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Old June 3rd, 2008, 06:33 AM   #1
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Awkward Client Meeting Clash

Sorry for the title of this post but its the best I could think of in a rush.

This hasnt happened to me yet but it's come close. I was wondering how you would handle the following situation:

When clients call me to arrange a meeting with a view to hiring me to film their wedding I, like most I presume, have a chat with them on the phone about their big day and the general points of interest to be friendly. We then book for, say three days time for a meeting. Once clients agree to a meeting its usually pretty obvious they want to sign on the dotted line and it's all in the bag (unless of course they get scared off by the price. I dont give prices over the phone or on my site, just a the meetings)

OK, In the time between this phone call and the meeting another client calls and a meeting is scheduled for the same day, their wedding is on the same day as the previous client I was writing about. Anyway, they arrive and want to sign the contract then and there.

My brain says you should sign when you get the chance but it seems a bit rich to then call the previous client and say 'sorry, you were beaten to it' especially if they are the wonderfull type of client that raves on how much they liked yours stuff etc.

anyway, I'm sure I could have described that scenario much quicker but there you go.

P.S I've just posted my latest "15 anos" Trailer (15 year old girls coming of age party) If you like to have a look and comment:

http://danburnap.com
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 07:01 AM   #2
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Interesting thought, but at the end of the day you are running a business and as long as you are clear about your booking procedure then this should not arise as an issue.

Personally I advertise my prices on my site and in my brochure as I want people to have all the info before calling me, that way I dont waste my time or the clients.

Also, I make it clear that the date is only booked when I receive a signed work agreement (my contract, used that term as I dont like the term contract) and the deposit.

This way the client is clear that if they choose to take some time to decide they do run the risk of loosing the date, they always understand this point and it has never caused any issue.

Just my opinion and how I have chosen to run my booking process, hope it helps though.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 09:30 AM   #3
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I've been in simillar situations and I book whoever gets me $$$ first. I then politely and apologetically call the other client and say that I'm no longer available (which sounds kinder then - someone got me $$$ first!) and let them know that if anything changes I would be happy to let them know.

However, I do also disclose my prices on the phone and make them aware that unless a deposit is paid anything can happen. I've had people mail me a deposit and meet with me later on the assumption they will like me. So far no problems!
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 10:23 AM   #4
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Maybe the best way to handle it is to not have scheduled the brides to meet with you on the same day once you knew they were looking at the same date.
I would think it might have been better to tell the second bride that you were holding a meeting with the other girl first and if she didn't book that day that you'd schedule a meeting with them. That might have made your situation a little better.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 10:59 AM   #5
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Whenever a client wants to go as far as to meet with me in person, I tell them they have a tentative lock on the date. I give them as much info on the phone as I can, including price. So basically, when they get as far as a personal meeting, they generally follow through with the contract and deposit.

If someone else calls in the meantime, I tell them there is a tentative booking, and I can call them back after the meeting if I'm still available.

My time is valuable. I don't want to waste time meeting with someone in my office only to find out I'm $1,000 over their budget. I also wouldn't appreciate that as a client.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 12:16 PM   #6
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In this business I think you generally need to book a contract when the opportunity is there. As for the other couple, you just tell them that another couple was meeting with you before them and they decided to book.

Also, I don't give my pricing out over the phone. I understand the logic of not wanting to meet with a couple that can't afford you, but in my experience I've had many couples who "couldn't afford" me before we met, but after interacting with me and seeing more of my work they "found a way". For the people who are really budget-strapped and are just price shopping I've found that not giving out my prices often deters them anyways. For everyone else, who is actually putting some priority on the quality of their video, they are usually willing to meet.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 01:46 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Ethan Cooper View Post
Maybe the best way to handle it is to not have scheduled the brides to meet with you on the same day once you knew they were looking at the same date.
I would think it might have been better to tell the second bride that you were holding a meeting with the other girl first and if she didn't book that day that you'd schedule a meeting with them. That might have made your situation a little better.
We do the same and it has worked for us.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 03:39 PM   #8
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Hey Dan.

Advertising prices will make people decide whether they want your service or not faster. And it will even get you ahead of the competition since sometimes people who like to be quick and effective will choose your service instead of having to call someone to discuss.

So it's one thing to consider.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 09:16 PM   #9
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I can't believe some of the responses I'm reading.

You need to give the first couple the chance to book before even talking to the second one. (I think Ethan said this up the line a bit). Couldn't the second couple wait 3 days?

A prearranged *meeting* to sell something for which there is only one item available is an implied contract in itself - or at least a courtesy. (That one item being your availabliity for a single wedding). A meeting set up by you is a gesture of goodwill whereby negotiations with all other buyers are temporarily suspended.

