Thursday, November 19, 2009

Referral Best Practices

'Tis the season for bookings to increase and availability to dwindle! Smart photographers know that what goes around comes around and referring clients when you're already booked is great for your business and your relationship with other photographers. A few years ago I wanted to test the effectiveness of my referral system and here's what I learned:

Give no more than 3 names
Anymore than a few names and the client perceives you're just passing them off on anyone, rather than hand-selecting people you think would work out for them. This is a reflection of the level of service that you provide to your clients - so even if it isn't "hand-selected" you can at least give them the appearance that it is, which will make them feel special warm fuzzies when they think about you even if they can't work with you for their wedding day.

Know the availability of the referral
There's nothing worse than finding out your favorite photographer is booked, only to find out that their recommendation for someone just as great is booked as well. Try to avoid sending your clients to dead ends, it simply attaches feelings of frustration to their interaction with you. I use google calendar to share my availability with other photographers and a syncing program that works with my preferred calendar offline so that my google calendar is always up to date.

Make it personal
Say something really nice or even a little boasting about the person or people you're referring. It's one thing to say, "This person is available" and it's a whole different level of referral when you can say, "Not only does this person happen to be available at the moment, but I would totally trust them to do my own wedding."

Know your referral's prices & style
While there are many photographers in any given area who may be available and wonderful, not all of them share your same price range or photographic style. Before you send on a referral you don't know very well, take a few minutes to figure out if they'd actually be a good referral for your client and if you'd want their clients being referred back to you. The ultimate goal is to work with people you love, so try to send your referrals on to people who can reciprocate the kind of clients you're looking for as well.

If you've never received a referral from another photographer, you need to give it before you can get it. If you don't have any referrals to give yet, you can start by contacting people with a similar style and price to see if they'd be interested in getting referrals from you in the future. 'Tis the season for giving!


Anne Ruthmann is a lifestyle & wedding photographer from Boston, MA. She spent 10 years practicing marketing & management in corporate and non-profit businesses before pursuing her passion for photography as an independent small business. She loves helping others find creative and low-cost solutions to business problems. Follow her on Twitter to see her daily adventures and thoughts.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Quick Thoughts on Buyer Behavior

When you feel you don't have enough money, every little bit counts because you want to make sure you're getting the most for your dollar. When you feel you have more than enough of money, quality and reputation matters most no matter what the cost. You can be rich and feel like you don't have enough money, and you can be poor and feel like you have more than enough.

When you're a bargain shopper, you shop based on numbers. When you're a quality shopper, you shop based on aesthetics. Whether you shop based on bargains or aesthetics depends on how much you care about what you're purchasing. You don't always shop in the same mindset for everything you buy. You may be a bargain shopper at the gas pump, but when it comes to 4" pumps (shoes) you may not care what the price tag is so long as you look fabulous in them.

There will always be more bargain products to choose from since they are easy to find and their success depends on quantity. People will always go out of their way and pay more for a product that they perceive is truly unique, difficult to obtain, or fully customized to their specifications. Bargain shoppers take more time to make decisions because they need to fully understand the market first, while quality shoppers make decisions quickly based on their feelings about a product or service.

When you want the most for your money, you start shopping early and wait for the best deal. When you want something rare and unique, you buy it right away for fear that it won't be there the next day. An item can appear to be rare and unique to you if you've never had prior experience with the product, regardless of whether or not it's actually rare or unique in the market. When you are uninformed about a product, you rely on the recommendations of others to help you determine a product's quality or value.

(read more thoughts on pricing --> http://photolovecat.blogspot.com/search/label/pricing)

Anne Ruthmann is a lifestyle & wedding photographer from Boston, MA. She spent 10 years practicing marketing & management in corporate and non-profit businesses before pursuing her passion for photography as an independent small business. She loves helping others find creative and low-cost solutions to business problems. Follow her on Twitter to see her daily adventures and thoughts.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...