Learning to be the people person.
It's been 10 months now since I launched head first into this business and what I thought was just becoming the photographer turns out wasnt completely true. What I have actually found is I am the photographer, the accountant, the Web designer, the marketer and many more things on top. I'm not gonna lie, it's been eye opening. I'm quite a technical person, it's one of the things that actually got me into photography. So learning how to build websites, how to do my taxes properly and such forth wasn't so much of a challenge.
What has been a challenge is communication with everyone. When I first started I thought get a website up, show my work and get bookings. HA. If only it was that simple. Weeks went by I had tried various bits and pieces and the website hits were low. That's fine I thought SEO and more technical stuff and I'll fix it. See in my mind, I thought being ahead of the curve meant being technically smarter than my competitors. But it isn't at all. Its not even being a better photographer than they are.
Doing all this technical stuff lead me down the road of pay per click marketing. Again me being me thinking if I can out play the competition on the technical front. That must mean more bookings right. And we'll, yes it does to a certain extent.
In learning how to use ppc I met another enthusiastic entrepreneur who probably gave me one of the most valuable lessons I've had this year.
The Game Changer
We met up over a coffee and strait away we got to it. He asked what I do etc etc. We sat behind a computer screen and I absorbed all the information on how the software works. I absorbed every word he said. But then he hit me with what's become an extremely valuable bit of advice. "your not selling photos your selling an experience". Damn.
I'd spent the first few months focusing so hard on the technicalities that I'd been neglecting the most obvious thing I should be doing.
When people contacted me because they liked my work I blinded them with what equipment I had and some really clinical talk. I thought I was being professional but I was actually being a boring robot. And because of that I wasn't converting my enquiries to sales. And it's exactly because I wasn't selling them the experience.
You can learn so much during a cup of coffee
Because I shoot mostly weddings I thought being high quality is enough but it's not. What brides and grooms want is security and stress relief. Weddings are stressful things. So couples want someone who of course produces great images but more than that, someone who just takes care of it and makes the process as enjoyable as possible. And this is where I have made the biggest change.
I've always struggled in this area. I'm not "normal" if you like. Never mixed in large circles so maybe haven't spoken to a wide enough audience to pick up these things. I can come across as blunt and hostile although I don't mean to be and those close to me know I'm not like that at all. Especially in emails.
So what do I do now? Well first off thanks to the lessons learnt on ppc I now get many more website views. And that translates to more enquires. Those enquires I do my very best to meet them at the soonest available time. And by doing this I'm able to be Infront of people and be more me. And sell them my personality not just my skill. And Naturally not everyone converts and that's also OK. Because regardless of this they have given me opportunity to work on my weaknesses and that can only be a good thing.