Imagine for a minute that you had been given an ultimatum. Let’s say you’re behind on paying your taxes and your business property is being seized. You’re going to loose your camera, lenses and all of your gear in 24 hours UNLESS you can get one new wedding contract signed with a paid deposit before then.
1. Rally The Troops!
- Parents, siblings, and other family members
- Wedding vendors, especially planners and people with whom you have a personal relationship
- Community members, neighbors, church, coworkers
- People who owe you favors 😉
- Past clients (wedding or otherwise)
- Bridal parties from previous weddings
- Guests from previous weddings if you’ve been collecting email addresses
2. Trade Leads
If you’re friends with other photographers, you can share leads with each other when you are already booked.
I know. You’re saying “ok, but I’ve heard that tip a million times, why are you wasting my time with something I already know?”
Well, if I needed to book a wedding by tomorrow, I’d figure out which dates are the MOST popular this year (and that I’m not already booked). Then I’d reach out to a few of my friends who were photographers (call them or visit in person) and I would say, “I’ve noticed that EVERYBODY seems to be booked on ____, and ____. For some reason, I just haven’t booked either of these yet! If you’re already booked, would you consider sending anyone else who inquires about that date over my way?” If they say yes, and you have any luck, they might even say “I just had someone inquire about that date this week, let me send them to you!”
If you aren’t having any luck with local photographers that you know personally, you could also take this request to a local Facebook Group. Just remember, if you have a REASON, people are more likely to respond.
For example (I’m not telling you to make up stories that aren’t true, but let’s assume the following is true for you):
“I just had a couple that backed out of their contract for October 15th. I’d love to fill that spot so I can give them a refund and replace the work I’ll be missing.”
or if you don’t have a drastic story…
“I’m looking to fill a spot on my calendar on [popular date] because I LOVE shooting in October and I’m bummed I don’t have that date booked! If you have any leads to send me, I’d be happy to return the favor!”
Remember, you need to use your judgment on how spammy you are being and where this may or may not be appropriate. I can think of several groups that I am part of where something like this would be perfectly acceptable. In others, I’d probably get kicked out of the group.
If you don’t want to run the risk of getting banned, why not start your own group? You could call it “The super awesome wedding lead sharing group in [my city].” Then call 10-20 photographers and tell them why you thought the group would be a good idea and ask them if they’d like to join. Some will say no, but even if you get a few who share a lead, it can be worth it for everyone involved! Bonus points if you can start it off with a few leads from recent inquiries where you were already booked. Start by giving and people will be happy to give back to you!
3. Offer A Flash Sale
I saved this one for last because I KNOW that discounts are not for everyone. In fact, I usually discourage discounting your work.
However, I also discourage having the government seize your equipment, and this exercise is about things that could work if you were desperate to book a wedding QUICKLY!
Personally, I wouldn’t want to just publicly offer a discounted price on a package that someone else had recently booked at a higher price.
Here are a few alternative ways you could offer a flash sale.
- Reach out to recent inquiries who decided not to book with you or didn’t respond to your follow up email. Send them an email or give them a call with a special offer if they want to take it in the next 24 hours. The more drastic the discount, the more likely this will be effective.
- Reach out to a planner or venue and tell them you’d like to offer a special deal exclusively to their clients for the next ___ [amount of time]. Give them the option of extending that discount to their client, or taking part/all of it as a referral fee. For example, reach out to a planner (don’t forget your reason) and say you’d like to let them offer their clients $1,000 off any package. They can then decide whether to extend the full $1,000 discount to the client, extend a smaller discount to the client and keep the difference, or give the client your full price sheet and keep the $1,000 as a referral fee.
- Run a special for a very specific kind of client. You could offer $1,000 off for any client with red hair. Or $200 off for any client who can play the guitar while riding a unicycle. Maybe in honor of National Tap Dance day (which is today, as I am writing this post), you’ll offer a $500 discount to anyone who sends you a video of themselves doing a tap dance! Or in honor of National Go Barefoot Day, you’re offering $250 for any bride who will agree not to wear shoes on her wedding day. Make it fun and use it as a way to showcase your personality! You might also use it as an excuse to attract your ideal client.
I want to hear your ideas!
What would you do if you had to book a wedding in the next 24 hours? Leave a comment with your best idea below, or come over and share it with us in the Fuel Your Photos Facebook group!