On Wednesday I shared with you about my visit to a boutique-style bakery and how it was one of the most memorable shopping experiences I had ever had. They managed to elevate the somewhat mundane task of ordering a cookie to an extraordinary experience that touched each of my senses and even more importantly, made me happy. Using that experience as a guideline, we showed how you can apply those same principles of appealing to the five senses to give your clients an amazing experience from beginning to end. Today, we’ll show how having an amazing client experience gets the focus off of your pricing and onto your beautiful images and excellent customer service.
Standing in front of that bakery case, I saw row after row of delectable-looking cookies, scones, and muffins. Everything looked so good and I found my tummy rumbling in anticipation even though I had eaten breakfast just a short time ago. The attractive and enticing way that the baked goods were presented made me want one for myself when it hadn’t even been a priority before. Contrary to what we tell ourselves, our clients don’t wake up thinking about booking a session with us. In fact, with the exception of sessions like newborns and weddings, the majority of clients have to be encouraged, enticed, even convinced to book a session. By showing off our photography on Facebook, blogging a client testimonial, or sharing a behind-the-scenes video we give our client the ability to envision themselves utilizing our services, thus creating a need for those very services.
Just yesterday I used this method to convert someone from curious onlooker to a committed client. She had contacted me a few days ago asking about a first birthday session for her son, but I didn’t hear back from her after responding to her inquiry. I have a place on my questionnaire that asks for how they were referred to us and she mentioned being a Facebook fan. So… I shared sneak peeks of favorite first birthday and toddler sessions over the next few days and sure enough, yesterday she “liked” them and responded within an hour to book her own session. How did I know the sneak peeks were that last little incentive that she needed?
Because she mentioned wanting balloons for her son’s pictures “just like she saw on Facebook.”
I didn’t have to do any strong sales push, instead, I allowed my photography to speak for itself and made it about my client experience as she heard other clients raved about how much the loved their sessions with me. Just like with that case of cookies, she convinced herself when before she had be merely browsing.
Now there is one important thing to point out about that bakery case. Standing there, I saw soft, gooey chocolate chip cookies and muffins with poppy seeds and scones with flecks of fruit and slivered almonds.
And nothing had a price on it.
Usually I am one of the thriftiest shoppers that you will ever meet and rarely spend money on what I consider “frivolous things,” yet standing there, I wanted to buy something yummy even though I had no idea what it would cost me. But my experience so far had motivated me to make a somewhat blind decision because I wanted to taste one of those sweets for myself. So I began to narrow down my choices, trying to decide what I should splurge on.
Ultimately, I decided to buy a piece of gingerbread because not only was it festive, but I had never made gingerbread and wouldn’t be making it in the foreseeable future, which meant this would truly be a special treat. When my turn came to order, I asked for the gingerbread lady (because, of course, they had both girl and boy gingerbread people) and ordered a white chocolate cranberry cookie for my husband. The girl pulled the sweets out of the case and began to ring me up. “Let’s see,” she said, “That will be $1.25 for the cookie and for $4.50 for the gingerbread, for a total of $6.32, with tax. How will you be paying today?”
It was then that I found myself hesitating as I handed my credit card over to her. Nearly five dollars for a piece of gingerbread?! All the things that I could by with those five hard-earned dollars flashed through my mind and I opened my mouth to cancel the order, or switch to one of the “cheap” cookies instead. But then I looked around again and saw the beautifully decorated bakery, listened to the soothing music, heard the happy customers, smelled the fresh-baked bread, and handed over my card without another thought to the contrary. Even in my moments of doubt, the overall experience convinced me once again, deposit my habitable frugality.
Our clients may find themselves in the same turmoil when placing their order. They loved their session with you and want that collection so badly, but they “never spend that much on themselves” and are considering downsizing or settling for just a few prints. Your goal is to have them so in love with the experience that they’ve been given, that they want to do everything possible to continue that experience on a daily basis by enjoying a gallery in their foyer or cuddling on the couch looking at their session album.
For the client that is considering booking with you, your job is show them what a session with you really means and what they have the potential to experience for themselves. By utilizing the five senses in your website, welcome packet, and consultation and then showing the results of that care in your past client’s testimonials, interview or behind-the-scene videos, and session posts, you give that curious onlooker every incentive to become the committed client that we love. Doing so takes the emphasis off of the your pricing and places it on the amazing experience that you give people.
Your ultimate goal is to have people contact you already raving about your photography and the wonderful things that they know you are going to create for them, without asking what it costs, because they know you are worth it!
With that potential client already in love with you and your business, you are able to present the collections and session pricing without any quibbling, or worse, requests for discounts. This gives you a higher success rate for booking sessions, but more importantly, you will book clients that truly appreciate what you do as a boutique photographer instead of those that are merely shopping around for a good bargain.
So how was that gingerbread? Honestly, I can tell you that I still walked out of that bakery a little uneasy about the amount of money that I had just spent, thinking that I had probably wasted the five dollars on the gingerbread because surely it wasn’t worth that much. Then, I took a bite and oh my word, it was the best gingerbread that I had ever had in my entire life. It was soft and chewy, with just the right balance of spices, the icing was the perfect addition of sweetness without being overpowering, and the best part was that it was still warm from the oven. In that moment, I would have gladly paid twice as much in order to experience that first bite all over again. The next five minutes were pure bliss as I enjoyed every sweet and savory bite of that gingerbread lady, even giving in and licking my fingers at the end, if you must know the truth. Needless to say, that gingerbread was worth every penny and then some.
Instead of regretting my purchase, I was left with deep sense of satisfaction and contentment, even though I had spent a lot more than I had originally intended. We want to leave our clients with those same feelings about their experience with us. Our goal isn’t to give them a good experience, but instead we want them to leave saying that this was the best photography experience they have ever had in their entire life. And more importantly, that you are worth every penny… and then some.
Do you have a story to share about an amazing experience or a client that was blown away by your services? How do you make sure that you are giving your clients an amazing experience from beginning to end?