Podcast Episodes

081 | Create a Referral Generating Photography Business | Part 2

May 21, 2024

How can you go above and beyond for your clients to create a referral-generating business? Today’s episode is the second in a series that aims to explore that exact question. Inspired by Alex Hormozi’s book $100M Offers: How To Make Offers So Good People Feel Stupid Saying No, I’m sharing key concepts that I’ve implemented […]

I'm Dan!

Photographer, podcaster, extreme empath, and certified life coach. I help photographers enjoy more family and personal time while growing their business.


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How can you go above and beyond for your clients to create a referral-generating business? Today’s episode is the second in a series that aims to explore that exact question. Inspired by Alex Hormozi’s book $100M Offers: How To Make Offers So Good People Feel Stupid Saying No, I’m sharing key concepts that I’ve implemented in my own business to create meaningful client connections and cash flow. 

The Focused Photographers Podcast was created based on the idea that the most incredible tool for learning is a deep dive into any given topic from multiple perspectives. Join us every other week as we explore important topics, with host Daniel Moyer and a variety of guests offering different perspectives! Make sure you’ve hit that follow or subscribe button on your favorite podcast player to get notified each week as we air new episodes!

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How to differentiate yourself (2:42)

The experience that you’re providing (3:26)

Your unique perspective (7:48)

Differentiating yourself in practice (12:44)

Flipping the script (20:35)


Chip Heath, Dan Heath: The Power of Moments

Alex Hormozi: $100M Offers: How To Make Offers So Good People Feel Stupid Saying No


Website: https://danielmoyercoaching.com/

Wedding Instagram: @DANIELMOYERPHOTO



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Hey friends, welcome to the focused photographers podcast episode 81. I’m Dan Moyer. I’m your host, and I’m so grateful that you’re here with me today. This is the second episode in a series called creating a referral generating photography business. This, these four concepts, four or five concepts that I’m going to go over in this series are how I’ve built my photography business full time over the last 14 years.

They are the foundation of it all. And Um, this is the second episode in that series. Uh, if you have not listened to the first episode, I’m really gonna encourage you to go back to listen to that one. It is the foundational episode because, you know, I share about really how I’ve started thinking about these concepts, why I’m teaching them now, um, you know, the importance of them, uh, just a whole bunch of really good stuff.

But the main thing I want to reiterate this time is that there’s a lot of really great conceptual podcasts out there. There’s a lot of really great, um, good inspirational content. I’m trying to make this series as actionable as possible. So that way, each time between each episode that comes out every two weeks, you’re going to listen to the episode and then you’re going to have some time between this episode and the next episode to do some brainstorming and figure out how you want to implement it.

Because in each episode I’m sharing the concept, uh, that I want you to take away and then how I’ve implemented it in my business. So the concept and then what it actually looks like in practice in my business. So the first episode that I, uh, released last year, Uh, two weeks ago, it went over this idea of how knowing your clients on a deep level allows you to photograph them in a meaningful way.

And this is, this is not knowing about your clients. It’s not the social media. It’s not the questionnaires you’re sending. It’s knowing about them in a deeply meaningful way. So you can speak to the three core desires they have, which are, I go over in the last episode. But it’s about, uh, seeing them in this deeply personal way, which allows you to create this foundation for how people can refer you.

And they’ll have this ammo basically to tell other people about you because you stick out because you did these different things. Um, and that’s what that whole episode is about. This episode that we’re talking about today, I’m really excited about because I think it’s a big one. Um, when you hear the concept in a minute, you’re going to say, okay, how can I make that deep?

And it’s going to get pretty wide. This is going to be an inch wide and a mile deep. And I’m really excited about it. So today we are talking about how to differentiate yourself from everyone else. Let’s do it.

So I, from surface area, right? You say, okay, I’m going to differentiate myself from everybody else. And you start like thinking, what, how do, how do I do that? And most people, I think initially go to, Oh, my pictures have to be, be different. My toning has to be different. I have to maybe, I don’t know, say different things about myself or something.

I think a lot of us, we just go after like the low hanging fruit and. The way that I want you to think about this is two things. One is you’re going to think about your experience that you’re providing as, um, as the number one way that you can differentiate, differentiate yourself. The second is going to be how you talk about you and how you’re going to lean into the fact that you are one of one.

