No more ghosting – how to follow-up with leads in your photography business.
Your email app makes the dopamine-inducing “ding” sound, and the little red “1” appears.
Your inbox has a new email.
You got an inquiry. A new lead. An opportunity to book a new client.
You reply with excitement and anticipation. You gush about their inquiry, go on about how you can help them, ask when would be a good time for a meet-and-greet, and press the “send” button.
And then crickets.
Days – weeks, even – go by, and you forget about the inquiry.
Then one day, you remember. You think, “What happened to them?” and wish you could find out. You also know that you should have followed up, but you got busy with the day-to-day, it totally slipped your mind, and the lead got lost in the chaos.
That leads you to think, “I can’t believe I let that inquiry slip through the cracks; I’m so unprofessional,” you feel disappointed in yourself for not being more organized and reliable. Ultimately you fear that your inability to follow up consistently and be proactive with your workflow may lead to your business failure.
By building a comprehensive and intentional inquiry follow-up workflow, you can:
- Be more professional
- Be more proactive
- Improve your conversion and booking rates
- Enhance your efficiency
- Reduce your anxiety and doubt
- Never have to second-guess if you’re doing the right thing
Unlocking The Mystery – 6 Reasons Clients Ghost You
- Life got busy: Your potential client’s life may be filled with many commitments and responsibilities, leaving them with limited time and energy to respond to emails promptly. Understand that their busy schedule may have caused them to delay their response unintentionally.
- They forgot: You are a pro at managing your inbox (or you should be), but your clients might not be. They may have just forgotten to reply. It may not reflect their interest or your professionalism; it’s simply a result of human forgetfulness.
- Circumstances took an unexpected turn: Sometimes, life throws unexpected challenges or changes at your potential clients, disrupting their plans and priorities. Their financial situation may have changed, or perhaps something surrounding what they inquired about changed. Be understanding and empathetic to the fact that their circumstances may have shifted, leading to delays or changes in their decision-making process.
- They’re still exploring their options: Your potential client wants to make an informed decision and find the best fit for their photography needs. You’re likely not the only photographer they inquired with, and they may want the space and time to evaluate the options and consider what aligns with their vision and preferences.
- They’re battling decision fatigue: Making choices can be mentally exhausting, especially regarding important decisions like hiring a photographer. Acknowledge that your potential client may be facing decision fatigue, causing them to shut down (make no decision) instead of getting back to you.
- They’re unsure of the next step: Your potential client may feel uncertain about the best next step to proceed. This is why you must provide clarity, guidance, and reassurance to help alleviate their hesitation and move forward with confidence.
6 Best Practices for Effective Inquiry Follow-ups
- Diversify your channels: Experiment with different follow-up methods, including phone calls, emails, text messages, social media DMs, and video messages. This ensures you’re not continually following up in the same way and falling prey to the failures of that particular method.
- Tailor the length of your follow-ups: Strike the right balance between brevity and depth from follow-up to follow-up. Be concise and clear in shorter messages while allowing room for more detailed discussions when needed.
- Space out your follow-ups: Avoid overwhelming potential clients by spacing out your follow-ups strategically. Give them enough time to process the information and make decisions while staying on their radar with well-timed, thoughtful engagements. See our tips below.
- Provide clear next steps: Take the lead in guiding potential clients through the next stages of the process. Always offer clear instructions and options and make it easy for them to understand the next step to move forward.
- Avoid guilt-tripping or pressuring: Maintain a positive and supportive tone in your follow-ups, refraining from using guilt or pressure tactics. Instead, highlight the value you can provide, the benefits of working together and how you can help them.
- Personalize your content: Demonstrate genuine interest and understanding by personalizing your follow-up messages. Do not be generic. Reference specific details from previous conversations or their inquiry message to create a connection and show that you genuinely care about their needs and preferences.
The Art of the Follow-up – When and How Often to Email Leads
Timing and frequency play a crucial role when following up with inquiries. You must strike a balance between:
- Being proactive and persistent
- Respectful of their time and space
Generally, it’s best to follow up within 5 days of the initial inquiry, which allows them some time to consider your initial email. If you don’t receive a response, a second follow-up after 72 hours is reasonable, which would help re-engage their interest. Beyond that, following up every 4-5 days is acceptable and balances space and persistence.
