As a corporate photographer, I get e-mails from potential clients pretty regularly through my website. Most of these e-mails are requests for quotes or checking my availability. I try to respond to e-mails pretty quickly, and for the most part, the potential clients answer back.
But there are always some that slip through the cracks.
Why Don’t Potential Clients Respond?
There are three main reasons I’ve found that potential clients don’t respond, even after reaching out to you directly.
You’re One in One Hundred
In this case, they’ve e-mailed a ton of other photographers in the area asking for quotes and availability. They’re shopping for the best value, or are trying to weed out photographers that aren’t a good fit for budget or skills necessary.
There are several times I don’t get responses after sending estimates. I always follow-up, but if I don’t hear back from them, I chalk it up to the fact that I’m too pricey for them compared to other photographers they’re talking to.
They Don’t Know What They’re Looking For
This is pretty common, in that you’re dealing with a company who hasn’t hired a photographer before, or doesn’t know how to go about doing so. They’re simply gathering information at this point and might reach back out when they’re ready to make a decision.
What Should You Do?
When I answer a potential client e-mail for the first time, it’s usually to gather more information, and most of the time I get a response that will better help me provide an estimate for my services. Most of the “crickets” start appearing once I send out those estimates.
But that doesn’t always mean they’re shocked by your pricing — it could just mean they’re waiting for other estimates to come in before they continue talking to you.
In the case where I send out estimates or any e-mail for that instance, I give the potential client two business days to respond. If I don’t hear back from them, I send a follow-up e-mail. If I still don’t hear back after five days, I send a final e-mail, with the hopes that they’ll respond. If I still don’t hear back, I save the lead, but I put in the notes that I haven’t heard back from them.
How to Word Your E-mail Replies
In the first follow-up e-mail, I basically check to make sure they received my last e-mail. I keep it short and sweet and don’t really go into much detail, as I know they’re probably just getting caught up from what I sent them a couple days ago.
In the second follow-up e-mail, I get a little wordier. I attach the estimates again and re-phrase some of what I told them. I stick to the highlights though, reminding them of my process and the benefits they get when they hire me (for instance, I offer my clients a free “top 10” photo delivery within 2 hours of their event).
The key here is to be relational, but still professional. If you treat your e-mail like an in-person conversation with them, I’ve found that the responses I get back are much more friendly, and there’s a chance at building a client relationship with them — even if it’s further down the road.
Every business person has to deal with unanswered e-mails — it’s just part of the job. As photographers, it’s important to send follow-ups and show our skillset in those e-mails, which can ultimately help to increase the chances of being hired.
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