So let’s talk about this first one here, which is really about the experience that you’re providing. So in the book, The Power of Moments, Chip Heath and Dan Heath talk about this really fascinating idea of the restaurant script, right? When you go to a five star restaurant, a four star restaurant, someplace that’s really fancy, there are these scripts of What the transaction is going to be like, it doesn’t have to be a fancy restaurant, right?

It could just be the Red Robins or an Applebee’s or whatever it is. And that script runs through your mind as you’re going to the place or as you’re even going through the experience. So the first part might be that you’re going to get there. The server is going to take you to your seat. Maybe they’ll ask you to get some water, some drinks, whatever it is.

Then the server is going to come over. They’re going to ask for appetizers. They’re going to ask if you want to, uh, put your order in right away. Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. Maybe you’re just catching up with friends. So you’re not gonna be able to put that, uh, that whole order in right away. Then you’re gonna, they’re gonna come back.

They’re going to take your full order. You guys are going to chit chat for a while. You’re going to have fun. Um, you’re going to get your full meal. And like two seconds after they put the plate down, the server is going to come back and ask you if, uh, if your food is good, like literally the time you’re taking a bite.

So you’re gonna have to give like a thumbs up with burger sauce all over your face. Right. And like, so after that, then there’s you guys chit chatting more, maybe you get, um, a, a dinner or not a dinner, maybe you get a dessert or something like that. The waiter comes over, they give you your check, you pay the check.

The server says, you know, have a great day. Come again, right? This is what I’m talking about. It is this same script that runs through your mind. And there’s scripts for almost everything that we do, right? Whether it’s getting an oil change or going to, I don’t know, a sporting goods store, or it’s going to, um, thrift shop or it’s going to anywhere, right?

There’s this script of things that you think is going to happen when, You enter this transaction, the same thing can be said for wedding photography. And that script is running through your client’s minds. And it is built off of the weddings that they have been in. It’s built off of what friends have said about, um, their, uh, their wedding or the weddings that they have been in themselves with their friends.

It’s built off of the research that they have done, uh, online and what other people have said. And it’s creating this script that’s running through their mind. Now, your job is to understand what that script is and then flip it and break the script. So that way you insert these moments of surprise and delight inside of their script, right?

So let me go back to the restaurant. If you’ve ever been to any of these like regular restaurants, right? You know what the script is. The script is followed. If you’ve ever been to a very fancy restaurant, there’s these moments that are totally, um, shifted and break sort of the script, right? When you sit down, uh, a, a server brings out bread right away, or if it’s at a five star restaurant, maybe they bring out, um, something, you know, Super fancy.

Uh, there’s a, a sorbet in there, or there’s these like little trinkets where they, they bring out, you know, instead of your appetizers, they bring out like another plate of like the chef’s creations of that day. Um, as you’re going through, there’s this thing, I think it’s called a crummer. Where they like, between courses, they come around with this special little spoon that brings the, the crumbs off the linens.

Maybe they actually fully change linens between the actual courses. There’s a waiter who, who knows the menu, like the back of their hand, and they can pair wine and things with it. Um, at the end of the dinner, there’s something from the pastry chef that they bring out a little plate that’s compliments of the pastry chef, right?

There’s all these like heightened experiences or things that totally break the script. And those experiences heighten your experience. These little things that you’re like, Oh, that was, that was interesting. That was sort of surprising and delighting. And so your job, like I said, is to know this script to figure out what it is, what is running through your client’s minds from all the research they’ve done and everything, and then find ways to break that script right now.

There are a million ways to do this. And I’m going to talk in a minute about what this looks like in practice, but let’s, let’s shift gears just slightly and talk about your unique perspective on this. You are one of one. There’s nobody that can compete with you on being you. So you get to run your photography business in ways that are really strong to you, right?

I am naturally, um, very gregarious. I’m naturally an empath. I, I can see people’s needs very easily. So this is one of the strengths that I really lean into. I am not good with SEO. I’m not good with tech. I’m really good at creating relationships and keeping those relationships. So when I work with venues and when I work with clients, I, I’m much better in person than I am online.

