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Archive 2012 · Initial Email Inquiry
  
 
StowePhoto
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p.1 #1 · Initial Email Inquiry


I wanted to see how others handle the initial response to an email inquiry. It's always very similar:

Hi,

My name is _______ and I was referred to you by __________ . We are looking to plan a wedding weekend for March 15-16 and I wanted to find out more about your services. Do you think you could provide me with information on your availability and pricing?

Thanks!
__________

Can I ask for a few examples of how you would respond? Do you include attachments of your pricing and package documents? Do you include attachments of your contract(s)?

Thanks-




Jul 26, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Inku Yo
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p.1 #2 · Initial Email Inquiry


Hmm... how would you normally respond? Let's start with that and we can build off of it.


Jul 26, 2012 at 08:10 PM
trevanian
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p.1 #3 · Initial Email Inquiry


Is this with the assumption that the bride did not include her phone number?


Jul 26, 2012 at 08:21 PM
StowePhoto
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p.1 #4 · Initial Email Inquiry


Fair enough.

Something along the lines of this:

Hi _______,

Thank you very much for being in touch! I am happy to let you know that I am currently still available for the date of your wedding.

Please find attached to this email a document containing the pricing and details of the packages I offer. I have also attached my contract that you may look over.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask .

Sincerely,

_______________


So, that might be one example of a response. Would it be important to acknowledge the person who referred you? Begin asking questions about what they are looking for from their photographer? Important to state that my photo packages can be customized if they are interested in something different?

The price sheet is pretty detailed about what each price point includes (I currently offer two packages each for engagement sessions and wedding day).

Am I horribly off the mark and sure to lose this bride, or would I be in the ball park if I sent this as a reply today?

Also, what is the best strategy on timing for getting back in touch? I (like many of you I assume) get emails instantly on my phone, and could theoretically have a response ready to go in a matter of minutes of getting an inquiry. I know when I send something out, it's on my mind right then and there, and the quicker the response I get, the better. Any thoughts on that?

Thanks-



Edited on Jul 26, 2012 at 08:31 PM · View previous versions



Jul 26, 2012 at 08:28 PM
StowePhoto
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p.1 #5 · Initial Email Inquiry


trevanian wrote:
Is this with the assumption that the bride did not include her phone number?


Yes.



Jul 26, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Inku Yo
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p.1 #6 · Initial Email Inquiry


trevanian wrote:
Is this with the assumption that the bride did not include her phone number?


People leave give their numbers on my contact form all the time. I never call them. I email first.



Jul 26, 2012 at 08:29 PM
D. Diggler
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p.1 #7 · Initial Email Inquiry


StowePhoto wrote:
Can I ask for a few examples of how you would respond?


"I have your date available. Below are my packages and prices. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me."



Jul 26, 2012 at 08:33 PM
StowePhoto
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p.1 #8 · Initial Email Inquiry


D. Diggler wrote:
"I do have your date available. Listed below are my packages and prices. If you should have any further questions, feel free to contact me."


OK...but seems a little stale and cool. Maybe that is just me?

I want to come across as appreciative that they took the time to contact me. Appreciative of the person who refereed me, and that they know I want their business.

I don't want to come across as desperate (I'm not) or too drippy or sappy (I'm not that way, either).

But I want them to know that they have started a conversation with someone who is attentive to what they are looking for and knowledgeable / comfortable / confidant in what they are laying out.




Jul 26, 2012 at 08:39 PM
D. Diggler
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p.1 #9 · Initial Email Inquiry


Inku Yo wrote:
People leave their numbers on my contact form all the time. I never call them.


Same here. Never call. (Ninety percent of the time no one answers anyway; it just goes to an answering machine.)



Jul 26, 2012 at 08:40 PM
StowePhoto
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p.1 #10 · Initial Email Inquiry


D. Diggler wrote:
Same here. Never call. (Ninety percent of the time no one answers anyway; it just goes to an answering machine.)


Right. But how do you usually frame those email responses? What do you say / include?



Jul 26, 2012 at 08:45 PM
 

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lilyphoto
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p.1 #11 · Initial Email Inquiry


I say:


Hi, XYZ

Thank you for contacting me. We do have your date available. My pricing information can be found here (link to price page on website). My latest work can be seen here (link to blog). Please let me know if you have any other questions that I can answer via email, or if you would like to set up a time to meet in person for a consultation.

What venue have you chosen?

Thanks, and I look forward to talking with you further!
Beth




Jul 26, 2012 at 08:57 PM
tobicus
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p.1 #12 · Initial Email Inquiry


Honestly, we've tried being very warm and approachable in our responses; there's just about zero correlation between how we respond and whether we book. The clients who want to book you badly enough will do so; the rest will not.


