As a man, when I need to purchase let’s say a new shirt, I’m likely alone and in and out of the mall or department store in less than 10 minutes. I find the size, color, and as long as the price isn’t crazy, I’m done. I’m not going to go around to every store in the mall to look at their shirts. I don’t need any salesperson to talk to me; I actually prefer that they leave me alone. And I’m not likely distracted by anything else in the store. Men are very “transactional.” We are on a mission to find what we need, close the deal, and move on with our day.
Now if my wife is in the market for a new dress, what took me 10 minutes could turn into an entire afternoon for her. First of all, she’s not going to go alone, and she’s most likely not going to take me (which is completely fine with me). She is going to call up her friend Ashlee or Amber, and they’re going to get coffee on the way making this outing an experience. My wife will visit all the potential stores, trying on different dresses, while considering the different shoes needed, of course. But above all else, there will be lots of conversation, opinions shared, and eventually a dress will be bought.
As I study the customer demographics for my photo booth rental business, one statistic really stands out: Approximately 75% of my clients are WOMEN. Consider the people that we usually work with:
Mothers and their daughters (Sweet 16s and Quinceaneras)
These people are most often of the female gender. Even if the checking account or credit card is in the name of a man, the decisions are mostly being made by women. The ladies are the ones who email, call and text, ask questions, and work out the details of their photo booth rental.
I don’t have the statistics on demographics of photo booth business owners, but it seems like a lot of us are men. With this reality there are lots of specific things we do, here are the top 3.
1. Every email appears to come from my wife, whether I wrote it or she did.
These days many photo booth rentals are booked over email or text, without ever actually speaking to the customer. Therefore, if you are a male and have a spouse or significant other, put her name in the signature of your emails. With another woman likely on the receiving end of your email, you are likely to receive a more positive response with your email coming from a fellow female. With the possibility that you’ll never speak to the customer, this may be the only way to use the “female advantage.” We don’t use an auto-responder, rather we personalize each email to some degree. Often a bride has told us the date of her wedding or the venue location. Mention something about these details, “fall is such a beautiful season to get married” or “that venue is so special, we were just there this past weekend.” If you don’t know these details then ask them, women love to be given a chance to tell their story and they also like to know that there is a real person responding to them.
2. The email profile photo option is actually used and is a photo of my wife.
We’ve all heard the old cliche, “a picture is worth a thousand words” and there is some truth to this statement. Likely whatever mailbox you are using for your photo booth business, Google, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc, there is an option for a profile photo. Lots of businesses don’t use it at all, others use their business logo. If you are a male, and have a spouse or significant other, upload her photo for the profile photo. If you’re a male and don’t have a spouse or significant other, at least change the profile photo to one of you, it’s still better than leaving it blank or your company logo. Customers and especially women are very relational. Show your customers that there is a face behind your company. Customers don’t want to interact with just a business, but rather the person who represents the business. Customers and especially women, need to be able to trust you. A profile photo helps to establish trust and build social proof. The photo used should be appropriate and professional, perhaps a photo of you inside your photo booth.
3. My wife takes nearly every call; I rarely ever talk to anyone on the phone.
Last week I was out to dinner with some friends at a wonderful Italian restaurant in town and while enjoying my chicken parmigiana this classic conversation occurs right before my eyes:
Jennifer: Ellen, are you going to the ladies room?
Ellen: Yes I am.
Jennifer: Oh great, I’m going to join you.
Now being that I am a male, I don’t know exactly what goes on when women travel to the restroom together, but besides a status check on hair and make-up, I believe it has mostly to do with conversation. Women really enjoy conversation; some studies showing that women talk up to three times more than men per day.
If a customer calls our photo booth business the call goes to my wife’s phone and she unknowingly works her womanly “magic.” My wife has zero sales training (she used to be a teacher) and is the complete opposite of “high-pressure” salesperson. For what my wife lacks in sales experience, she completely makes up for with her conversational and rapport building skills. My wife, like many women can talk to anyone about anything and very quickly have them spill their life story. I’ve been a fly on the wall during some of these calls and usually the conversation is not initially anything about the photo booth. My wife will ask a bride when her wedding date is, where the venue is, her engagement story and that can spawn a 10-15 minute conversation. My wife is able to genuinely relate to her because she was once a bride as well, trying to figure everything out all the details of a wedding. When a mother calls who is looking for a photo booth for her daughter’s Sweet 16 party. My wife, also being a mother is able to instantly connect with this customer. My wife will mention that we have three young children and a conversation begins about how fast kids grow up. Thankfully, my wife always brings the conversation back to the photo booth, explains the packages we offer and the prices. In my opinion it helps to have a woman with a sweet voice relaying our high photo booth rental prices. My wife knows a lot about our photo booth, but she doesn’t know all the technical details like the type of printer or touch screen we have and no one asks. Most customers, especially women, want a photo booth company they can trust to show up at their event and take a high quality photo. With all things being equal, women will rent from the photo booth booth company and person they feel a sense of connectivity to. Customers are often disappointed when they find out an attendant is working their event and they don’t get to meet my wife.
If I was answering the phone calls, I could try and initiate the same conversation, but it’s not going to go as well (might actually be awkward) because I’m not genuinely interested. My wife is very sincere, does actually get to know these customers, and she builds relationships with them. If a man calls our company I don’t see any disadvantage to my wife taking the call. The conversation will just be shorter and to the point. If my wife is on the phone with a customer I consider a done deal that the customer will book their event with us. If you’re a single guy and the owner of a photo booth business owner, consider enlisting the help of a female friend to take your business calls.
Lastly, above all else, male or female, answer your emails promptly and answer the phone when it rings. After we respond to a customer inquiry via email, most often their first line is, “Thanks for responding so fast” or “I can’t believe you wrote me right back.” When my wife answers the phone, customers are often surprised to get a live person because they’ve called other wedding vendors, leave messages and no one returns their call in a timely fashion.
Kari….I mean Chris….sorry it’s a habit.