I know if you’re anything like me, you hoped all of this would have passed by now. And we’d be living in a reality that looked more like 2019, but here we are. If you’ve listened to this podcast, you know, I am a half-glass-full type person and I always try to look at the positives in tough situations. But the truth is, my friend, I want to come through the speakers and give you a big hug, because I know if you’re listening to this, you have a passion and desire to grow your business really big, just like I do. You know that this business is truly serving and being compensated well for your gifts, right? But let’s face it. This year, 2020, last year, I should say, has been one of the most challenging years in the history of ever to grow a business. But you’re here because you’re a fighter and you want to serve your community. And I just want to say that I see you and I commend you for doing that. You’re showing up here, you’re doing the work to keep growing.
So here is my disclaimer for this episode before we get into it: Everyone has their own comfort level when it comes to growing their business right now, right? Every state, every city, every country has different rules and lockdown procedures, and I totally acknowledge and recognize that for some of you, COVID hasn’t slowed you down at all. Some of you have had your best year ever, revenue wise, in 2020. And some of you might not feel comfortable putting yourself out there just yet. So there’s no right or wrong here. Everyone has their own decision to make.
As you know, my business is the sole income for my family, and we have to keep booking sessions and getting paid to survive. We’re happily booking clients well into 2021. So this episode is all about how to book clients in the middle of a pandemic. Because if you’re a photographer, the truth is moms still want these photos. They’re still having babies and photography is so important to so many people around the world. It gives them a sense of normalcy and joy. We all know how important photography is.
So this episode is for the photographer who wants to book clients right now and is looking for strategies on how to do that even with everything going on in the world right now. Dare I say, it’s even possible for you to have your most successful year in business in 2021. That’s absolutely possible for you.
Back to Basics
When you strip away everything going on right now, we have to go back to what works. So I want you to ask yourself:
- What works well, pre-COVID, to book clients?
- What marketing tactics, strategies, or systems brought in your clients?
- Where did they find you?
- Why did they hire you?
- How can you do more of that?
Don’t skip by those questions too quickly. It might be, “Yeah, I’ve heard that before. Yeah, yeah, yeah.” But really sit down and ask yourself those questions.
Unfortunately, what I’m seeing from photographers who are struggling right now is they’re assuming people don’t want to book a photographer right now due to COVID. So they stopped trying to get clients altogether. Or even if they are actively marketing themselves in the back of their mind they’re thinking, “Who’s even going to hire me right now with everything that’s going on?” So you’re like typing a social media post, writing a caption, but also thinking, “People aren’t going to hire me.”
And you know what? People can feel that energy through the computer–through your captions, through the e-mail you’re sending, through you obtaining your website–they can feel your energy of like, “Yeah, but who’s going to hire me right now?” The struggling photographer’s mind is focused on what’s been taken away from them and “how terrible things are right now.” Compound this with scrolling through social media and keeping the news station on daily, and it’s no wonder the struggling photographer is freaking out and can’t seem to book any clients. This causes a downward spiral effect where they don’t want to do anything in their business, because why even bother, right? So, my friend, I’m here to remind you: Pandemic or not, your life will be a result of your thoughts and your focus.
I love this quote from Napoleon Hill that says, “Focus on the possibilities for success, not on the potential for failure.” I know it’s so easy to go into thinking about what could go wrong, but instead, what if you flip that habit of thinking of what could go wrong and you changed it to what could go right?
In our student Facebook group and occasionally in the free Facebook group, which is The Beauty In Birth on Facebook, we make a post asking everyone to share wins: What has gone well for you this week? And we use the hashtag: #win. So why do we do this? It forces us to focus on the possibilities for success. When we’re thinking about what to post as a win, your brain immediately starts searching for the good. And when we find it, big or small, we’re intentionally shifting our focus to things that are going well.
And I love reading other people’s wins too, because even if I were to share a win that I think is “small”, which PS, I don’t think we should qualify our wins as big or small, but it’s just something that people kind of naturally do. It’s like, well, I have a small win to share. And it’s like, no, a win is a win. But when somebody else shares their win, I can see bigger possibilities through that win because if it’s possible for them, it’s absolutely possible for me too. So if you see those posts pop up in our Facebook group, our another Facebook group, really take the time to stop and answer them, big or small sharing your win because it refocuses you from your mind’s likely natural habit to start thinking about what’s going wrong and it switches it to the possibilities for success.
Let’s get into the steps to keep booking clients even in a pandemic:
1. Focus on where your attention is and what you want, not what could go wrong
And the first is focus on where your attention is and what you want, not what could go wrong. And that’s what we’ve just been kind of talking about. The key is to focus attention on what you want. Pray about it, meditate on it, visualize it. That may sound really heavy. You might not need something else to do, but literally guys, five minutes or even two minutes a day, praying, meditating, visualizing what you want, where you want to go in your business and in your life.
So I’m gonna tell you a story that might help because it really helped me and my kids. I did this exercise that I learned from Tony Robbins. And if you’re in a place where you can stand up and actually do this as I describe it, it’s going to make a lot more sense and be more impactful. I highly encourage you if you’re driving, I honestly would pause this and wait until you can listen again when you’re at a place where you can do this with me.
