Thursday, June 26, 2008

[B]Business Day Thursday - It's Showtime!

Good Morning Everybody,
Let me begin by thanking everybody for the great suggestions you have been posting to Skribit over on the right of the posts. Keep them coming and I'll get to all of them in the upcoming weeks. The top vote getter, "If You Were Just Starting Out, How Would You Build Your Client Base - More Than 60 Ways To Do It!" was answered last Thursday so I hope you gave it a good read.

Are you ready for another [B]Business Day Thursday? I had something different scheduled for this week, but it can wait a week. LaDawn and I attended our monthly ISES meeting yesterday afternoon and had a great time. If you are a wedding photographer looking to connect with your fellow professionals working in the same field, you need to check out ISES - International Special Events Society. Most of the larger US cities have chapters. It is a great way to meet and connect with all vendors working in the special events industry, including weddings, of course. Cincinnati has a great group of photographers, videographers, bridal planners, florists, caterers, sales representatives from several of the larger venues in the Cincy area, lighting specialists, rentals companies.......and many, many others. I was one of the charter members and an original board member of our local group. I always enjoy the opportunity of getting together with my vendor buddies just for a little R&R, a little connecting on upcoming events, and a little inspiration from the contracted program speakers. Yesterday's luncheon was just that.

Anyway, that was nice but let me tell you about the really good part. Every meeting usually has a guest speaker and yesterday was no exception. Our speaker was Jon Petz from Columbus, Ohio and boy, did he give a great program. I made several notes during his presentation because I think his message speaks to every reader of this blog and echoes many of the same sentiments about how to conduct your business.

John's message was simply this, "Every time you interact (notice I didn't say just meet, but interact) with your client or a perspective client - It's Showtime! That the time you put on your best prepared and most enthusiastic presentation to your client. Remember that you always need to be totally prepared at any given moment for your client.

Before every meeting with a client, I want some quiet time to get prepared for the meeting. I want to check the specs of the event - times, locations, other vendors involved. It's this preparation time that puts me on the same plane with the client. If I know her vendor list and she has selected the best so far, I can enthusiastically assure her of her choices. They are Cincinnati's A-Team of wedding vendors with yours truly included in that mix. Heck, if you are unfamiliar with some of the locations and vendors involved, just Google them. All the info is easily obtainable. Then you can have a well rounded and informed meeting with your client.

Jon continued, "An now that you booked the job, you can't just meet their expectations, you've got to blow them away!" What's that mean to us as wedding photographers, or for that matter any small business owner reading these words? It means we have to do more than they expect of us, something more than the competition would do. We have to make the experience of hiring us a "standing ovation" experience. I think we do it with "surprisingly" good service, great quality products, and available for help and suggestions. Occasionally we even like surprise the client with something extra added to their order, as a gift from David.

When shooting a Bar Mitzvah in the morning, I would take the time during the afternoon break to head back to the studio, select a few images, combine them quickly into a 8x10 or 11x14 collage, and present it to the clients when I returned in the evening. They loved it. And it would always be placed on prominent display.
We have done similar things for weddings. During some point during the reception, we would download about about 15 images form the day's shoot, print them out on my Epson PictureMate printer, put them into a Neil Enterprises self stick 4x6 album and present it to the bride and groom later that evening. It always blew them away.

Jon had one more main point too. You've got to sign the autographs. Read that as ask you client how you did. And, thank them for any compliments received. We just delivered an album to a client while I was out of town last week. Jennifer, my studio manager, said she absolutely loved the book. I'm making the call today to sign my autograph. We had another client a few weeks ago who's images we delivered by courier because the client couldn't make it over to the studio to pick them up in time for Father's Day. I heard the message on the voice mail over the weekend that she was absolutely thrilled with the images. Jennifer asked for the autographs on Monday.

Folks that's what it means to be proactively involved with your client. It is imperative we take that approach in today's business climate. It's not just about customer satisfaction, it's about building customer loyalty. It's not always about seeking new clients, but taking care of the clients we already have. It's about your current clients giving the tickets to their family and friends to your next "Showtime."

If you would like a quick peek - about 5 minutes - of an excerpt of Jon's presentation, hit the "Read More..." link below. Give it about 1:30 minutes to get to the really cool part - his "Magical Thumb" trick - definitely worth the giggle.


  1. Thanks for sharing. That guy is right on.

  2. Jon Petz - Motivational Speaker and Corporate entertainer2:04 AM, July 02, 2008

    Greetings David and thank you for the great words. It was a true pleasure to meet you and learn about your business. You've got a great blog here and I can tell you approach your days with a SHOWTIME attitude!
    Continue to go forth and Bore No More!
    Best Regards,

    Jon Petz
    Motivational Speaker & Corporate Entertainer