Before I ever speak to a potential client…
… I usually get an email that reads: “A lead has been assigned to you“. It’s my Customer Relationship Management system’s way of letting me know someone just clicked the <submit> button on the contact form of my website. By this time that prospective client has already received a personalized email response, their information is already captured in SalesForce and I’ve gotten a text message with their phone number all while their usually still on my website.
If I’m not shooting, I’ll take a minute, open the SalesForce app on my phone, which lets me see what kind of photography or video the website visitor is looking to have me create for them and give them a quick call or fire off a second prewritten email.
Questions and Answers
Attached to the second email is a pdf that answers many of the questions that my clients have asked me over the years. It goes over the basic kinds of product photos, how to make a list of all the shots the client needs, ect.
“Your product photography guide really helped us think through the types and number of shots we needed for our project” one client told me recently.
In addition to the guide they can use my online Request-an-Estimate, another SalesForce integrated form that walks my next client through the basic ASMP Assignment Estimate Form.
Once they’ve worked through the guide and filled out the form, my first phone call usually turns out to be very productive, because many basic questions already have been answered.
With all the information in hand, I can create an estimate, that get’s sent out using a third SalesForce email template. (Check out what an actual estimate of mine looks like.) My estimate always contains a modified version of the ASMP Terms & Conditions, which gets integrated in any proposed agreement the client sends me. Once the estimate is signed and the deposit is received, we schedule the shoot.
Tools I use
Even before that signature I start to build a “Production Book” in [nextpage title=”next page”]
Evernote, which starts out as a blank template with room for the Description/Creative Brief, Estimate/Agreement, Schedule, Crew Info, details of all locations, Shot-list / Layout / Storyboard, Equipment Rental, Travel details, ect. All these line items need to be priced out in order for an estimate to be created.
By the end of the shoot this document will contain everything I need to plan, produce, shoot, process and bill the job. Since it lives in the cloud, it’s always accessible and sharable. Plus since Evernote automatically integrates with SalesForce, the production book is linked to the electronic job folder already.
Once the job is shot and the photos are prepped and/or the video is edited, I again rely on a template I’ve created in my CRM for my delivery memo. (Check out 10 more tools I use to keep me productive.)
During this process many things factor into the decision of whether a potential client is a good fit – the type of photography they’re looking for – someone who is looking for a wedding photographer get’s referred to a friend of mine, who shots beautiful weddings; the cost of the shoot often determines, if I can produce the job that the client has in mind; the terms under which the client proposes to work together (transfer of copyright, requesting every file and all media shot on a job, long payment terms or disallowing the use of the images we’ve created or the clients brand in my self promotion are red flags that need to be addressed.)
Have you created a work flow from first contact to filled out contract and beyond? Share what concepts and creative ideas have worked for you in the comments below.