Episode 70: Her Phone Stopped Ringing and She Needed Clients. Here’s What She Did.

Episode 70: Her Phone Stopped Ringing and She Needed Clients. Here's What She Did.


Photography Business Institute
Photography Business Institute

What do you do when your phone stops ringing and you need photography clients?

Recently, my student, Anne McDaniel, had it happen to her.

She’s been in business for 15 years and she had NOTHING on the books.

Yet within a few weeks, Anne had photography clients booked and over $6,000 in orders.

Here’s what she did when her business slowed down.

Anne McDaniel:

“I started my business about 15 years ago and the first two years were part-time.

Then I went full-time.

I have a very small home-studio and I started making money, but it leveled off at the same time every year.”

Learning New Skills To Grow Your Business

Sarah Petty:

“So you got to a certain level, and got stuck.

I used to always say you get to a certain level based on the skills you have and then realize that you need to get new skills to help your business grow.

You have a studio in your home, and that’s your income.” 

Anne McDaniel:

“I had no clue what to do as far as marketing.

I knew I could take a photograph, but I just didn’t know how to get everybody else to know that and want to come in.”

Jumping In And Implementing What You Learn

Sarah Petty:

“You jumped in.

You applied the things you learned.

‘Little dancers’ was the niche that you wanted to focus on.

Talk about the photography clients that you got lead-wise.

How many leads did you get?”

Anne McDaniel:

“I got 10 leads.

And four booked.”

Sarah Petty:

“You booked four, which is really interesting because as a boutique photographer, I always say 10-20% of people will want what we have.

And you were able to convert 40%, which is fantastic.”

Knowing What To Say To Your Photography Clients Is Crucial

Anne McDaniel:

“I listened to everything you said.

I wrote it down, and I said it to myself over and over before I called those people back.”

Sarah Petty:

“There’s so much more that has to happen in that conversation.

So you booked 4 photography clients.

How did they turn out?

Talk us through what those looked like.”

​​Anne McDaniel:

“It was just wonderful.

They had a blast at the session.

They came in for their viewing, and I talked about how precious this would be in their room now.

And when they move out and  have their first apartment, how that would be such a good conversation piece.

The conversation just snowballed way more than usual.”

4 Photography Clients Can Go A Long Way

Sarah Petty:

“So all four of those came in and ordered.

And what was the total that those four invested?”

Anne McDaniel:

“It was about $6,500.”

Sarah Petty:

“Holy moly.

I know sometimes people think that when they get photography clients they just need to keep moving on and getting more clients, but you didn’t just let that happen.

So how do you look at your business differently now?

If you look back five years ago, when you were doing it on your own and you had those quiet times where the phone wasn’t ringing, versus how you feel now, how has your mental game changed?”

Confidence Changes Your Mental Game

Anne McDaniel:

“It’s just so much better.

I feel like I have a real business now.

I don’t feel like I’m just saying, ‘I’m a photographer.’

Even though I was doing okay, now I feel like I really have a business, and I’m going places.

More people realize what I do.”

Sarah Petty:

“If you could go back and talk to Anne 15 years ago, who was maybe scared to talk to people and put herself out there, what would you say to yourself based on what you know now?”

Anne McDaniel:

“That it’s not a salesy thing.

It’s a helpful thing.

You’re helping people make a decision to decorate their homes with their creations, those little people they created, their family they created.

And I think that just helps them with their own ideas of how important family is.”

Sarah Petty:

“Don’t you feel like, with regard to serving clients like these four new ones, you had over $6,500 in orders, did you have guilt over that?

So many people can’t even believe that.

But compare that to what you did 10 years ago, where you just gave them paper proofs and sent them home.

You made no money and now you’re holding their hand through the whole process and between four clients made $6,500.

Talk about how you feel differently about both of those situations.”

I Help My Clients Decorate Their Homes

Anne McDaniel:

“I just feel real now.

I feel like I’m really helping people instead of just, ‘Oh, here you go.

Look at these and come back later.’

I thought about it, an interior designer doesn’t just throw you fabric samples and wallpaper samples and say, ‘Call me when you’re ready.’

They help you step through that, and then you have this beautiful home.

And I feel like that’s what I’m doing now.”

Sarah Petty:

“The four clients who came in and paid your profitable prices and got served at a high level, how did they treat you?

Were they fun to work with? Were they happy?”

Anne McDaniel:

“They were very happy and just tickled to death with their portraits.

They talked about how much their children liked their portraits.

It made me feel so good, not just in a way that I made money, but in a way that they were happy.

These days there isn’t a lot of happiness in the world, so it just made me feel good.”

Sarah Petty:

Thank you so much for sharing your path, Anne.

Just because you’ve been in business for years doesn’t mean you keep growing every year.

Sometimes you get stuck.

And you learn that you need to serve your clients at a higher level.

You learn how to go and get the right clients.

Once you do that, then you get the happy people who love you, pay you, and are thrilled.

And they refer you.

That’s how it should be.”

Episode 70: Her Phone Stopped Ringing and She Needed Clients. Here's What She Did.
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