Intro by Skip Cohen
There’s so much great content on the Internet, starting right here with what we share on Marathon’s blog. Sarah Petty is a regular contributor, and she recently shared a post, “Five Ways to Fix Your Photography Marketing Right Now.” I’m going to share each of the five ways in the next few posts, and add in a few thoughts of my own along the way.
I love her suggestion of thinking through what to say when the phone rings. Years ago, noted educator and photographer, Doug Box, used to talk about how to answer the question when somebody calls and asks, “How much are your 8x10s?”
His point was too many people just give the price, and he’d asked everyone to pretend they were a bakery, and somebody asked, “How much are your cakes?” There’d be no one word/price answer, but a flurry of questions: How big a cake? What flavor cake? Do you want a baked cake or an ice cream cake? Any allergies to know about? Do you want something printed on the cake? Sheet cake or layers?
The list would go on and on until you had all the necessary information to give a good answer.
Yet, when people call and ask how much is an 8×10, photographers just state their price. What about questions like Color or black and white? Do you want multiple copies? Did you know we have a special that includes different sizes and the sitting fee all in one? Did you know we can print on virtually anything? Have you seen our canvas prints? And again, the list goes on and on.
Sarah’s point starts with listening to the customer and then responding in a way that answers their questions and shares more information about the products and services you offer.
Tony Corbell has repeatedly talked about experiences at Disney over the years, which further makes the point. If you’re walking around the park and ask a Disney staff member when the Electric Light Parade starts, they don’t just answer your question. They give you suggestions on a great location from which to watch it.
Remember, your goal is to always exceed client expectations, even when doing something as simple as answering the phone!
By Sarah Petty
Number one, your marketing isn’t working because you’re treating the symptom, not the problem. Think about that. In Keith Cunningham’s book, The Road Less Stupid, he compared it to weight loss. He said, “If you came to me and said, Hey, I’m 50 pounds overweight.” He would say, “Look, that’s not your problem.” Being 50 pounds overweight isn’t your problem.
So buying a Peloton bike, or whatever workout equipment is on those late-night infomercials, isn’t going to help the fact that you’re overweight. You can’t eat donuts for breakfast and pizza for dinner and expect your Peloton to fix that. The problem is you have bad eating habits, and a Peloton doesn’t magically change your habits. Same thing in business. Everybody tells me, “Sarah, I just need more clients. I need more marketing.” And they go straight to the tactic looking for the Peloton bike of marketing.
They’ll say, “My marketing’s not working. I talk to a lot of people, my phone rings, but they just want digital files.” But your problem is deeper than that. When someone calls you on the phone, there are things you can be doing to cure your problem, instead of just treating it. You can clearly explain what makes you different and why they should come to you. And you have a super smooth selling and serving system. Instead of asking yourself, what marketing activities should I be using because none of them work? Take a pause and fix the other problems first. Like learning what to say when the phone rings.