One of the things that has been one of the biggest blessings in our business, has been getting to know other husband & wife/ couple teams who are also in business together. There is a whole other set of challenges (and also huge gifts!) that comes into play when you are not only starting your own business….but also starting it with your spouse! And you just need other people in the world who get you, and can fully understand what it is to go on a date night & not know what to talk about besides business (and can give you good advice on how to fix that). Or who know what it is to try to divide up the workload or decide who takes the lead on which parts of the wedding day. Or to make sure that you are still living & telling your own love story in the midst of documenting everyone else’s!
Each one of these POWERHOUSE couples has come into our lives & shaped and strengthened not only our business but also our marriage. And I’m SO thankful for that! And besides just being awesome husband & wife teams, they also happen to be some of the SMARTEST business brains we’ve ever met (maybe it’s that whole two heads are better than one thing, I’m not sure!) But this group represents a collection of brilliant business people who are running thriving businesses that continue to book their calendar solid year after year with clients who absolutely love them, even as their prices go up! We’ve been lucky enough to have that face to face, sit across from each other over coffee access to them for years as they’ve told us the latest things that they’ve been learning. And today, I asked them to share that with you guys too!
1. Go the Extra Mile with Matt & Carissa Kennedy. Our #1 way we get more qualified wedding bookings is by giving an incredible wedding experience! During our wedding this past weekend we looked for every opportunity to serve and encourage other people, while looking professional. We did little, personal things such as tying all of the groomsmen’s ties, buying the videographer lunch, mopping the hallway where someone had spilled a cooler of water, and we also made an extra effort to take photos of many of the guests and families individually. Many of these things have nothing to do with taking photos, but it gave the couple, wedding party, guests and even vendors a great experience with us, and by the end of the night we had at least 4-5 couples coming up to tell us that they felt like we were their best friends and that they couldn’t wait to have us shoot their wedding! Look for ways to go above and beyond on the wedding day and you will have couples willing to pay whatever they need in order to have you shoot their wedding! Read more from the Kennedy’s on how to kick your value up a notch by going HERE!
2. Don’t be Afraid to Say No with Luke & Cat. You can’t be afraid to say no. You’ve got to define your values, set some hard and fast rules, and steer your business in a direction that makes sense for your life. Saying ‘no’ feels scary. But, you have to say ‘no’ to the opportunities that aren’t quite right, so you leave room to say ‘yes’ when the perfect ones come along. Because those perfect yes’s are going to go out & bring you more just like them! Read more about running a business that doesn’t run you by going HERE!
3. Focus on Your Ideal Vendors & Venues with The Youngrens. Just like you have ideal clients, you also have ideal vendors and venues that make you come alive when you get the chance to work with them. Identify those coordinators and venues in your area that tend to work with your dream clients and get to know them on a personal level. Ask them about their dream clients and be sure to tell them yours, too. Knowing one another’s ideal clients is a powerful thing, because you can help one another book more of them, which makes everyone happy! Our vendor relationships have definitely been key in helping us book more of our ideal clients at higher rates. Find more amazing posts on networking from the Youngrens by going HERE!
4. Network Face to Face with Ike & Tash. Get out there and talk to people! Don’t just network online, network offline. Some of your best and greatest leads are in your day to day tasks or at weddings bringing out the food, or fixing the clients flowers, or working the front desk of your favorite hotels. We’ve been booked by friends, friends of friends, and even people that we’ve met in random places like the local mall, and even Starbucks! Online networking is great, but it can’t replace what happens face to face! Read more from Ike & Tash who are absolutely rocking the senior market by going HERE!
5. Love on your clients & potential clients with Lukas & Suzy. This is something we have definitely learned is helpful over the years. Going out of your way to develop friendships with your clients helps prevent a dry business relationship and will help you book more! If you’re friends with your client, they are more likely to remember and refer you to all their friends. One way we do this is by giving them thoughtful unexpected gifts. For each and every couple we meet with, we have their favorite starbucks drink, hot and ready, with Bride & Groom calligraphed on the top. When couples fill out the contact form on our website it asks for their favorite Starbucks drink so we have the info! Another way we love on our clients is by giving them a Custom Photo Locket from their engagement session as a surprise in the mail! They love it and show all their friends – free marketing for us! Read more ways Lukas & Suzy love on their clients over on the Showiteer blog, and you can check out their blog HERE!
6. Keep Getting Better at Your Craft with Katelyn & Michael. Oh I could talk for DAYS about this topic! Over the years we have found that there are so many reasons why people decide to book or not and this decision is heavily dependent on the FOUR DIMENSIONS OF VALUE in a business! My goal is to keep every dimension of value healthy! One of the four dimensions of value is image quality. Your personality and reputation are huge contributors value as well but your work MATTERS. Each wedding season I commit to focusing on a new area of images to grow in! This year it’s bridesmaids portraits…. two years ago it was OCF shots. This allows me to ALWAYS grow in my image quality and challenge myself during each season! I also recommend regularly finding ways to share and promote your BEST work online. The most effective way to share work is to have a system and a rhythm in sharing and we do this through blogging! If you want to learn the about the 4 dimensions of value more in depth, visit THIS post!
7. Be a Good Steward of What You Already Have with Amy & Jordan. The best way to book more clients is to love and serve the ones you already have with your whole heart. Someone really wise once said, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.” Our first year in business we only shot two weddings, but this year we’ll shoot close to 40. We’ve never taken out traditional advertising, but we’ve always done everything we can to blow our clients away and give them an amazing experience. Sometimes we all get so busy thinking about what’s ahead that we can forget about what’s right in front of us. Focus on giving your current brides and grooms an incredible experience they’ll never forget, and your future bookings will take care of themselves. To read more about 5 ways to build authentic & meaningful relationships with your clients head over HERE!
8. Put Your Best Portfolio Forward with Justin & Mary. The number one thing that happens when we go to look at someone’s website in one of our mentoring sessions is that they say “oh that hasn’t been updated in FOREVER!”…and then they wonder why brides aren’t knocking down their doors! :) You have to remember that the website is like your store front, and if couples don’t like what they see there….chances are you’ll never get the chance to make a good impression in person. Your work may have improved 10x what you have on your website, but the bride will never know that. She can only know what she sees right in front of her, and if that doesn’t impress her in the first 10 seconds to 2 minutes, she’s going to move on. That’s what we love SO much about having a Showit site…because they are instantly update-able, I can get an awesome new portfolio image (like that reflections shot that Justin just got!) on a Saturday, and have it up on our website by Saturday night!
Go rock it out friends!
PS: to find more FREE tips & tricks be sure to check out our Pancake Sessions for photographers!
PPS: for in-depth resources & courses on how to get better at your Lighting, Posing & Marketing, be sure to check out the J&M Store!!