Jul 26, 2012 at 08:59 PM
StowePhoto
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p.1 #13 · Initial Email Inquiry


lilyphoto wrote:
I say:

Hi, XYZ

Thank you for contacting me. We do have your date available. My pricing information can be found here (link to price page on website). My latest work can be seen here (link to blog). Please let me know if you have any other questions that I can answer via email, or if you would like to set up a time to meet in person for a consultation.

What venue have you chosen?

Thanks, and I look forward to talking with you further!
Beth



Excellent. This sounds warm, informative and attentive. Do you send along your contract with this initial response? Just in the off chance that they like what they see, like what they hear, and are ready to book and go with you?



Jul 26, 2012 at 09:00 PM
lilyphoto
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p.1 #14 · Initial Email Inquiry


StowePhoto wrote:
Excellent. This sounds warm, informative and attentive. Do you send along your contract with this initial response? Just in the off chance that they like what they see, like what they hear, and are ready to book and go with you?



I don't in the first response. If they email back and ask more questions but make it clear that they can't meet in person for a consult, then I send over a copy of the contract through email. Most of my couples I meet face-to-face before booking and give the contract at the meeting.



Jul 26, 2012 at 09:06 PM
StowePhoto
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p.1 #15 · Initial Email Inquiry


What about your stance on adjusting what you offer in your 'pre-designed' packages. If they want to negotiate? Have you had to deal with that? Or do most just like what you offer and go with it?

I agree that a face-to-face meeting fairly early in the process is important. I have yet to be passed over after meeting potential clients face-to-face.



Jul 26, 2012 at 09:12 PM
bagochips
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p.1 #16 · Initial Email Inquiry


This is how I reply. I try to end with a "call to action". (I'm open for constructive criticism on this):

Dear xxxx,

Thanks for your inquiry and congratulations on your upcoming wedding! We are currently finalizing our calendar for 2013 and I'm happy to say that we still have your date available.

Our wedding packages start at $xxxx and most couples spend $xxxx - $xxxx on their complete collections. Attached is our current price list for your reference.

When you are ready to schedule a consultation to discuss the details of you wedding, call us at (xxx) xxx-xxxx or send us an email at xxx@xxxx.com.

Regards,
Me

As far as negotiating goes: everyone is different. Some negotiate all the time, some never do. Personally, my prices are my prices and are what I need to charge to run my business. If they are on a budget, I will work with them as far as taking items off their package in order to lower the total cost. So if they say "We have a budget of $xxxx and we want A, B, C and D" and that is less than my price for those items, I will say "I can meet your budget and provide the most important items on your list (A, B, and C)." If they really need A, B, C and D and that is their absolute budget limit, I can provide references for some other local photographers that are in their budget.



Jul 26, 2012 at 11:58 PM
mci2727
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p.1 #17 · Initial Email Inquiry


I would never send my pricing off to them on email or a link to it on my website.
Most people will just see the $$$$ dollar signs and move on.

I have to meet with them, hear their story and cast my vision for them to see my pricing.
Otherwise they will never book.

This is how I respond;
"Congratulations on your engagement!!

I am excited to tell you I do currently have your date available and would love to sit down and learn more about you, your story and your wedding

You can also then see all the options we offer for products (ie albums, canvases etc.).
Is there a time/day that would work best for you?
I am free XX/XX at around XX:XX or XX/XX at around XX:XX
Do either of these options work for you?
If not let me know what would be best and I'll see if we can work it out

So looking forward to working with you and thank you soo much for wanting me to capture the memories of your day!"

If they then email again wanting pricing I'll send back;

"Thank you so much for wanting me to shoot your wedding!
It's a huge honor and I'm so grateful for it

As all pricing is custom and one size never fits all I will need to know the details of your day and what you will love out of your wedding photography in order to give you a price.

As you can see on my website wedding collections start at $3000 with most couples choosing to invest between $4500-$5500 on their entire wedding collection.

I would love to meet blah blah blah."

Basically they need to meet me, spend at least one hour with me and then I will show my prices.
Never try to explain your prices, they are what they are.



Jul 27, 2012 at 12:09 AM
D. Diggler
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p.1 #18 · Initial Email Inquiry


mci2727 wrote:
This is how I respond;
"Congratulations on your engagement!


You "congratulate" a stranger? Corny, in my opinion.



Jul 27, 2012 at 12:37 AM
alohadave
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p.1 #19 · Initial Email Inquiry


D. Diggler wrote:
You "congratulate" a stranger? Corny, in my opinion.


You can only congratulate friends and people you already know?



Jul 27, 2012 at 12:40 AM
mci2727
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p.1 #20 · Initial Email Inquiry


D. Diggler wrote:
You "congratulate" a stranger? Corny, in my opinion.


Give it a try, see if it gets positive responses.



Jul 27, 2012 at 12:45 AM
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