Contacting Clients: Pre-Wedding Meetings
Okay, so you've assisted a couple of photographers over you know the order to two year period you understand how weddings work, you've got your experience you understand how your camera works, you've experimented with other types of lighting and you're ready to go on market yourself to the higher end in terms of the spectrum off clients that are available to you you've gone to bridle shores you've put your work into magazines, you've got a great website and the first call comes in that is a legitimate client that is the right target market you've got your fight, you've set out your bait and you've got your bite from that your first riel client now in this day and age a lot of the communication is elektronik is ah, a lot of back and forth with regards to teo emails and even text messaging facebook messaging that kind of thing some people do still telephone the photographer that's so funny okay, so your telephone manner I think it's really important to have a dedicated line for your phot...
ography business if you are running your photography business from home, it cannot be your local number at home where your seven year old kid goes and picks up the finances like hello oh yes mommy's just in the bath and she'll you know mommy does somebody on the phone for you it can't be like that it needs to be professional your clients need to feel like they're dealing with a professional and its business everything way going to speak about you have to run your business like a business even keeping business hours have your phone sit so that so if it's after five o'clock in the evening don't take phone calls at eight o'clock at night because you are then acting like a home industries hot dog type of business you need to keep two business hours then your clients will respect your time and they won't continually phone you after hours if you if you answer your phone ten o'clock on a sunday night be prepared to answer from that bride ten o'clock every single sunday night maybe eleven o'clock maybe she has a fight with her with her mother in law at one in the morning and she finds you you know and I'm talking about experiencing it is it has happened to me keep office hours and make sure that your your telephone manner that's the first encounter that you're bride is your subject is going to have with you so telephone manner is really really important now this is where guys have to pay special attention in terms of your telephone manner guys are very quick teo be under the impression that the bride wants a quote to give the required she's finding me for a price indira price it's not about that it's about listening to the bride because it's about details and this is where girls are very, very good they will talk for hours about the color of the bride's maid stresses and which flowers that they're goingto have and which venue they're going to be it in which cater they're going to use you're spending seventy hours on the wedding anyway, allocate ten, fifteen minutes to that phone call and give her direct attention and acknowledge her decisions. This is a very, very important aspect ofthe winning over your client's trust I'll talk about that in the second, but listen to her when she says hi day, I just got engaged on saturday night don't say yeah what's, your e mail address is in your court congratulate er while it's amazing that it might be the fourth person that you've spoken to that day, but for her you are potentially the person she wants to work with, so talk to her, listen and engage with her while that's amazing how did he propose? Ask her questions, be interested in her? You know some of you younger folk out there might not know the dale carnegie technique, but the best way to get somebody to like you is to be interested in them, so talk to her about her wedding, you know, say two while I have you have you found a venue yet on dh, then what you start to do is start together information about her, you're interrogating her. I watch a lot of elise, you know, c s I and all the all these programs on tv at the moment, with all the interrogations, you're building up information about her that you are going to use later in terms of validating her decisions. So when she says to you, I'm getting married at hartford house just let's just take heart from house for example. Now hartford house is a is a is an upmarket venue. I've worked there a few times, and I know for a fact that the food is very good at hartford house, so I will say to her, yes. Ah, wow. Hard for house is such a great venue. Jackie is such an amazing shift now she already thinks. Well, this kind knows about the venue. He knows the chef's name. Now that might not necessarily just come to you because you're thinking well, you know, if she says that's getting married at this place, how does how do you know who? The wedding coordinators? What I do is I collect a database off every single vendor I have ever worked with. So if I'm on the phone and somebody finds me and say says to me, are they getting married at the oyster box hotel? If I don't know anything about the oyster box hotel, I will say something like, oh, the oyster box that's amazing what a great venue and I've said the oyster box hotel and my assistant is on the computer next to me quickly looking up information about the oyster box and she'll write down jenny, she just stupid to me, argo, jenny the cold and they too there is amazing and in that validates her decision and she then thinks that I know everything about the industry, which makes me the industry specialist and then she starts to think, oh, I can start bouncing ideas off this guy, so use as much information that you can gather