Hey guys! My name is Joshua Bryan Medlin and I'm the owner of two small film production companies Medlin Film, and Joshua Bryan Cinema! I'm new to this whole blogging thing, but I thought I would give it a shot.
If you're reading this blog post you've probably dealt with or are still currently dealing with this one very annoying issue. Customer acquisition. It seems like such a easy thing, but some of you (much like myself) have found out it's not as easy as you would think. I found myself getting A LOT of inquires and virtually booking none of them at all. This really, really frustrated me so I had to take a step back and figure out why that was.
My process started as follows: receive an inquiry via email, reply back with my basic price range as well as my pricing packages in a basic word document, just plain ol' black and white text and prices. Nine times out of ten I would receive no reply at all back after I sent out this original email and most of the other responses I got were saying they went with some one else.
I looked at my pricing, and I knew based on other wedding filmmakers I knew in the industry I was priced very competitively! So, it probably wasn't my pricing. I then thought maybe it was the way my pricing sheet looked. A cold, sterile sheet, was getting cold and scarce responses. I even sent 2 to three follow up emails and still got no reply. I then spent weeks and weeks creating a beautiful "wedding guide" pricing sheet, that essentially introduced myself to the couple and explained what I was about and what type of films I specialize in. This helped. A little. Unfortunately it didn't help by much, and I was stuck going back to the drawing board.
How I solved my problem!
I was sitting down thinking again of how I could get couples to book with me, or at very least send me a reply back at all so I at least had a fighting chance! I put myself in the couples shoes. What would make me want to book one vendor for my wedding over another? If we are honest with ourself, we will realize as much as we might think our style of work is drastically different than other vendors, to "most" couples they all sort of seem similar. This goes for photographers, videographers, florists, calligraphers etc! This isn't a insult towards us, it's just the hard truth about being in an industry with so much competition. That being said, I realized I needed something other than my work to make me stand out. Couples are usually juggling a lot during the planning process, and typically if you get an inquiry you're just one of many that they've reached out to. So, I realized what I had to do.
Yeah that's right.. It's scary, and sometimes really awkward to do at first until you get the hang of it. But truth of the matter is, if a couple sends out emails to 20 different photographers and only one photographer makes it clear they want the chance to speak with you over the phone or Skype or FaceTime, that leaves an impression! By asking to speak with them over the phone you're telling them that you want to be more than just a vendor, you want to build a relationship with them on a different level. Before you call them, you may just be a number, one of many to choose from. But I
If you have a chance to speak with them over the phone they can get a sense for your personality, you can connect better than you can over black and white text and numbers. After I started requiring couples to call me or FaceTime me to get my pricing I was AMAZED on how many people I got to book. Some of them asked me to send over the invoice and contract before I even got off the phone with them. It's that crucial. This isn't to say every couple I spoke with over the phone booked me, that would be unrealistic to expect. But what I can say is that my inquiry to booking ratio got so much better, and I was able to very early on to make it clear to my couples that they aren't just a number to me, or a way for me to make a quick buck on the weekend, I truly cared about them and getting to tell their story the best way possible!
" but Josh, I am terrible at phone calls, I can't call!"
Believe it or not I was too. About a year ago I worked at Nissan as an Internet sales specialist and my whole job was to call people who inquired with the dealership, and convince them to come in to see the car. The first week or so I stumbled on my words every call, and probably made a lot of people wonder if I was experiencing an asthma attack. I created a script for me to look at, that basically guided me through the basic points I would want to make during the phone call and it worked like magic. Before I knew it I had mastered talking to complete strangers on the phone. That clearly helped me out in the long run when I implemented this strategy in my business but it was so worth learning to do you guys!
If I can do then you guys can to, and at the end of the day we want our clients to know how much their business means to us, and for them to know they are more than just a number! And for me, phone calls turned out to be the perfect way to let them know that. I hope you guys enjoyed this blog post, and I hope it can help you solve your booking problem in some way. Let me know in the comments if you would like to see more blogs, like I said I'm new to this whole thing and I would love feedback!!! Have an amazing day fellow entrepreneurs and keep up the hustle! :)
Joshua Bryan Medlin