Booking and Prepping Your Client in IRIS
IRIS, a few things. When clients reach out to me, we have a program called IRIS Works, and we do go into IRIS in full detail in the family lifestyle photography class. So if you want to learn a ton about IRIS, head over there. But I do want to touch on some of this because it's extremely important to my business. It has completely changed the organization of my business. It's changed the way I communicate with my clients. It's changed the way that my finances are now integrated into Quickbooks for accounting time, for tax season. It's taken me a good year to really just know IRIS really really well, and they just announced, we're announcing it actually today that they are not integrated with Shoot Proof. So Shoot Proof was the very first thing that I ever started using as a new photographer. What Shoot Proof is, in case you guys don't know, you load all of your client's images there, and they have a, you know they have a logo stamp. You can stamp your logo so they can't download them, ...
but they view your images in Shoot Proof. You can actually have your clients order directly from Shoot Proof. You don't have to do a thing, so whatever lab you use, they link it there. They can order, the lab sends it, you're done. No problem, okay. Shoot Proof also has an amazing thing where you know it's like they send you a little app to your phone, and you can put like your 10 favorite images or whatever. And then when the client sends that app to their friends, you can click view more photos, and it takes them to the full gallery in Shoot Proof, which attaches to your website, which attaches to your contact information. So do you see where I'm going with this for marketing? So now because IRIS and Shoot Proof, I love both of the companies. I love both of the owners. They're just a smaller, you know they really listen to us, right, they've grown in a way that has complimented everything that we've all asked for over the years. Now within IRIS, you can log in and have Shoot Proof go into IRIS. So when somebody, when a client uploads all their information into IRS, which I'm going to show you. All of that information automatically creates a gallery into Shoot Proof. Okay, so everything's connected. So it's going to be just business organization is going to be huge. Keep your out on that because they are going to be introducing how to do it and more information. This merge just happened. But this is where all the client preparation comes into fruition here. When you're booking a new client, you need a place to put all of their information, right. And you need a system that's going to send them their client contract, unless you're going to do it by hand. Their client questionnaire, reminders of their session, books, or you know like pdfs on information about what to wear for their session, everything. And what happens is it actually goes into a portal. So Jane Doe here, Jane Doe has a session on x, y, and z date. I'll show you here in a minute. The questionnaire was sent, once that questionnaire was sent, they fill it out. It automatically populates into their client portal. Okay, so you have all of their information. So on session day, you're like gosh, I remember talking to her, but I can't remember what did she say that was the most important thing that she wanted photographed? I'm going to pull up IRIS, and the whole thing is right there. Okay, so it's having an organization system. Then they also have invoices, so within the invoicing program, I think we're kind of ahead. It creates and records invoices, and it also records it into Quickbooks. So within IRIS, people can pay their session fees, pay their bills. So we do all of our invoices go through IRIS. So we have a session fee, they can pay via PayPal, Stripe, or Square, they're integrated with all three. When that happens and when payment occurs, it populates into Quickbooks. Fabulous for tax time, okay. There's a lot of different programs out there. I have found IRIS to be the easiest to use. It also sets auto reminders. So for each client, I have it set, hey you know what, I talked to her about her lifestyle session, and I told her what she needed to wear. I told her what she needed to keep the house temperature at. I told her that she needed to get flowers, so we could have some flowers, but gosh, you know what, she's a new mom, she's totally going to forget because we have mommy brain. So IRIS, I have an auto reminder set that's going to get sent to them about two weeks prior. Okay, your session's coming up. Or hey, I know your baby's due soon, I wish you the best of luck with delivery. I hope you have a wonderful birth. You know, I'll be thinking about you, keep me posted. I can't wait to see you soon. I have all of those things auto-generated, and what does that do between you and your client? When you have this constant communication and preparation. You become close with them, right? So then when you arrive for your lifestyle session, they're prepared, right. How many people really feel like they're preparing their clients for lifestyle sessions? You can't because you took my last class. (laughter) Oh, all of you guys, raise your hand, we took the lifestyle family class, we talked about preparation, so I'm glad you listened. But in all honesty, wouldn't that, just picture, if you were totally prepared, your paras were prepared. And they knew when you got there, they needed this, this and this. They knew that you were going to be hugging their two-year-old and taking them off into the other room. They knew all of this going into it. Think about the pressure that comes off of you as a photographer, you know. They know that this chaotic scene of you coming into their house and the dog's barking and the baby crying is normal, okay. So preparation is