But now, you know, I’ve tried to become more, a better writer and have more online presence and things like that. But I lean into the fact that I, and really good at certain things. Now you should do an audit of the skills that you have and the things that you’re really good at. And then you take those things and you implement them into your brain.

So here’s a good example. One of my current one to one clients is, um, she’s going through a huge rebrand for her photography business. She’s gone from, you know, sort of like a shoot and burn model to a much more personal model of being. really in touch with their clients, having a very high touch approach.

And she’s currently working with a copywriter who’s helping her redo her website and all this stuff. And her and I were talking, she’s like, I’m having a lot of difficulty answering these questions of what’s really, what’s one really important thing about you or what’s one outcome that you really want people to take away from your experience.

And the conversation I had with her was basically what I just said. It’s that you are one of ones. You need to lean into that, right? You have this whole set of life experiences, a whole set of people who you really work with, a whole set of people who you’re really empathetic with. So what are those experiences?

How can you lean in on those? A lot of people are very verbose, like me. She is not. She is simple to the point. Um, she is, uh, highly empathetic with moms and the amount of busyness that’s going on in their lives. And so she’s trying, and this is the outcome that we started talking about, which is what would happen if instead of You know, the, the amazing outcome or the one thing that’s really special about her instead of it being her backup process, or instead of it being about, you know, how she does beach sessions, maybe it’s really about the fact that she’s not a factory and she doesn’t have these people.

posing flows that she just goes through and does a posing flow to get cute, cute pictures. Maybe it’s the fact that she is so invested in the process of the wedding or not the wedding planning of the family session planning that she calls and has in depth discussions with the parents about, um, You know, each of their kids and how their kids interact and what’s special about their kids.

So it’s not like a high energy posing flow for a kid who’s more introspective and, um, likes to play quietly or, you know, maybe, so maybe instead of a beach session where the kid is like running around their parents, it’s, um, bringing toys that are, you know, The kid is comfortable playing with and having these sort of like quiet playing time.

So maybe that’s a hypothetical, but maybe your experience is more about that. It’s more about the fact that you are so leaning into that fact that each family is unique and you want to show up and know you’re going to create meaningful photographs rather than showing up doing your thing and hoping you’re going to get meaningful photographs.

So there’s lots of different ways to implement these things, but it’s really about two things. Like I said, one is about leaning on the fact that you have a unique set of experiences and you have a unique set of skills found sound like Liam Neeson in uh, taken, is that taken? Yeah, yeah. I have unique set of skills.

Um, you have this very specific way that you see the world. Another, another one that just popped in my mind is another past one on one coaching client of mine. Again, I’m gregarious. I talk a lot. Um, he. Sort of recreated his brand around the fact that he is a calming presence on the wedding day. He’s, he like helps ground people and right.

So it’s like, you’re looking at the way that you interact with people, the way that you are naturally comfortable and then putting that out there. You don’t have to be like me. You don’t have to be like those other people. There is somebody for you. And as soon as you. all the imposter syndrome and all that stuff goes away when you just allow yourself to just sit in your confidence.

and realize that you are you and nobody can compete with you on that. And the second part again is about the script. It’s what is that script that you can break or flip the script to allow people to feel the surprise and delight. So that’s the big concept, right? How to differentiate yourself from everyone else.

Now, here’s the in practice in my business. This is about blurring the line between what the typical client photographer friend relationship looks like, right? I’m trying to blur that line between this is a transactional relationship and more of a friendship relationship. Um, there’s an episode of mine a while ago with, um, Lindsay Height, and she has this really beautiful, uh, experience that she has designed for her, um, boudoir clients.

I love what she says about like, she, her clients don’t hold the same space as her friends, right? Like they’re not holding that same space, not having the same conversations, but she treats them like friends. That’s the same way that I am. And so I try to build that trust and, and to differentiate myself by actually spending time with my clients beforehand.

Right? I think there’s a lot of things that social media can do. There’s a lot of things that emails and questionnaires can do, but building a like trust and comfort just is not one of them. Here’s actually a really good story is, um, so I, I, I’ve gotten myself into a lot of friend groups and I tend to photograph around those friend groups, right?

