill by itself but remember you have to have those other components in circle in place if one of those is messed up, you're going to keep pushing that snowball down the hill without it getting momentum on its own. So if you've been doing that for a while, you need to ask yourself if parts of your circle are broken usually if you're not getting numbers if you're not getting clients if you're marking promotions are not working something you are doing is incorrect it's not the competition it's not the cheaper person down the street it's not the crazy clients who can't see the value in your work okay you are not doing something right in your business so you need to take that forty thousand look forty thousand feet look at your business become the entrepreneur and go what's wrong with me and my business and attack it from a very logical kind of an emotional standpoint try not to get so emotionally involved with your business that you want to blame everything else for the problems you have that's the biggest issue I seen photographers is they wanna bitch about the competition someone saw down the street keeps copying me someone saw down the street just lower the prices I can't compete with that how am I going to do that but I mean the list goes on and on and on that's not the problem the problem is you and your business something's going wrong I need to analyze where that as where that isthe research how can you know your market how can you market without knowing your audience okay where do you live? Okay ask yourself that first of all are you in podunk town yusa forty twenty upper east end or backward no name okay where are you what's the intelligence of your market what kind of income do they have? Different photographers are going to charge different prices in different markets but you have to maximize it right? Because there is a point where you're not making money if you're not meeting your costs you're not meeting certain parameters there's no point being in business cause you're not profitable. Okay? How do you know what your market compare? Well, first of all, you have to ask yourself, what do they care about? You need to figure out where you find information about them and we're gonna discuss that in the last week. How do you segment them? Strategize your demographic. Okay? To find your demographic age, gender, race, income, household value. How many purchasing decisions having you made based on those demographics alone? Ah lot right? And then they're psychographic. How you think, how you act, how you behave, what you believe in those air harder. They require that deep giving in to your client's mindset and having empathy for who they are and what they dio. But when you do all that, you own the market because nobody else is going that far. Procedures, every photography business can have step by step procedures for these processes, okay? And the people who care about it are your family and you because you can detach from your business when you need to take a day off, you are reliable to your customers. Your stress lowers that consistency. Break confidence your income comes predictable because you're getting your average sale at every single session, then it's just a matter of getting the client numbers in the door that's all I ever worry about these days is the client's coming in is our marketing cycle working are the referrals happening just kind of nudging the snowball down the hill and when that happens your business starts to grow guys what this really comes down to is your little dream that you have is going to be real a big reality okay and that's awesome awesome you have any questions? Any worries I think some of you are maybe going oh my gosh this is great crais and I don't really know how I'm gonna attack this let's maybe talk about that or talk about where you have good systems in place already where you think it's good yeah question over here basically my whole business is going to have to change that's my thing like howto eh start all over again and keep clients and yeah going well as you go through this process you're going to learn that you do have some systems you may not realize it but you do have some things you do consistently I mean there's got to be you wouldn't be in business if you if you didn't yes it seems overwhelming like oh my gosh I've got to change my entire business I mean anything is like I'm want to do in person sales and in my area it's not very big because there's so many photographers at that basically everyone just wants digital so I'm trying tio get sales and build my business that way and I don't know how to jump in and start so excited that's one of the big things most switching to in person sales is a huge challenge and it's scary especially when no one else in the market is doing it when I look at when I see that no one else in the market is doing it yea that means I get tone it it's not a negative you being the only person in your market is going to end for two sales you just scored and I'm going to show you why you scored and how to own it and take advantage of it its unique you are in a position to be able to grow your brand to something so different and unique then everybody else that's I mean you just you look as a negative I look at it and go sweet let's attack and do it because we're about to make you a boatload of money, okay that's how I look at it because no one else is doing it your market you have a unique selling point in area of innovation, a strength that you do really well you're going to provide an amazing service for your customers because you're going to basically help them through this entire process it's going a lot you become more high end it's going to allow you to charge more prices provide about a relationship to your clients and improve the overall impression of your brand that's what this is all about just do you see where I'm going? I mean that you just struggled so whenever you see limitations, ask yourself in your mind isn't really a limitation or could I own this and make it something incredible? Not always, of course, but chances are there's going to be times you'd be like oh my god no one else is doing this maybe I should latch onto this it's nobody's doing something grab it quickly and that's what happened in my market? No one was exclusively needing a newborn's believe it or not no one wass okay so when I decided to take that