key. So that's the whole thing with IRIS, is it keeps, I am an artistic-y person. I am not an organized person, okay. So when Kenny came over to run the business, I literally post-it notes, okay, seriously, see. So Kenny has since taken IRIS and turned it into, we're like a well oiled machine now, right, it's amazing. So when you are booking your client, you know what, can we go ahead, I'm going to talk about this, and then I'm going to want to switch over to IRIS if you can on the web. We send information about yourself and your pricing guide. So when somebody emails you, what's the first thing you do? You say thank you for contacting me. Here is my pricing information. Take a look over everything, whatever you say in your pricing, please let me know if you have any questions. I'm excited to work with you, okay. Don't say, let me know if you want to book. You say I am excited to work with you, right. Keep it positive, don't give them the out of not booking. Okay, you want to keep the communication going. A really, really good tip, and write this down, when you are emailing somebody, end the email with a question. What type of session have you been really wanting to have for your baby? Or when are you due? Or I feel like I went to high school with you. That happens all the time. Just ask a question, okay, because what happens when you ask a question? They have to reply, otherwise it's rude. Okay, so you're not having these people just emailing and going away, okay. Another thing I do when I, when they email me, the first thing I do is I say hey, you know I've got this newsletter and I tend to book far out, so if you're thinking you're going to want a session in the fall, why don't I add you to the newsletter so that way you guys get the first dibs on dates, okay. Not only does it give you a full newsletter of people, it also makes them feel like you're extremely wanted. Right, like oh I wonder why she books so far out, she must be really good, right. So they kind of get that going. And then you give them the option, you send out the newsletter and it books you up too, so it's really good for booking. Okay, so I do most of my booking days on newsletter launch days. I book twice a year. We book up spring at the beginning of the year, and then again we do our fall. And those area all the people in my newsletter who have ever inquired, okay so it kind of keeps it fresh in their minds. It's a really good tip for marketing, off of lifestyle, just in general, okay. So when people inquire and they say okay great, you know your pricing seems great, you're right in line with where I want to be. After that what you do is you're going to say, okay so what I'm going to do is I'm going to send you a questionnaire. Within this questionnaire, it's going to have, you need to fill out your name, your address, your phone number, because all of that information they fill it out and when they click enter, it's goes into IRIS. You don't have to ever enter in your client's information. They do it all for you, okay. On there it says things like, and the questionnaire is actually included if you get the class, but in the questionnaire, there's things like, do you like albums? Where do you plan on putting these pictures in your home? Tell me a little bit about your family. Are you guys the Pinterest-y family or are you the Amazon Prime family? Right, we're very different people. What kind of clothing do you like to wear? What colors are your home? Okay, all of these things that you want to know about your session is in the questionnaire, and it's extremely important because you are not shooting a lifestyle shoot for you, right. You are not trying to create the family into something that they're not, okay. You are trying to shoot them as them. So when they start asking you for clothes recommendations, are you going to tell a mom who's like, my house is all white and we shop at J. Crew, and we're just very put together. Would you have told her to wear like you know a rock 'n roll t-shirt? No, but if we had not asked her, you'd be like oh this photograph's really fun, I love this kind of you know bright fun colors, and then she'll say oh, but I really like to wear white. So you need to make sure that you're really in constant communication through this questionnaire. It can tell you a lot. After that, we send the contract. Within that contract, it talks about social media, all of those things that you really need to have happen. We do have a handful of clients, and this was asked in the last class, so I'll just go ahead and tackle it, ask me what if people aren't okay with social media? And that happens quite frequently. And what Kenny does, is he revises the contract. I'm not going to force somebody to be on social media. I'm not going to say no you can't be my client because you won't let me put you on the website, you know I get it. So he removes that clause and rewrites that clause within the contract, and then resends it, okay. You always want to be, you need to be human, you know, and understand those things, okay. Don't be so hard nosed on everything, that's just my opinion. You know some business philosophies are that this is how it is and that's what it is, but we're very flexible with things like that, and I think it really helps you as a photographer bond with your client too, if you're willing to kind of bend on some of those things. And then we wend our session fee invoice through IRIS. So for me to book me, we have a session fee, which is just to book the session. Once the contract is received, the session fee is received, and the questionnaire is received, they're booked, okay. We put the session into IRIS and it auto populates onto my iPhone and then also to Google Calendar. Okay, so Google Calendar. Anybody have any questions on these before I move on?
