Tips for responding to wedding inquiries…
Whether you’re new to wedding photography or you’ve been doing it for years, there are always ways to do it better. The best way to learn new things is from each other! So I’m going to share what I do when a bride inquires and then you can comment and let me know what you do.
When a bride asks for information, I immediately send her to our contact form. That form asks a lot of questions… some silly, some serious, some about the details of the wedding. This gives me a little background about the couple asking questions. Immediately, I can tell if she’s our kind of bride by the way she answer those questions. If I get a one-word answer to How did you two love birds meet? I know they might not be looking for all the fluff. They mean business. While we are all about business, we know the importance of connection. It’s not like we would turn away a couple simply because of their answers to our questions. But we may offer a really sweet discount if we find out a wedding is taking place in a cool spot we’ve been wanting to shoot. That questionnaire is key for us. It eliminates a lot of back and forth where they could potentially lose interest. Learn as much as you can about the couple and their wedding day from their initial contact with you.
So what’s next? We use Tavé to manage our leads and to send proposals. I immediately go to the dashboard there and create a quote for the person inquiring. I give several options based on their response to the questions in our contact form. If they only need a couple hours of converge on their wedding day because they’re eloping on the beach, I don’t send them am 8-hour option. That would be completely unnecessary. Narrow down the choices so your brides don’t get overwhelmed!
One of the questions on our contact form is How many hours will you need a photographer? This is actually kind of a trick question. Most brides don’t have any idea how much time they will need. Some of them put that in their answer. Some say they need 12-14 hours. While that might seem reasonable to them, April and I know they’re really just wanting to make sure they get a snippet of the entire day. We know we can do that in less than 12 hours. In my email, I guide our brides to our most popular package while letting them know we’ve done just about every option possible as far as hourly coverage for a wedding day. We’ve shot one-hour weddings and we’ve shot 8-hour weddings. The key here is to show them a timeline. Remember, they’ve (more than likely) never done this before. They don’t know how much time they need on their wedding day because they don’t know how much time we need. If it takes them 5 hours to get ready do we need to be there for 5 hours documenting that stage? No! We can show up in the last 30 minutes and get some really great candids of them preparing for the day. But they don’t know that. You’ve got to tell a bride what she needs… not what she thinks she needs. I think the most important thing I’ve learned over the years is to give brides all the information they need up front. Show them a sample timeline in your initial email. Give them as much guidance as you can. They are coming to you for your expertise. Give them your expertise.
After this, I always follow up. I send an email within the next day or so and tell the bride I’m just touching base and making sure she received our proposal. It opens up the lines of communication in a less formal way than the initial email sent with the proposal. It makes me approachable. If all we ever present of ourselves is formal and professional, how will brides know if we are a good fit for their day? As photographers, we spend more time with couples on their wedding day than any other person. Literally! We watch brides get dressed. We watch them see each other for the first time. We spend the first moments with them as a married couple. We are there for all the stress, the tears of joy, the crazy dancing, and the send off. We have to be approachable if we want them to imagine us playing that part on the biggest day of their lives.
These are a few of my favorite tips as we head into 2017. What suggestions do you have? What is your technique when you respond to a wedding inquiry? Comment and share!