from her in your conversation with her don't go and tell her all about you and how many awards you've won and you know how fantastic you on how lucky she is that you know you are even speaking to her that kind of thing talk to her, listen and engage and understand what her wedding is about if she has a fixed date, if she says I'm getting married on the twenty eighth of march, you're either available or you're not none of this? Yeah, this other bride phoned me about that date, but yeah, I don't know if she's going to take me, so let me find her and I'll get back to you what's going to happen, it's going to make her feel like us if you do get back to her, that she's second choice and that doesn't feel very cool, doesn't okay. And then she's gonna ask yourself, well, why didn't that other bride book him, which is goingto make it bad for you as well. So you need to say, yes, I'm available or no, I'm not available and as black and white as as it is, if you have had another another bride ask you about that date ten minutes before it's got nothing to do with this new bride because you have to treat each bride as if her wedding is the only wedding that ever happened because to her it is so you don't go on about, you know, I've got three weddings that weekend and yeah, maybe I'll be able to fit you in no ways we're dealing with people that want to feel special, what we also have to understand this is very, very important when she does get engaged suddenly, as we spoke about in the first segment, suddenly she's inundated with information overload and she's also in a position where she has to go out and make a ll these decisions. Now she's got the mother in law telling her what to do she got her own mother telling her what to do oh yes remember you have to invite auntie piggy and we've got to have this and we've got to have that and don't forget that auntie susan is a great florist and you know this person is going to make your wedding cake you like whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa just leave me alone I need to make some decisions here now when you do make a decision and all these other girls out there that have been married and understand the process, what happens is when you make a decision, you are going to upset somebody in terms of the decision making that year that you know, if you've made a decision, you are going to upset somebody with your decision if I validate her decision she's actually got somebody who's told her she's doing the right thing everybody else is telling her what to do, but nobody has actually told her that she has done the right thing now lot of decision making processes in the human brain is about validation about what other people think so if I say to you, if you you know it's very similar to win somebody comes up to the bride and groom come up to you like, should we cut the cake now they want to cut the cake otherwise I wouldn't have come up to you so you go yes that's a great idea they just want somebody else to make the decision so if you tell them you've made the right decision that will then instill confidence in you as a supplier and you have then also made yourself an authority in the industry yes that is a great venue if she's chosen the venue already you're not goingto change her mind about it if you say it's a dodgy venue you're going to be the person that she dislikes not maybe I should change my venue so if she's made a decision validate that decision if she cyst you I'm choosing between these two venues which do you prefer pick one don't go I don't really know which one do you like she's asking you for your opinion and it makes you more confident because it is about confidence so much about wedding photography is about confidence so that would be your telephone manner now a very good trick very very cool tip about getting back to people if you say to somebody uh I'll see you at ten o'clock you know let's meet for a coffee a ten o'clock what does that really mean it means kind of ten o'clock ish so I'd expect you to be there maybe ten fifteen ten twenty right if I said to you meet me for a coffee a ten fifteen what does that say to you means ten fifteen but why is that because the human brain is conditioned that if I give you a fifteen minute increment then you're going to take that information and perceive it to be more important than ten o'clock if you go to visit a doctor he says you need to be there you know nine fifty like whoa this guy's busy I need to be there nine fifty so that I don't miss my appointment and you will not be late you will be on time so when you're on the phone to the bride and you talking to her about her wedding and you've done all of that listening and engaging now it's time to get the information from her and say to her okay, I'm going to e mail you what is your email address? I'm gonna send you my pricing plan say to her I will email it to you within fifteen minutes because what you've done now is you created an opportunity for you to prove your service so that she will be comfortable with you without her even knowing it so if you say to somebody I'll get back to you this afternoon they're like really well they really get back to me if you say to them I will get back to you within fifteen minutes the first thing she's gonna do is all right let's see if this is gonna happen so you go back to your computer you waiting you write down in your email things that you've spoken about in the in the telephone conversation which lets her know that you listened guy's out there guys are dear this is this would be really good for your own marriage is a swell so listen listen listen teo to your spouse is and let them know that you listen to them okay