If you are a photographer like me, and are diving in head deep into the wedding world and are stressed about consultation calls -- here are my tips to connecting with your potential wedding clients and getting all the information to them and learning about their personalities!
Personally, I get excited for client calls. Call me crazy but I love talking to people. I have had so many customer service jobs to the point where it's just second nature to pick up a phone, and call a random stranger. I can understand that this, may not be easy for everyone. I remember the first time I ever had to pick up the phone at my first job -- I was SCARED. With our world now, it's just so much easier to text and so growing up I really never talked on the phone with anyone unless it was my parents.
I'll tell you a little embarrassing story to make yourself feel better, and hopefully you won't be like me! This was a long time ago, I was probably 10 so my phone skills were not all there. I was put in charge at my uncles mechanic shop to run the front -- bad idea, but hey! I was confident!
I had waited all day for the phone to ring so I would answer it, I even planned out a script and practiced what I would say as my opening welcome statement! I nailed it, and was ready to impress. It's important to note that, these phone were the old school office phones. They were a little confusing to use, but once you got taught how to use it they were a walk in the park. I was barley taught how to use it. So this leads towards an issue. The phone finally rings, I answer it, give my little welcome speech, and talk with the man on the other end for a minute to see what he wants. He wanted to speak with my Uncle so I go to put him on hold, and guess what I did. I hung up.
As a kid, I remember thinking that this is the end of the world and that my uncle was going to be so mad at me for making this stupid mistake. To keep a long story really short (cause ya'll are here for just the tips and not for my childhood stories), it was fine, he wasn't mad, I was just really embarrassed. And I learned in that moment to learn what the hang up button was and what the hold button was. As a little bonus phone tip, down phone, like a s frowny face means they would be sad if you hang up on them. Smiley face is hold!
The point of this story is that, you are going to make mistakes in the beginning. You are going to stumble over words, and you are going to be really nervous. Once you get the hang of it, it's actually not that bad!
Questions You Should Be Asking During Consultation Calls
I love to connect with my potential clients before getting down into the nitty-gritty business side of it all! I will normally start out with basic questions about themselves to get the conversation going. Here are a few examples:
How did you and your fiancé meet?
How long have you guys been together?
What do you do for work?
Do you go to school?
Do you live in the area, or are you from out-of-state?
What is your family situation like? What does his family situation look like also?
What do you guys like to do for fun?
What is the most exciting part of the wedding day that you are looking forward to the most?
Obviously, don't make it sound like an interview. Just casually ask and re-word questions to make it flow nicely and lead into different conversations.
After I have learned a little bit about them, I then go into the more detailed questions about their wedding day and I also let the client ask me questions in between my questions so that we can feed info off of each other. It may also lead into different conversations that can benefit you! Here are some examples of questions I like to ask to understand their vision and wedding day:
What is the venue name? Where is it located?
Do you have a bridal party?
Are you getting ready at the venue? Is the groom also getting ready at the venue?
What package are you most interested in?
Who is officiating you?
Who is walking you down the aisle?
Are you interested in doing a first look (with bridesmaids, guardian, father, etc.)
What time is the ceremony expected to start?
Are you doing the traditional reception things (garter toss, bouquet toss, cake cutting, first dances, etc.)
Are you interested in viewing wedding gallery examples?
When you envision your wedding photos, what do you see?
Do you like the more detailed photos or more scenic photos?
Do you have a wedding coordinator?
Is your ceremony inside or outside? Is there a back-up plan if there is bad weather for your outdoor wedding?
How long do you have access to the venue?
Are you doing a send-off?
Have you had your engagement photos taken yet?
Are you wanting photos of you getting ready?
Do you need a payment plan?
Do you have a videographer?
Do you need any other vendor recommendations?
Are you still looking around at different photographers?
I want to go into more detail about why I ask the last question. I know that most people probably wouldn't ask this, however, I know that I am not the perfect fit for everyone. And if a client doesn't click with me, I want them to find their right match. I ask this question to see where they are at in the planning process. Browsing their options is not a bad thing at all! I just want to be informed just in case!
Things To Explain Into More Detail
My number one piece of advice is answer their question before they even ask it. If they ask you a broad question about the package, go into heavy detail about everything included so that they don't have to ask follow up questions. Here are some things I would go more in detail about to explain to your potential clients:
Explain to them your turn-around time for photos, and how they are going to receive them, and if they have the full rights to them.
- What I normally say to them for this question is that they have the full rights to their photos, they can print them, share them, etc. They don't have to purchase photos from me (this is just how I run my business, if you run yours as a proof then explain that to them), they will receive an online gallery with unlimited downloads. They have access to it for three months, and they can share this gallery with their friends and family and they to can download any and all photos they want! I do however explain to them that they are responsible for downloading all of their images to their personal device to save them, because once the gallery goes offline they will no longer have access to it.
2. Explain to them what all is included in their package.
- And when I say all, I mean ALL. Even if you think it is common knowledge they may not understand. It is common knowledge to the photography world but not necessarily to clients because they don't do this everyday.
3. Explain to them how you go about creating photo timelines
- I would explain to them how you create timelines, what all is included in the timeline, and how far in advance you make the timeline (if you make timelines at all).
4. Explain the booking process to them.
- Talk with them about deposits, contracts, remaining fees, etc.! So that nothing is a surprise to them when they go to book with you. I've noticed that the less steps, the better!
Those are all of my tips for consultation calls for photographers! My last piece of advice is, be yourself! The more you are yourself, the more you will connect. Don't be afraid to show your personality, people love it!
I really hope this helps, and I hope you feel more prepared now for your consultation call! As always, if you have any questions for me you can reach me through my email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Instagram!