Thursday, August 02, 2012

Business Day Thursday: You've Got To Meet Them Face To Face!

Good Morning Everybody,

OMG, 4:00 a.m. comes way too early in the day for me but that was the time the wake-up call came in this morning.  We quickly packed and headed to the airport for our 7:00 a.m. flight and were back on the ground in Northern Kentucky by 10:15 a.m.  Now I’m too tired to get started on anything today ;~)

All joking aside, we wrapped our 7 day trip to New Orleans and are back home safe and sound.  I spent last night walking Bourbon Street and grabbing some fisheye HDR images.  I'll plan to share a few with you in upcoming posts. 

I also managed to get back home without too much damage done to my waistline.  The food in New Orleans is great but the calorie count can be off the charts.  And yes, since I'm counting them these days, it was a challenge to wage the calorie wars in New Orleans.

WalkingWondering what my secret was? Walking, that's right, walking.  This trip had me, and occasionally LaDawn, seeing a lot of the city on foot.  Yesterday we logged over 11 miles walking from from one end of the town to the other.  For the week, I walked over 52 miles walking, walking everywhere!  BTW, it's a great way to see details of this fabulous city. Now it's back to the real world and back to work for me.  I've got to get my book wrapped this month and that's going to take most of the month - a very busy month too.

Business Day Thursday: You've Got To Meet Them Face To Face!

It amazes me just how everybody seems to be so connected to they're email, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, accounts.  It seems to me that the world would not go on for many folks if they were cut off from their constant connectedness.  Don't get me wrong, I know it's the way of the world these days, and I'm as connected as everyone else. 

Client MeetingBut I do want to make a point that the world does not live and breathe by email, Facebook, etc. alone.  Sometimes there has to be a real connect with your client, especially if you plan to run a successful business.

At our recent visit to New Orleans for the Southern Pro Exposure photography convention, I got to sit in on Tom Munoz's program.  Tom and his family, mom and dad and several brothers, run one of the most successful wedding studios in south Florida.  They do over 300 weddings a year at a very good average.  Each photographer books his/her own weddings and they are "wedding booking" machines.

Tom made a very good point during the sales/marketing section of his program.  He said, "Booking a wedding photographer over the phone or by email is like buying a wedding gown over the phone or by email.  It just doesn't work". He wanted to make the point that the prospective client really needs to see and touch the product before they can make a qualified buying decision about wedding photographs and albums.

Tom hit the nail on the head.  So many of today's wedding photographers think the entire booking process can be handled by phone or email.  With that kind of thinking they can only be doing one thing very well - killing the sale!  That's right, so many photographers are complaining of low averages, cheap customers, and the bottom dropping out of the wedding industry. Yet, down in south Florida, we have a studio doing in excess of $1 million dollars a year in wedding photography. Why? Because they know how to sell.

Remember, selling is NOT a dirty word.  It about finding out what the client wants and then helping them to get just that.  You simply can't make that happen over the phone or in numerous emails with a prospective client.  It takes a real connect with your client to be able to pick up on the subtle nuances of the conversation, the body language, and the hidden objections associated with any sales process. 

RoadblockPhone calls and emails are ROADBLOCKS to a successful sales process. Another point I'd like to make is that the client eventually appreciates that personal connect with their photographer.  It is always about relationship building in any business and the best way to make that happen is face to face.

I truly believe that Tom and the Munoz family have it right.  Buying a wedding photographer over the phone is like buying a dress over the phone or online.  You take a big chance with one of the most important aspects of the wedding day is you select that course of action.

As Tom says, your clients need to know that they are taking a chance on compromising their photography result by booking over the phone. Wedding photographers reading this blog must also realize that they too are flirting with sales disaster in trying to book a bride over the phone.  You've got to meet them face to face, begin building trust, lay the foundation for a lasting relationship with them for years to come.  Success doesn't come from a quick email or phone call bookings.  It comes from incorporating a complete and connected strategic sales process that serves the customer personally so they can get exactly what they want beyond question and love their finished result.

End of sales rant #102


Hey gang, that's it for me today.  I just received news that the mother of one of my clients recently passed away while we were out of town.  Services are today not very long after we touch down so I'm heading over to pay my respects and offer my condolences to the family.

Have a great rest of the day in your part of the world and I'll see you soon.

Adios, David

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