When a couple first reaches out to you, their client lifecycle begins. From the beginning of your client’s lifecycle, educating them on the process they will experience with you can help eliminate many issues. Discussing items that could be potential problems down the road during your first client meetings can save you a ton of time later on.
Wedding photographer, Melissa Jill, understands the benefits of educating her clients from the beginning. The more your clients know, the smoother your time together can be. Today, Melissa is going to share how educating your clients from the beginning can create a positive wedding experience for you and your couple.
I was once told to leave a bridal room by the mother of the bride.
It was early on in my career, and she was feeling anxious about having photos of herself taken before she had her makeup on. I reassured her that we wouldn’t take any unflattering photos of her, but she still ended up practically yelling, “Alright, that’s it! Photographers out!” about 15 minutes after she arrived. I was SO sad and fought back tears as I left. The last thing I ever want to do is make someone feel uncomfortable on a wedding day.
That night, during the reception, I showed a slideshow of some of the photos I’d taken from that day. As I was passing by, a groomsman stopped me and pointed to the slideshow, and said, “NOW I know what you were doing when you were taking a photo of the shoes. It all makes sense now. I thought it was so weird that you were taking photos all day, but now I see you were telling the story. That’s so cool!”
Create Trust Before the Wedding
I drove home that night wishing that I could somehow make those closest to the bride and groom understand what I’m doing and TRUST me before the wedding, instead of only after viewing the slideshow. I already have the trust of my clients, but there would be SUCH a benefit to having the trust of everyone closest to them on the wedding day. Maybe seeing the photos ahead of time would have helped this mother of the bride feel more comfortable having us in the room as she was getting ready.
Then I came up with an idea. I know I can’t show the bridal party and families of my clients their own photos before the wedding. But at least getting some photos from another wedding I’ve photographed in front of them before the wedding might help. So I drafted up a tip that I added to my Tips for Getting Your Best Wedding Images packet which I give potential clients before they even book. I titled the tip: Prepare your family and friends for the style of photography you have chosen. This tip encourages my clients to communicate their excitement about their choice of photography to their family and friends. I suggest they write them an email and include my website, encouraging them to take a look.
I give my clients this tip because I really do believe that it helps everyone to enjoy the day and makes the photos better. Ever since I started asking my clients to educate their family and friends upfront, I have never again run into a scenario like the one mentioned above. And instead of the mother of the bride ordering me out of the room on the wedding day, she is giving me a huge hug when she sees me because she is excited to have me there, has come to know me through my website and blog, and trusts that I will do a great job capturing her daughter’s wedding day.
Develop Systems for Clarity
Now, you need to systematize the implementation of the plan so this piece of education happens for every client every time. You can use email templates at different points in your workflow to educate clients at key points along the way. If there is a lot of content for some of these points of education, you can organize it in a .pdf and attach it to an email template at a specific juncture. You could also develop an educational packet to give clients at the very beginning of your relationship with them so they are prepared and know what to expect when working with you.
Not every problem can or should be fixed through client education. Sometimes you just need to change the way you do things. But for those issues that can be improved by client education, you should brainstorm ideas for how to educate your clients so they don’t come up again. Decide where these opportunities for education would best fit into your process. Create email templates and .pdfs to execute your plan and make sure your materials are all branded and laid out in a graphically interesting and clean way.
Maintain the Systems
Once you complete this initial brainstorming and execution of your plan, you will feel so accomplished and will start seeing results. But, I guarantee, before long, another problem or issue will arise. There’s really no end to them in business. The keys to dealing with these issues are to learn from them, figure out a way to avoid having them happen again and systematize the solution into your workflow structure. When you are consistently improving and updating your processes and client education, you know you are running a business that will likely stand the test of time, and that your clients will refer with confidence.
Clarifying client concerns from the beginning is crucial to forming a strong relationship with your couple and their loved ones. It can also help you save time later in the client’s lifecycle. Remember, clients who trust you will be more likely to purchase from you, meaning your post-wedding sales can skyrocket! Learn more about connecting with your clients, outsourcing your wedding photo editing needs, and growing your business with our How to Grow Your Wedding Photography Business Guide!