Real estate photographers: how do you keep your clients?
Now a few weeks back I talked about the issues some photographers face with getting new clients, but in this episode we're going to look at the next stage – how do you keep your clients?
Now I know that some of you are great at getting those clients in the front door, and they might use you for a little while, but you keep losing them out the back door when another photographer comes along and entices them away, maybe with cheaper rates or a special offer.
So when it comes to keeping your clients, I've got 5 options for you, and you might do just 1 or 2 of these, or you might do all five - that's up to you.
Deliver images that get results for your clients.
But the first one on our list is this: you need to deliver images that don’t just look great, but images that get results for your clients. So I’m thinking here of your exposures and how your images are edited, because that's important, but I'm primarily thinking of your compositions and what you choose to include in your images.
So for example, if you’re doing real estate work then your photos need to show the right elements of a home so that they attract the right kind of buyer. So it’s no good taking a beautifully exposed photo of a living room, but shooting it from an angle where you miss an important feature, like a floor to ceiling window or an interesting ceiling. So it’s your role to not just know photography, if you’re shooting real estate then you need to know what sells real estate, and make sure your images do the selling.
Or as another example, if you’re shooting award submissions for builders, then you need to have a conversation with them and identify what are the features of the home that they want to emphasize, and then how can you suitably photograph those features in a way that achieves the desired result for that client.
Deliver exceptional customer service.
So getting results for your clients is important, and getting great images is important, but some photographers stop there, thinking that the quality of their images is enough. Unfortunately it’s not, so the second thing on our list is to deliver exceptional customer service.
I mean, if you can shoot these amazing images, but you’re all over the shop when it comes to communicating with your clients, or if you take way too long to deliver your images, or if you’re doing anything at all that makes life more difficult for your customer, then they’re going to move on pretty fast.
So depending on your particular price point and how you want to brand your business, you want to deliver the best customer service you can within the boundary that you’ve set. What I mean there is, if you’re charging really high rates then you can afford to invest more into your customer service and really go all out to impress your clients every time, but if you’re priced at the cheaper end then you’ll have to be careful you don’t go too far with what you deliver in terms of the time you spend working on each project. I mean, it would be nice to do that, but the numbers probably don’t work for you. But even so, you can still do what you can to deliver amazing customer service at that price level.
Be in regular communication with all of your clients.
Ok, so number three on our list is to be in regular communication with all of your clients, even the annoying ones. So obviously you’ll want to be very good with your communication during and after a photo shoot for a client, but what can you do for them between shoots?
So I’m thinking here of the agent who you only do a photo shoot for every 2 or 3 months – what do you do between shoots to stop them leaving?
One option is something like a newsletter where you’re sharing content that is helpful for them. Now I know that can be time consuming or difficult to know what to write, so just as one option, I write newsletter content for the photographers in my coaching program that they can use. So even if you can’t write well or you don’t have time, maybe you can join my program or look into another service where someone else writes that newsletter content for you so you focus on other things, but you still get the benefit of sharing that newsletter each month.
Or as another idea, maybe it’s sending something as simple as a text message where you’re just checking in with them and letting them know that you were thinking about them and seeing if there was anything you could do to help. There’s a lot to be said for simply being genuine and helpful, and I think that sends a really powerful message.
But beyond that, what I think has a strong role here is providing educational resources to your clients, whether that be written pieces or it could be a video that you do and send to all the clients on your list where maybe you explain something that your clients are often asking about. Or maybe you put the video up on social media and share it that way, or going to the next level, maybe you upload it to social media but then run a Facebook advertising campaign so you get the video in front of them that way.
Look, I think it’s a matter of seeing what works for you, and just make sure it’s something you can do long-term, and not just something you do once or twice and then drop it.
Ask your clients if there's anything you could be doing to make life better for them.
Ok, so the fourth thing on our list of things you can do to keep your clients is to regularly ask your clients if there’s anything you could be doing to make life better for them.
So what you’re trying to do here is just find out from them if there’s a new service they’d like you to do, because maybe the reason some of your clients have left you is because you don’t yet do walk-through video and enough of your clients want that.
Or maybe they’d like it if you made the booking process easier for them so they could do it whenever they’re meeting with a seller, so maybe an online booking calendar would work here.
Honestly, it’s hard to know what they might say, but if you don’t ask then you won’t know, so give it a try and see what they say. At the very least, even if they don’t respond at least you’re showing them that you’re open and ready to hear their requests, and maybe that’s a lot better than the impression given by a lot of other businesses, so that might be something quite refreshing for them.
Have a large client base.
So the fifth and final thing on our list is to make this whole thing somewhat redundant, and you do that by having a large client base so you're not relying on one client for the majority of your work.
You see, that’s the big problem with a lot of photographers – you get one client who keeps you super busy, but then they leave and your business crashes. Whereas if you’ve got 30 clients across different areas, and hopefully even in different industries, then you’ve got a much more secure business because if you lose a few, you’ve still got enough work coming in to keep things going.
Of course, to build a big client base then you’re probably going to need to invest in marketing so you would need to get that going well, but whether you choose to do everything else on this list or not, or whether you just want a big client base, getting a nice mix of clients is a smart thing to do.
So there’s our five things you can do to keep your clients, and maybe you need to be working on all five of those, so if you’ve got any questions about that and how you might implement it, or if you would like me to help you 1-to-1 with doing all of this, then drop me a message or leave a comment and let me know where I can help you keep your clients.
Sometimes it takes a bit of digging to identify the cause of the issue, but hopefully this gives you a good place to start, but please, leave a comment if you have any other thoughts.