Why are they your clients?

Newsletter 26 February 2009

corporate photographer corporate video production freelance wrter alan howarth call 07947673167 Alan Howarth corporate portraits

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It’s always interesting to find out why your clients choose your business to work with.

Last week I was working in London, a couple of corporate portraits and a conference about web video. One of my corporate portraits, Anna from The Carbon Trust, was a new client; before I turned up at her office we hadn’t spoken, we’d only exchanged a couple of emails – she’d asked: “Can you come and take my picture?” I’d answered: “How about the 17th February?” She said: “19th?” I said: “OK.”

I arrived at her office, just off Fetter Lane, we had a coffee and chatted about photography, business and the meaning of life for about 20 minutes, the way I do before a shoot. Then we took the lift up to the roof and spent about ten minutes taking photos – with views to St Pauls and the Gherkin in one shot and the London Eye in the other.

Now, here’s the bit that relates to you and your business too. I asked Anna why she’d chosen me out of all the photographers on the internet. And, why she’d thought it was worth fetching me all the way from Blackpool to London to take her photograph?

Seems she hates having her photo taken, it’s like going to the dentist. She said my website’s content had made her feel safe, she said lots of sites were prettier, zippier, more elegant and more stylish than mine, but mine had made her feel comfortable, confident and relaxed, she didn’t feel intimidated, she felt I knew what I was doing – and the clincher was the before and after image on www.alan-howarth.com/corporateportraits.html . “He’s not handsome, even in the after shot, she said, but the before shot is what I feel most of my previous photos look like. It was an amazing transformation.”

This brings two points you should discover about your business and your clients.

  1. How do clients feel about your business? I don’t mean as an individual business but as a profession or trade. Do they enjoy doing business with you? Sometimes I love doing business and spending my money – a new camera perhaps, good food a holiday. Sometime it’s a real pain. For instance, I don’t enjoy going to the accountants – I’m paying them money so I can pay my tax - and I hate shopping for shoes, and I don’t get in front of a camera very often either, but I could spend all day in Borders or Waterstones.
  1. This is for your business only. How can you give your client’s a better experience? If they don’t enjoy the process of dealing with your sort of business. How can you make them feel ‘comfortable, confident and relaxed’? It’s not always about being ‘the best’ it often about just being good at what you do. I love going out to eat, but do the restaurants I go to have to have a Michelin Star on the door? No. Mostly it’s exactly what I don’t want.

So get close to your clients, find out what you’re doing right and do more of it but, more importantly, find out what your clients would like, solve their problems, calm their fears - and do a whole lot  more of that.

Sometimes you’ll be surprised by what your clients tell you.

Ok that’s it for this week, almost.
Winner of the free portrait is Claire Nield of Coo Marketing, Preston – sound advice Claire, thank you.
And the video clip of Richard Craven who I told you about last week is here –  the advice you need to beat the recession in 1 minute 25 seconds – video email works.


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Alan Howarth - happy working on the Web & in the Real World

Alan Howarth: Corporate Photographer, Corporate Video Producer and Corporate Writer based near Blackpool, Preston & Lancaster, Lancashire in the North West of the UK, I frequently work in Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham and I spend 50% of my time working in London. within the M25, I travel throughout the UK and often work in mainland Europe, with work published throughout the world. I'll go anywhere - except war zones.

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