Getting referrals is one of the most important factors in running a highly successful and lucrative photography business.
You provide brilliant quality photos, and over time a percentage of the clients you work with refer their friends and family to you… it’s basically like an unpaid army of salespeople who bring in new clients – or “raving fans” as I like to call them.
The Common Belief
Most photographers simply think that if they take great photos and are friendly during the shoot, their clients will send them referrals.
While this is true for a portion of clients you work with, there are a few really simple strategies that’ll boost your referral rates through the roof… With my current private coaching students, they’ve seen an average increase of around 250%
So here’s 2 super simple things you can do to get the same brilliant results…
#1 – Ask and Ye’ Shall Receive!
The simple act of ‘asking’ for referrals is overlooked by at least 95% of photographers (and that’s a very conservative estimate!). Most assume that their clients will know that they’d love referrals, and that it’s obvious… but it’s not!
Your clients probably aren’t going to think of referring you unless you put that idea into their minds. All it takes is a very brief explanation at the end of a shoot. Something like…
“My business is based on great quality and outstanding service, which allows me to spend less on advertising and more time producing great photos and getting you the results that you deserve. If you have any friends or family who you could refer I would really appreciate it, and of course I’ll give you a reward for every single referral (explain reward here)”
Think about it for a second…
Imagine going into a florist and getting a beautiful bunch of flowers… Would you recommend that florist in the future?
Now imagine the same scenario, but before you leave the owner comes up and asks you to mention her shop to any of your friends or family that want the best quality flowers in the finest arrangements… You’d be MUCH more likely to recommend her wouldn’t you? You’d almost feel like you play a part in the success of her business.
I know it can be a little daunting asking someone for referrals – it gives you the feeling of being ‘less’ than them, but I guarantee most people will be more than happy to refer, and your fear of asking will be totally eliminated after asking just 2 or 3 clients… You’ll become a referral getting machine!
#2 – Don’t Let Them Drift Away
The second big mistake is letting clients forget you by a simple lack of contact.
Most photographers work with a client and then never contact them again. That client will probably forget everything about them in as little as 6 months, so even if they really loved the results, the chances of getting a referral are zilch if they don’t even know your name!
Get details like email and home address if possible (just have a section of your client waivers etc), and use it to stay in touch.
At a minimum, send a birthday and Christmas card via regular mail. Take the time to write their name and a short message by hand (don’t just print it).
Include a photo of yourself on the card if possible (to help remind them of who you are), and include a short note that thanks them for their support and that you appreciate every single referral they send (even if they haven’t sent any), this can be on a post-it note.
Include a sheet with a list of your top referrers and the rewards that you’ve given them, so that they can see that their referrals won’t go unnoticed.
Go Get ‘Em
It’s strategies like these that can seem trivial, and get put in the “I’ll start doing that next month” basket, and never actually end up happening, yet it’s these same small changes that can make a huge difference in the success of your business… so I urge you to make a commitment to use these ideas for at least the next few months and see the results. It’s really simple too, so why wouldn’t you do it?