Your Most Valuable Asset

If you were to sell your business tomorrow, where would a buyer attribute value? You might have a stockpile of incredible lenses, or a computer so powerful it would win in a cage match against a tyrannosaurus rex, but there’s no value in a service business without people to buy the service.

Your business’ real value is in your client base. Your past clients represent potential new revenue. They are an opportunity for recurring work and for referrals. In a competitive industry with thousands of photographers fighting for the top spot on Google, referrals can be an incredibly effective way to generate new business.

Besides taking great photographs, there are some simple ways to help nurture and protect your relationships with your clients:

Get to know them ì Sit down with your clients in a comfortable setting before a shoot and talk. It will make them more comfortable during the shoot, and the stronger the personal connection, the more likely they are to refer you to their personal contacts.

Listen ì You’re customising a product just for them, so ask questions, and then sit back and listen to what they want.

Let them go ì If you don’t think you can help them, suggest an alternative photographer. They will remember this unselfish gesture and might refer you business later on.

Under promise, over deliver ì Give them more than they expected. Turn around proofs more quickly than promised. Stick around at an event longer than expected to get those last special shots. Your extra effort will be noted and appreciated.

Remember the details ì Put together a spreadsheet of your clients, including the service they purchased, and personal details like children’s names, or anniversary dates. In a previous PhotoMerchant interview, the inimitable Steve Saporito suggests sending out anniversary cards to old wedding clients. It’s a simple, unobtrusive way to remind them about you.

The real value in your photography business doesn’t lie in your equipment, or your skill and talent. Your client base is your most valuable asset. Nurturing that asset, and you’ll grow your business.

Pilar Mitchell, Word Source-ress

Picture: Pilar Foss When she’s not writing her blog, Cult of Clothes, Pili is a corporate advisor working with businesses of all sizes, from start-ups to stock-exchange-listed companies. She is fascinated by the evolution of small businesses and loves to combine her passion for writing with the opportunity to help entrepreneurs grow and learn.

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  • dj paine

    Great work Pili! great advise.