How to: Prepare for a Client Meeting
Getting the opportunity to meet with a potential couple who will book my wedding photography services is somewhat of privilege. They are taking the time to meet with TONS of vendors, even beyond photographers, so being prepared is always a must. Even if we are not the right fit, the last thing I would want is for our couple to walk away and base it upon me not being prepared, as opposed to my style. Below are my top must items that help me prepare for a client meeting:
- Research | Know your bride. Initially when people reach out by way of my blog/website I have already gathered some pertinent information prior to our meeting during the initial email inquiry (find the full list of email examples I sent to my clients throughout the entire wedding photography process HERE):
- Bride's Name: this should be an easy one, but from time to time I'll have other people (i.e. her mom or best friend) submit inquiries on the bride's behalf.
- Groom's Name: my first handful of meetings, it was usually just the bride-to-be. So, in conversation via email, she would refer to her hubby-to-be as her fiancé, as opposed to by his name. Quite often I would end up going to a meeting and have no idea who the groom was and instead of listening to what they were looking for on their wedding day... I was listening for his name... I know, big oops.
- Wedding Date: Again, completely obvious but if you ask a specific question like the said date, then they will give you a specific answer. Prior to asking, I had brides give me ranges... i.e. June/July.
- Wedding Location: So important, especially if you haven't photographed there before. Prior to walking into a meeting I can take the time to visit the venue, or at minim view their online gallery to get an idea of the location. (Tip: Some website don't post many wedding photos, so I always Google "venue wedding" to view more photos from other websites). Also, if I have worked at a venue before, I will use those galleries to showcase my work with the couple, and this gives them the confidence that I'm already familiar with the venue as well.
- Phone Number: This is so important for me prior to meeting a potential client. Whether it be the location has changed, or even just to update the couple that I grabbed the table in the back... having it handy is such a time saver in case you need it.
- Coordinator's Name: If I've worked with the coordinator before, then I will more than likely give them a ring to chat about what the couple is looking for in a photographer. If I haven;t worked with the couple before, then I will always check out their site and get sense of what their style is... because more than likely ti's along the same style the bride is going for. So when we are meeting I already know what type of photos I should be showing as example :)
- Anticipate Questions | I feel as though I have been asked every question in the book when meeting with clients for the first time... from "How long have you been a wedding photographer?" to "Are you willing to stand on a ladder?". Some obviously more predictable than others, but in either case I always try to prepare myself for any question that might come my way. The goal is to have an answer... don't confuse this with making something up (always be honest), but research questions brides are likely to ask photographers. For example, click HERE for a list of examples bride-to-be's might inquire about.
- Dress for the Job you Want | When I was little and traveled somewhere via plane with my mom, she would ALWAYS have my sister and I dress up. I noticed people of all age ranges walking on the plane with sweat pants (yoga pants weren't as in yet), hoodies, t-shirts.. essentially day wear pajamas. Here I was all of ten sitting in coach looking like I'm going for an interview, while the 45 year old man next to me looked like he just rolled out of bed... so. not. fair. However, it stuck. Though this might seem common sense to most, take a step back and put some time into your outfit. I'm not saying show up in a Marchesa gown, but think about where your bride is coming from. Maybe she's just getting off work, or her parents are in town and they just went bridal dress shopping. Keep consistent with her day, and wear what you want your brand to represent. All clients want to be woo-ed in some way... in addition to telling them how much you want their business, show them :)
Hope this helps your feel a little bit more prepared for your next client one on one. Feel free to your tips of client prep below! :)