I don’t have loyalty to a photographer.

As I worked with my daughter to choose a photographer for her senior pictures, I realized that no photographer has earned my loyalty. Because of that, this will be the 5th professional photographer I have used in the last 10 years.

When my oldest was a senior, I knew a photographer through networking. I hired her and she did a great job. I wasn’t crazy about the prices. (When you’re loyal, price doesn’t matter.) When child #2 was a senior, he told me about a friend from school who was apprenticing in photography and had really great prices since he was just starting out. We went with him and got great photos at a great price.

loyaltyWhen I needed a new set of professional photos for myself, I went with a local photographer on the recommendation of a friend. Again, I love the photos. That was 2011. I haven’t seen or heard from him since.

When my son was getting married, we needed a photographer for engagement photos and a local reception. I gave my daughter-in-love links to a few websites of photographers I knew. (The first step is know – then like, trust, and loyalty.) I left it completely up to her and she went online and found some other options. We settled on one. Again, we love the pictures. His paycheck came from us and we haven’t heard from him since.

With all of those professional photographers in our past, you would think we would be loyal to one of them. Not only that, but I know a number of photographers that I have met through networking.

My daughter and I discussed photographers. She came up with her final list of 4-5 photographers that she was interested in. One was a friend from school who has a business. Two were women we were acquainted with through church who have websites and a business. One was the photographer that took a friend’s pictures. Our decision came down to two things: quality and price.

In the end we chose a woman from church. We liked her photos and felt the price was affordable and fair. Even though we don’t know her well, she earned know, like and trust because we share religious beliefs.

I thought about the number one reason that I didn’t go with any of the other photographers. It’s because they haven’t built a relationship with me. With 2 more kids left to take senior pictures, and probably 4 more weddings, plus updating professional pictures, those photographers are missing out on a lot of sales.

Do you have past clients who haven’t heard from you in a while?

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do they KNOW you? They should if they have worked with you before.
  2. Do they LIKE you? How was the experience you provided for them? Did you do anything to surprise or delight them?
  3. Do they TRUST you? Did they get the promised results? Were there problems that went unresolved? If you made a mistake, did you fix it?
  4. Do they REMEMBER you? Have you kept in touch through a newsletter, social media, snail mail, holiday cards? Do you reach out regularly so you are top of mind?

If there is a problem with any one of these areas, that’s probably why you’re not getting repeat business. Loyal customers refuse to do business with anyone else and they insist their friends do business with you. Build loyalty and you will build your business.

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