Your exclusive system makes you smarter.
Your exclusive system makes you think.
Your exclusive system allows you to enjoy the sales the process--even if you HATE sales.
Your exclusive system means you've got a repeatable, profitable, unique process that hooks clients and makes your life easier.
Photographers don’t always think this way, but they should.
So let’s back up.
What is an "exclusive system" when it comes to your photography business?
Unofficially, it means transforming your creative knowledge into a unique selling tool (or tools) for your business.
Officially, it can also be legally protected. In this case, your system is known as "intellectual property," or "IP".
Today, we're talking about unofficial systems. (Note that the IP aspect is a natural Phase 2, especially if you want to sell your business, and/or if you've invested a large sum in researching and designing your proprietary system).
Mine what's yours
An exclusive system makes you dig deep into your experience as a pro photographer and find the one thing you do for your clients that no one else does.
You actually already know what your system contains, because at some point in your business you have done all these things naturally. The elements of your system are all right there in your own history and one-of-a-kind experiences. You just need to know where to look to dig them up.
Once you mine those golden nuggets (they're usually hiding in plain sight, but sometimes it takes some blasting), it is not enough to simply stop there. No, that would be like striking gold and then just leaving it there in the mountain to admire.
You gotta do the work to write those systems down--so you can cash in on them and effect great change in your business.
Why MUST you write down your system? A written system isn't just a record of company policies and procedures for you and your employees or assistants (though that could be start of one).
The process of writing down your system shows you your weak spots--where you need to dig deeper. It also shows your strong spots--where you have been doing things differently and didn't even realize it.
Polish that gold
Once you've got your system in writing, take the time to create a proprietary visual infographic (or even a video!) about your system. Guard this resource like Fort Knox--it’s meant for your staff and clients' eyes only.
Next, bolster your appealing, well-designed visual system with a few case studies from previous clients.
Share that puppy with prospective clients, and you've just bumped your business to the tippy-top of their shortlist. Not too many photographers are doing this in any kind of formal, repeatable way.
Photographers (and most business owners) might *think* they are taking these steps, but they are not. Not at all.
If you can’t create a proprietary visual and/or written statement from your system, then you essentially don’t have one.
If you think that having a website, a contact form, an email response, and a pricing sheet is a system, then you have a lot of (doable! rewarding!) work ahead of you.
What DOES make you stand out? Taking these four steps:
Do the brave work of positioning your business around your unique expertise
Express that expertise in purposeful branding and website design
Have a precise, strategic marketing plan that drives inquiries and nurtures leads
Seal the deal with your exclusive SYSTEM--again, this is the process you've developed that sells clients on working with you
It’s pretty much an unbeatable combination to take your business to the next level, to repeatably and consistently land that premium-paying ideal client, and to stop competing on price. Forever.
So what are you waiting for? Start designing your system today.