My last post was about getting the word out, and before I get busy with my early wedding season, I wanted to expand upon this topic a touch further in the way of consultations - the point where I or my work has evoked something within a bride or couple enough to be willing to meet up with me over a cup of coffee or glass of beer. Can I just say, it's an honor to even get that far. To know that either someone referred this new bride to me because they were happy with my services or have heard enough good things or my work stands out amongst the many, and I mean MANY, other photographers that are out there, is just awesome. Awesome.
But now is the crucial time, consultation time. I have to sell myself to you, the soon to be bride and your groom, so you can make sure I'm worthy of capturing what will be one of the most important days of your life. And it's nerve-wracking. Every single time.
Setting the scene here, I'll let you know I meet these potentials usually halfway between wherever they're coming from and me, which is West Bend. I'll usually pick a coffee house or cute cafe depending on location and when my guests are available. My new schedule is pretty flexible so I leave day and time up to them, ask them to shoot me a couple dates and almost always one works out. We are in the midst of engagement season and lately I've been meeting with one to two brides/couples a week so far this January and I hope it continues as such. But then comes the tricky part - self promotion. I wish I knew what you (my potential brides) were all thinking when I'm giving my spiel about our services. Am I giving you enough info that helps you make your decision, preferably in my favor? Am I asking the right questions? Am I giving you enough opportunity to ask me questions? Did I remember to mention everything that we can help you with - of course photos, but what about video, the booth, graphic design services? One of the things I forgot to mention at my most recent consultation was that if a couple decides to book more than one service with us, they will automatically receive 10% off their total, which could equal hundreds of dollars saved, and it is more than worth mentioning, I could just kick myself. (Although it does leave a nice opening for a follow up e-mail...) These are the things that run through my mind as I'm leaving each get together and hoping that I left you with an honest yet impressive first impression.
It's now 2014 and everyone and their brother knows a photographer these days, and most likely your mother's friend's daughter is going to ask for less money than I am, so I know by now not to take rejection too personally. And out of the past four consultations I've had, I have two contracts and feel confident in booking the third. So I know I'm doing more good than evil, but I will still let that fourth one get to me a little bit. I wish I could know exactly why people are booking me and why some don't. I would credit my curiosity to simple human nature and my strive to be the best at what I do. So, I'm going to ask some of the same questions I did last time in hopes of even more delicious feedback:
If married, how much research did you do before deciding on your wedding photographer or cinematographer? What helped you make your decision, was it based mostly on price, personality, post production options? Other photographers out there, or any small business owners that must 'sell themselves' on a regular basis, any tips and tricks you'd like to offer up? Please comment below!!!
Thanks so much in advance guys! And wish me luck for my next consultation on Monday!