August 20 2010

Today we’d like to offer a guest blog post, written by Teri Ritter, of Teri Ritter Photography.  Teri has been in business for 10 years in San Diego, CA and Dexter, MI, specializing in families, seniors, and babies.  Teri is also a Marketing Consultant and enjoys sharing marketing ideas and plans which boost the bottom line for professional photographers everywhere.

Trust is the most basic ingredient in all relationships that we are involved in.  This includes business relationships – trust is paramount.  The following are 5 ways one can build trust in business relationships.Trust in Business Handshake

1)  Ensure that all marketing/advertising methods are honest and straight forward.

If you target the upper income client, be certain that your branding represents that fact.  If your work targets the middle class be certain that your branding reflects that fact.  The trust relationship begins at the very basic interaction – branding.

2)  Straight Forward Pricing

Consider including the cost of add-ons (such as retouching, clothing  changes, etc) in the base cost of your images.  This creates a trust in that you aren’t charging the client for every thing you do in preparing a great image.  Of course you must make a profit, so be certain to capture the “time cost” in your basic pricing.

3)  Be honest when showing images.

Share your opinion of the best images and explain “why” with your client.  For example, the arm may be distracting, or the lighting may not be the best – if you are honest, and point out the best and why the other images may not be the best – your client will learn from you and that interaction builds trust in a relationship when it is sincere.

4)  Respect your clients’ time as well as your own.

Set appointments and keep them.  Be professionally dressed (jeans are fine when it is appropriate, be sure you are neat and clean), behave professionally and treat your clients with respect before, during and after the session.  Establishing “set” working hours,  builds credibility and trust – but I caution you – if you have established hours, you need to be working during those hours.  Nothing is worse than advertising you will open from 10:00 – 2:00 and then not available when someone attempts to reach you.

5)  Honor your commitments

When promising a delivery date, do not deliver products later than that.  If you need to add a week to buffer the time, do so – but don’t be late.  If you tell a client that something in the process is going to occur at a specific time, it needs to occur at that specific time.  If, for some reason, something interferes and it is absolutely necessary to alter the commitment – do so in advance and respectfully.   Don’t make a habit of changing appointments, delivery dates, or other events in the photographic cycle that involves clients.

These 5 steps are basic business protocol, but when you build your business on them, you build trust to grow on as well.

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