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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old April 29th, 2013, 07:07 AM   #1
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Home Visits

I think this has been discussed before but I'd like to know current thinking.

I nearly always visit prospective couples in their own homes to show samples and chat through the process and their requirements, and it nearly always results in a closed deal.

I was chatting to a photographer at last weekend's wedding who does the opposite - she get them to go to her home - and with the same results.

An average round trip visit takes me 3-4 hours and I have 4 visits over the next 2 weeks - this is not only a cost in terms of fuel but eats in to my valuable editing time!

Will they think that because I work from home that somehow I'm not professional?

Thoughts?
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Old April 29th, 2013, 07:26 AM   #2
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Re: Home Visits

This is the thing ... I sincerely believe if you have a website with MANY samples there simply is no need to meet up.

If they are nearby I would probably say can I collect the payment in cash and meet you guys in person to sign the paperwork. But if they are far, I send my contract via email have them digitally sign it and email it back and ask for payment via bank transfer.

I'm not a big enough business yet to have a dedicated premises as my studio (simply can't afford it), in fact I make films from my bedroom (actually a room used as a studio in the house lol) but I still get clients.

It's all about the quality of your work if you ask me ...
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Old April 29th, 2013, 09:20 AM   #3
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Re: Home Visits

Pete

I always, always meet up and sign docs at the client's home ..it's simply professional courtesy IMHO.

I have plenty of samples online so I don't have to show them anything and it's almost always .."I want to book" ..There is no way I would do a wedding without meeting the couple first! Just cost it into your packages

Chris
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Old April 29th, 2013, 09:40 AM   #4
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Re: Home Visits

What is right for you may depend on how you sell yourself (service-wise) and what kind of clients you attract. I rarely have to meet with people in person - first contact with email or phone, and they have some questions, during which I work my unique selling proposition in. Less than half bother with another contact, for better or worse, beyond calling to ask what steps to do next to book.

If they're far enough away consider services that let you do Skype + presentations on the screen (Google+ or Goto meeting). If I can't do that, I try to arrange follow-ups to talk details with existing clients nearby to make it more worth my while.

I started to rent office space from a photog. I pay almost nothing because all I'm renting the is right to hold meetings there, in her space where she has meetings (not her work space). That's great.

For paperwork, I use DocuSign and love it. Haven't had to mail a contract in a year. I recently had a wedding booked in under two hours from 1st contact to signage.
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Old April 29th, 2013, 09:48 AM   #5
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Re: Home Visits

There is already another thread running where some videographers seem to be concerned about dwindling bookings, yet here we have a thread where the suggestion seems to be that it is just about the quality of your work and people should come to you.

I'm sorry but I totally disagree! It's far less about the quality of your work than it is about convincing the unbelievers that they actually want a video in the first place. The only way to do that is by talking to them, initially at wedding shows, secondly with responding to phone enquiries, but most importantly by visiting them. I never ever take a booking without meeting the couple and getting to know something about them. I never object to putting an extra couple of gallons of fuel in the car and spending some time with them, and my success rate this year of meetings to bookings is 100%.

I really don't understand the logic of expecting a couple to take the time to come to you, when they can sit at home on the sofa trawling the internet. The only difference initially between you and the other companies, is your ability to quickly establish a relationship. If you get them to like you and trust you, then the quality of your work comes afterwards in my opinion.

Roger
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Old April 29th, 2013, 10:01 AM   #6
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Re: Home Visits

“If you get them to like you and trust you, then the quality of your work comes afterwards in my opinion.“

100% in agreement !
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Old April 29th, 2013, 12:15 PM   #7
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Re: Home Visits

I don't think you can generalise.

