I’ve been thinking a lot about my ideal client lately. See, I’ve had some time on my hands as I took the week off between Christmas and New Year’s *and* sent my laptop away to have its battery replaced. With idle hands and nothing to edit, my brain has been busy looking back over the last year with all its ups and downs (not many downs, to be honest, thank you, Lord) and taking stock of things.
It’s given me an opportunity to really think about the clients that have found me this past year and my good fortune in attracting people who are utterly my ideal client. I’ve worked with a lot of people and my workflow prior to actually booking a client is sufficient in processing through the clients that might not be a good match and highlighting the ones who really, really are.
Every client who inquires is sent a questionnaire to fill out. That questionnaire asks a series of questions designed to help me learn a little bit about them before I’ve ever even spoken to them! The vast majority of people who seek my photography services already know that we are compatible in at least one way: we both appreciate the same style of photography! When clients take that first step in prequalifying themselves, we’re already off to a great start! It’s so easy to find my ideal client with these early getting-to-know-you steps in place!
The next item on the agenda is a consult phone call. I always begin consult calls with a little bit of humor to break the ice. If the potential client is an ideal client, they’ll giggle with me right from the get-go and we’re already off to a good start. If my attempts at humor are met with silence…wellll, that’s awkward and I’m already getting a feel for how our future interactions might go. My ideal client will typically settle into our conversation after I’ve shown them in the first 5 minutes that I’m a real human who likes to chuckle and we can get down to details for the rest of our call.
My ideal client will appreciate if, during our call, the dogs are barking maniacally at the knock on the front door or the 9-year-old has a desperate question that Must Be Answered Right Now. Ideal clients get that I’m a working mom with homeschool children who are *always around*. While I try to be as professional as possible, I’m also a human with real responsibilities surrounding me basically at all times. As an example, this morning’s consult call had the puppy barking desperately in the background. I had to take Ms Lady outside and endure spotty reception as the call went between wifi calling and the regular network, continuing my conversation while walking an energetic puppy up and down the driveway – only time will tell if she ends up booking but, if she’s my ideal client, she’ll have taken these life interruptions in stride (she still had my full attention through it all).
One recent client – who may or may not be the subject of this blog – showed up with a Starbucks Mocha in hand. She knew I wasn’t a fan of cold December sessions and she sweetly took the opportunity to show me what a caring person she is. While our session ended up being delightfully balmy – and in no way do I want to insinuate that bearing gifts is necessary to a wonderful interaction – it was absolutely the kindest way to cement her status as my ideal client.
Liz Viernes Photography is based near Potomac, Maryland, and specializes in maternity, fresh 48, posed and lifestyle newborns and first year milestone portraits.