Hi friends! Welcome back! We are in part three of the successful wedding photography consultations series. Part three focuses on how to successfully convert more meetings that you have with your prospective couples when you’re a photographer. In part one and part two, I shared my process of everything leading up to the meeting, the meeting itself, and now we’re in the crucial step of the follow-up. If you don’t have a follow-up process for how you are reaching back out to prospective clients, this is for you.
This is huge! The follow-up process is crucial in the beginning of the inquiry process when they first reach out. The more you have laid out your inquiry process, template out your emails, and figured out exactly how you’re going to follow up with people, the more consistent you will actually be.
We need to remember to get into the mindset of being a bride and planning a wedding day. We need to remember how overwhelming and crazy that is. Remember, there’s probably a dozen different categories of vendors that the bride has to choose from. What can happen is that the first email that we replied to can very quickly get buried. She may not have even opened it. By following up, you can actually help bump yourself back up into their inbox and at the top of her mind.
Oftentimes, we’re a little bit hesitant to follow up because we don’t want to be annoying, and we don’t want to be pushy. What we have to remember is that it’s not pushy to touch base again with somebody who initially reached out to you, and who is in need of your services. There’s a graceful way of doing so without being annoying. Let’s dive in!
At this point in the process you have had your consultation and you’re really wanting to book this client. You think you’re a good fit and will work well together. In order to make this dream client a reality, I encourage you to write three follow-up emails at a minimum.
The first follow-up email should be 24 hours after your meeting. You could send this as early as whenever you get home from the meeting or after a couple of hours of getting off of the call. At the very least you should reach out within 24 hours. In the email, you will want to thank them for taking the time to meet with you and to ask if they have any follow-up questions. This is also a good time to put in supplementary links. For example, if they mention that they were going to be having a cocktail hour outside, then you will want to show them a wedding where you did a cocktail hour outside. If they said something specific where you could then follow-up with something that is more engaging, this is your chance to do that.
As much as you can, template the emails out and have them ready to go. Customize anything that stood out to you, for example, was there anything unique about their story as a couple or their wedding day that’s coming up. These are great things to mention in that first email. Again, thank them for their time, mention something specific, and provide them with a link or something supplemental that you can share to show that you were really listening.
The second time I like to follow up with a couple is right before the deadline for their date-hold. I talked about this in part two. You will definitely want to go back and read that, because it will give you a lot of insight.
As I wrap up a client consultation I like to give them a date-hold. The date-hold lets them know that no one’s going to come in and steal the date. It gives them a deadline, but I also want them to make the decision for the right reasons. I find this works beautifully.
Right around the time when their date-hold is up is another opportunity for you to email them. You could say, “Your 72 hour hold is expiring tonight. I just wanted to touch base and see if you had any lingering questions, or if you’d like to see a formal proposal”. It’s the perfect opportunity for you to touch base, and it doesn’t feel random. You have an actual reason as to why they might want to ask some follow-up questions. As a potential bride, I would love that reminder to say, “oh my gosh, yes!”. If they had forgotten about the date-hold it’s a graceful reminder to let them know that the specific date will soon be opening back up to the public.
The third follow up should be sent the week after as the final follow-up. Tell them that you are reaching out one last time to make sure they don’t have any lingering questions or if you can provide anything further for them. It’s the perfect opportunity for you to wrap it up, to say thank you, and wishing them all the best.
However, if they have replied to some of your other emails then that will not be your final follow-up. You really have to figure out what works for you.
If they’re not responding, then you don’t want to keep emailing them. But, it is absolutely crucial to attempt to keep that line of communication open. It’s very likely that they’ll meet with other vendors and they’ll formulate more details about their wedding day. They might have new information that they would have to ask you. For example, they can ask, “do we need eight hours or ten hours?”, or, “we’re finding out that we need transportation. How does that affect the wedding timeline from a photographic perspective?”. By leaving that line of communication open you’re more likely to talk with them, and then book with them. That is why I think the time after the meeting is critical for their decision.
Being on top of responses and getting back to them quickly is big. It’s another opportunity for you to educate them. If you can provide them with more service and more education in terms of timeline, do that. You could give them a worksheet or let them know how you would work with them if they did book with you and that you’re going to hold their hand throughout the whole process, this is a great thing to reiterate. It gives them more value and shows that you’re going to continue to be of service to them.
Following-up is hard to remember when you’re in your everyday life, because you’re editing, and you’re doing all the things. This is why I think you absolutely need to have a process in order for the follow-up process not to be overwhelming.
I do all of this inside of Honeybook. Honeybook is my CRM. You could do this through a spreadsheet or any other client management software or just sending reminders on your phone, but I think that the important thing is that you have a set plan and that you have pre-written a couple of simple follow-up emails.
If you would like to see a little bit more about my follow-up process, be sure to grab the guide that goes along with this video series. It’s completely free, and it’s going to walk you through the steps that I take my couples through as they inquire all the way through to booking. It also includes a worksheet for you to take to your meeting. If you’re not sure what to ask at your meetings and you want to make sure you get all the good information, the worksheet is printable and doesn’t have my branding on it. It’s ready for you to use at your next meeting. Bonus! It’ll make you look professional and prepared for the meeting.
To see a little more insight into my workflows as in the emails I write, the automation’s I set so that these things can happen on autopilot, and how I send questionnaires, proposals, and brochures, you can view them here. That way you’ll be able to see exactly how I run my business on the back end. This really ties into what we’re talking about with proposals, meetings, and consultations. These little pieces are what set you apart when you’re meeting with a prospective couple for their wedding day. It is a huge win by having everything figured out, being quick about it, and making it seamless.
Back when I was starting out, I would send out proposals that the client would have to fill out in a word document. I would send it over and they would have to print it out, sign it, and scan it back to me. It was cumbersome and truthfully I lost clients because of this. The more seamless you can make your booking process, the more likely someone will want to work with you because you didn’t make it difficult. We can’t undervalue the ease of getting this stuff set up for our clients, because they have enough on their plate. They have enough to figure out without having to find a printer and a scanner and figure out how to give you their credit card over the phone. That is so 2002! We have to get up to speed.
If you are interested in Honeybook, try it completely free, and get a 50 percent off for your first year! The link is an affiliate link which gives me a little commission. It helps me to make videos like this for you all, so if you do choose to use it, I really appreciate it!
Now that we’re in video three of this series we’ve gone through before the meeting, during the meeting, and after the meeting. What questions do you still have as it pertains to consultations, booking and converting clients, and all things sales and conversions? Maybe you have your own tips? I would love to hear from you!
Again, read part 1, and read part 2 of the consultation series. Thank you so much for joining me here for this successful client consultation series. It has been so fun! Again, don’t forget to download the free guide!
Don’t forget to check out my Facebook Group Photobosses! This is a Facebook community filled with photographers just like you. If you ever have questions, they will help you out!