Tracking leads is absolutely paramount in gaining photography bookings. Someone may be genuinely interested in photography services, but as the saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind.” Follow-up is an important component of customer service; often, people are grateful for the reminder, and for not having to take the first step themselves.
When a lead doesn’t convert immediately to a booking, it’s not necessarily because the client is no longer interested. Priorities, budgets, details, and dates may change. My rule of thumb is to touch a lead at least three times before I move on. Stay engaged, stay flexible, and stay in touch. Patience frequently pays off.
A “lead” is generated when someone:
- Requests an estimate.
- Tells me they want to hire me but isn’t ready to book a date yet.
- Books but then postpones a job.
- Mentions they know someone who may be interested in hiring me.
- Suggests a future project when we are working together on a current project.
I generally have about a dozen leads at any given point, so it’s hard to actually remember all of the details. However, tracking leads is a simple process.
I immediately write down the following information when I get a lead:
- Name / Company
- Type of project (portrait, commercial, event)
- Target Date (of shoot)
- Rate (if discussed)
- Other Notes (such as dates of related emails and phone calls)
I only stop tracking leads for two reasons:
- Conversion. Estimate signed and date booked, in which case the leads moves over to my project management tracking, which I will go over in Part 4.
- Dead End. If the potential client books another photographer, indicates their project budget is cancelled, or fails to respond to at least three attempts at communication, I move on. But in many cases, I still stay in touch!