Manage episode 371434490 series 1565393
Alex Cearns of www.houndstoothstudio.com.au was first interviewed for episode 290 of the podcast. When introduced then, I told you she was described as “One of our greatest dog photographers in the world.” By Dogs Today Magazine in the UK.
Look at her CV, and it's difficult to know what to share without scaring you off and making you feel like an underachiever! I think you need to know that she is super successful in business, is still shooting and working as a photographer and has been in business for 15 years.
- She has accumulated over 350 awards for her photography.
- She represents companies including Tamron, Pro Photo, SanDisk, Ilford and Spider Camera Holsters.
- She's a published author – multiple times – by a real publisher, Harper Collins.
- She's a keynote speaker and professional photography tour leader for global travel company, World Expeditions.
All this to say is she's bloody amazing and has a ton to share about running a successful photography business.
Before recording this interview, Alex came up with a list of topics she felt would be helpful for you, including:
Be client-focused: the client is always right, even if they’re not! Kill them with kindness coz you can't kill them. All I care about in business is attracting clients through marketing and running them through my business system; they give me their money and leave happy. THEY MUST LEAVE HAPPY. No negative reviews in 15,000 dogs photographed and over 7500 sales sessions.
Always say thank you – it's polite and makes out memorable.
Come from gratitude – any client is a good client in a tough market, and any spending is good spending.
Never be mad at your money – don’t get spoilt by big sales and lose sight of the value of $1.
Support local businesses; you are local – support other small businesses, including fellow photogs. Be a part of the local business community – good for relationship building, loyalty and visibility.
Always wear your business hat — respond to situations in your business professionally, not personally.
Authenticity and integrity are everything in business — Behaving in an unsavoury manner towards others in the industry is a surefire way to pick up a bad reputation that sticks. Don’t to things to others you don’t want done to you. Don’t poach their clients from their FB page, don't approach businesses or charities they work with, don’t copy their social media posts and be honest in the information you share about your achievements.
Understand that business is not linear – it fluctuates – there will be high times and low times.
The key is consistency, persistence and a bit of tenacity — Its knowing when to step on the gas and when you can coast a bit easier.
Compartmentalise your time — Set days and time slots for certain tasks, so you have boundaries on yourself about you use your week. Sunday, for me, is always family day. I run my entire business in under 10 hours a week, doing 5 to 8 sessions a week, so a full-time contingent of shoots and online sales sessions, all in under two hours a week total, including editing. This enables me to do business coaching 4 to 5 days a week. So I effectively work two full-time jobs in under 30 hours a week.
Here's some more of what we covered in the interview:
- How to manage your time effectively to run a successful business
- Compartmentalizing time and how it's done
- How to deal with scheduling conflicts with photo session bookings
- Emphasizing client education
- Is there a significant difference between making in-person sales from making online purchase appointments
- How to educate clients without sounding too salesy
- How to make clients excited about their upcoming photo sessions appointments
- Why Alex avoids using the word sales in her appointment sessions
- The importance of using proper terminologies to generate more sales for your business
- Alex's photography style
- Lighting techniques when photographing pets
- Is it necessary to learn animal behaviour when doing pet photography
- The struggles of photographing pets with different behaviours
- The need to be sensitive towards pet's reactions to bright lights, noise and other changes to their usual environment
- Is the customer always right
- How to deal with unhappy clients
- The proper response to email complaints
- The need to control your emotions and always send a professional response to all client communications
- Always say thank you and be grateful for clients
- Have a reasonable price list and increase in increments
- Why you need to support photography businesses in your area and book photo sessions with them
- Do you need to hand out business cards still these days
- Using your social media as business cards
- The importance of being authentic and upholding integrity in the industry
- The need to look after your clients above anything else
- The key to success
- How to measure client's satisfaction and happiness
- How to deal with clients who are unhappy with the image print they received
What’s on Offer for Premium Members
If you’re on the fence about becoming a premium member, join with the $1 trial today and get access to the FULL interviews each week, get access to a fantastic back catalogue of interviews, and have ALL future interviews delivered automatically to your phone or tablet.
Plus, special member-only interviews.
I do online purchase appointments. I'm guiding them through the process but I'm online, which, to be honest, and I realized thanks to COVID, is no different to someone sitting next to me. – Alex Cearns
You'll also receive access to the members-only Secret Facebook Group, where you can connect with other Premium Members and interview guests to help, support and motivate you to take ideas you hear in each episode and put them into action. The group also has FB live video tutorials, role-play, and special live interviews. You will not find more friendly, motivated, caring and sharing photographers online.
Seriously, that's not all.
In addition to everything above, you'll get access and instructions on forming or joining a MasterMind Group with other premium members. These groups are super motivating, make you accountable and build friendships with other pro photographers with similar motives to you – to build a more successful photography business.
What is your big takeaway?
Following this interview, I’d love to know if you're taking anything from what Alex shared. Is there something you heard that excited or motivated you to the point where you thought, yeah, I'm going to do that! If so, leave your thoughts in the comments below; let me know your takeaways and what you plan to implement in your business due to what you heard in today's episode.
I call it purchase appointment. I call it what it is and then it's very clear language for clients. Again, communication is key. Clear language for clients. They understand that they get to come and make a purchase. – Alex Cearns
If you have any questions I missed, a specific question you’d like to ask Alex or if you want to say thanks for coming on the show, feel free to add them in the comments area below.
iTunes Reviews and Shout-outs
I check for any new iTunes or Google reviews each week, and it's always a buzz to receive these… for several reasons.
Firstly, it's confirmation that I'm on the right track with the interviews and that they are helping you improve your photography business. That's awesome!
Secondly, iTunes and Google are the biggest search engine for podcasts, and your reviews and ratings help other photographers find PhotoBizX. More listeners mean more interviews and, ultimately, a better show.
Every dollar counts. Any sale is a good sale. – Alex Cearns
If you have left a review in the past, thank you! If you haven't and you'd like to, head to https://photobizx.com/itunes or https://photobizx.com/google, and you can leave some honest feedback and a rating which will help both me and the show, and I'll be sure to thank you on the show and add a link to your website or blog if you let me know the URL of your website and your name.
Alternatively, if you've left a review for PhotoBizX and are looking for more backlinks to help your SEO, leave a review for the new Photography Xperiment Podcast and email me your keywords or keyword phrase and where you'd like me to link to.
In business, I'm always the same. I just do me and I'm client-focused. If clients are moody, a bit rude, a bit off, not my problem. Probably nothing even to do with me. I just make sure I stick to my own standard of communication, behavior, and attitude towards them. – Alex Cearns
Another great way to get a backlink to your site is to send a video testimonial. It doesn't need to be fancy, and your phone will be perfect. Click record and tell me how PhotoBizX has impacted you and your photography business.
Links to people, places and things mentioned in this episode:
Thanks again for listening, and thanks to Alex for sharing her thoughts, practices, tactics, knowledge, and rules for building and growing a successful photography business today.
The one thing I have to do consistently is look after my photo shoot clients. Otherwise, there isn't any of that stuff. And I learnt that early on so I didn't let ego take me away. – Alex Cearns
That’s it for me this week; I hope everything is going well for you in life and business!
Thanks, and speak soon
The post 524: Alex Cearns – Photography business rules for success and profit appeared first on Photography Business Xposed - Photography Podcast - how to build and market your portrait and wedding photography business.