Talented creator Daniel DeArco—who goes by “Industrial Content Director & Creative Consultant” these days—recently dived into a topic that isn’t often covered for creative business owners, freelancers, or just creators in general: empathy. Specifically, how empathy can transform the work you do and help you connect with clients.
DeArco begins by sharing the research-backed idea that people—including the people who run businesses you may want to work with—do not make purchasing decisions through logic. The vast majority of the time, decisions are made subconsciously, “through emotional responses.” This is why a faceless advertisement that doesn’t make any effort to make you feel “personally spoken to” is unlikely to generate a response—you’ll ignore and keep scrolling.
How does this relate to you as an independent photographer trying to secure clients?
“If you’re a content creator, freelance photographer, filmmaker, etc. and you work with businesses, what if I told you that your clients might feel just as misunderstood as you do?” explains DeArco. “There’s a chance you might be doing this exact thing to them in person or online, seeing them as a business instead of a social media manager: a person who is running the account for the business.”
In other words: focusing too much on selling your services instead of understanding a prospect’s problems and needs, AKA. empathizing.
“When a client hires you for a shoot, they aren’t saying they want pretty images for money,” says DeArco. “They’re investing into the idea that through your images, their brand will look more attractive to the public, validating their work and making the marketing team feel more accomplished.”
Understanding this allows you to take a more empathetic approach in your business dealings by focusing on the problems your service can solve for the client based on their specific situation.
“Having this desire to understand your customer’s problems—whether they be personal or professional—is what gets you repeat customers and recurrent work,” says DeArco. “That’s a work relationship.”
As usual, DeArco delivers great advice in a piece of very high-quality content—you can check out some of our previous features of his work here. If you’re a working photographer, or you aspire to be, we highly recommend watching the full video above and checking out Daniel’s YouTube channel for lots more great advice and inspirational content.