but it's it's it's another thing okay, so go back to your computer right to her say you know getting married in march is it is a great time of the year hartford house is a wonderful venue the food is fantastic it's great service their congratulations on your engagement allow that kind of stuff like a lot of information as a guy I'm thinking she wants a quite giver a court but for a girl it's not about that it's about all the details and it's about he listened to me he heard me which means I'm going to be able to communicate with this guy on the on the day of the wedding get that already don't standard within two minutes because you're going to look a little desperate and you look a little bit too keen send it at about ten minutes because sometimes it goes to a server so that goes to serve it hangs around at the server for a little while and maybe only goes to her computer you know, ten, fifteen minutes later you need to make sure that that mail arrives in her mailbox twelve minutes after you've you say that if you say fifteen minutes time it's going around arrive in her mailbox twelve minutes I guarantee you as that thing arrives in him in a mailbox she's going to be like, wow, that's cool already she knows I'm not going to be late for her wedding I'm reliable. I'm true to my word I've center so many subliminal messages that she already has got this connection with me I've listened to her and I'm going to be on time what what more can she want? I mean great pictures that's besides the point ready it's about making sure that that I connect with her. Okay? So that's telephone manner email protocol would be a similar concept with regards to validating her decisions and understanding what you know what it's what it's about their very, very important change the subject line and this has huge psychological implications as well. So many times you send mails back and forth back and forth back and forth that you know, maybe a week later you're talking about something completely different to what the subject line says so change the subject line to something that is pertinent to her wedding so say she sends out a group e mail to ten different photographers and she doesn't it eight o'clock in the morning and it goes out to ten different photographers and everybody hits reply and since back their quotes and they duel that kind of thing and you take the time to read her her email to see where she's getting married when she's getting married all that kind of stuff take that information put it into the subject line when it arrives in her mailbox how can she not open it and what is that saying that is saying I am sending you a quote for your wedding because no other wedding can happen on the planet on that day at that venue will some venues of five six weddings a day but not the high end weddings so you are sending a a key a message to her that your wedding is special and I'm shooting for your winning okay I would like two minutes for questions and then and then I need to move on to the to the engagement side of things and my concepts regarding the game decision so you guys got any questions? Yeah you're ok you've got questions but you uh you do receive two inquires for the same date within half an hour of each other do you give it to the first person that put the deposit on or is that just you say you're available both yeah I say that I'm available for both because until the deposit is paid I am available for both I can't take the risk it is its business whoever puts the money in my account first as they non refundable reservation feats not a deposit it's a reservation fee sounds a lot more fancy and also with certain financial acts it means you have to give you a deposit back is a whole lot of legal complications that happening but call it a nonrefundable reservation fee but first person to pay that that person wants me more than the other person I want to work for them any questions? Yes er so sarah from kansas would like to know how do you deal with texting? Uh she has a business number of clients still text I imagine you've experiences yes definitely no emerges on spelling grandma you know you're dealing with people that have gone to private school, you know, it's important that your grandma and your spelling it is correct I don't do you are great, you know, it's it's not a good brand impression even if they potentially are doing it, I make sure that my brand is all always elevate I'd like that. Thank you. Okay, so in terms of going on now to the pre wedding meeting exactly the same thing you're going to listen you're going to engage with your client, you're going, you're going to make sure that you're on the same page with regards to what she expects for her wedding. You go, you go through your portfolio if you need to. I've had wedding consultations, pre wedding meetings where I didn't even take out the portfolio because they've seen all my stuff online. They've seen it already. All they doing when they come to visit me, is they coming to make sure that they like me? That's really? Just it making sure that they can get on with because they like my work already. So before they even come to me, I know that they like my work it's about do they like me and do that? Are they going to trust me enough? So I walked them through the postproduction side of things as well. Effective communication, managing your client's expectations. So a lot of that is, you know, like we were saying about the guy who takes his car in for for a service or for brake pads, take them through the process. Tell them why it takes the time it does take to get to where the finished product is. Going to the finished product is going to be so in terms of the engagement