I'm still amazed at how many photographers I meet who…
Intro by Skip Cohen
In wandering through Sarah Petty’s blog, I stumbled on this short post about maintaining a strong brand with your business phone. It’s appropriate for so many of you.
First, we’re an industry with a healthy percentage of part-time photographers. While some of you believe it’s the result of everyone’s access to digital equipment along with all the Uncle Harry’s and Soccer Mom’s, it’s been this way long before digital. In fact, going back to my early Hasselblad days we anticipated the wedding industry to be as much as 50% part-time. There was also a very high correlation between teachers and part-time photographers, because teachers are off in the summer, still prime time for weddings.
Second, because many of you are part-time you don’t have any depth in staff support. You work with whatever can enhance your business with software to make up for the help you’re missing. But here’s where things break down – you use your home or personal phone for your business.
INVEST IN ANOTHER PHONE LINE! You’re working hard to capture the best images of your life. So, why build a brand that makes you look one step above a kid in high school?
In a world dominated by electronic responses, default robots who never send us to the right departments and businesses with a maze of cold, impersonal directives, talking to a live body has become a true asset. Nobody can sell your business and enthusiasm better than you! Take advantage of every opportunity to set the stage as a professional, especially with your phone.
And one more suggestion to add to the ideas below:
Smile when you’re on the phone. Believe it or not, no matter how terrible a day you might be having a smile comes through, even in your voice!
By Sarah Petty
How many of you forward business calls to your personal phone when you’re out or use your cell phone as your business phone? If the answer is yes, it’s very important to make sure you maintain a consistent brand regardless of where you happen to be. In brand building of a small business, consistency is important.
First, make sure your voicemail reflects that a potential client is reaching a professional when they call you. Voicemail greetings that are appropriate for friends and family (“You’ve reached Dan, Kelly, Chelsea and Colten and we’re not home right now. Leave us a message”) may not be consistent with your business’ brand.
When you answer your phone, do you greet callers with your business name (brand) so that it’s immediately clear with whom the caller is speaking? While a seemingly small detail, every interaction you have with a client should remain consistent with the image and brand you are investing in.
Finally, when you answer a call, do you make sure that you’re in a good place to speak with a client, free from distractions and noise and able to present yourself professionally? If the television or radio is blaring in the background, wind blowing as you’re walking into your child’s school or dog is barking to be let out, you risk brand failure and a lost customer.