I’ll, there’s somebody that comes in and I’ll just like go right down the line. And a couple of years ago, maybe it was 2018, I think now, um, there’s one couple who, um, they were like three or four of, of the friends that had already photographed. And there was a couple left. And I’d gone down to where they live in Delaware and they invited me down to, um, go, the groom worked at a bike shop and he’s like, I’ll, I’ll bring a bike for you.

We can just like rip around, uh, town and show you like where we’re getting married at. And maybe we can just like go get, get a bike to eat and we can talk and just like sort of catch up a little bit. We did that and it was amazing. And, and we looked at photo spots and it just had like, it was sort of like the wedding planning meeting also.

So we had an agenda, we went over the timeline and all that stuff, but we also had some fun while we were doing it. And somebody else, uh, a person who had reached out to me in that same friend group, but ended up not hiring me was like, Oh, what, why did Dan go down to visit? them in Delaware. Like what was the point of that?

And they were like, Oh, well, that’s just like part of what, you know, he does. He came down and visited us. And like, you know, we talked about the wedding planning and just like, just to like catch up and hang out outside the photo session stuff. And this friend was like, Oh, I, my photographer just said that he would be in touch the week before the wedding.

And it sort of became this thing where. All the other people who I’d photographed knew that that was just the standard way that I photographed. But yeah, this other person wasn’t aware of that. And then I’m sort of bummed when the, their photographer was just like, Oh, like we hired them a year ago. We’ve just been making payments and they’re just going to be in touch a week before the wedding and going to send us a questionnaire.

Yeah. And that made me feel really good because that’s doing what I want it to be now. That’s not a judgment call on either thing. You know, that other friend loved their pictures. They love their photographer, but I was not the right fit for them. But it was just one of those things where you know, it’s, it’s different, right?

I found my people in that friend group. It allowed me to like speak to those people who, um, you know, like I said, I’m outgoing, I’m gregarious. And those people invited me into their lives to do things that they love to do. So that’s, you know, one of the ways that I implement this is like doing like meeting with couples in person before the wedding, um, outside the engagement session, uh, any of that stuff.

It’s about getting together and Seeing each other outside the concept or the context of the photo session, because the idea then is when the wedding day rolls around, it’s just like, Oh, that’s just Dan, right? Like he, he’s just, he’s great. Like he’s, he’s just going to do his thing. We’re set. They don’t have to look at me.

They don’t have to worry about me. I’m just like the trust and comfort is already built because that’s what takes the longest over the planning process, the trust and the comfort. One of the things that, um, I used to do a lot. I haven’t done as much recently because I’m fine. This, I’m actually trying to find a better way to do, um, but as a date night box and here’s the intention behind this.

And if, if there’s a lot of talk about gifting and whether it’s meaningful or what I think. My personal opinion is that if you’re giving somebody a gift for like booking you or something like that, that feels a little weird and transactional. When I think people where you should gift is you gift at times during the planning process, uh, or times of the year that makes sense.

And that also break the script. That flip the script and inserts this moment of surprise and delight. So a short story is, uh, my, when my wife and I were getting married back in 2014, um, I had a wedding two weeks before our wedding. It was just such a crazy time and there was so much going on. And I just remember like the minutia of the wedding planning really started to pile on top of us.

And I remember we had this, um, this date night, basically the week before our wedding, that was like this time where we said, okay, I’ve got a wedding before I’ve got a wedding a couple of weeks, a couple of weeks before that, like, there’s all this stuff going on. We’re trying to get all the planning done.

And I’ve got this wedding, um, right before two weeks before our wedding. And then the week before wedding, we need to have like a date night or a date weekend because like I said, so much was piling up. I started thinking about my Client’s lives and how busy they are and how life doesn’t stop and how they don’t have the same resources that I have for being a wedding photographer.

And, I realized that that three month mark leading up to the wedding is where things really start to pile on. The three month mark is when couples are most at risk of forgetting what the whole point of the wedding day is. And so I thought, well, what if I create a date night box that just has like some wine, maybe it was, there was a gourmet popcorn.

