I've talked about this subject many times before, but I still get SO MANY questions about the SPECIFICS of this,
so I thought I'd clear them up right here and now...
When it comes to your photography marketing, one of the most important aspects is your GUARANTEE.
If you've ever wondered exactly how we word our guarantees, how we use them, and WHEN we talk about them, this
hot-tip is for you.
Carefully craft, then constantly talk about your amazing guarantee!
Now, I know what you are thinking: "Chuck, I have a guarantee. Of course. But I don't
want to talk about it, because then people will take advantage of me. But yes, if someone isn't happy, and I can't please them, I guess I'll give them
their money back. I usually do, if I can't avoid it."
Well, that just isn't going to "hack it" in this day and age! Not even
close! Your guarantee is the one part of your business that you should be talking about all the time. Here's why:
1. It's your number 1 "Unique Factor"
Successful photography marketing is very dependent upon having great unique factors - things that set you apart from other photographers in your area. Your guarantee is a BIG one! This is because all the other photographers in your area aren't talking about their guarantee either. In fact, they don't even think about their guarantee most of the time. Their staff members don't know how to handle it. It's just a cloudy, mystical thing that "floats" around in the background of the business. By talking about it, and making it your number one Unique Factor, you clearly are separating yourself and your studio from all the others.
Talking about your guarantee immediately broadcasts to your prospect or client what you are all about. You see, your guarantee is really important. By talking about it right up front, you let your prospect see that you are an honest, well meaning, hard working photographer who fully desires to thrill them.
2. It removes all the risk from the buyer, and therefore brings clients to you who would
otherwise have gone elsewhere.
People don't like making decisions because they're afraid of making a mistake. So by offering a
powerful guarantee, you are making it much easier for your prospects to decide to work with you.
Think about this. Let's say you've decided to buy a
new sofa. You've found two that you like. One is at Company A, and the other is at Company B.
Now, you go back to each company to make the final
decision. At Company A, the salesperson brings up their guarantee right away. She says that if you're not wonderfully happy with it, if it's not
absolutely perfect in your home, they will pick it up at no charge, and return all your money to you.
At Company B, the salesperson never even brings up a
guarantee. But after you have "been educated" by the salesperson at Company A, you decide to ask about the guarantee at Company B. The salesperson
hesitates, then says that these are custom made sofas, and that generally, when someone buys one, they are not returnable. However, they can probably make an
exception for you. If you don't like it once it's in your home, call us, and we'll only charge you for the delivery and pick up fees. But be sure
to call right away, immediately, as we don't usually do this....etc.
Which company is going to get your business? It's simple and obvious, isn't
it? You'd almost have to be crazy to work with Company B, right?
Well, it's the same with photography. Your prospect is trying to decide who to hire to create a portrait
of their child. If the deal is the same as with the furniture companies above, they are obviously going to choose the studio with the most powerful guarantee.
Why? Because it's obvious that the studio with the best guarantee wants you to be really happy.
3. Now, the wording of your guarantee is very important. How you word your guarantee
is so important to your success.
Let's look at two examples:
"If you're not satisfied, and if we haven't done anything wrong, we will give you your money back, as long as you tell us right away."
Guarantee B: "We absolutely guarantee that you will be THRILLED (not just 'satisfied') with your photographs. If you aren't THRILLED, we
will do whatever it takes to make sure you are thrilled, or, we will give you all your money back. No hassles and no hard feelings either. We want you to LOVE
your portraits, or we don't deserve your money. It's as simple as that."
If you were the buyer, trying to pick between two studios, which
guarantee would you feel sounds more powerful?
See how important the wording of your guarantee is?
People desperately want to work with a photographer
who really believes in his or her work. Someone who will stand behind the work. Someone who will take all the risk off of the buyer, and promise to return all
the money if the buyer is not THRILLED. Someone who will really CARE, and really WORK HARD, to thrill the client.
In my humble opinion, the word you
want to AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE is "satisfied."