Some clients would not dream of making a booking without first meeting whilst other either don't see the point or regard a meeting as an opportunity for you to hard sell to them without any benefit to themselves at all. Yet others might want to see and get the measure of you in your own environment whilst others may be to a degree embarrassed by their modest living conditions and really don't want anything that involves a vendor visiting them. And for others it may be down to convenience; they might like the idea of meeting but dislike the idea of travelling a long way to you or losing a couple of hours out of their busy evening - grooms in particular :- )

I think its important to remember that time is money - even though you may enjoy what you do far more than you would a "proper" job. So the approach should be: do I need to meet this client in order to obtain the booking / could I actually put them off by appearing too pushy in that regard / could the meeting result in a higher sale than would be the case if done entirely online / would a meeting be beneficial to me to help suss the logistics for the day or calm a nervous client / is the case a good portfolio shoot for me so I should do everything it takes to land it, and so on.

If you make a point of meeting every client regardless you are spending more time at work than you need to for sure. And you may be unwittingly scaring off some potential ones.

As for whether its best to meet at your place or theirs? There are some clients who will judge you by whether you are studio or home based. However studios are becoming somewhat of a rarity now so home-based does not carry the baggage it once did.

Just looked up my 2012 stats. I met with 31% of clients before they booked. Of those all came to me except one where we met at their venue, and one where I visited their home as I happened to be shooting very close to them on a convenient day. Of the remainder, some lived abroad so a meeting was impossible. Some had meetings at venues shortly before their wedding days.

Pete
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Old April 29th, 2013, 12:53 PM   #8
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Re: Home Visits

Nail on the head with the above post.

Every client is unique as you said ... they might want to meet, they might not, all depends.

That's our job to suss it out! Like I said, I would personally go see them if they are close, but if they are far I insist we don't meet. I still believe the quality of your work convinces a couple to book you over how well you sell yourself.

I don't see the harm in discussing requirements over email (in writing ... helps if any disputes arise afterwards). Or over the phone.

And then meet them a few hours early on the day and head off to the venue.

At the end of the day, your not family so don't try and reach that level of comfort with them ... Your just another service provider charging them money for a product / service.
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Old April 29th, 2013, 09:58 PM   #9
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Re: Home Visits

Then again there are pros and cons to everything. If I meet the couple without any intention of up selling or
pressure tactics, but only to present myself as an honest and professional cameraman and willing to answer all questions after they have seen samples of my work, I stand an excellent chance of receiving a deposit for the booking. Much more so than if I just communicate over the phone/eMail/text etc. If they are not in a position to see me at their residence for whatever reason, I always suggest a local coffee shop where we can both go over all pertinent details of the event and final pricing. You cannot imagine how many first deposit cheques on a signed contract were received at Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks.I don't think it was the coffee that convinced them. I would go on to mention that more than 50% of my bookings were done by meeting with them, about 30% by past referrals and the rest by not meeting with them at all before the actual event.
If I did not meet with them, perhaps I would have lost half of those potential customers. Meeting up with the couple shows you take the effort and time for quality service. I always leave it up to them to decide on the most appropriate time, usually early evening and stay on an average of 45 minutes with them. Not too much of an undertaking since 99% of my customers are in a 15 mile radius from me and always met up way after traffic rush hours. Of course there are those that even after meeting with them just do not book for whatever reason and that is the nature of the business, but never will I call back the couple and reduce my price to attract them back. The least amount of profits results in the most amount headaches.
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Old April 30th, 2013, 12:34 AM   #10
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Re: Home Visits

I agree Arthur

So far this season with 30 weddings booked I have had a 100% closure rate and I truly believe that because I put in the effort and provided the service by going to meet them at home at a time convenient to them. If those were all email/on-line bookings then I reckon I would have sold maybe 70% at best ..probably a lot less!

Chris
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Old April 30th, 2013, 04:19 AM   #11
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Re: Home Visits

As has been said already every case is different. We are based in Norfolk but shoot quite a few weddings in London which is 130 miles away. For local weddings we always meet up generally at the church or reception venue. We will also attend the ceremony rehearsal if possible. Occasionally we meet at the couple's home & occasionally they come to us but we are 10 miles from Norwich in the country so we don't push couples to visit us. For the long distance couples we always offer Skype & usually arrange a meeting at a mutually convenient time when we are in that area anyway. We have never travelled all the way to London for a pre-sales meeting but after the booking has been made we will aim to meet up if at all possible. On occasion we have just turned up on the day never having met before & only chatted on the telephone.
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