There was some chocolate truffles. There was this ice coffee, uh, pods that were in there. And I sent it out with a handwritten note that was like, Things are going to get really crazy right now, but remember that the whole point of the wedding is to have all your friends and family under one roof for happy reason.

And you need to create a date night or put a date night on the calendar. And this box is the start of that. The start of you just coming together, no wedding planning allowed for you to remember what the wedding day is about. And so I would send this date night box out basically three to two and a half months before the wedding with that note in it, just saying, create a date night.

This is the foundation for that date night to allow you to remember what the whole point of this was. Um, another one, you know, I would go to dinner after with, with every couple at the end of an engagement session. Um, I, like I said, I would just try to like, if I’m already at the session and the session ends, I would just like, we just got to dinner and grab a bite to eat and talk and, and sort of break down that wall between what the client photographer relationship looks like.

And maybe as I’m starting to boil this down and we’re starting to come to the end of this episode, um, you know, one of the things that I thought was really, um, awesome was in an era of like automating everything, or I think it’s important to find these high touch points that can really work for you, that you believe And and are easy for you.

Uh, one of my past, um, one to one students created this, uh, adventure jar for his couples. He’s like, he didn’t like the idea of a date night. Um, but he’s like, he’s like, I want this like adventure jar where like, it’s, you know, on it, maybe it’s monogrammed or like, uh, monograms. Is that the word I’m looking for?

Maybe. Yeah. Anyway, engraved. It’s got like a sticker on there. It’s like custom and has their names and their wedding date. And, um, and it just says adventure jar and they put coins in there for their next adventure together. Right. So it’s like, it’s, it’s not something that’s tied to the wedding day. It’s something that is like future focus as well.

Um, and I love that one. That’s a great one. To sum this whole episode up, this is about flipping the script, right? This is about knowing the script, knowing what is important to your clients and what is going through their minds, and then finding ways to insert surprise and delight into their experience and, and watch their faces light up.

This is another foundational piece. Give people the tools to talk about you and your experience and things that you did different. This is the amazing stuff that when, like, if you read the reviews about me on wedding wire, there’s a hundred of them now and they’re paragraphs long, uh, for my wedding clients.

There are things in there that like, um, you know, people, when they create or when they inquire with me, they will mention those things in the reviews. And it’s like, if, if you’re just reading running everything by like automated. If you’re just like doing the bare bones, it’s hard for people to pick out these things to talk about things that stood out these like peaks, these high moments in their experience.

A lot of the reviews about me are not even about the photos I took. I think I’m an okay photographer. I think I’m pretty decent, but. Everybody talks about the experience that I’ve done. One of my favorite quotes was, he’s along for your journey, not just your wedding day. And another one is he’s so much more than a photographer to us.

If those are the kinds of things that you can start building into your experience, and then you ask people for reviews later, they’re going to have a lot to talk about. And when other people see that they’re going to want to be part of it too. So that’s episode 81. I’ve got a couple more episodes coming up in this series on creating a referral generating photography business.

The next episode is going to be all about being a long for the journey, not just the wedding day. I’m super excited for you to be along on this journey with me. Um, I hope that these concepts, um, are helpful. really give you some ammo to work with and some some new things to think about. Um, you’ve got two weeks until the next one.

So let’s see what you can get done. Um, if you are working on this along, uh, with anybody else, hit me up on Instagram or, um, send me an email. Daniel at danielmorecoaching. com. Um, I’d love to hear what you think, how you’re implementing these concepts in practice. Um, and I can give you some feedback on them too.

All right, friends, make it a great day. Thanks so much for tuning in. I’ll see you in two weeks. Bye.

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I'm Dan! Life Coach, Photographer, Extreme Empath, and Podcaster.

I'm a full time wedding photographer since Jan. 2010.
Smitten Husband since 2014
Dad x Three (one plus twins), certified life coach, Phillies fan and extreme empath. 

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If money management 
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If money management 
gives you the sweats, 
this guide is for you.​
Within this guide is how I systemized my business finances, got comfortable with a budget, paid myself a regular paycheck, crushed over $70k of debt in 4 years and have more financial freedom than ever.
Thank you! Check your inbox for the download!

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