Mastering the 5 Types of Follow-ups for Booking More Clients
- Follow-up: the art of reeling them in
The first follow-up is a simple check-in. Acknowledge that they may be overloaded with information and offer to guide them through it with a meet-and-greet.
- Re-engage: Ignite their interest with one question
Touch base to ask an intriguing question directly. The goal is to pique their interest in a new way and actively engage them in a conversation.
- Check-in: From silence to success
Remind them about you and who you are, and acknowledge there’s been a lapse in communication. Ask about their level of interest or if they require further guidance, demonstrating your continued availability and dedication to an exceptional client experience. Additionally, you’ll want to foreshadow a looming “break-up” if they’re no longer interested to see if they’ll lean in when you start to lean back.
- Break up: When to say goodbye
If it becomes clear that a lead may not be interested or responsive, communicate that you will end your follow-ups. Express understanding that they may no longer be interested and have chosen another photographer. Thank them for considering you.
- Feedback: Fuel your growth with honest insights
After wrapping up the follow-up, seek their feedback to support your growth and improvement as a photographer. Ask for their input and to share their decision-making process and areas where you may have fallen short, along with suggestions for improvement.
How to Properly Follow-Up With Leads
Embrace Diverse Communication Channels: Experiment with different follow-up methods, including phone calls, emails, social media messages, and video chats, to cater to your potential clients’ preferences and enhance engagement.
Tailor the Length of Your Messages: Strike the right balance between brevity and depth by customizing the length of your follow-up content. Be concise and clear in shorter messages, while allowing room for more detailed discussions when needed.
Space Out Your Follow-ups: Avoid overwhelming potential clients by spacing out your follow-ups strategically. Give them enough time to process the information and make decisions while staying on their radar with well-timed, thoughtful engagements.
Provide Clear and Actionable Next Steps: Take the lead in guiding potential clients through the next stages of the process. Offer clear instructions and options, making it easy for them to understand and take the desired actions to move forward.
Avoid Guilt-Tripping or Pressuring: Maintain a positive and supportive tone in your follow-ups, refraining from using guilt or pressure tactics. Instead, focus on highlighting the value you can provide and the benefits of working together.
Personalize Your Content: Demonstrate genuine interest and understanding by personalizing your follow-up messages. Reference specific details from previous conversations or inquiries to create a connection and show that you genuinely care about their needs and preferences.
Supercharge your workflow with Sprout Studio and automate your follow-up sequence
- Write your follow-ups as email templates: Create email templates in Sprout Studio so you won’t have to write them every time you want to send a follow-up email. You can use Sprout’s robust variable system to personalize the emails with details like your inquiry’s shoot date, their name, etc.
- Build your workflow with built-in timing gaps: Build your follow-up sequence using Sprout Studio’s workflow feature to automate your follow-up process effortlessly. Add your email templates to this workflow and set up your timing gaps strategically. This ensures consistent and timely follow-up communication without any extra effort.
- Automatically apply workflows to your leads: Utilize Sprout Studio’s lead management system to apply the appropriate workflow to each lead automatically. Take advantage of the bonus functionality by creating customized workflows for different types of shoots, such as weddings, newborns, or family sessions. By associating specific workflows with different lead types, you can ensure that each lead receives tailored and relevant follow-up communication, streamlining your client management process.
When you use the strategy above and implement it into Sprout Studio, your lead follow-up is on autopilot!
No more ghosting! Following up with inquiries is crucial for the success of your photography business. By understanding the reasons why clients may ghost you and implementing best practices for effective follow-ups, you can improve your professionalism, conversion rates, efficiency, and overall client experience.
Remember to diversify your communication channels, tailor your follow-ups, provide clear next steps, avoid pressuring tactics, and personalize your messages. Additionally, using a powerful tool like Sprout Studio can supercharge your workflow and automate your follow-up sequence, making it easier than ever to stay on top of your inquiries and book more clients. Embrace the art of the follow-up, and watch your photography business thrive!
Listen to Our Podcast Episode to Dive Deeper
- Join us as we dive deeper into the topic of effective follow-ups in our latest podcast episode at getsproutstudio.com/485/
- Discover expert insights, practical tips, and real-life examples to master the art of the follow-up and enhance your photography business