August 2, 2018
Let’s talk about WHY you should have a birth photography consultation?
You’re asking for commitment. You’re asking for the sale at the consultation.
All the things you do leading up to that consultation are kind of like dating.
The work should not start at the birth consultation. (If you’re not booking at the consultation, it might have something to do with what you’re doing before the consultation.)
By the time clients get to the birth photography consultation, they already kind of have an idea of whether or not they want to hire you, and it’s kind of just the “ask” at that point.
Of course, there are things that you can do to push that further along, but when you’re thinking about the birth consultation, think about it being a proposal.
I have a studio space in Oklahoma City where I meet clients, but before that, I met people at their homes and at coffee shops. I’ve met people at libraries before so our kids could play while we talked.
Now I meet clients at my studio where I have control over the space, how it smells, and how it feels. I would recommend preparing your space—wherever you’re meeting—have refreshments, make sure it smells nice, and have samples of everything ready to go.
Have albums prepared, and have a slideshow going in the background. If you know what type of birth they’re having, you can have a slideshow of that type of birth.
Don’t have albums? That’s ok, but be sure you have some prints or something clients can physically touch in addition to looking at digital images. You just want to make the experience beyond what they would expect.
Remember to be yourself. I know that sounds really cliche, but you really want to attract your type of client, and not every person is your client. So if you are yourself and you click with that person, you know that it’s going to be a good match, versus you trying to fit whatever mold you think they will like. So I say, really be yourself.
The first thing to include in that consultation is to immediately find a connection point.
Hopefully you’ve chatted a little bit before you’ve met with them, so you know a little about where they’re giving birth and so forth.
I immediately try to find a connection point, so I ask about…
Potential clients sometimes think they have to come up with something to say in the consultation, so I don’t ever want to leave any awkwardness. I want to jump in and get to know about them! Ask them where they met their partner, ask about their kids, and just try to find something that you can connect on because that’s what they’re going to remember. “Oh yeah, she had a VBAC too,” or, “She had a homebirth too,” or, “She used the same doula that I used,” or anything like that that you can find that’s a connection point.
I also want you to talk about them and give value.
So, depending on how pregnant they are, say, “Oh, do you know about this childbirth class?” or, “Oh, have you heard of this birth center?” or, “There’s this breastfeeding class in town.”
Be a valuable resource to them so they’re like, “Wow! This girl really knows her stuff.”
Gather those resources beforehand, and you can either print them out or just tell them verbally at the consultation.
I want to be someone who’s helpful, so even if they don’t hire me they have a good impression of me.
Instead of a client coming in and asking, “What if you miss the birth? What if you don’t make it?” or, “What if I have a c-section?”
Answer those questions before they even think to ask them! This positions you as somebody who knows what you’re talking about.
So think of those commonly asked questions, the common hesitations. What are they hesitating about before they come in to meet you?
Those are two of the most common concerns, so know that ahead of time and be ready to answer those.
“Here are my birth packages, and my deposit is $350. That’s all that’s due today, and I ask that the balance is paid by 37 weeks because that’s when I go on call for you.”
That’s my spiel.
I address that at an appropriate point in the conversation so that they don’t have a chance to ask it.
So I’m jumping on the opportunity and answering those questions before they have them.
Go through all the packages. Either print out or have some sort of nice-looking display of your packages. I also always email my prices before the consultation, and I know not everybody does that, but I do that because I don’t want to spend my time meeting with somebody if I’m way out of their budget.
So in that email, I let them know, “Here are my packages. If this sounds like something that’s within your budget or close to your budget, I’d love to chat and see if we’re a good fit.”
During the consultation I give them a step-by-step process of what it’s going to look like from when they book through the delivery of their images. I’ll say, “You’re 12 weeks now, we’ll have another meeting around 36 weeks.” Then I go into a little more detail about when to call and what to expect over the next several months so there are no surprises.
That sounds kind of arrogant, but it shows confidence.
What I say are things like, “When I’m at your birth…” or, “When you book with me…” Those kinds of words psychologically stick with them.
I assume they’re going to hire me unless they say otherwise, so I start my sentences with “When…”
Otherwise it turns into, “If you hire me…” and that starts to sound insecure.
I would rather be confident.
I know that me saying “speak as if you’re already hired” is kind of intimidating, especially if you’re new to birth photography. I just encourage you to practice with a friend or with your husband how you’re going to speak. That will help a ton once you get there, and if you have confidence, that’s going to make a huge difference.
Birth photographers are offering an amazing service to moms.
You have a duty to make sure they know about you and that they know about birth photography.
So, have confidence!
What you’re doing is valuable, and what you’re doing is worth it, and I know it’s scary, but the more you practice the easier it will become.
The final thing is, ask.
I personally choose to go ahead and say, “Do you want to put down your deposit today?” I know that’s scary, and I know that seems a little bit forward, but if they’re already thinking it, that just takes us one step forward.
So all I say at the end of our conversation is, “Do you want to go ahead and take care of your deposit today? I can do check, cash, or card.”
Then … I just wait.
If there is a little tiny silence while they think about it, that’s okay.
It’s a big decision and they’re processing it.
I never want anyone to feel like I’ve pressured them into anything, so if they say, “No, I have to think about it. Let me talk to my husband,” then honestly, I say, “Okay, I understand. It’s a big decision and I appreciate you meeting with me today. If there’s anything else you need, let me know and we’ll be in touch.”
I’m not going to pressure them into signing something right then or paying right then if they’re not comfortable with it.
Now, if we’ve had a good consultation and I only have like one July spot left and there is another mom interested, I let them know that I only have one spot left and ask them to let me know soon because while I’m happy to pencil them in, their spot is not secured until I have a deposit. Usually they totally understand that.
There’s one thing I did want to mention that you don’t have to do, but it’s just kind of a part of that dating process:
Between the time that they inquire and the actual consultation, what if you set up a series of emails that went out to them with helpful, relevant information or links to your galleries?
I’m not saying email them every day, but if there are two weeks between when they schedule the consultation and when you actually meet, that’s just another way to make sure you stand out.
You could even email those links to birth classes saying, “Hey this came up and I thought of you!”
Those extra little touch points are kind of the equivalent of sending flowers or sending an “I’m thinking of you” text.
That way they’ve had a chance to learn more about you before your consultation.
Do you feel prepared for your next consultation!! I’d love to hear from you in the comments!