Potential leads may not book you for many reasons. Maybe you are out of budget completely for them, maybe your style is not on par with what they wanted, or perhaps it was just not the right time for them. Knowing how to work with your leads can help create a solid stream of clients to book you solid throughout the year.
1. You Suck at Communicating
Lets face it: if you are not getting on the phone to speak with them or communicating through email, chances are you are not getting the booking. There are plenty of photographers using an online booking method, which does in fact work wonders, but they are also using workflow questionnaires to make sure the client and photographer are a perfect match. The last thing you want to deal with down the road is miscommunication on your style, your personality, or your prices.
Getting them into the studio for a pre consult is my personal preference as to get to know them. Outlining expectations, time frames and payment plan options have saved me time and time again from the headaches of the clients saying they did not realize something about X,Y or Z. While it is a great day and age with digital communications in reference to texting, a good old fashion sit down in person pre consult will not only will help you understand the client, but also help them understand you. As an testament to that, I have never met a person who did not book after a pre consult.
2. You Have Overwhelmed Them With Options
If you think having multiple options so you can please everyone is the way to go, think about when you are faced with the same situation. Most clients have a general idea of what they are looking for, but come to you as the artist to help narrow it down. If you overwhelm them with piles of albums, five-page pricing charts, and add-ons, they may think they are in over their heads and need to take more time to mull it over.
Keep it simple in the beginning. Show them a few collections that are the most popular with the followup that if these packages do not fit their dream session, they can customize it a la carte. Remember they may not understand all the jargon the way a photographer would, so keep it simple so they can focus on the session instead of your warehouse of options.
3. You Oversold or Over Pressured the Lead
You might be overselling the lead with the idea that they care about your long list of accolades or publications. They came to you either because they saw your work, were refereed by a friend, or your SEO was rocking lately and had you at the top of the list. If the lead comes in through email with some questions and you start writing a bio back to them with awards, namedropping, or even links to where you were published, chances are they might step back a bit with feelings that you will not be dedicating your energy to them, since it all seems to be on yourself.
Take a step back and realize your work should speak for itself. Your awards are on your website along with published links if they truly wanted to see (if they have not already taken a look). Remembering to be a bit humble in this process goes a long way with clients. Leave the over-bragging to the forums and group pages with your fellow photographers who understand how proud you are of your work. When it comes to your clients, bragging more about them and less about yourself will go a long way in their minds!.
While there are many other reasons that a lead may not be sealing the deal, these three quick tips can help push a few more clients into your funnel. If you have any tips you think have really helped you out with leads, feel free to write them below!