I recently received the most glowing referral letter of my photography career from a long-time client. It was so well crafted and spoke so highly of my business that I was actually embarrassed when I first read it.
“I can’t use this, it’s too perfect!” This was my first thought. How can I possibly live up to these words? Well, after thinking on this for over a week I realized this referral didn’t come from just a single event, its actually a referral based on over 10 years of service to this company, so their words must be accurate, even if I have a hard time accepting the compliment.
I can remember the first time I met the marketing director for Southside Dodge back in 2005, a woman named Terri Ryan. I had just taken over the Traptow Photography business, and I guess Terri wanted to make sure I was delivering the same quality of imagery that Rod was delivering before my arrival. Every salesman and manager that joined Southside Dodge required a professional headshot, and they had to dress a certain way, in certain colours. After the portrait session Terri would drive from the dealership all the way to our old studio down on 55 Street just to choose the final image that would be edited and used in Southside Dodge marketing materials!
After going through this experience a number of times over the course of a year I braved a conversation with Terri and said, “Terri, you keep driving all the way down here to pick one image, and almost every time I have already chosen that same image before you got here. I think we are on the same page, why don’t you save your time and let me do up the best image right away, and if you are not satisfied when it arrives you can pick a different image?”
I know I had been delivering a good product up to there, but I wanted to make sure Terri trusted me completely before having this conversation, as it could have messed up a great client relationship. I realized that the referral letter I received from the current marketing director, Jen Sparks, who I have been working with the last few years, is based upon a true relationship. And that is my goal in all my corporate sessions – developing relationship.
Jen is truly a delight to work with, she has a quick wit and is considerate of my time as well. Coordinating multiple sales guys and management team members who have a variety of schedules is always a challenge. However, we have established a routine that delivers a consistent product no matter what day I show up. The lighting style, background and cropping are the same each and every time, which translates into a consistent marketing image for all the business cards and other materials.
I just want to say a special “Thank-you!” to Jen for her kind words, I will endeavour to live up to them in each and every client experience I have going forward.