Top Tip 18: Keep Following Up on Enquiries

AWESOME PHOTOGRAPHERS, CAN YOU GUESS THE ANSWER?

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HOW MANY TIMES SHOULD YOU FOLLOW UP A PHOTOGRAPHY ENQUIRY?

Do you know the answer? Is it twice, three times, six times or not at all?

Well quite simply, it’s until they book or tell you they have booked someone else.

I know from a lot of research I’ve carried out over the past few years that 90% of photographers are not following up their enquiries and what’s worse is they are responding to the initial enquiry in completely the wrong way.

The key to turning those enquiries into bookings is persistence. It’s not done by hounding the client into submission or reducing your price quote until they take the bait, it’s done by building up a relationship with them from that initial enquiry and showing interest in their need by keeping the conversation open using questions they will respond to.

For example, most potential clients first ask you for a price quote telling you the date and venue for the wedding, commercial shoot or an event. The first stage to your reply before you even talk about yourself and your photography is to ask questions. If it’s a company check them out and compliment them on what they do and ask what type of clients they are trying to attract.

If it’s a bride compliment her on her choice of venue. If it’s a venue you’ve worked at before then tell her that and mention something about the venue that can lead to a conversation. For example; “Wow I just love Newton Hall, it’s one of my favorite wedding venues, the staircase is beautiful for photography and the food is just amazing, have you eaten there yet?”

If you are responding to her via Facebook Messenger or Text this is a great way to get the dialogue going and build a relationship with her in short, friendly, open messages. Remember people buy from people they like.

Once you’ve asked a few questions of your potential client about their needs you then need to format your price quote. Again, don’t make this just a standard copy and pasted reply. You need to personalize it as much as you can, adding details about your service that will reflect to exactly what they are looking for.

For weddings and portraits, you MUST reply with a very well written emotionally driven price quote. This is the real key to selling the benefits of your wedding photography and creating a real desire in her mind for your services, NOT trying to win her over with special offers or price reductions.

I can’t overstate enough how important an emotionally driven price quote is to turn an enquiry into a booking and so many photographers don’t even bother. They just send a bog standard crappy impersonal reply the same as anyone else does. This is your time to shine and really stand out. Remember most brides are not going to book on price alone, especially if it’s a mid-priced to the premium wedding venue. She’s not looking at budgets she’s looking at what you can do for her.

Likewise, with commercial clients, they aren’t looking for the cheapest photographer they are looking for a one that can offer a solution to their needs. A restaurant isn’t just looking for pretty images of their dishes, they are looking for amazing photographs that their clients can almost smell and taste in their Facebook News Feeds - they look that good. These photos will lead to bums on seats and money in the till, tell them that in your responses.

Make sure that you end your price quote by thanking them again for their enquiry and tell them to drop you a message if they need any help or advice and that you are only too happy to help.

Give it a few days then follow up with a friendly message to see if they had a chance to read through your price quote and if they have any questions or they’d like a more bespoke offer for their exact requirements. It’s often a good idea to offer a free top tips guide for commercial clients on how best to use images for social media or a guide to taking better photos at work from your I Phone. Go that extra mile, your competitors won’t be. Give them something for free and they’ll feel that you’ve given them value even before any services have been booked.

When speaking to brides looking for wedding photographers try asking how the wedding planning is going and if there’s anything else you can do to help or if she has any questions. Quite often a bride will tell you that she’s just in the process of gathering quotes, which is fine you just need to be the photographer who is at the forefront of her mind. Keep building the relationship and keep the conversation open. I have a great little “Guide to Booking a Wedding Photographer” that I send to my bridal enquiries if they haven’t booked after the second follow-up message (I’d be happy to share this with you if you drop me a message). Remember don’t be pushy, be helpful, friendly and informative. The chances are your competitors have stopped contacting after the initial response.

I once had a bride thank me for following up about 4 weeks after her initial enquiry, she’d just been in the process of moving house and it had slipped her mind that she needed to book her wedding photographer. Sometimes it’s just a good idea to remind a bride how important it is to secure their wedding date early on, especially if it’s a summer wedding. If you get another enquiry for the same date as hers then drop her a message offering her first refusal, this is often a good way to close the booking without putting the pressure on or sounding too salesy.

As always if you have any comments please feel free to share them with me and let me know how you get on with formatting your emotionally driven replies and follow up responses. If you need any help drop me a message.

Thanks for following guys and happy photographing, Jeff.