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People Like People Who Are Like Them
Have you ever come home from a social gathering and told your significant other, “You know, I spent a whole hour arguing with this one guy about everything. We had nothing in common at all. I really loved that experience and can’t wait to see him again!”
If you have, you’re a little weird—though I won’t hold that against you. On the other hand, I bet you also know those rare moments where you’re in a deep conversation on the same wavelength and it feels like you’re connecting on a whole other level.
This kind of connection is what you want to create when you meet your clients—you want them to feel like you really click!
Knowing what motivates your clients on a deep, personal level helps you to speak to them in their language. I’m going to share a series of articles with my insights for fostering those deeper connections.
The trick is in recognizing very quickly what someone’s deep motivation is—that aspect of their personality behind their big decisions—and then talking to them in a way that grabs their attention and makes them think, “This person truly gets me!”
This is a lot simpler than you might think. Let’s say, for example, you know someone who is fun. You can assume that they’ll also be motivated by things that are fun. That’s logical, right? If they’re a fun person, they’ll be happier doing something fun and not something that they’d find boring.
On the other hand, someone who finds comfort in quiet routines may enjoy a museum tour compared to, say, karaoke.
When People Tell You what They Like, They Tell You What They’re Like
People will often give you clues to their personality in their conversation. For example, here is a quote from a client of mine when I asked them what they were looking for from their wedding photographer:
“We want to relax and enjoy our wedding day with our friends and family. We don’t want to have a photographer ordering us around and posing us all day and then giving us a bunch of cheesy portraits.”
Here is what is obviously important to them:
- Friends and family.
- Not being told what to do.
- Authentic photos.
I can use those keywords to guide my conversation.
So, when I hand them an album I say, “As you look through this album you’ll see a lot of candids, because capturing authentic moments on a wedding day is important to me and I spend the majority of the time capturing those real moments.”
This does two things. Firstly, I’ve told them what to look for and now they’re going to notice those images way more than if I just handed them an album and said nothing.
Secondly, they’ve told me what they want from their photographer and I’m showing them that I’m the man for the job with clear examples. And it’s tangible: they’re holding the evidence in their hands.
As they look through the album I tell them anecdotes behind key images. That way they further connect to the emotions in the photos. This links my photography even more strongly to what they’re looking for in a photographer. This is much more powerful than just telling them I’m good at capturing real moments.
Now let’s explore the personal motivations I mentioned earlier.
There are four main motivators behind people’s personalities. Check out the list below, which includes the key traits of each.
- Likes newness and novelty.
- Dislikes rules and predictability.
- Usually outgoing, emotional and expressive.
- Social and talkative.
- Can be undisciplined, late, flaky.
- Tends to wear bright colours or more daring outfits; early adopter of new fashions.
- Likes order, rules, and consistency.
- Dislikes the spotlight.
- Sticks to the plan.
- On time.
- Good memory.
- Can be inflexible, negative, critical.
- Dresses with taste and subtlety. Often well put together, but not in a way that screams for attention. May wear conservative styles.
- Wants to be in charge or in control.
- Can be bossy.
- Determined and driven.
- Dresses in “power” outfits, like business suits, even when they are not really called for. Prefers bold, plain colours and simple patterns. Will often have red in their outfit, whether as their tie, shirt, or accessories. Their style displays status. May dress is sports clothing if it’s a major part of their lifestyle—not just casual sweatshirts.
- Relaxation is a way of life and a hobby.
- Easy-going and calm.
- Gives in easily; may be passive-aggressive.
- Follows the crowd.
- Wears casual, comfortable clothing whenever possible. Often under-dresses, then gets told by their partner to wear something nicer.
How To Speak Their Language
Once you’ve identified the deep motivation of your potential clients you can speak to them in a way they relate to.
Show them images of other clients having fun. Ask them what they do for fun. If you can relate, tell them a quick story of your own that’s similar to their experience.
It’s okay if you’re not an outgoing person. You can still tell them stories of other clients having fun. Also, talk about the fun they’ll have at their wedding.
Compliment them on their adventurous and fun nature. Obviously, not in a weird, non-sequitur way. But say you ask them about how they got engaged—which you should—and they tell you how he proposed while they were skydiving naked. You reply with something simple like, “Wow! You guys sound like a fun couple!” Or whatever. Keep it short and genuine.
These clients who are on time, organizational app at the ready, poised over their list of questions. Show them you are reliable, stable, and won’t take big risks with their investment. Don’t waste their time or make them late. Talk about your awards, or your education, or anything that shows official recognition.
Compliment them on being organized, accurate, and similar traits. Again, it’s easy to do this without fawning or being fake. Just state the obvious. For example, if she’s updating her list with your answers, say, “Wow, you’re so organized!” I mean, is that even a compliment or just an observation? Thing is, for people who value this, it’s a heck of a compliment, because you’ve highlighted an important characteristic of what makes them truly them.
These clients want to be in charge! If they’re extreme, they can be difficult for some business-owners to deal with. There is that situation of too many chefs. This is especially true for creative types, because they usually hate to be told what to do. The secret is not to fight for dominance, but instead to acknowledge what the client is actually in charge of and, if necessary, give them the impression of being in charge of more.
For example, when a decision needs to be made, give them choices to select from, so that they feel like the decision was theirs. For example, “These are the benefits of Option A. Here are the drawbacks. These are the details for Option B. What would you like us to do?”
One caveat is that for very successful clients, they will often defer to your expertise, because they’ve learned to trust the experts they hire. For those clients, show that you can take charge and get things done without fuss. They’ll respect that.
These clients want to relax and not be hassled with too much to do or think about. Keep the stress to a minimum and don’t push them to make decisions. Of all the personality types, these are the ones who will actually appreciate you making some decisions for them—but only if they like the decision! If you force them into things they don’t want, they will dig in their heels. Rather than telling you what is wrong they will usually just resist your ideas or find a way out. So, take charge, but keep things easy-going and don’t push them.
If you need them to do something that they don’t especially want to do, highlight the fact that once it’s out of the way, they will get to relax and chill out: “I know—there’s so much to think about! It’s going to be great when it’s over and you can just relax, right? Let’s make this as easy as possible.”
Knowing your client’s personal motivations helps you to give more meaningful service, tailored to them. You’ll know whether you should pose them looking powerful, or fun, or stylish, or some combination of those. The end result will be more personal images that they strongly relate to—and raving reviews that you get people and capture them as they truly are.