Episode: 82 |
Will Bachman:
Building Relationships:


Will Bachman

Building Relationships

Show Notes

This is a story about the actual wedding photographer who took the pictures at my wedding, Drew, and his fictional doppelgänger, Drew Prime.

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Will Bachman: Today’s episode, I want to talk about what I learned from a wedding photographer and his fictional doppelganger about building relationships. Hey, welcome to Unleashed, the show that explores how to thrive as an independent professional. Unleashed is produced by Umbrex, and I’m your host Will Bachman. So I want to tell the story of the wedding photographer who took the photos at the wedding of my wife and myself. I’m going to call him Drew, because that is his name. I’m also going to tell the story of Drew’s fictional doppelganger, who I’m going to refer to as Drew Prime.
Choosing a wedding photographer is a major hassle, as those of you who’ve done it know. Particularly back in the years before all the portfolios were online. My wife did the bulk of the work, interviewing a couple of dozen people and she narrowed it down to three and then the two of us met with the three of them, had to make an appointment, drive, meet, look at the photographs, try to remember if you liked the person’s style and approach and personality. It was a big investment on the bride and groom, it was also a big investment on the wedding photographers because couple of dozen people spoke with my wife and three people set aside time to meet with the two of us who didn’t get the project.
So we picked Drew. Drew did a fine job, his price was reasonable, showed up on time, he took the pictures that we asked him to and he had them ready on time and he gave us all the digital files. We paid him and I think we were both satisfied. Now we have not heard from Drew since then, which is fine. We hired him to be a wedding photographer and I’m not offended or anything, Drew if you’re out there listening, it’s cool, I wasn’t expecting he would become a lifelong relationship any more than the guys who set up the tent on our lawn. But let me tell you about Drew Prime, Drew’s fictional doppelganger.
So Drew Prime did the exact same work as his non-fiction Drew. All the way up and through handing over the photos and getting paid. So imagine all that is exactly the same, but on our first wedding anniversary, we got a photo card from Drew Prime. It had a photo from our wedding on the front of the card and inside was a short note said just, “Will and Margarita, thinking of you and wishing you a very happy first anniversary. Yours, Drew Prime.” There was no business card, there was no special deal inside, no discounts to buy photos one year later, just a hand-written card.
Now this was actually the only anniversary card that we got that first year. People maybe send cards on your 25th or your 50th but not on your first and it was a nice surprise and we thought, “Wow, what a nice practice. A year later, he remembers it,” and we tape that card to the fridge. So a year later, we got another card from Drew Prime on our anniversary and we’d not been expecting this. So the first time we thought, “Nice one year follow-up.” But the second time, wow. That was cool. Two years in a row, that was really thoughtful. So we tape that one to the fridge.
Now, on our third anniversary we got another card from Drew Prime and this, we were not expecting because with a young son and with traveling and work, we had both actually sort of forgotten about our upcoming anniversary. So it was awesome to get the card and it was also a nice reminder that our anniversary was around the corner.
So you’ll know by now that on our fourth and fifth and subsequent anniversaries, we got the card from Drew Prime, always with a different photo from our wedding on the front. I should probably mention that now that every so often over the years, we’ve had a reason to hire a photographer, so for a big family reunion, for a professional development event that I organized, for a birthday party for the kids and of course we always have hired Drew Prime and I’ve recommended Drew Prime to dozens of friends. He’s done their weddings, bar mitzvahs, reunions, first communions, corporate events, you name it.
Actually, I should say that we’ve been using and recommending Drew Prime’s services, but really recommending his firm’s services since his business has had just amazing growth every year and to keep up with demand, he’s had to hire a whole staff of photographers. I should also say that Drew Prime’s firm only accepts new clients through referrals and they don’t do this sort of sit down portfolio reviews with the perspective customers. If you want to work with them, you can sign a contract and then they’ll talk to you about what you want to accomplish, but they don’t just sit down with prospects that are trying to grill them, or check them out.
So I trust this firm will do great work, and why wouldn’t I? He’s been staying in touch with me now for over 15 years. As I reflect on the difference between Drew and Drew Prime, I think, “How much did it cost Drew Prime to send all those anniversary cards?” The card itself probably cost him less than a dollar to produce. He did have to have a system in place to remind himself to print and mail the card and the emotional energy to actually do it and to write those hand-written notes and he needed a system to make sure that he didn’t send us the same photo two years in a row, but most importantly, he needed a different mindset than Drew. He needed to think about me and my wife as a lifelong relationship and not just a transaction.
How do you build lifelong relationships with your clients? I’d love to hear your tips. You can email me at unleashed@umbrex.com and if you think someone else might enjoy this episode, I hope that you’ll share it, either directly or on social media. If you visit umbrex.com/unleashed, you can sign up for our weekly email that includes transcripts of every episode plus other bonus features available only to subscribers. Thanks for listening.

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