By Kelly Benton on | No Comments
As a photographer and small business owner, our business, brand and our personal identity are endlessly linked. There is no big corporate logo to hide behind and no sales or public relations team to handle all your interactions with clients. It is just you out there, trying to make a good impression.
Because wedding consultations are THE most common path to booking weddings, it is absolutely crucial that you handle each one with confidence, ease, and a whole lot of charm.
From start to finish, here are some key tips for surviving your first wedding consultation:
You don’t need a studio or dedicated office space to have successful consultations. I usually give my clients the option to meet at my place, their place, or a coffee shop.
The most common meeting location for me is a coffee shop. I have one shop in each part of town that I like to visit, depending on where the clients live. I always make sure I leave a good tip, especially if we don’t end up purchasing much otherwise.
What to bring to a photography consultation will vary from person to person, but here is what I bring, which can be a good starting point if you are stumped (or you think you might be forgetting something):
I bring one wedding album, one parent album, and one mini album. Do not let anyone tell you can’t book a wedding with only one sample album. Lies... all of it. I’ve been using one album for the past 2+ years, and have never had an issue, nor had anyone ask to see another one.
Why? Because they your potential customers aren’t really looking at the photos… they are checking out the album and seeing if they like it. I also bring along album color samples, but that’s totally optional.
Even if it’s a digital copy, do not forget to bring your wedding contract and a price list. I also bring a large and small self-addressed stamped envelope. The large one is in case they woul like to take the contract home to think it over. The small one is in case they sign the contract but forget their payment.
I do this because I don’t want my clients to have to pay for postage. It’s a simple thing, but it says a lot about how I run my business and the kind of customer service I want them to know they will get when they hire me.
If you are only going to use one album, you should probably bring another form of portfolio like a computer or iPad to show off your wedding images. Do NOT assume the client has already seen your website or blog.
I like to bring along a little gift for clients who book on the spot. But it stays hidden until they sign on the dotted line, to prevent awkwardness.
Pens (more than one!), post-it notes, business cards, and cash.
I VERY highly recommend that you have a plan or checklist to guide you through the consultation. It does not have to be complicated.
My wedding photography consulation checklist goes something like this:
Whatever you do, remember to keep the meeting all about them. Studies have shown that we as humans feel more positively about people we meet when the conversation is focused on us.
I remember when I first started doing consultations, my biggest fear was those “gotcha” moments, when the client asks something that I would not be able to answer.
To be honest? That’s never happened to me. Most of the time, they will just ask about your pricing, what is included (first look, second shooter, etc), and they may ask about your responsibilities during the wedding day. So practice your answers to those big questions and stay confident. Your potential clients are there to learn about you, not to search for your flaws.
You need to find the sweet spot between being too pushy, and not asking for what you want. Let’s face it… it’s not a surprise that you want them to book with you, so do not be afraid to bring it up.
I usually end with something like “Are you ready to book today?”, and if they say no, I try to answer any additional questions they may have, then I drop it. Most of the time, couples head into a consultation already knowing whether or not they are going to book on the spot, so don’t let it fluster you if they don’t book right away.
Make sure you follow up when you get home (or the next day), and answer any questions you didn't get to during the consultation. Then, follow up again a week or so later if you have not heard from them.
I find that most clients who end up booking with me do so on the spot, or within a day or two, but there is always the exception, and you sure don’t want to leave a good wedding lead hanging.
I know a lot more goes into booking a client than what I could fit in here, so leave a comment below with your burning wedding consultation questions, and I will try to get them answered! And PLEASE SHARE this post using the social sharing buttons (I really appreciate it)!
Good luck, and remember… your potential clients are really there to meet you and get a sense of who you are and how you will interact with them on their big day. So stay positive, upbeat, and let your personality shine!!
Images above all from the talented women behind K&C Photography from Montana edited with Lightroom presets from Pretty Film Bohemian preset Collection.
Kelly Benton lives with her husband and two adorable dachshunds in Northeast Indiana, where she works from home as a Wedding Photographer. When she’s not photographing over people’s love, she’s a wannabe-rockstar triathlete with a penchant for funny movies and craft beer.