When Life Happens – You Need A System

If you’ve been in your photography business for any length of time, you’ll know what I mean when I say that not every day goes as well as you’d hoped. It might be a bad night’s sleep, a fight with a spouse, broken camera equipment, a client complaint, a toothache – you name it, we all face challenges daily.

The reality is that we must find ways to avoid having those challenges affect our business.

Our client must see and hear a consistent, friendly and professional person each time they email, call or meet with us in person. The skill is to be able to take the challenges we face, tuck them away and put our best foot forward to our clients. They deserve the best from us.

We are in a creative business that requires energy, ideas and effort. But I have found that none of those things happen in a vacuum. I work daily at making sure I am creative, energetic, have new and good ideas for my clients, and then put my maximum effort into their portrait creation.

How? I have a system! It’s the one I teach along with Charles and Todd Lewis.

The system has several parts – marketing, answering inquiries, consulting with clients, the photography session itself, and presenting the images to the client.  Each part of this system is done the same way with each client.  I am not constantly reinventing the wheel. It’s already there for me.  Thus, even if I am tired, irritated, or having other challenges – my system picks me up and makes sure my prospects and clients are well served.

The “templates” of my marketing are already in place – email response, postcards, displays and exhibits, auctions, direct mail, Facebook posts, website – are not dependent on my mood or what’s going on in my life.

A few changes of images, dates, offers and testimonials from time to time ensure that my phone keeps ringing.

When the phone rings, the use of my telecharts (telephone “scripts that I use whenever I answer the phone) ensures that my mood or situation that day doesn’t come through to the prospect/caller. With enthusiasm, my telecharts guide me, while still allowing my personality to come through.

Then, the client comes in to meet with me for the design consultation (as we call it with our clients the “chat”). The PR PACKET (a series of carefully designed forms) keeps me on track, focused and allows me to present my prices and policies without having to worry about remembering everything if I am a bit distracted.

I fully inform and qualify the client, with passion and enthusiasm, even if I need to “fake it until I make” it. Thus, the prospect I see next week will receive the same service from me as the client who came in to visit last January.

The hardest day may be the photography session – how many times have we looked at the schedule and thought ” OK, I really have to do a great job, and I am NOT in the mood for this today – three 2 year olds and two dogs in a family group of twenty?” You may be tired, have a child in school facing challenges, you name it, we all have those days.

It is rare for me, but if I do have one of those times, again the system has helped – my clients arrive excited (or I am at their home) – and I take a deep breath, remind my self of my successes, smile big, and head in. I often find that as soon as the session “flow” begins, I am having fun, forgot my troubles and the results are wonderful!

Presenting the images properly is crucial to your clients satisfaction, as well as your sales average.

If I go into the projection room with a bad attitude, it will show in the sale. I have a hidden spot in my studio where I take a sip of water, smile in the mirror as I check my teeth and hair, and head in with a winning smile, and tell my clients “I am so happy you are here, you are going to love these!” My presentation system takes care of the rest.

From start to finish, having a proven system ensures that you have built a veneer around you and your photography business that will provide you with success as long as you want. Learn the system, and use it. I am living proof that it works – even after 35 years in full time portrait photography!

Go For It!

Tom Morelli

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Creativity International / Charles Lewis Photography PO Box 848, Ada, MI 49301 | 616-868-0373