by: Amy Lyn, C.P.P., Contributing Editor
Are you currently doing consultations with your clients before the session? If not, I have three points that just might change your mind. If you’re like me, you are thinking, “But I don’t have time for this!” That’s exactly what I used to think. Now, however, I’d argue that you don’t have time not to.
1. YOU get to set the tone for the session.
Does this sound familiar? You show up for the session and your clients are 20 minutes late. The kids didn’t have their nap and are whining before the session even starts. The oldest son is wearing a t-shirt with a band logo that you can’t miss. You struggle, despite all odds, to get them into a cute pose and somehow manage to actually do just that. All of a sudden the mom whips out her camera and starts shooting over your shoulder, “Just to get a few.” You realize this is spinning out of control but have no idea how to reign it in, when the dad asks how many free 8x10s the session includes.
O.K. Maybe that’s extreme but it’s not too far off from some of the sessions I used to have. Until (you guessed it) I started doing pre-consultations. During the appointment I am able to:
- Give input on what to wear
- Explain my policies
- Suggest the best ways for them to prepare (you know…things like give the kids a nap!)
- Show my many product offerings and get an idea of what they’d like
2. Set Yourself Apart
We all know supercenters don’t do pre-consultations. Supercenters don’t have the time. I show clients that I am different and ready to go above and beyond. I don’t photograph 50-100 sessions a day like a supercenter and I want them to know the difference before the session even takes place. For me a pre-consultation is the first way I set myself apart.
I can ask questions, get to know them, and then design a unique session just for them. I know what to expect and plan accordingly. This keeps both my clients and me happy. And you gotta love when everyone’s happy.
3. Create Bigger Sales
I don’t say this in a “tricking them into spending more money” kind of way. But, I’ve learned, when I take the time to educate my clients on the value of my products, they will spend more. I can show them the quality prints and products I offer and explain what sets them apart. I can also take the time to listen to their needs and steer them towards items that would meet those needs. For example, when I have a client explain that they have little wall space during the pre consultation, I know not to waste their time convincing them of the value of a 30×40 gallery wrapped canvas. Instead, I can show them examples of family albums and how they are uniquely designed just for them with the ability to add albums each year.
…Plus, when you’ve met ahead of time, you know that your pricing has been clear and they know what to expect. There’s no surprise for anyone. And that’s always a good thing.
Amy Lyn is a Certified Professional Photographer working near Akron, Ohio. She photographs weddings and portraits and has been published in national wedding blogs such as A Paper Proposal and Borrowed & Bleu as well as in Chic Critique Magazine. She lives with her two adorable kiddos and hubby on eight acres of a photographer’s dream. Check out her sites and “like” her Facebook page.