over I saw that and went I really love baby I really love newborns I don't have to work weekends it's steady consistent income throughout the entire year on that and I took everything else off my sight and went babies on ly literally within four months my business doubled. It was so weird to this day I'm not even sure I can fully explain it but I think when it was people saw that I was so there this is what I hear for my clients they say wow, you just do babies you must be really good okay I'm sure believe that if you want it's not true but my point is because I was able to nish so especially into something they looked at me as being an ultimate expert in the field which raised my brand which elevated people's status of my business in their mind which made me the person to go to when you have a baby and bent top that off with good marketing on hospital display vendor partnerships and keeping myself in the forefront of their minds and now all of a sudden other photographers are referring babies to me oh you gotta go julia she's a baby photographer we don't touch that they don't touch it anymore because I own the niche there's wedding photographers all over town like oh yeah I want to have a baby my client can you send him to you hossam I said weddings to them because I don't touch weddings with a ten foot pole you people who do that kind bless you because it's really hard I do weddings are like yeah anyway holding the topic I have so much respect for wedding photographer because they worked their butts off and um yeah but anyway so there's this cross referral thing going on but when you own a market when you own a knish like that or a system or a processes or a customer service just be careful because the minute you do it have success although the photographer go we better do I p s you want to be the leader? So yes, I know it's intimidating. I know it's hard. I know you're. How am I gonna convince my client that this is the way they need to do it? They're not gonna want to come in. They're ingrained to this this pattern in their head that they think they're supposed to dio well, we're just going to teach you how to sell it, right? How to market it, right, how to create it, how to make it a good thing and a service rather than annoyance and it's the same thing with you on location photographers who don't have the ability to I. P s because you don't have a space go to their home. Molly is a great example of that. She goes to people's homes, plugs into their tv and does I? Ps right there. And it's incredible service. I'm still trying to talk her into charging more for it because it is an exclusive service, but that's a way around and being unique. Okay, so there's, always a door, another door open when a window closes there. However that works. There's always another window when the door closes always there's always a way to figure it out and sell it. This is what marketers do, they make negatives into positives they make things that aren't necessarily the greatest thing in the market and they spin it there spin makers okay, so you need to learn how to be a spinster and spin things to your clients so that they look at it as an advantage, not a weakness. Okay, did I answer your question? Okay, kind went off on a rant there. Sorry about that. Any other comments? Questions concerns ideas about systems yeah, I am one of the lucky people have you stand up? I'm one of the lucky ones I have an assistant and she is amazing because she does all my bookkeeping scheduling and she is my lifeline but we're having a problem with our system as faras when khan when clients contact us, you said that you have your assistant do it the initial phone calls um I'm the one that usually does the initial part, but and then she kind of takes over from there, but we're kind of not sinking there. And I'm wondering is that a bad thing for your assistant to be able to take over right from the get go and tell the client meets with you or is do you feel like there's a disconnect with your clients at that point? Not at all here in the exact same position belinda and I were in ten months ago when she first started taking phone calls and wasn't into the booking phone call yet but she was handling my scheduling all that stuff all the back end and the clients were very much integrated with her she's a huge part of my customer service now on dh she started off that way should greet clients take their information the audio so I would do the booking and then she would take over from there that's where I wass ten twelve months ago so but now she is trained to handle all bookings I don't ever answer the phone she always answers the phone it's really nice when that happens but my point is she now handles all the booking all the initial client enquiries and handling she's great customer service and then when they come in they usually that's their meeting me for the first time when they come in for the session my business is unique with babies we can't really do full in person consultations it's really hard for a newborn parent to get in that many times so we've switched that system to be something where it's on the phone she's basically doing the pre consultation on the phone with them and then when they come in for the first time for the session they sit down with me and that's when they usually meet me for the first time so no there's no disconnect as a matter of fact it kind of elevates the artist to a more exclusive thing like it it makes the artists seem like the head of the company, the creative mind, the the rock star of the business, for lack of a better word, I don't really know howto toward it, but you see what I'm saying, like when someone gets to meet me for the first time in person and they get to talk to me, isn't ours. Now my job there is, too, keep the conversation warm, very social. I need to make my client feel relaxed. So those air techniques that I need to learn and master because when they see me for the first time, I they better feel comfortable around me because I'm gonna have to make him feel very comfortable very quickly, some about to photograph them. So, yes, your your assistant can book you solid. No problem, I don't think there's any disconnect there, but when they come in to me for the first time, your job is going to be even more elevated to warm them up, make them feel good and comfortable in a shorter period of time.