Talking to potential customers for the first time can be daunting and feel a little like a blind date. It can be scary and exciting all at the same time. Your potential customers may know more about you than you do about them at first, and that’s to be expected. Your website and social media channels say a lot about who you and your business are, and your customers likely will research you before you ever speak.
Unfortunately, with robo and spam calls these days, when your phone rings and you see an unknown number you may hesitate to pick it up, wanting to wait to see if they leave a voicemail or send a text message with a hint of who they are. Text messages and emails can feel less daunting and may come with less same anxiety than talking on the phone. We've all been there. But, talking to customers is good for business!
Talking to potential customers in-person or on the phone used to be the only way to get a sale. The rise of the internet, email, and social media has changed how we talk to each other. There are more and more ways to connect with customers than ever before.
Generational preferences are shifting conversations from phone to other ways as well. Dubbed"Generation Mute" by some, Millennials don't pick up the phone quite like older demographics. 75% of Millennials and Generation Z say they prefer to text over calling people, according to a 2017 study.
The rise of robocalls has also driven people away from phones as a result of being tired of receiving spam calls. According to MarTech Today, 87% of people mostly ignore calls.
Social media has also made us more connected, including to brands and small businesses. You can talk to celebrities on Twitter quickly, find out about new businesses in town on Facebook, and interact with brands (both big and small) on Instagram. This is particularly true for younger generations who are more aware of these connections. A Facebook study in 2018 found that people under 35 spent 21.1 billion hours on mobile devices. That's a lot of time!.
With a multitude of ways to communicate, people are picking and choosing the ways they prefer to communicate, and as a business owner you need to be prepared to connect with people where they are. This means phone, email, text, social media, and whatever comes next.
While it is important to make yourself available through the communications tools your current and potential customers use, we all have preferences. We were curious with all the channels available, what is used most by photographers.
So naturally, we did a poll on our Facebook page (thank you to the 64 customers who responded to the poll). More than 78% of the respondents said they prefer email and text communication over phone calls.
Social Media Channels
Website and social media were the top choices (which may be biased since we asked the question on social media). Why? Because the customer already had to have some interaction with their brand to use one of these contact methods.
Not all photographers like the change to digital messaging and email. Some photographers still prefer face-to-face communication.
Benny Migs of Benny Migs Photo has been a portrait and wedding photographer in Long Island, NY for more than 20 years. He likes to keep it traditional, calling or meeting with his clients before booking a shoot. We talked with him recently to learn more and share his perspective with you.
Benny: "It's hard to keep track of leads when you have them coming in by email, text, Facebook, Instagram, and calls. I'm sure it's my age, but I like to talk in person or on a call."
Benny has worked with thousands of clients throughout the years. He believes trust is a big part of the selling process, and the start of that trust is how he and his customer contact one another.
Benny: "I have to trust them as much as they trust me. I know if I were a client and looking to spend money with somebody, especially on a wedding, I [would] want to meet them or talk to them in person, and I don't want to send them an informal text message."
Benny feels customers who are interested in his services will call him or connect with him through his website.
PhotoBiz poll taken on March 19th, 2020.
Benny: "I still rather have a call than a message, if someone messages me through social media, I tell them my rates are on my website, that way I'm not pushing them away but pushing them towards my site. Most of the time, I continue working with them, and our communication changes from texting to calls."
As future generation's preference of communication changes, creatives and photographers will need to keep up with the trends. Sure, you might prefer a call, but it doesn't mean you can't utilize other ways to talk to customers.
Benny: "Facebook is great because it’s autoresponder leaves a message on my behalf. So they can touch base with me by phone or through email at least, and I can tell them to see my rates on my site without me being always connected to my phone."
Benny is like many photographers out there, using what they know works to make connections with clients, but they still prefer the human interaction instead of casual text messages. In the end, it's up to you and how you want people to connect with you, but be aware that communication styles are changing and will continue to change as new technology becomes more available and younger generations embrace it.
No matter what you and your customer’s communication preferences are, you need a place to keep track of your customers and leads. That’s why all PhotoBiz websites come with a built-in CRM. It includes a client conversations tool to track and record your interactions, as well as the ability to import, export, and organize... your contacts (with tags). We offer so much more than websites. We offer an all-in-one business platform for photographers. Give us a call at (866) 463-7620 or send us a message online to learn more.