The beginning of the 2016 Wedding season is upon us and that means almost 200 weddings booked for Sam Stroud Photography. I am floored that so many choose to work with us, but it isn’t also by accident. I go out of my way and work hard on ensuring that we book that client that emails us. No, we don’t book everyone, and you never will (or should) but we book a lot of the brides we are looking for and I want to take a few minutes to share some tips with you on how to take that relationship beyond just the first email inquiring about pricing.
1. Be Specific - There is nothing more annoying than having to pull information out of someone selling you something. If someone emails you and asks for availability and pricing, give them your availability and pricing. It may seem simple, but do you know how many times a bride has told me how hard it was talking to other photographers? If they email you asking for something, GIVE IT TO THEM!
2. Be Thorough - Again, this may be the same as the first point, but be as specific as possible and be as thorough as you possibly can. Meaning, talk to them about who you are, what you do, how you do it and how much it’s going to cost them. They have contacted you, so they are interested. The first part, the hardest part is over. You have them interested. Don’t lose them by not being direct with them.
3. Sell Them Your Experience - Yes, they are paying you to photograph their wedding. But rarely do I talk about taking pictures with them. I highlight how I photograph. I talk about what the day is like and how I interact with my clients. Here is a snippet of an email all of my clients get on that first contact;
I love shooting at Pippin HIll! There are so many beautiful details and locations there to shoot and I am excited to take full advantage of it! Making a real connection with you and bringing out your personalities in my portraits is so important. We want more than anything to create images that tell the story of your wedding day in the best way possible and to help create images that will last forever.
4. Respond Quickly - This one right here is a no brainer, and it blows my mind how many people miss this one. According to surveys more than half of the people surveyed said that they expect an email within 12 hours of sending one. 12 hours! I also did an internal survey, and over the last 2 years we maintained a 90% booking rate of those we responded to within 8-12 hours.
We used to respond within in 24, but now try to get to every new inquiry before the end of the day. This may mean you rework how you respond to email. For me personally, I only check email 3 times a day. Morning, Noon, and close of business. But when I do, i respond quickly. Bottom line is, get back to your new inquiries as fast as humanly possible
5. Follow Up - And finally, follow up with your clients. Be creative with this. I sometimes use gift cards to Starbucks, or other gifts. But the point is to follow up. I usually wait 5-7 days and sometimes it’s just a simple two liner asking if they need any other information. But I can’t tell you how many of those simple nudges have turned into bookings!
What about you guys? What has worked for you? How do you handle bookings and what do you do to stay on top of them? Make sure to let us know and thanks for reading!