From inquiry to delivery, your ability to not only duplicate the experience for your clients, but systematize your entire business will determine whether or not your business can sustain growth. Are you able to keep track of every single inquiry and their associated tasks? Or friend, may be you aren’t even sure of what you should be doing for every inquiry and client. And while it sucks to admit, every task missed is a small jab to your business. It’s seriously imperative to create a consistent experience for every single client to make sure no money is left on the table. So let me walk you through the wedding photographer workflow and the best way I know to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. Yay! I’ll introduce you to my favorite Client Management Software for photographers (CMS for photography) .
Let’s talk from the very moment you receive an inquiry, what next? The obvious is to respond to the inquiry. There are various ways to approach your sales process, and not a topic I will cover during this particular post. However, what I do want to address is after your initial response: the follow up. What if you get ghosted?! *gasp* Or what if you chat on the phone and then you hear nothing?
The first piece of workflow necessary for your business is a follow up system. I’m not talking about spamming your potential brides every day asking them to book you. No, no no. I’m talking about a simple process of either finding ways to give value or simply just checking in. Repeat after me: Following up is professional. Not to mention, there is a statistic that prettyyyy much says a prospective client needs at least (something like) seven to ten exposures to your product/service before they actually purchase.
Y’all. How much are you leaving on the table without a follow up system? Let me just say, this is especially true if they have zero idea who you are. The colder the lead (as in they have no idea who they are) the more info they are going to need to: know, like and trust you. This is why word of mouth referrals are so powerful- they trust their friend, who now trusts you because of their awesome experience with you. That testimony of their trusted friend helps build that the know like and trust factor before they even talk with you!
I think within our industry as a whole, the follow up game can be a little weak. (I know that sounds bad, I’m sorry!) But when I was personally searching for a photographer there were very few who actually followed up with me, and when you’re sending emails in the panicked frenzy known as wedding planning, you can get lost as to who you’ve even reached out to. So those that followed up definitely stood out in my mind.
So, first order of workflow: Inquiry comes in. Respond. Create a simple system of follow up.
OK, so you’ve just booked your lead, yay! Now what? I’ll essentially just list some tasks off for you. And to make your life super easy, I actually have a free downloadable workflow checklist that I created for you 🙂 You can print these off and use them in hard copy of client folders, or enter the tasks in iCal, or the best option- create a workflow with this list using your cms for your photography business. (If you’re not using one, try my favorite one!)
Here are the tasks:
The wedding day has come and gone, woo hoo you made it! Now what? After I get home from every wedding, I immediately off load the photos onto my external hard drive. I also keep those SD cards (All cards in both slots) until I fully deliver that wedding. The night of the wedding I don’t do any other work than that. Because well I’m just pooped haha. But on Sunday or Monday, I begin to cull. Here are the following tasks that I do after the wedding day:
You may have realized … this is A LOT to remember! haha. Which is why it is imperative to have a way to not let anything fall through the cracks. And yes, if you have just a few clients it’s much easier to remember. However, if you’re in the habit of relying on your memory- what happens when your business starts to really pick up and you have no system set in place to make sure you do not forget about anyone or any little task?
I gotta tell you guys, I lived without a client management software (a cms) for a LONG time with my business. And living on this side of life is so.much.better. What I did before I had a CMS for my photography business was use iCal. I would enter the task on the day in my calendar that it needed to be done. It was a lot of work typing in all those tasks throughout the calendar. I hate to admit, but I wasn’t always great at keeping up with them. Having an actual software dedicated to keeping up with your clients and all communications is literally life altering! I’m not exaggerating lol. I feel like I cannot even fully communicate the amazing-ness of it. But, here are some of my favorite features:
There are literally SO many features that make this thing stinking awesome. Literally the best CMS for photographers, and I really can’t list all the reasons why here.
I know the heading haha, but seriously! When you are ready to take the leap for your business and invest, I really can’t recommend a cms for your photography business any more than I have. But in the mean time, I hope that my suggestion of using iCal with the workflow checklist (Plus an explanation of the bonus items you may not have ever even thought about) helps you to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. Now go wow your brides with an amazing experience!