5 Tips to Increase Your Booking Rate

PBH_Booking_Secrets_Tips_to_Increase_Your_Booking_RateThe secret to any successful business is a steady flow of customers. You’ve done some marketing to get the phone ringing (or email inquiries flowing). Great! Now that you have people inquiring about your services, what do you do to turn them into customers? How many of these inquiries turn into sales meetings? How many sales meetings turn into customers? There are many things you can (and should) be doing, to maximize your booking rate. Here are a few of my recommendations.

Conduct Phone Screens

Do you get on the phone with every sales inquiry that comes into your business? This tactic serves two important purposes. First it allows you to sell yourself by making a human connection with the potential customer, which you can’t effectively do by sending an email. This is almost guaranteed to increase the number of people that will want to meet with you. Second, it allows you to prescreen them to ensure that it is worth taking the time to conduct an in person consultation. A short phone call can save you hours of wasted time meeting with people that are not a good match, giving you the time to focus on the sales leads that are your ideal customers.

Offer a Booking Special

One of the things you can do is offer a time limited special in your sales consultations. Not only is this a good way to compel them to book you sooner, but it gives them more value. For example, you can offer something for free along with the normal package if they book today (or within a certain number of days). This gives them additional value in exchange for simply making a decision earlier to work with you.

Give Them Privacy

Another successful strategy is to step out of the room towards the end of your sales consultations for a few minutes. This allows them to discuss the packages or any questions they may have. It provides them with the freedom to decide what they want without feeling pressured, while encouraging them to make a decision sooner. It also gives you a chance to answer their questions before they leave. Giving them some privacy establishes a comfort zone for your customer.

Track Your Leads

Tracking your leads can help prevent potential clients from falling through the cracks, especially during busy times of the year. Whether you use a simple spreadsheet or a fancy business system, it’s imperative that you track where each of your leads is in your sales process, and a dated list of what actions you have taken for each lead. Split up your sales process into buckets or phases, and make sure you are taking frequent action to move your leads through each phase. This ensures that leads don’t get forgotten about (money down the drain), and also encourages you to not short-change yourself by skipping important sales steps (such as emailing pricing to email inquiries instead of conducting a phone screen).

Respond Immediately

You should respond immediately to all sales inquiries. If you don’t respond quickly, you’re giving your competitors a chance to steal customers from under your nose. I can’t stress enough how important this is – in today’s age of internet based research, responding in minutes vs hours or days can dramatically improve your sales.

A few quick google searches will pull up tens of photographers to pick from, a few minutes per site and the list is down to a handful of photographers to contact, and 10-15 minutes later inquiry forms are submitted to all of them. So who has the best chance to book this customer? More often than not it will be the first person to establish a relationship with them, so the first photographer that gets on the phone with them has the advantage.

Now it’s not always possible to respond within minutes, so make sure you have an auto-responder setup on your inquiry form, so that an email is sent to them as soon as they submit their inquiry. Do your best to convey your personality through this email, and include some additional marketing materials to whet their appetite even more to speak with you. But whatever you do, don’t include detailed pricing!

What do you do?

These are just a few ways to increase your booking rate. What do you do in your own business to encourage clients to book you?


Facebook comments:

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Kāzu fotogrāfs November 12, 2015 at 11:09 am

Thank you! great post. I’m start using online CRM (https://www.scoro.com/features/). Invoices , Client list, Calendar, etc.

Reply

Geoff White November 12, 2015 at 11:23 am

I’m always happy to see people using a CRM/business system, the importance of tracking your business can’t be understated. There are many online business systems available now that are geared towards photographers, I would encourage you to consider some of them as it may be faster and easier to tailor the system to your needs than a generic CRM.

Reply

Gregor Menzies November 5, 2015 at 7:22 am

These are great tips. I’m in the process of restructuring my business and keeping track of leads is important for customer service. I have a steady flow of leads now and found it essential to get mysel a good photo management software to log clients and potentiel clients.

Reply

Geoff White November 5, 2015 at 12:21 pm

Yes! It is even more important to have a system to manage your lead flow once you have a steady flow of them. There are many great web based business systems available to photographers now, it’s so much better than it was 10 years ago. Look for a system that has at least basic marketing automation built in, to help offload some of the repetitive lead and client communication tasks. Even something as basic as having an email automatically go out to a lead immediately after they submit a contact form on your site can help increase your bookings.

Reply

Marlise October 22, 2015 at 12:03 am

*Jay!!*

Absolutely excited to hear from you guys again!! Always appreciate the info from you!
Could you maybe tell a bit more about the phone screens you do? What type of questions do you ask, and how do you make sure the call doesn’t turn awkward? Also, at the moment most of my inquiries are via direct e-mail and very few people include their phone numbers in the first e-mail.

Thanks a lot!! Can’t wait to hear more from you!!
xxx

Reply

Geoff White November 12, 2015 at 11:29 am

Hi Marlise, thanks for your kind words. We’re excited to be back too. I had started typing out a long reply to your request for more details on phone screens, and then my browser promptly crashed just before I finished typing it out. While I was typing it, however, I realized I should just do it as a separate blog post so I’ll add that to the queue and let you know once it goes live.
I would encourage you to use a contact form on your website so you can have a phone number field, and even now you could encourage people to include a phone number (and other relevant details) in a short sentence or two where you are listing your contact email.

Reply

Raj October 18, 2015 at 2:45 pm

Eager for this kind guidance. Trying to create a steady flow of traffic now, email and phone.
About to launch a marketing campaign.
Thanks,
Raj

Reply

Robbie McLean October 15, 2015 at 9:08 am

Hope you are all well.

Really missed seeing the articles. New website in the works and big plans for 2016. Looking forward to getting regular correspondences again.

Cheers!

Reply

Geoff White October 15, 2015 at 5:15 pm

Hi Robbie, we’re very excited about PhotoMint’s plans, sounds like you have some great plans for your own business, that’s great!

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post: