When you have a dedicated location for meeting potential clients overall you're going to come across more professional, you’re going to be more focused, your clients are going to be more focused, and there will be less distractions. Since your potential clients are making the effort to drive to you, rather then you going to them or meeting them somewhere "in between", it shows that they’re more committed and actually increases their chances of booking.
Where do you meet your potential clients?
If you are like me, starting out I met my clients at the local Starbucks of local coffee shop. It was really quite stressful because I had to get there early, I’d have to find a table that was big enough to fit all my albums and my laptop and hopefully find a table that was inside and not outside because here in Phoenix where I’m from it can get really hot, especially in the summer.Meeting at coffee shops is going to be less professional, there are going to be distractions, you’ll have small or limited presentation space. So what I’d like suggest to you is for you to find a dedicated client meeting space to meet your clients. When I did this I noticed that my bookings increased dramatically. I found a studio in Scottsdale that I rented to meet with my potential clients, teach basic digital photography classes and shoot some studio sessions.
You don’t necessarily have to have a retail or commercial space. Having a home office is another great option. Plus, it’s a great tax write off! Here’s what I did: I blocked off the front room of my home (which would technically be my dining room), and separated it from the rest of the house with a beautiful drapery. I set up a laptop, canvases, lights, and had a client meeting area.
This provided me with more opportunities for larger presentations. I could play a slideshow on my computer and mount a large flat screen TV on the wall. Though in my area I opted for large framed canvases. I made sure to show off images that had been featured in popular magazines where the clients may have seen me. It was a great conversation starter as well because the clients would say "Oh... I recognize that photo!"
Now a days I see more and more co-op studios or co-op work spaces in my area. I think this is a fabulous idea, especially if you're just starting a photography business. Join photography facebook groups in your area as studios with rental spaces will often advertise in these groups. Some will have deals for a full fledge co-op member with lots of benefits and some studios will be available to rent by the hour. I found a studio in Scottsdale that I rented to meet with my potential clients, teach basic digital photography classes and shoot some studio sessions. Just make sure you find out what type of insurance the studio requires renters to have.
If you don’t have the opportunity to choose a home office or a retail space, there are some other options out there. I would suggest checking into the local hotels, as they often have business rooms that they rent out for board meetings. And you can also opt to meet at the local Barnes and Noble or a bookstore rather than a Starbucks because it will be less noisy, you’ll have more client areas and larger tables.
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Fall is right around the corner, and that means it's time for mini sessions. Mini sessions are a great way to get your business in front of new clients, and they're also a lot of fun. Here are some tips for planning and marketing your fall mini sessions: