Sometimes you go to a meeting with a potential client, a lead, and things just click. You’re flowing off each others vibes, you laugh on the same ques, and share the same vision for the big day. And their outfit is great.
Sometimes, although we may not like to admit it, we go to a meeting with a lead that is the opposite – conversation lacks, you think their burlap idea is so 2011, they ask if you can do ‘this’ and then proceed to show you someone else’s work (that’s totally not your style!) but, for some reason, they still book you. Why? Because you let them. Because they invested time with you and you didn’t refer them to someone else like maybe you should have.
We’re here to share with you 4 Reasons why, in an industry that gives us the freedom to do so, you should follow your gut when it comes to choosing your own clients, and how to let go of the idea that all incoming leads are potential clients.
1. Referring out may get you referrals in
If you do contemporary creative photography but your lead is only showing you traditional work as inspiration, you may not be the best match. Sure, you can do traditional work (no problem) but is that the type of work you want to advertise? Is it something you’re not bored doing? Won’t you feel like a sell out? Will your client be happy? Isn’t it best to send Suzy and Bobby down to the local traditional studio? (you know, since you can recognize the photos they’re showing you from that studio anyways?) Who knows, that studio just may send over their modern clients to you that they realize aren’t a fit for them.
2. Don’t tarnish your brand. You get what you show.
If you photograph in a style that’s a little too edgy for someone (while perfect for others), but you give in to a sale (hey, you needed the money!) and tone it down and shoot a full wedding traditionally, sure, you got their money – along with a bunch of photos you can’t use for anything and a really boring experience. Your brand means something and has it’s own style and there are clients out there who will love you for what you do; don’t tarnish your style.
You want to constantly be creating work that you can use for marketing purposes so you can get more work you like. If you keep doing rustic style weddings when you really want to industrial city weddings, you’ve got to make a change. How? You get what you show. Present your #InspirationCollaboration concept to us and we just may help ya. (seriously, this changed our professionals game when it comes to targeting the right client)
3. Your Unhappiness
If you book someone who may not be the best fit, you’re bound to be miserable the entire process, doing both you and the client a disservice. If you get anxiety when their name pops up in your email, sign a little and roll your eyes as you say “what now?” (we’ve all experienced this with a client before), you can usually look back and realize all the warning signs of the bad match. Listen to those signs in the future.
4. Unhappy Clients = Bad Reviews
You’ve booked someone who you had a gut feeling you shouldn’t have and now not only are you stuck with them for a years time (depending on how far in advance they book you) but you’re most likely stuck with them unhappy. For like, ever. That client isn’t unhappy with you just for the time you work with them; they’re unhappy with you for the rest of their lives because their wedding is a once in a life time experience and they didn’t like you. You may have done a perfect job, a job someone else would have given you a five star review for, but that doesn’t matter. A bad match is a bad match. Bad matches lead to unhappy parties. What do you get from unhappy clients? Unhappy reviews.
A potential client sent out the door to a different professional may seem like a failure, a sale lost, but referring a bad match to someone who may be a good match for them is the only ethical way to run your business. Every client that you get should be the perfect client for you and you the perfect professional for them – exactly what they need. How do you know if a client is a bad match? Your gut, we say.