Educating Clients is a Full-Time Job
There are many Farace’s Laws but the most important one and one that is hard for some photographers to deal with is that your clients don’t care if you go out of business. Many years ago, a Photomethods magazine reader e-mailed me asking: “How can I make my clients love me?” My answer was simple: Cut your rates in half. They will love you but you will go out of business and they will continue to love you as they search for another photographer to do the work that you used to perform. Because, like it or not, the work is going to be done, the only question that remains is by whom?
It may be that all of the client education in the world won’t change the mind of somebody who has already made it up but you can apply some of the following suggestions to other, perhaps clients who just want the best job possible at the best price.
Keep in touch. I think any photographer’s fundamental job is to educate their clients and make them aware of how you use technology to help them do their jobs better. You can educate and keep in touch with clients by creating a client-oriented blog but don’t lose sight of “oldies but goodies” and occasionally mail postcards from companies such as www.4over.com or MOO featuring work you’ve that done. You will be surprised how long they’ll hang onto photo postcards or, better yet, pass along to others.
Forge a partnership. Make yourself invaluable by doing the little things that may not be extremely profitable to your studio but help build client loyalty. You want to make yourself so indispensable that when a client thinks “photographer” she thinks of you.
Don’t loose sight of what business you’re in. We’re imagemakers, first and always. The tools that we use to create those images are unimportant to our clients. What they want is images, when they need them, delivered at a fair price. Being available, being flexible, and being fair are all part of the package.
Remember, that keeping clients is a lot less expensive than finding new ones. Sure, it’s a lot of work but that’s what the business of photography is all about—work. If you wanna play, try golf.