shoot. If you look at the engagement shoot, I like to break it up into three separate sections. The reason why I like to do that is I need teo. Sell those images to the mom and the grand so the first section is going to be very very easy I'm gonna talk you through it as we're going through it but the first section is not complicated lighting not complicated posing it is what is expected off an engagement session try back here real quick before you go on where would you recommend meeting high end clients if you still don't have a high end studio okay so the client finds you and says to you on that that's very very important if you've got if you live if you live in an area that is not up mark and you don't want people to come to you she says to you I work in I work downtown let's just say seattle I work downtimes downtown seattle where would you like to meet you say give me fifteen minutes I'll get back to you within fifteen minutes and I'm just going to check my diary and I'll see where we can meet you're going to know what is the trendiest place in seattle which is the trendiest coffee shop and starbucks is fantastic I I'm a coffee addict is what star but you're not going to meet your client in starbucks so you find out the trendiest coffee shop it's gonna be the most expensive cappuccino that you ever buy but you are appealing to your high end market and they are going to be comfortable in that because they're in their comfort zone so you're gonna meet them there it's nice hair and makeup nice clothes gonna go and meet them in their comfort zone and you are going to pick up the tab okay, cool answer the question right? So what we're gonna do we're gonna start off with very simple images that are expected mom is gonna love that they were going to be like yeah it's a cool shot but you know we have to understand that remember remember mom came to the bridal exhibition and she was the one who facilitated us getting booked so we'll move on to maybe a little bit of a story there at a coffee shop um we're going to talk about collaborating a little bit late on the third day high end jewelry, great hair, great makeup designer clothes we're going to talk to them about the styling and all that kind of thing I'm going to facebook, stalk them and find out what they like and suggest certain looks and certain scenes just like we spoke about fashion editorials, dot com little story going on over here. Once I've got my safe shots, I'm going to go on in, I'm going to go and play and I'm going to go and shoot stuff that might be a little there I'm shooting in a beveled mirror and then after that after I've got what I want in terms of the safe stuff I'm going to go and then do stuff that might be a little bit more risky this is similar to like a guest jeans campaign where you've got images that they are going to love as a guy if I had a picture of me and my girlfriend like that, I'd be thrilled that is just like, so cool I can't show my mates look at that all right? Gran is going to have a stroke when she sees that, but you're not shooting it for grand you've already fulfilled her emotional expectations with the first scene similar thing to this over here I'm just going to flick through these slides because we need to get going and start shooting without without couple but this is this is this is part of a part of it off a shoot that I produced a dvd about this wedding I think I've actually written a book on it as well it's going to come out in january those are that that's a real client, you know and that's shot like out of africa kind of meets tommy he'll figure if it list luxury, that kind of vibe where we've got great luggage that I went and got from from ah high end luggage store and I'm gonna give them images in return we'll talk about that when we go to the collaborating so images like that images like that that they are going to love to have a great big acrylic print above their bed or above there you can be a great big camera sprint it is not we're not shooting for mom and grand and auntie peggy starting off with right going back to a different session here nice normal backlit images type of stuff that's going on right now backlit images reducing the contrast by putting a little reflected in that kind of thing over there very nice easy safe images and I mean that just going back to that look over the mom's going on a boy looks so cute she's going to buy a print that type of stuff where it's expected so that's the first section then we're goingto there we're gonna step it up a notch we're going to start shooting images that maybe showing a little bit more skin this is this is ah a little bit you know kind of abercrombie maybe guess that kind of thing now he's starting to really get a bit more steamy and if you can see the story that's going on there he's kissing her as she takes off her shirt suddenly she's wearing her shirt there's a little story going on there and he's obviously quite well built and fit and now now I mean he's gonna love that how do you convey to them to get in that moment you'll see in a bit yeah, so there we go and then right at the end it's time to shoot images where you know right at the end of the off the station you can go and shoot stuff that it doesn't matter if she gets wayto doesn't matter matter if she gets dirty as you can see there's three separate chapters there's there's a latin phrase that if any people here are very educated they'll know it's something about perfect um something you can google and quickly their peace jim perfection comes in threes is that there's a latin and it goes through to interior design as well? S o three's worked really really nicely so the construction off of your book