When I was a server in college and training at Buffalo Wild Wings (literally the worst job I’ve ever had!) the person who trained me gave me a good lesson, he told me, “never make someone wait to pay you!”. I take this same piece of advice and apply it to my inquiry process, if someone wants to give you their hard earned money, make it easy! Some one is inquiring with you because they want to work with you, this is one of the most important parts of impressing a client from the get go.
…or at least a simple workflow. About two years into my photography business I found myself worried that I would completely drop the ball on a client. I consider myself a rather organized person, always using a to-do list and a very well kept planner, but the thought of forgetting about a client completely brought on all the anxiety. This is when I signed up for my very first client management system (commonly known as a CRM). There are a few different programs out there that are all web-based (Dubsado, Honeybook, 17 Hats, etc.), I first started off with Honeybook and then migrated to Dubsado about 4 years ago (click here for 20% off your first month or year). They all have their pros and cons, but you have to select the one that you click with, and ultimately USE!
Ultimately you don’t need one, but at least have a system for keeping all your clients and communications in order.
In Dubsado, I have all my clients in one place with all their information about them and their upcoming project. It makes it easy to have everything in one place, rather than scouring your email. When someone is interested in working with me, I automatically point them to my inquiry form on my website. That triggers a workflow in Dubsado that creates a new project for me. This workflow can trigger any number of actions that automates the whole process for you without you even lifting a finger…but more on that later, for now I just want to keep things simple for you! Download my inquiry process checklist to make sure you have all the pieces to ensure a great client experience from the get-go!
This email should give your prospective client just enough information that they feel like they can then make the next move to working with you…I save a few “excuses” to email them again in follow up emails. I keep this initial inquiry email as a canned email so that it’s ready to go when someone inquires. Here is my initial email:
Thank you so much for contacting me and your interest in my Branding services! Kia & Co. specializes in professional branding photography to make your services look their very best. I create images for you that that add trust, recognition, and refinement to your brand…attracting your ideal clients through your website and social media avenues.
As a first step, view my full Branding Services Guide where you will find details on my branding collections and a la carte services.
I would love to talk more about what your specific needs are and how I can best serve you. Please schedule a consultation on my calendar for a date & time that works best for you.
Take a look at my work on my website & instagram. Please let me know if there’s anything specific that you’re drawn to for your own business!
Feel free to email me any additional questions you many have to firstname.lastname@example.org, my normal office hours are Monday-Thursday from 9:00-3:30, and you can expect to hear back from me then.
Paragraph 1: Introduce yourself and your business. Make sure you tell the client what you’re going to do for them to solve their problem. You can also add a sentence in there that is personal to them or their business.
Paragraph 2: Include the information that you need to give them about your service or product
Paragraph 3: Make it easy to set up a consult with you with a scheduler link to eliminate the back and forth emails to set up a meeting time. Most CRMs have this capability, I know Dubsado and Honeybook do. Stand alone schedulers include Calendly or Acuity that are also great.
Paragraph 4: Share ways that your client can take a look at more of your work by linking your website or social media. Only link places that you keep up with and show your best work.
Paragraph 5: Set boundaries from the get go. Make sure to tell your prospective client how they can reach you and when you will be communicating with them by giving them your office hours. If you don’t want someone calling or texting you, don’t include your phone number.
I will usually send two follow up emails (this is automated for me). I’ve booked more clients in the follow up than with an initial email, so they are definitely worth sending out. Again, I keep these emails as a canned email, so I’m not writing the same thing out every time. I send out a follow up email 3 days after their first inquiry, and then again 7 days after the initial inquiry.
Once someone decides they want to work with you and has selected a package or service, again make this process as easy for them as possible. I use my CRM to make the contract and invoicing process as seamless as possible for my clients. This is a different workflow in my on-boarding process.