People buy from people that they like.
More importantly, people buy from people that they CONNECT with.
That connection occurs when you are vulnerable and share your personal experiences with your clients.
Are you giving me something to connect with you over? Are you sharing personal posts on your blog? A view of your day-to-day life? Something that tells me why you should be my BAE?
(Psst… BAE: Before Anyone Else. That is what you want to be for your potential clients, isn’t it?)
When all you post on your blog is the latest client session that you photographed, it tells me nothing about you. I don’t care about those people. I mean, I love seeing your amazing photographs, but I don’t care about the people in them. Especially if all your blog post is is telling me how this is your favorite session ever, and that they are your favorite clients, and then there are 40 photos for me to scroll past.
That client of yours LOVES that post because they are their photos. The rest of us? We want to know the story, to see the highlights, and to get on to your next post.
When all you post about are client sessions, your blog is one of many in a crowded sea of photographers, and they all start to blend together for me. Post after post about favorite sessions. Nothing that stands out.
What I am seeking is something for me to connect with you over. I’m longing for vulnerable connections through stories.
The Power of Storytelling for Your Clients
When you tell me a story about that session? About YOUR experience? I connect with you. Stories are everything for the brain; it is what they are always craving.
Think about it – if you only know part of the story? Your brain automatically starts to fill in the gaps. It is how we are wired. Scientific fact, legit, humans LOVE stories.
We love to connect with other people. Give me a chance to get to know you. Let me fall in love with you.
“But Christine! I post all that stuff on my Instagram* account!” (* Or whatever account you prefer to use.)
That’s cool. When I hit the social media account of someone I’m interested in, I stay there for 3-5 minutes scrolling around.
When I hit a blog post about someone that I find interesting? I can spend an hour there going from post to post. I devour as much as I can.
It isn’t a quick instant gratification hit. It is far deeper than that. I want to know more, and I have the chance to with a blog. I can dig back in the archives, I can see more than a snapshot glimpse — if you give me the opportunity to do that.
Post your client’s sessions – absolutely! I want to see them. I want to see so much MORE though. I want to get to know YOU.
I want you to be the one – the one to solve my problems, to provide the solution I need, to be the perfect photographer for me. The one I can trust to capture me as I am.
The one I can be vulnerable with.
Thing is, you have to be vulnerable with me first. Give me a reason to trust you.
Trust is the power of personal storytelling in your marketing for your business
When I trust you, you are irresistible. It makes it almost impossible for me to even consider working with anyone else.
What can you share in a blog post today to make that vulnerable connection with me? What stories do I need to know?
In May of 2015, we had a flood in Houston. Sudden rains, a massive downpour that lasted for hours, and it took me almost 4 hours to get home from a parking lot only 2 miles away.
Fortunately, my beloved Mini Cooper (her name is Clara) was spared.
Unfortunately, my son’s car was not. Knee deep water in our street meant that his car was a total loss by the time the insurance was done. Off we went to shop for a new car, along with thousands of other people in Houston.
The Process of Buying a Car in the Internet Age
We made a list of every car we liked. I told my son to come back to reality and take the Lamborghini off the list, and then we took the next step.
We went online and started researching cars.
What colors could we choose from? What features could we have? WHAT WAS THE PRICE?
We revised our list. We dug deeper and decided if we liked how they looked, if they had good reviews, and most importantly – if the price would work with our budget.
We spent a day or two car shopping, without ever leaving the house. We went to social media and asked our friends about what cars they loved, and if they had dealerships & sales people they recommended. Tell us all about it.
Our experience was pretty typical. Americans are rethinking how they buy cars. “Car buyers are doing more of their own leg work online and spending less time at dealerships.”
One blistering Saturday in June, along with all of the other people dealing with cars that were totaled out by the flood, we headed to the dealerships. It was finally time for the test drive. Even then? With all the research we had done, the very first thing that we did when we walked up to each one of those cars in the lot was look at the price sticker in the window.
I don’t know what half the things they list on those window stickers are – I could care less about the engine specs. I nodded my head, and looked at the price.What photographers can learn about selling online from the car industry. #businessbrilliantly Click To Tweet
Your Brain, In Price Analysis Mode
There is a reason people look at a pricetag so quickly when they shop. Dialogue starts to happen – rapid fire. What is the price? Can I afford that? Is it worth that? Do I value it? Do I like it? What are the payments going to be? Well, if I move money from here to there, I can make it work. I think I can make it work. What about if I change what we budget for certain things? If I curb my coffee habit? No more movies out? I really want the car – crunch numbers – I think I can make it happen.
You’re trying to make a judgement call. You’re trying to sort out the money, figure out where you have it, if you have it, if you can make it work.
In the end, one wins out. The price matches the value, you can justify moving the money around, it fits in your budget and you’re happy to pay for it. (The one that won out for us? Was the one I had picked out online. The color, the features, all of it. We only went to the other dealerships just to make sure.)
Imagine if My Car Shopping Experience Had Been Completely Different
Imagine this alternate scenario:
I want to buy a car, so I go online and I look at lots of photographs. I can read about the car details, but they don’t really mean much to me. Fuel injection what? Horsepower? What does it all mean? Must be important, all the car dealers talk about it.
I can’t look at prices though. Instead, I have to fill out a contact form, including information about where I plan to drive the car and how many passengers will be inside of it.
Once I hit send, I wait. Eventually, they write me back and give me three times I can come to the dealership. (I still have no idea what the cars cost.) I pick one of those times, and add it to my calendar.
