For many photographers, this is the time of year that you're filling out your calendar - especially if you're a wedding & event photographer. Have you ever wondered how you can turn all of those client consultations into an opportunity to book more of the right types of clients?
Here are 24 things you can do to have better client consultations this year:
1. When someone sends you an inquiry from your website, assume that means they want to meet with you. Respond accordingly.
2. Offer people 3 choices of times to meet, and ask "which of those would work best for you?"
3. If you don't have a studio to meet a client, instead of buying them coffee, buy them dinner.
4. Always let the client pick the location (if it's not your home or studio). "I'd love to buy you dinner at your favorite restaurant. Where should we meet?"
5. Leave the sample albums at home. They've already seen your work. They like it. That's why they're here. They want to like you.
6. Ask questions. Then listen to the answers.
7. Assume they are there to book you.
8. Stop trying to find ways to save them money.
9. Ask open ended questions (tell me about... what do you think about... what are you excited about... what is your favorite... etc).
10. Have a copy of your agreement (contract) with you at the meeting.
11. Have a way to accept payment (square, paypal, etc) if they want to book at the meeting.
12. You should be talking less than 30% of the time. People like to talk about themselves. They don't like listening to someone else talk about themselves.
13. Never have a client meeting without a client. Mom or dad aren't your client. Bride and groom are.
14. Make a list of questions and practice asking them naturally. (more on this tomorrow).
15. When you talk on the phone, smile. It makes all the difference in the world.
16. Be prepared to answer their quetions: "why are you so expensive?" "why don't you include a disc of images?" the more prepared you are, the more confident you will seem in your business. Confidence builds trust.
17. Ask closing questions. "It sounds like we have a package that would meet your needs. So that we can hold your date, we simply need a signed agreement, and your booking fee. Did you want to take care of that with a check or credit card?"
18. Agreement is a much more friendly word than contract.
19. When you want information, ask open-ended questions (how do you feel about... tell me about...).
20. When you want a client to take action, ask multiple choice questions (would you like to take care of that with a check or credit card? I have three dates available for a meeting, which works best for you?)
21. Never assume you are out of someone's budget. If you are, they will tell you. Otherwise, act as though they will pay your asking price.
22. Did I mention - it's not your job to save your clients money.
23. Always send a thank you note, whether they book or not. And always hand write your thank you's.
24. If someone doesn't book at the consultation, set an expectation of what comes next. "It sounds like you need a little time to think about your decision. If it's alright with you, I'll follow up with you later this week to see if you have any more questions."