May 30, 2022
Some questions from birth photographers that I read quite often are:
How can I actually book my inquiries?
Why am I getting ghosted?
Why aren’t people responding to me?
How can I actually get them to reply to my emails?
Basically, it’s whenever somebody sends an inquiry through your contact form and you send them information about booking a session with you, and then you never hear from them again.
I guess you already know what I’m talking about and it doesn’t feel awesome.
It can start to feel like you’re doing something wrong or if you are really good enough to be a birth photographer.
And we want that feeling to end because it feels kinda disrespectful or that you really aren’t worth much when people are not responding to your response to their inquiry.
When you get ghosted, it’s easy to think it’s because you’re too expensive, so then you start considering lowering your prices or offering a discount right?
Or maybe you’re thinking, “they’re not responding because they found someone else whose work is better. Or whose work is better AND cheaper.”
So because you got ghosted you’re now ready to scrap your business all together. ACK!
Let’s hop into the shoes of your ideal client when they’re inquiring with you.
Chances are they are pregnant, they’re busy, they’re likely overwhelmed and confused with everything they need to do before the baby gets here. Maybe even they aren’t totally sure they want to hire a photographer, but they’re thinking about it. They likely want the best for their baby, but don’t really know what to expect when it comes to birth photography or baby photography.
They might be emailing multiple photographers and they likely want to get this checked off their to-do list soon and with confidence.
We take it personally. We make assumptions about the client and about ourselves when they don’t respond. And you know what they say about people who assume right?
They might not know who you are. They might not know who you are. If you haven’t built the front end awareness with your marketing and branding skills before they’re inquiring, that inquiry is what we would call a cold lead, and they’re actually a lot less likely to book with you.
So have you ever gotten an inquiry from someone who says, “Hey, I already know I want to book you. Just let me know where to send the deposit,” or “Hey, so-and-so referred me to you. I can’t wait to get on your schedule.” You know, when you get that inquiry, that that person is very likely to book.
Now, compare that with somebody who says in the message of the contact – “Prices,” or “How much for the files?”
So if we can think about the type of inquiries that we’re getting, it will help us start to understand why we might be getting ghosted. So if the inquiry doesn’t have a relationship with you, they’re much less likely to book. So what can you do on the front end to get your inquiries to know who you are? To build that Know-Like-Trust factor?
To do what we teach inside Marketing School, which is to be seen seven times in your community, so that when they inquire, chances are you’re the only photographer they’re inquiring with. And they’re pretty sure they’re going to hire you to begin with.
So start with building that relationship. That’s the first reason you might be getting ghosted is because your inquiries just don’t know who you are.
Listen, I love systems and email templates as much as the next person. In fact, I have all of my email templates for sale on our shop – thebeautyinbirth.net/shop. That’s how much I love them. I definitely understand the value of email templates and pre-writing things like that.
But when your responses to something like an inquiry are not personalized, they can quickly start to feel cold and lifeless and kind of look like everybody else.
So in addition to the first point of building awareness before the client even inquires, how can you then turn around and personalize the response that you’re sending to each and every inquiry?
How did they hear about you? Can you include that in your response? Can you do something that goes above and beyond, like including a customized, personalized video that you quickly send, explaining things.
How can you respond in a way that makes the potential client feel like they’re already friends with you and that they just have to hit reply and keep the conversation going with you?
Listen, I know talking about money can be uncomfortable and I know that you probably feel like maybe your prices are too expensive and you just don’t want to talk about money. So you just want to get it out there in the open, so that no one is confused.
Meaning, if they emailed five photographers at once and all five photographers gave them prices, they might just be looking at the prices and choosing the one that they think is the best. You haven’t built a rapport with them. They don’t know anything about you and your business and what you offer. And when we just send the price in a PDF, no matter how beautiful, no matter how well it’s presented, it’s so much easier to be price shopped.
So in your initial inquiry, what can you do to have them take the next step with learning more information about your services without including a price? One thing that we did was we always included a starting price, so that if we were just completely out of their budget, they didn’t waste our time and we didn’t waste their time.
But whenever you send over a full price sheet, it’s just too much for them to digest in one email and a confused mind doesn’t buy. So, how can you give them the necessary information that they need to take the next step with you, which might look like a phone call, an in-person meeting at a coffee shop, a meeting at your studio, or a Zoom call?
What’s that next step and how can you make it an easy “YES” in that inquiry response?
So let me ask you this: if I were to say, “Hey, I have a dollar and I want to mail you that dollar, but in exchange, you should also mail me $1.”
Would you do it? No, of course not. Why? Because it makes no sense. We’re exchanging the same amount of money and it’s all of this work and all this effort to do so.
But if I said, “Hey, I want you to mail me a dollar and in exchange, I’m going to mail you a hundred dollars.” That would be a no-brainer, right?
But we’re doing the same thing with our clients. Whenever we show them that what we’re offering them is worth what we’re charging, it starts to feel like a “No.” Why?