Keep in mind I'm talking about a face to face meeting here... not a bunch of contracts out in the mail for the same date all at once. (Which "first come first serve" would certainly apply)

Just my opinion...
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 09:22 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Rick Steele View Post
I can't believe some of the responses I'm reading.

You need to give the first couple the chance to book before even talking to the second one. (I think Ethan said this up the line a bit). Couldn't the second couple wait 3 days?

A prearranged *meeting* to sell something for which there is only one item available is an implied contract in itself - or at least a courtesy. (That one item being your availabliity for a single wedding). A meeting set up by you is a gesture of goodwill whereby negotiations with all other buyers are temporarily suspended.

Keep in mind I'm talking about a face to face meeting here... not a bunch of contracts out in the mail for the same date all at once. (Which "first come first serve" would certainly apply)

Just my opinion...


I couldn't agree anymore with this one!
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 09:48 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Rick Steele View Post
A prearranged *meeting* to sell something for which there is only one item available is an implied contract in itself - or at least a courtesy. (That one item being your availabliity for a single wedding). A meeting set up by you is a gesture of goodwill whereby negotiations with all other buyers are temporarily suspended.
I couldn't disagree with this more, but let me clarify something first. If you have a couple that wants to book you, and you arrange a meeting for them to book you, and then you book someone else ahead of them .. I think that is wrong.

ON THE OTHER HAND, just because a couple wants to meet with me to see my work and discuss my packages doesn't mean we have some sort of "implied contract" for their wedding date. I seriously doubt that ANY of the couples I ever scheduled meetings with have felt they had some kind of implied contract with me. A meeting is just a meeting unless they have specified up front that they plan to retain a date.

Furthermore, if you meet with them and they decide they want to book, then what do you do? You've now met with two couples that want to book you and you are going to have to decline one of them. That to me is a worse situation because now both couples will feel like the date is theirs and you don't really have a good basis to turn either of them away.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 10:35 PM   #12
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If you have a couple that wants to book you, and you arrange a meeting for them to book you, and then you book someone else ahead of them .. I think that is wrong.
Isn't that what he's talking about?

Color me silly but one DOES NOT break a prior engagement to sell something simply because somebody elses' money was a bit greener a bit sooner.

When somebody inquires about our services and is serious enough to take it to the next level (face-to-face) in a short period of time... you give them the benefit of some patience and courtesy as long as this meeting is within a reasonable period of time.

I'm not talking about a phone-calling-email-sending-tire-kicking bride... I'm talking about somebody you've made a bonifide appointment with.

How the heck do you sleep at night? Maybe I'm just assuming that 99.9% of you guys book the client whenever you have a meeting. I certainly do. *Especially* when somebody else is chasing their date.

And if you aren't booking most all of these at this time then something is wrong.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 10:48 PM   #13
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Am I the only guy here who almost never meets with brides in person? In the last 9 months I've met absolutely nobody face to face, but business has been pretty good. Is that odd?? I don't mind meeing one on one but it just never happens. 90% of my bookings happen via email or phone and I usually go into the shoot asking who the bride is cause I've never seen her before.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 10:54 PM   #14
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Isn't that what he's talking about?
I'm not sure, but that is why I started with a clarification. If he arranged an appointment to book with someone and then arranged another appointment for the same day for the same date, then I disagree with that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Steele View Post
How the heck do you sleep at night? Maybe I'm just assuming that 99.9% of you guys book the client whenever you have a meeting. I certainly do. *Especially* when somebody else is chasing their date.

And if you aren't booking most all of these at this time then something is wrong.
I sleep just fine and there's no need to bring attitude like that to this discussion. I recommend you don't just assume things about other people's businesses. I don't book a couple just because we have a meeting. Maybe you are marketing your services based solely on a lower price. In that situation a couple doesn't really need much more information to make their decision.

We market to the more discerning couples, and they want to see more of your work AND make a personal connection. I probably book 50-60% of the brides I meet with, so for me a meeting doesn't equate to a booking. We are the perfect fit for some couples, but not all. Thanks for pointing out that "something is wrong" if I'm not booking 99% of these couples, but I think my success in the higher end of my market disproves that.

Bottom line is don't arrange a meeting if you already have another couple that has arranged a meeting to book with you. If the other couple has only arranged a meeting to see more of your work and get to know you, and someone else comes along and wants to book, I don't see anything wrong with booking them.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 10:56 PM   #15
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Am I the only guy here who almost never meets with brides in person? In the last 9 months I've met absolutely nobody face to face, but business has been pretty good. Is that odd?? I don't mind meeing one on one but it just never happens. 90% of my bookings happen via email or phone and I usually go into the shoot asking who the bride is cause I've never seen her before.
Wow, that's pretty amazing. I don't think I've ever booked a bride without a face-to-face meeting (whether at a wedding show or our studio or whatever). You must have an interesting business model.
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