How Frequently Should You Be Communicating With Your Clients?
Is booking clients similar to the ‘rule’ of dating where you are expected to wait a certain amount of time before appearing too eager?
When it comes to gaining a client’s trust, you must communicate effectively and frequently to ensure that everyone is on the same page. In the first part of our Wedding Workshop series, included in our Premium library of education, we take you through 8 communication touch-points from the initial meeting all the way to the wedding day. Let’s investigate why exactly it’s beneficial to over-communicate when it comes to booking clients.
This entire course is going to follow this framework which is basically our workflow, and our process. We start off with the initial meeting, and what we’re going to say is there’s a minimum of 8 communication touch-points from the initial meeting all the way to the wedding day. Of course, there is actually going to be more than that because more than likely, there’s going to be more than just one email in-between these processes. There’s also going to be emails and phone calls and so forth between and before the initial meeting and throughout.
1. The Initial Meeting
This is where our relationship with the client begins, and is by far the most important in determining whether or not a client will eventually book. In the meeting, we communicate with the aim to understand the clients and their backgrounds, making sure to keep the topic on them and not fall into the trap of talking about ourselves. Understand your clients’ wants & needs by identifying the product that they are looking for, and then tailor their expectations from the start so there are no unexpected surprises later on down the path of communication. This course is designed to show you how to build trust with your clients from the start, because with a steady foundation there is nowhere to go but up.
2. E-mail Following The Initial Meeting
Managing the client after the meeting and guiding them through your price packages and fine details should be your follow-up step after the initial meeting. Having a canned email thanking them for their interest and time, while still providing them with ample information to help with their decision (but not too much to bombard them) is the perfect amount of communication required for this step. The texts, phone calls, and emails that follow suit are critical points of communication as well, but going forward starts with the initial meeting and follow up.
3. Engagement Session Planning
Once they have been booked and all financial matters have been settled, start discussing details to plan their engagement session. Finalize a date, time, location, and figure out if permits are necessary for shooting. Show them that you are prepared for any scenario and show continued enthusiasm for your next encounter.
4. Engagement Talk-Through
Although the two prior steps can easily be accomplished over e-mail, the talk-through should be done over the phone, or Skype, so they can begin to familiarize themselves with the shooter. Gaining a comfortable relationship with your clients happens through constant communication and reassurance that they are in good hands. This is a great chance to get a feel for the couple’s favored style of photography and discuss their moodboard preferences.
5. Engagement Teaser Emails
Since engagement sessions usually take place months before the wedding, it is important to maintain a relationship with the couple up until their wedding day. We have a studio management team that stays in touch with our clients to make sure all their needs are met, sending them updates on their images and sending them teaser images (see any example here). It’s a small step in the overall process, but definitely one that shouldn’t be missed.
6. Pre-Wedding Prep Requests
It’s never too early to be prepared. Request a preliminary timeline from the client, or the wedding planner, in order to review the events of the wedding day. Having a timeline in advance allows you to prep for what’s to come without being bombarded with surprises while shooting. The pre-wedding requests can also include must-have shots, family formal lists, vendor lists, requests for shooting permits, etc.
7. Wedding Talk-Through
Similar to the engagement talk-through, this is your chance to give your clients that final ounce of security that you are the one to trust to photograph their big day. Put them to ease by running through the timeline with them and asking them detailed questions to avoid any issues on the wedding day.
8. Post Wedding Communication
The wedding is complete, but your relationship with the client is far from over. Other than delivering your final images, maintaining a strong relationship with your clients following their wedding could eventually lead to more sales in the future; Maternity sessions, family sessions, post-wedding sessions, album sales, canvas prints – these are all potential sales opportunities that stem from keeping in touch and sharing a bond with your clients.
You can see now, just how much communication is involved in this entire process, and how it is susceptible to variability depending on the client and their expectations. The goal is to understand their expectations, tailor them to your standards, and exceed them. To see more on how to effectively communicate with your clients to win their trust check out Wedding Workshop Part 1 in the SLRL Store or as a Premium member.