But when we can show our potential clients that what we’re offering them is more valuable than the money we’re asking for, that’s when you start to become booked easily. Because the value is so great that letting go of that money doesn’t hurt quite as much. It becomes a no-brainer to them.
And so when you make the mistake of sending over your pricing too soon, they haven’t had the chance to see the value in what you’re offering.
Is that true for every single client? No. Like we talked about in the beginning, when you have a client who already knows you or has been referred or knows of you, because you’ve done a good job with your branding and your marketing, they need less hand holding than a cold lead, than somebody who’s never heard of you before.
And that cold lead needs to understand what is the value of what you’re offering me and is it higher than the money that you’re asking me to part with.
And when you’re sending over a price list and the very first email, it just doesn’t convey the value.
And this is more than just your inquiry response. This is how your marketing and branding all throughout every part of your business on social media, in your emails, in your content, in your interactions with people, what do you value in your business and is that coming across in your brand?
This is one that I see often, and it’s a mistake that I made myself as well. Especially when you’re kind of in the weeds with editing and everything else that you have going on taking courses and getting certified and having your family home and keeping your kids alive and fed and all of that good stuff, right?
Because most of the time your potential client will open that email and have the best intentions to respond or the best intentions to click that link and schedule a consult. And then life gets in the way.
I can’t tell you how frequently we would get responses to our follow-ups and say, “Thank you so much for following up. Yes, we’re interested.” And it would sometimes be the second or third follow-up before they would respond. So your follow-up emails and calls to your potential clients are extremely important.
Now, should you be calling them every single day? Should you be emailing them after they haven’t responded in one hour? Of course not.
Because they took the first step, they want to hear about what you have to offer. It’s our part as the photographer to help them make a decision on if they want to go ahead with booking you or not. And if not, that’s okay. So we always encourage our potential clients to let us know either way. That’s one of the things that we say in the email is just, “Hey, just let us know either way if you’re not interested anymore, so he can take you off of our list.”
And so please don’t think that you’re bothering people and following up is critically important.
So I just said that you don’t want to be following up within an hour saying, “Hey, did you get my email? Do you want to schedule a consultation?” That would be really over the top, but definitely within 24 to 48 hours following up, just to let them know, “Hey, just wanted to make sure that you got this information. Are you ready to take the next step or do you have any other questions,” whatever you want that follow up to be for the action that you wanted them to take in the inquiry response email.
But when you wait 3- 5 days to a week, chances are, they’ve either kind of forgotten about you or they’ve already moved on to another photographer. In fact, our goal is to follow up within about 24 hours because I know 9 times out of 10 the people inquiring are also inquiring with other photographers and I want them to see that I am professional and that I am on top of it, and that I am here to serve them.
If you’re just sending one follow-up chances are that’s not enough. And like I said earlier, a lot of times it would be that third follow-up email that we would send that they would respond to. Because it’s in that email that we say, “Hey, this is the last time we’re going to email you. We just want to know if you’re ready to take the next steps.” And if they’re still interested, that email always gets them to take action, to get off the fence, to at least respond and say, “Yes, I’m interested. Can you give me a call?”
If you’re not following up at least two to three times, you might be missing out on potential clients. And again, if you want the exact emails that we send to our clients, our full client workflow process including our inquiry responses, you can head over to thebeautyinbirth.net/shop and there is a 15% off coupon code on that site as well, so that you can snag those for yourself.
This is super common as well. In that inquiry response, we want to make sure that they have the chance to view our work and follow us on Instagram and respond so that we can book a consultation for them and make sure they saw our pricing. Again, when a confused mind has too many options, they will not make a decision and they will not buy.
So if you decide you do want to send pricing, make that be your one call to action. If you want them to reply back with some information, make that your one call to action.
I found that the shorter our emails were, especially in that inquiry response, the more likely we were to hear from them. So don’t feel like you need to say all the things that you want to say to them in that inquiry response. Give them clear next steps and only one.
And that goes along with what we just talked about and not giving clear next steps. But if you give them too much information in that email, it’s overwhelming and they feel like they need to discuss it with their partner or they need to reread it before responding. And that means that they’re not going to take any action.
And I know that you’ve probably experienced this in your own life too. How many times have I sent you an email and you mark it unread, because you want to come back and look at it later? And how often do you actually go back and look at it later? Same with a blog post that you bookmarked.
And the key takeaway here is that very first point, whenever the inquiry already has a relationship built with you, when they already know who you are, they’re much more likely to take the next step with you.
So if you only choose one of these to focus on, please let it be the first one, because when they’ve already met you at an expo, when they’ve already seen your Facebook ad, when they’ve already started following you on Instagram, when their midwife has already recommended you – it makes it so much easier for you to make other mistakes along the way, because you already have some of their trust.
I hope that this episode was helpful in helping you identify exactly why you might be getting ghosted by inquiries and why, honestly, friend, that doesn’t mean anything negative about you. It really is just opportunity for improvements.