Basically you stand up straight, point your arm and finger forward, then turn your waist as far as you can with your arms, still out to the right, without moving your feet. So you’re gonna bring your arm up, keep your feet in the same spot, standing up, twist at the waist and point as far as you can, twisting at the waist. Then mentally, take a note of where your finger was pointing when you twisted all the way around, as far as you can. And then come back to the start. Now, think about where your finger was pointing just then when you were totally stretched as far as you could.
Next is to put your arm down, and in your mind, I want you to do this exercise again. Not actually do it, but I want you to come back to what it felt and looked like to do that exercise, but only in your mind, put your hands to your side. Let’s go back to the beginning. You bring your arm up in your brain, turn at the waist and stretch. Stretch as far and point to the spot that you made it last time in your mind only, but this time you’re going to stretch further. You’re going to go further and further into the circle, twisting all the way around, twisting further and further and further until you twist it all the way, a full 360-degree around. And you’re back at your starting place.
Now, I want you to open your eyes and I want you to try this exercise again. Stand up straight, point your arm and finger forward, then turn your waist as far around to the right. As you can, without moving your feet, twist all the way around as far as you possibly can. Did you do it? You probably went much further the second time, didn’t you? I mean, 99% of people go further the second time. Why do you think that is? You visualize what was possible and that second time you went further. I did this exact exercise with my kids. They stood up, pointed their finger, did the whole thing, and they went much further the second time after they visualized it. And they’re like, “Oh, of course, it’s so cool.” They were so excited.
So then, a different day we were outside and my son was jumping on the trampoline and he told me he couldn’t stick his back handspring. He’s a gymnast, and he meant he couldn’t land his back handspring on his feet. He kept falling and laying on his bottom or on his back. So we ran through an exercise, very similar to this one. I told him to close his eyes, stand still on the trampoline and visualize himself jumping and jumping a little higher, jumping a little higher and higher, then doing his backflip and landing it perfectly. So he visualized it before he did it, just like we did in this exercise. Then he started jumping, jumping higher, higher, backflip, and y’all, he nailed it! He stuck it the very first time he tried it after visualizing it. And the look on his face in that moment was priceless because he realized right then how powerful his mind is and what he’s actually capable of. It was such a beautiful moment.
And I want that for you too. The first step to all of this is focusing your attention on what you want, not what could go wrong.
2. Address the client’s concerns before they ask them
The second step to keep booking clients even in a pandemic is a big one. And I hope you really sit with this and let it sink in because it’s really powerful. And that is to address the client’s concerns before they ask them. So typically a client finds you, they read your website or social media, and they start to decide if they want to inquire or not. And once they start to fill out that inquiry form, they begin to think of reasons that they shouldn’t, “Do I really want to fill this out? Is this really who I want to reach out to?”
This happens anytime anyone makes any kind of purchasing decision. It happens like this, “Oh, I want this thing.” And then the thoughts pop up, like, “But can I afford it? And what if I hate the photos and wasted this money? She probably isn’t even available for my due date anyway, she books up quickly!” So COVID or not, the question is how can I address my potential client’s concerns before they even ask? And this is true all the time, but particularly now with the pandemic.
First you have to know what their concerns even are, right? When it comes to COVID specifically, what procedures or policies have you put in place to keep clients safe and help them feel safe. And do they know about these policies and procedures before they inquire? Because addressing client objections and concerns is always important, but specifically when it comes to COVID, this can be the difference between a client booking you and booking somebody else.
So address the client’s concerns before they ask them. Do they know your policies and procedures before they inquire? That’s huge, so I really hope you’ll let that sink in.
3. Keep doing your marketing system
The third and final step to keep booking clients even at a pandemic is to keep doing your marketing system. Keep doing the activities that you know work, just like what we talked about at the beginning of the episode. When you strip away everything going on right now, come back to what works—ask yourself what has worked well pre COVID to book clients, what marketing strategies or systems brought in my clients, where did they find me? Why did they hire me? And how can I do more of that? For me, having a solid marketing and system in place that I executed consistently is what brought in clients to our business that I could eventually have my own studio space back in 2015.
Following these marketing systems is what eventually led to my first 10K month, and my first 20K month, then retiring my husband in 2018, then booking our largest birth package in 2020, middle of the pandemic, and our largest portrait sale ever. Yes, also in 2020 during the pandemic. So having a consistent marketing system is the key to thriving no matter what is going on in the world, having something that you know works.
If you are not already a student inside Marketing School For Birth Photographers, this is exactly what I teach inside the course, my 7-Step Marketing System to fill your calendar with ideal clients. And by the way, little plug for the course, we’re opening the doors on February 16th. If you want to get on the waitlist, it’s thebeautyinbirth.net/waitlist. And you’ll be the first notified when the doors open.
My friend, photography is so important to so many people around the world. And it’s easy for me to say that, but I hope that you really hear that. Your gift of being an amazing photographer gives them a sense of normalcy and joy and memories, which are so important to people especially now. So do you think it’s even possible for you to have your most successful gear in business in 2021? Do you think that’s possible? Really ask yourself that because I don’t know about you, but I do. I believe it for me and I believe it for you. It’s really as simple as following the steps we outlined here today.
So thank you for carving time to be here with me on the podcast today. And remember if you’re enjoying this, hit subscribe wherever you’re listening. Thank you so much to everyone who has left the show a review on iTunes. I read each and every one and it helps the podcast reach more people. So thank you. And as always, my friend, if you have a passion, there is a reason. Serve others with your gifts and passion and make a great living doing it.
Have a great week, y’all!