of your your engagement album you three separate sections because also it looks like you did three separate shoots on three different days and if you're structured enough, you can do all of that, you know, to know half hours, three hours and I want to talk to you. I'm gonna talk you through the psychology off getting a non model, a normal person to go from nice and happy and fresh to taking the clothes off, not that we're going to do that, but you know, we're on the we're on that kind of, um path and that kind of journey, okay, any other questions from you before we start the live shoot with our bride and groom individual shots in engagement sessions always because I'm going to make money out of those shots I'm going I'm gonna shoot individual shots off off and I will take you through the process of how we're going we're going to do that because psychologically they are implications in terms ofthe making them feel comfortable eso I'll take you through that but always shooting individual off him her to together I'm going to sell three times then because I'm going to sell that picture tio I don't have to go on okay you're ready I'm ready omni tree um perfect there we go my wife would know that she's a lot more educated in what I am so yeah there it is only on the tree on only omni to b um perfect there you got jim you learn something every day. Do we have any questions from incident before we start shooting? Yeah, we sure d'oh let's say I have couple questions going back to communication and emails and phone conversations with their clients going back just a little bit uh do you think it's better than this is from rooster who is asking do email or phone more often is there a preference when speaking to a bride? Is it good to have that tone of voice so she can hear what you sound like and get to know you in ahead of time? Or do you prefer email so you can let her know that drink listening within this electronic age things do get lost in translation my first contact with her would be in the media with which she contacted me that would be my first contact they're after it would be telephonically because I just feel that texting gives the impression that you haven't paid your pay as you go your top up I don't know what what hard works in america but you know if you're finds on a contract you just find because you've got a certain amount of minutes but you know sometimes people run out of air time so they text instead of fining doesn't make sense okay so to me it just feels unprofessional to be texting so I would phone if she sees me I can't chat right now if they call phone me back when you can or email me but my first contact would be my first contact with her would be in the same way that she contacted me thank you call yeah for one more we're gonna do it and change over weaken great so pro photographer afs and I bet you come across this all the time how do you respond to those clients that call all the time and are we going to talk during this three days about the demanding clients if if I have come across like I know what I'm doing and I'm confident in what I'm doing in the client is confident in me you get less off that and and I know that this sounds politically incorrect, but that is very much a middle market thing shooting for the middle market is hard, hard work and I mean this I mean this again this is my little loophole it's business, so if you're looking at the middle market, you're dealing with people that are less confident people that are that haven't got the money to look after their hair they don't have great skin that I'm saying they don't have the money to have manicures, pedicures, facials, yl that kind of thing so you're dealing with people that are not as groomed they don't have the money for great dresses so so during the day they're doing this all the time so that they don't have clothes that fit them they have the weddings are in less attractive venues, you're dealing with horrible low light conditions you pete you're dealing with people who are not necessarily on time, it is hot it is it is way easier to shoot for an affluent client you shooting a gorgeous looking girl in a great venue with great hair, great makeup, great dress you've just gotta point the camera in the right direction silver platter and itself it's like a self fulfilling prophecy it self perpetuating it's a lot more difficult than that, but you get the idea thank you absolutely all right one more before we start all right, this is from sara elizabeth and she asked this on the last segment but it's pertaining to this this uh portion right now is it possible that have these targeted ah, high end clients take you seriously when you have a nicely decorated home studio yes if you're in the right area yes, of course but you need to be in the right area and you need to be off a similar target market to your clients. So yes, of course of course but it needs to be a dedicated area. You know, if I lived in a very affluent ofcourse I'd want people if it's gonna work to your advantage you've gotta you've gotta work what you have to your advantage if you've got a beautiful studio andi it's not necessarily in a in a high end area but it's super impressive and you want me to look at this space that we're now if I had a client come and meet me there whoa look at this. This is pretty cool, you know it's gonna work to my advantage so you need to work what you have to your advantage so if you don't have a great home and a great studio I'm going meet them in their talk in their comfort zone if you do, you gotta work it all to your advantage she wouldn't work your best uh, you know, you gotta work. What works for you based on dh, go with that, definitely.