That's just not exciting enough. That's why I recommend the word "thrilled." That's how your clients want to feel about their photographs!
4. Obviously, your guarantee is extremely important for weddings, too.
After all, they can't do the wedding over again. So a prospect is very interested in a
photographer's guarantee for wedding photography! It should be a major part of every wedding talk you have with a perspective bride, on the phone, through the
mail with your Direct Mail Pieces, and in person.
5. It's also important for portraits. They don't want to go through all the efforts and time
involved, only to be disappointed and not be able to have you "make it right" or give them their money back. This is just "common sense" when you
think about it, right?
How we use our guarantee for weddings.
We talk about this on the original phone call when a bride calls if we are having any trouble at all with setting
up a time for her to come in and "chat" with us. We also use it in all the mailings for weddings. And we talk about our guarantee again when we
are meeting with the perspective bride, groom, and mothers in the studio.
Since it's our number one Unique Factor, you know we are always bringing it up, and
talking about it.
Here's how we word it:
"We absolutely guarantee that you will be thrilled with both your photographs, and our service to
you. You will have friends and relatives commenting at your wedding about how nice the photographer is, how well dressed he is, and how good he is with people's
names, etc. You will be thrilled with how we represent you and your family at this important day in your life. Then, you will be thrilled with the images we
create for you, and thrilled with the completed volumes. If not, we will do whatever is necessary to see to it you are thrilled. And, if we can not thrill you,
than of course, we will refund all your money. It's as simple as that, although we have never had this happen, in our 30 years of servicing brides and their
How we use our guarantee for portraits
We do basically the same thing with our portrait guarantee. We talk about it in all our photography marketing pieces. We talk about it on the telephone if we are having any
difficulty getting them in to "chat". And we talk about it in person at the Design Consultation.
How we use our guarantee in the projection room.
In the Projection Room, when we are presenting the portraits to our clients, we again use the guarantee, to close
the sale and get the money today.
For example, let's say that they have narrowed it down to their favorite portrait, but are not sure which of two sizes to
select. It's between a 24x30 and a 20x24 let's say. Now, we know that the 24x30 will give them the most enjoyment, and will look the best where they
will be displaying it, so here's how we proceed:
"You know, Mary and Tom, here's what I would do if I were you.... Get this size (I am projecting
the 24x30 - but I don't tell the client the size, as you know.)
"I know it will be perfect for where you are going to display it, and
anyway, here's what I'll do for you. Get this size. We'll make it up for you, frame it, and even come out to your home and hang it for you if
you'd like us to. If, after you've had it in your home for awhile, if you feel it's not the right size, I will either make it larger for you and only
charge you the difference in price, or I'll make it smaller for you, and refund the difference in the price. You know, this is really important to you, and
there's no way to KNOW for sure what will be perfect until it is in your home.
"Even if you went home and measured, you still wouldn't KNOW for
sure what would be perfect until you took your portrait home and hung it on the wall. This way, you are guaranteed to be thrilled. If it's not perfect,
I'll make it over at the perfect size, for no additional charge other than the difference in the price. Is that fair enough?"
Now, I have to
tell you, that I've been using this guarantee for years and years, and it never fails! It works like magic, because my clients trust me, and know that I will do
what I say - because of all the "relationship building" we have done starting with the telephone call, and going through the Design Consultation and the
Photography Session. Use this guarantee - and be sure you MEAN IT - and it will close a lot of sales for you right on the spot. You'll be able to watch your photography business and your profits improve nearly overnight!
So go to work on your guarantees right now. Put them into effect IMMEDIATELY.
And, just in case you are worried about this - you will almost never be taken advantage
of. People are primarily honest. If they feel they are being treated honestly, they will respond honestly. You'll have very few returns.
BUT - AND THIS IS A BIG BUT - you'll have so many more sales and more clients, that it will more than make up for a couple of measly returns!
It! I'll talk with you on the next hot-tip!