A question had come in from Erica Bowls. How long does it typically take to set up all of this? IRIS, Shoot Proof, linking it all together with the questionnaire, the contract, et cetera.
It takes some time.
What should people be prepared for to not get overwhelmed?
It does take some time, but that being said, Meredith Gradle, the owner of IRIS, actually helps you import all of your information if you ask her to. She's amazing, and that's another reason that I've fallen in love with IRIS, is she will actually like pretty much import it for you and get it set up for you. So it's pretty amazing. There are so many video tutorials, there's a Facebook group for IRIS, which is extremely helpful. Anytime anybody has a suggestion, they put it on that group and pretty much if she can, she talks to her tech team and they add it in IRIS. It's been an amazing company. So I would say, you know it depends on how long you're going to sit there, but I mean it takes some time obviously because you want to get it set up correctly. But that's why within this class I included the questionnaire, so it has all the questions that you would need for that. I included the email template that we send out, so that's in there. Those are two of the big things that get sent out. You know, those are things you guys kind of have to come up with or I'm giving you permission, you can copy mine, I don't care. You know it's just a questionnaire. So you can use those questions, and honestly it doesn't take a long time to put clients in because they're putting themselves in, right. I mean older clients, you have to gradually put it in, but only put them in as you need them to be in there. But the new clients put all their own information in, so that's easy. Shoot Proof is easy too. That's just, you know, picking you lab essentially, and setting up your account. Okay, so after all this happens, you're going to set up a phone call to discuss the questionnaire. Who's scared now? One, set up a phone call, okay. You want to be human, you don't want to be a website. You don't want to be Kenny on the other thing, you know a lot of moms ask questions like what should I wear, and Kenny's like, that is Emily's subject, that is not mine. So I'll have Emily call you, right. Kenny's not going to recommend what to tell women to dress in, so we always set up a phone call. And I talk to them, and this is the perfect time to bond, to find out which way the windows face in the house, right, to find out what color of paint they have on their walls, so you can kind of direct them and convince them there are certain rooms you're really going to want to shoot in, which we're going to kind of get into in a minute when we go over the details of the session. Very important to set up this phone call, okay, and you're probably going to have a couple because they're going to go shopping, and then they're going to want to talk to you again. Because outfits are really important for moms, okay. You're going to send a reminder email a few weeks before with details, we talked about this a minute ago, okay. Remember how we talked about x, y, and z? Here it is again, okay, so that way they don't forget, they're not overwhelmed, they feel prepared, and you walk in and you're ready to go, okay.
Regarding the phone calls, I don't mind talking to people on the phone and I actually try to as well. But what I've run into is that when they have my cell phone number, because moms are up nursing late, they'll end up texting you something they think about at, you know, midnight or two in the morning, and you know if you start thinking about work, you can't go back to sleep because it's your personal phone. So how do you manage that, to kind of redirect them back to email or let them know that text messaging is not something that you can stay on top of when running a business.
I would just say that straight up in the beginning, say when you're on the phone, be like hey, just make sure when you call me, call me on Monday through Friday. And tell them on the phone. Another option is you know like the web, you can get that phone number, the business phone number, so it's a different line, then they can't text you. I put it on silent at night. I never reply to people, I never reply to people after like six, so they know if they don't get a response back, oh Emily must not reply at night. I better not email her anymore. Of I don't reply on Sundays ever. Kenny's like that too. We don't reply to email or anything, Sunday is our day. I typically don't shoot Saturdays either. I still reply on Saturdays because a lot of businesses have open, but I'm slower to reply on text. So you kind of give the vibe. There are certain clients where I say hey text me your outfits, and then after that I'll say, hey let's move all of this to email. And I'll flat out say it.