Meet Crystal. She is my favorite client.
Over the course of the last few years Crystal has single-handedly taught me the power of that one, special client. You know the one. The client that loves every session you post, raves to all her friends about you, and is your #1 fan. These special clients have the ability to profoundly impact your business and potentially bring in dozens of referrals. Why? Because of three key factors: 1) They know everyone 2) Everyone trusts them for referrals 3) They refer everyone to you. If you already have one of these clients, then cherish them, thank them, and spoil them! If you don’t have one of these special clients yet, then we’ll work on finding yours soon!
Crystal first contacted me through our website asking about booking a maternity session. We did her maternity and newborn session for their first baby, following up around six months for a mommy & me session. There was then a two year gap between sessions booked. During that time, it would have been all too easy to lose touch and watch as Crystal walked away for good. But you see, she and I connected on a personal level as well as a professional level. On Facebook I maintain a business profile as well as a personal profile. In fact, if you are friends with me on Facebook, most likely it is through my business profile. Once a client books a session, I send them a friend request on Facebook so I can tag them in their sneak peeks and keep up with them after the session is over. This has come in extremely handy for staying in touch since a lot of my clients are military and move away a year or so after our time together. For those that remain local, I am able to keep track of special events in their life, new babies, birthdays, you name it. Every so often, I’ll plan a playdate for my families so we can keep that personal bond going strong. For Crystal and I, we actually live just a few minutes apart and visit the same park with our kids, making it even easier to stay in touch.
Now, contrary to what you may think, your favorite client, the one that raves about you and tells all her friends about you, does not have to be your biggest spender or book sessions every three months. In fact, Crystal is pretty much the opposite. Being a single income family, they have to save up months and months to afford a session and only book for the big events, like for their second child who is due next month. Yet, even though they are not my “ideal client” in terms of sales, Crystal is every bit the ideal in terms of referrals. Any sneak peek that I share from one of their sessions instantly gets a crazy about of comments and “likes” and she has led to nearly a dozen referrals over the last few years, some of which have been my biggest orders. In return, I spoil Crystal and her family whenever possible by adding gifts and prints to their order or surprising them with the digital files a year later, just because I want her to know how much I appreciate her friendship and her adoration.
If you haven’t already, create a worksheet where you can list all your clients that have been referred to you by someone else and see if a name keeps popping up. If so, there is a good chance that is your “special client” and it’s time to cultivate that attachment into a mutually beneficial relationship. Start small by sending a handwritten thank you card along with a gift certificate to a local restaurant or shop, just as a way to show your appreciation for all the referrals. You can also include a card telling about your fabulous referral plan and then take it a step further by offering a V.I.P mini session once she reaches X referrals. And don’t just give the mini session and leave it at that, but really make them feel special by designing a special set of mini accordion albums, folio, standout, or some such specialty product and giving it as a gift. It only takes a few extra dollars and a couple hours of your time, but can provide even greater motivation and truly make them your #1 fan.
When thinking about when Crystal first contacted me, the part that stands out the most is the fact that I almost missed out on the opportunity completely. We were upgrading our website at the time and some inquiries apparently did not make it from the form to my inbox. Thankfully, Crystal followed through a week or two later and sent me another email, and I am forever grateful that she did! If I had been lazy about reply instead of getting in touch with her within the hour or had given a poor client experience, she would have moved on to the next photographer without a backward glance. Instead, I treated her with the utmost care and respect, building that common bond and laying the foundation for a loyal and happy customer. And it paid off tenfold.
One client has the power to make all the difference in the world for your business, but the thing is we never know who that special client may be. That is why we have to show consideration to everyone that comes in contact with our business, treating each client as though they are “the one.”
Join the conversation! Do you have “someone special” among your clients? Share your favorite client story and how you have made them feel special and appreciated.