When I first started in photography, I had no one to tell me what to do, how to do it and when it needed to be done. So when I started working with other photographers that acted like they wanted to know the secrets to what I have worked hard to figure out by myself, I only felt the need to help in order for them not to have to struggle like I had to struggle.
One of the areas that we tend to have issues with is knowing how to respond to that potential client. What do we say, when do we say it and what do we do afterwards? In this short blog, I will tell you a few steps that make sense to me and my brand.
You get an email from your potential client what do you do next?
1. Respond within 24 hours of the initial email. That potential client will brag to you and others how quickly you responded. When you respond promptly, the initial thought is "professionalism", they know that you are ready and willing to work with them.
2. If you are not using a CRM system, send the client your package information. Let them see a PDF file that includes all of what you offer. Include (to save time) the selective dates that you have available. This is to create a small sense of urgency.
3. Your potential client may be more concerned about the ideas they have in their head. You may have to simultaneously juggle selling your services, by reassuring the client you can do the job intended. Here's what may happen:
A. The client may want you to do shots that don't fit your brand.
B. The client will ask you where will you have the session. (Don't tell them yet... I will tell you why later.)
C. The client will mention they have worked with other photographers before (BEWARE)
D. They don't respond to your quote/package
What do you do when clients want you to lay them in a field of lilies with war paint on? You must determine if these are the type of clients you want to be inundated with in the future. It’s just like when photographers start using models to build their portfolio. They start getting “models” from all over and they can’t seem to reach their intended audience. Your potential clients and viewers usually can sense if you are using a model because of how the photographer may advertise, the way the model is styled or posed or because you post the same “model” too many times on your social media page or website. Be Selective.
Why do I say it’s not a great idea to give the clients an immediate response to where you will take them for their session? 1. The potential client is not yet your client. 2. They have not paid you a retainer fee. 3. The client could probably be fishing for ideas to take to another photographer that is less expensive than yourself. So, if the inquirer has yet to book you properly, they can immediately go to another photographer with the clothing ideas, venues, as well as any other advice you have given them. So, you have now lost the client, and a venue that even the most non-skilled photographer couldn’t mess up.
When your client’s references, they have worked with other photographers, it may be a sign that they have finally seen the light and are recognizing good photography. Or it may be they have been the client from hell. You need to listen to all the warning signs and know your local photographers.
If after you have been diligent and done your part as a business owner, and you have not heard from your client. Don’t assume they couldn’t afford you. Follow up to make sure they received your email. Sometimes our emails get lost in “email heaven”. Let them know that you were following up on the inquiry because you have pending sessions to reply too or whatever you want to say to get them to respond. Sometimes it takes a phone call as well.