How to Gain Your Client’s Trust
One of the most difficult aspects of sales jobs and services jobs, whether that means selling a product or your talent, is gaining a client’s trust. This is particularly true within the tattoo industry. Trusting an artist to make a permanent mark on your body is a very big deal, and if you aren’t instilling confidence in your potential clients your appointment book will remain empty, bottom line.
How does a tattoo artist begin to build a reputation of both professionalism and integrity, especially if he is new to the industry? While a large amount of your success will lie in your inherit talent, the other factors are of business sense.
First and foremost you should begin any career venture with proper training. This means mentoring under a respectable tattooist who can help show you some of the inside tips and techniques of the industry.
No matter how naturally artistic you are, you’ll still need to learn how to apply ink into the layers of the skin, both safely and properly. You’ll also need to understand the happenings in the shop, from opening and closing the front doors, answering the phone, dealing with walk-in customers, and keeping your workspace tidy and professional.
First impressions are EVERYTHING. If you sound unprofessional, disgruntled or immature on the phone when dealing with potential customers, you are going to get a “click,” without much explanation.
Portfolios Speak Volumes
Your artist portfolio is crucial to your development as an artist. You’ll want to show potential clients what you are capable of, and of course how well your tattoos have healed after the initial visit. This may mean asking your current clients to return to the shop so that you can take pictures of your finished work. Offering small incentives or a discount for future services or referrals is just one way you can stay connected to your former clients, and continue developing your relationship, instilling that golden trust along the way.
Learn to Listen
Another essential component of gaining client trust is “listening.” While we all love to talk about ourselves and share the stories of our success, failures or other artist ventures, clients truthfully just want to talk about themselves and you need to make that happen.
Consider her time in your chair as the opportunity to learn about her, and take a genuine interest in what's important in her life. As she speaks and shares stories, you are offered insight as to what interests her and what her passions are. What greater way to make future tattoo design suggestions?
If you are busy talking about your fame, you may have a client’s short lived attention and respect, but guess who is going to earn that client’s next business? The tattoo artist who calls, sends an email, shoots over a few random photos they think this gal may like, and the one who is basically thinking of the CLIENT.
Remember this is a RELATIONSHIP, and you are trying to “gain” your client’s trust, not the other way around. Would you go on a second date with a man who talked about himself the entire time, even if the dinner was at a gourmet, five-star restaurant? Not likely. No matter how delicious the meal may have been, the company left much to be desired. That’s not a good thing. (Are you doing this?)
Your client has a deep desire to feel understood. This is all part of making the artist connection. While the artwork may be yours, the experience should be for him. Aim to always direct conversations back to your clients. People LOVE to talk about themselves. Ask about his family, hobbies, what he’s having for dinner, whatever. Just make it about him and that's all.
Stop talking about you and your history, and you’ll be halfway to understanding what a person values and expects when they have booked both your time and attention. Believe me, if they want to know more about you they will ASK. When in doubt, choose silence and focus on the task at hand. You don’t need to fill your appointment with constant babble. Stay tuned into your work.
Enthusiasm is contagious. Clients love to see you interested in your career. It proves this is a long-term gig for you and not some fly-by-night passion. When your business cards are printed, your website updated, and your tattoo artist profile is VERIFIED, clients see you take your career seriously. That’s the other part of the equation. Building a reputation based on integrity, credibility, understanding and compassion will help you reach new heights in your career.
While these factors have very little to do with your artistic talent, they have EVERYTHING to do with building a client’s trust. No one expects you to be the world’s best tattoo artist after just a few months within the industry. These things take time. But when you actively promote yourself on our site and build a profile while incorporating these small business lessons into your daily life, you will earn the respect and trust that is unmeasurable within the community, and crucial to your development as a professional tattoo artist.
Image credit: Trust Tattoo