Like most wedding photographers I need to book a certain volume of weddings per year at a given price point in order to survive. To be honest I am pretty much there with any gaps being plugged with corporate bookings but I would like more weddings!! Wedding photography is what I like to do and where we excel. We spend a lot of time and effort in improving our photography techniques but in order to survive you need much more than excellent photography skills.
I tried a bit of casual analysis on our business workflow, it was only then I started to realise just how bad things actually are. Think of bookings as water entering my plumbing system. The first point of leakage is my website, you come to me to book your wedding and find me dribbling on about water leaks. I know this is a blog and if you have read this far so do you. What do others think - am I putting people off before they have even clicked the weddings tab?
I want people to book us because they like what they see - I also want people to be comfortable in their choice and to not be subjected to ninja sales tricks and up-selling cons.
So you make it through the website, god forbid you call me. I could be anywhere when that phone rings and if it is safe to do so I will answer and do my very best. You see, I am not answering from a sterile call centre environment, I will probably be walking the dogs, in Tesco or on another job. I am unlikely to be at my desk with my calendar in front of me. My next trick is to ask if you have seen my website, this effectively puts a barrier in the way of me fixing a meeting which really should be the next step. I have this in built mechanism that makes me want you to be sure I am right for you - I am the opposite of a salesperson. It would be like walking into a car showroom and the salesman saying, please take a brochure go home have a look at it and if you are sure you like the car cal me back!!
You will see that already I have leaked away some potentially good leads. I could also talk about my wedding fayre leaks ... every other photographer comes away with bookings, not me!! I think I get bored, this starts to show in my already grumpy looking face and I scare the punters away. I am considering a mask for the next fayre!! I am really not grumpy and if you do talk to me you will find that I am actually quite nice - I will chat to you about anything rather than selling you a wedding photography package.
I could go on and on but the bottom line is that if I managed my enquiries better I probably wouldn't need to do any more marketing. I wouldn't need to do that extra wedding fayre advertise in that magazine or pay to be on the preferred list. Does any of this apply to you? Where are your leaks ....