There’s a problem that’s talked about very little, which affects almost every photographer getting started and looking to build a client base from nothing.
The problem is appearing to be in very low demand to your prospects – which you are initially, but it can raise red-flags in their mind.
In this article I’ll explain what you should do to get all the benefits of being fully-booked, without having the bookings yet…
“Why Aren’t You Booked Out Like The Other Photographers?”
If you’re new to photography business and doing a decent job of marketing yourself, then you should be getting a regular inflow of calls from prospective clients.
If you get through all their questions with flying colours, and then on the last question which is usually “when are you available”, if your answer is, “I’m free anytime”, then there’s a good chance you’ll scare them off and never hear from them again!
The first thing they’ll start thinking is
“why hasn’t anyone booked them?”,
“what’s wrong with them? – it must be something bad”…
If you tell them that you’re just getting started, or that theirs will be one of your first shoots, it’s not much better. They’ll simply assume that you’re inexperienced, and won’t be willing to take the risk, even if they loved your portfolio and everything about you!
Social Proof – The Dark Side
Social proof is basically the way people want to be part of a pack. Part of the majority – because they majority is rarely wrong, so it’s a simple way of reducing risk.
It’s the effect that makes you think “That restaurant must be good, I’ll have to try it”, when you walk past a busy restaurant – and it’s for the same reason that savvy restaurant owners will make sure they fill the seats closest to the windows, before those further in!
However the opposite is also true…
If you walk past an empty restaurant on a night where other restaurants seem to be doing fairly well, you’ll more than likely never go there, even though the reason it’s empty probably has more to do with poor marketing, than the quality of food, service or atmosphere!
So don’t make the mistake of having your schedule ‘wide open’ for anyone that comes along.
Finding A Perfect Balance – Even When It’s Hard To Say No
The solution is in finding productive ways to work on your business at certain times during the week which are set in stone, as well as a rolling ‘block-out’ period which will be different depending on the type of photography you do.
For example, if you do portraits...
You might set it at 1 week, so that whenever prospects call and want to book in immediately, you’ll just say “sorry, I’m fully booked for the rest of the week”…
You’ll be surprised to see how flexible people really are!
If they simply insist that it can only be at a certain time for whatever reason (such as relatives coming from interstate, or the day of a makeup trial etc), then you should simply say something like “I’ll see if I can move some things around and squeeze you in”…
Now you’re also doing them a valuable favour, which makes them feel like they owe you something… each additional piece brings you a step closer to securing the booking.
- You’ll seem exclusive and popular because they know that you’re in high-demand
- You’ll be doing them a favor if you can somehow squeeze them in (making them feel that they owe you)
I know it might be a little hard right at the start when you’re praying for new bookings, to say that you’re fully booked for the next week or two – but following this simple method you’ll boost your prospect to client conversions rapidly without doing any extra work.
So… did you have this problem when first starting out in photography? Do you still have it now? Leave your answer or questions in the comments section below!