“You mean we have to order TODAY?!?”
If looks could kill, I would have been dead two days ago when this senior mom ripped me apart with her eyes.
Then dad came in 30 minutes late.
“Oh, do we have to make a decision today?”
To which the mom replied, “apparently,” in an oh-so disgusted voice.
I did my best to hide the eye-roll.
The order was less than half of my average sale, but that’s not was pissed me off.
But before I start into this, I want you to know that this post is NOT about bashing clients, about woe is me, or even about how tough it is being a photographer business owner.
It’s about a minor tweak (and an email script) that can save you the headache, the excuses, and the big-old problem of underprepared clients (even when you gave them everything to be prepared).
Because the old adage is true.
It might not be your fault, but it sure is your problem.
Let’s take a step back for a minute, put all emotion aside, and dissect the situation like that poor froggy in my 8th grade biology class.
Did I send the mom full-pricing, and info that she had to make a decision that day?
Yes. The basics were in the email body, the rest was in attachments.
Did the mom read any of it besides the info on choosing her date, and then the day/time confirmation email?
No. She said she was “out-of-town” and just “hadn’t had time to read any of it.”
YES, YES, and YES.
Has this happened to me before?
So we have now established that said client claims she didn’t open pricing and didn’t know she had to order that day.
We have also established that I still have a problem to solve.
And the problem that has to be solved is this:
I need clients to open and read the information I send.
We have also established that just because you send somebody information, that does NOT mean they will in fact open it.
So how the heck do you make sure people open it?
Well, let me be straight here.
I actually hadn’t had this specific problem for a while.
I took out one touch-point that I thought “didn’t really matter, was a waste of time, and just made me look like a forgetful idiot.”
And when I did that?
All hell broke loose.
Ok, that’s me being overdramatic. Hell did not break loose. I don’t even know how hell could break loose - isn’t it supposed to be underground? OK. Back to the topic.
The problem came back, probably resulting in a lower sale than if said client would have read all of the information.
To solve the problem, we need to beat the odds.
In other words, there’s just always going to be these clients that don’t open information, no matter what we do. But if we can make it so that it only happens once per year instead of 3-5 times per year?
Well that could mean thousands of dollars in rescued sales.
Strategies to beat the odds, + my solution, + email script
Strategy #1: Print off all of the info, and send it to the client via snail mail a week before the ordering session.
Strategy #2: Sit down with them in the studio after the portrait session to go over the full pricing.
Strategy #3: Remind them until their ears bleed and you sound like a broken record / forgetful idiot.
The last strategy is the strategy I use, complete with quickie email template. Mostly because I really hate sitting down with clients to go over pricing. Like HATE it, feel awkward, want to go die in the corner.
So here’s my overall plan of attack for pricing/in person ordering expectations.
Step 1: When the client books the session, they already have a clear idea what the cost of a session is, and the basic pricing information, specifically starting points for packages, albums, etc. This either happens verbally over the phone when they call, or when they read through the senior or family magazine they download online.
Step 2: Session happens. Everything’s rainbows and unicorns.
Step 3: “Let's set up your ordering session date” email goes out, and in the email body tells them all decision makers need to be there, because they only get one in person ordering session. Pricing is not attached at this point.
Step 4: After they confirm their day and time, the “Important ordering session information” email goes out (preferably at least a week prior to the ordering date.” Again, they are reminded in the body of the email all decision makers need to be there. Full pricing is attached.
Step 5: This is the step I didn’t think I needed anymore, but regret taking out.
The “oops, I couldn’t remember if I sent you this!” Email goes out 24-48 hours prior to the ordering session.
I know my assistant called to remind you today of our meeting tomorrow (Date, TIME), but I just wanted to make sure I sent you all of the pricing, and I couldn’t remember if I sent you all of this detailed info yet! Tomorrow will be the day you place your order, so be sure to look it all over including the pricing, packages, and start to think about who will need photos, etc!
It’s so simple, but simple things can bring great results.
It’s one final kick in the butt that says, “Hey, hey you, if you haven’t looked at pricing yet, remember YOU WILL BE ORDERING TOMORROW, so look at it, like NOW.”
Will this prevent ALL “I didn’t know I had to order today” and “I didn’t know this was your pricing” excuses?
But it will help you beat the odds with one very simple extra step.
So hit reply and tell me what SMALL thing you stopped doing that showed immediate negative results (or the SMALL thing you implemented that brought you immediate POSITIVE results!)
I read every email!
Cheers to FRIDAY!
P.S. I’d love it if you would like Photo Bacon on facebook! I’ll be starting to post using Facebook Live starting next week!