Since the beginning of the year, I’ve required potential clients to call me on the phone to talk about photo sessions. Here are some observations about that.
First, I get a lot of emails asking, “How much?” to which I reply, “Give me a call!” Why do I do that? Why not just list prices on my website and be done with it? Several reasons. There is no way to show a client the excitement of a photo session via email. Photography is very personal and I need to connect with clients to get them the best photos.
Second, even though it’s incredibly simple to pick up the phone to call someone – many people won’t even do that! By requiring people to call, it filters out potential clients who are likely price shopping and not really committed to getting the best photos possible. If someone can’t take five minutes to chat with me on the phone, they’re not going to be invested in the photo session. They might as well go to Wal*Mart for a $10 portrait where they can walk-in, the photographer will shoot two or three frames, and that’s it. I’m not that type of photographer. I work with individuals to get them the best possible photos.
Third, I have made a couple of exceptions to this phone-first rule. I met several potential clients for a consultation without talking on the phone first. The majority of them did not book a photo session.
On the other hand, when a potential client calls on the phone first (no email), my booking rate is 100-percent! You read that correctly – 100-percent!
After two and half months of testing this concept, it’s becoming clear what works and what doesn’t work. When someone emails, “How much?” and I ask them to call to chat and they don’t, they likely were not very serious anyway. On the other hand, when they pick-up the phone and call to ask, “How much?”, they are usually quite serious.
Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself. Stop dealing with potential clients over email and get them to call instead. You will quickly separate the wheat from the chaff!
BTW: this photo has nothing to do with this post. It’s just a nice photo and blog posts always look better with a nice photo!
© Pete Springer
Portland photographer Pete Springer