When I arrive at the dealership, they let me look at lots of other cars – none of which have pricetags. No window decals on these cars, I just walk around them, sit in them, maybe even get to go for a drive.
Only then am I allowed to see a price sheet. At some dealerships, it is just the price for the base model, and then there is another 3-4 pages of things I can add on.
Do I want to buy the car right now? After all, there is a very limited supply. Maybe even only one, depending on when I want it. What options do I want to add? Am I ready to sign the contract today?
Your Photography Business & Pricing
Gone are the days were car dealerships could expect you to walk in the door with no information, browse around, and they would SELL you a car. We are living in the future! We are armed with all sorts of information.
Your photography clients? They want the same thing.
They don’t want to call you, set up a time, meet with you, and only then see the pricelist. That is the equivalent of shopping for a car in 1987. Those days? They are OVER.
People are doing research. They are looking at prices. If you’re not giving them to them? They are moving on. Instant Gratification is where it is at these days.Your photography clients want instant gratification when it comes to finding out your prices! Click To Tweet
The world is at your clients fingertips, all the information they could ever need is on the phone in their pocket. Are you giving them what they want?
It is Confusing, and it Makes Me Want to Buy Nothing
Arm your clients with the details. A hard pressure sell often leads to regret. Have at least your most popular collections or offering on your website. Talk about the benefits and the features of working with you. Tell them about it, just like you would if they met you in person.
At the minimum, tell them a starting price or what most of your clients spend on average.
Stop making it so hard on your potential clients. They WANT you to be the one. They WANT to hire you. They want to be done with the tedious task of researching & analyzing who they should book.Potential clients want you to be the ONE. Stop making it so hard for them to find prices. Click To Tweet
If you’re making them jump through hoops to find your price? They are most likely just going to click on to the next site.
The auto industry has had to adjust to this new way of customers shopping online — and it is time that photographers adjusted to it as well.
I was asked in fall 2015 to come and speak at Blissdom Canada, just north of Toronto. The invitation came while I was over in Calgary, on my way to San Francisco for Emerging Women. My friend Jennifer asked if I would come and talk about being bold, and of course I said yes.
I spent a lot of time tossing around ideas. One thing I’ve learned as a bold person myself and as a business coach is that people push back on being bold. They often tell me how they can never be bold like me.
I own it. I’m a pretty bold person. I believe you never get a yes to the question you don’t ask. I’m not afraid to put myself out there.
My only fear of putting myself out there, ironically, is standing up in front of a room of people and teaching them. I get over it pretty quickly, but it is the one thing that scares me every time. I have some pretty high standards to measure my success.
I wanted to convey that being bold doesn’t mean you’re loud. It isn’t obnoxious. It isn’t brave. It is about being true to YOU.
While in a conversation with some of the attendees at Emerging Women, this came out. As soon as I said it, I asked them to wait a minute – I HAD to write it down. They all agreed. (I went on to ask if I had just quoted Brene Brown or Elizabeth Gilbert without realizing it, since they had both spoken that afternoon. I was reassured that no, this? It was all me.)
In the end, I stepped fully in to myself. I loved the talk that I gave there – and more importantly, it has become the foundation of so much more. This quote? It represents so much of what matters to me, what makes your business TRULY successful. What makes you successful.
The key is in being VULNERABLE.
How are you being BOLD? How are you being VULNERABLE? Are you bringing you story from the darkness in to the light? Are you allowing people to see you, to get to know you, to connect with you?
Stop hiding. We want to see YOU. Come into the light.
Today is the first day of the Business Brilliantly group program. This day has been in the works for well over a year. Matter of fact, if I was being honest, this was a dream that I first had back over 5 years ago.
A lot of planning has gone in to today. A lot of work. A lot of energy. I’ve tested what I’m teaching, I know what I’m talking about. And yet?
I am FREAKING OUT.
I am nervous as hell.
I mean, logically? I know it will all be ok. But logic doesn’t help in this situation. What if every last bit of technology fails? What if no one can access the class? What if I forget everything I know (like, EVERYTHING) and I go blank when the online class starts?!? What if, what if, what if?
All of this is a good thing. Completely natural. Being nervous, that is what keeps us ALIVE. My senses are on high alert – I hear every single bird chirp outside, I smell things I wouldn’t normally notice, my body feels like it is humming. My body was built to do that so that I would survive.
My nerves are what have helped me make sure that everything is tested and running, working just like I want it.
They are also making me feel completely stressed out.
Here is where the magic trick that my friend Lisa taught me comes in. Do you know how to deal with the nervous energy?
Tell yourself that you are EXCITED.
Your body has no way of telling the difference between the feelings of “I am so nervous!” and “I am so excited!” Every time you start to feel nervous? Tell yourself how excited you are!
She told me this the night before I spoke at WPPI last year, and the morning of my class? I just kept saying it over and over again, out loud. “I am SO EXCITED! I AM SO EXCITED!!!”
It worked. Every time I do it, it works.
My friend Jane reminded me of it this morning. I have nothing to be nervous about. It is just excitement that I’m feeling. Excited, excited, excited.
Add to that some power stances – thank you Amy Cuddy for the TED talk on doing those and how body language impacts you, and you’re all set.
Now don’t mind me as I stand in my super woman pose and chant about how EXCITED I am over and over – I’ve got a class to teach in a few hours, and I truly CAN NOT WAIT!