49: How to Get the Inquiries You Want

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How do you get the inquiries that you truly want? Maybe your specific interests have changed or you’re adding an offer to your business, but you’re dying to book more with a new type of client. In today’s episode, I’m sharing the two most important steps for getting the inquiries you’re dreaming of. 

The Shoot It Straight Podcast is brought to you by Sabrina Gebhardt, photographer and educator. Join us each week as we discuss what it’s like to be a female creative entrepreneur while balancing entrepreneurship and motherhood. If you’re trying to find balance in this exciting place you’re in, yet willing to talk about the hard stuff too, Shoot It Straight Podcast is here to share practical and tangible takeaways to help you shoot it straight

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This episode is brought to you by The Aligned Photographer, my brand new online course that will help you shape and expand your photography business to feel uniquely yours. Course modules include information all about pricing for profit, marketing, setting goals, creating a sustainable schedule, email, boundaries, and more. The course also includes monthly live Q&A calls, where you can get all of your business questions answered by me, Sabrina Gebhardt. Sign up today with 10% off exclusively for podcast listeners with the code: PODCAST

Review the Show Notes:

The first step (1:20)

Do the math (4:41)

The second step (6:53)

Creating your application form (8:34)

How to get people to apply (10:16)

The final step in a model call (11:21) 

Episode Links:

The Aligned Photographer: Get 10% off with the code: PODCAST

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Review the Transcript:

Welcome to the shoot it straight podcast. I’m your host, Sabrina Gephardt. Here I will share an honest take on what it’s like to be a female creative entrepreneur. while balancing business, motherhood and life, myself, along with my guests will get vulnerable through honest conversations and relatable stories because we’re willing to go there. If you’re trying to find balance in this exciting place you’re in, yet willing to talk about the hard stuff to to shoot it straight podcast is here to share practical and tangible takeaways to help you shoot it straight. In today’s episode, I want to address something that I get asked about quite a bit. And that is how to get more in home photography clients.

And let me say that really, you could fill in any kind of client here. How do I get more high end weddings? How do I get more fresh 40 eights? How do I get more maternity sessions, you get the point, when my students aren’t getting the kind of inquiries that line up with the kind of work they want to book, I walk them through two important steps. And when they are done well. And with intention and with follow through, they work to bring in the types of leads they want. Literally they work every single time. The first step may seem really simple, but it is often overlooked. Are you ready for this? You have to show what you want to sell. Think about this for a minute, what your audience sees the kind of work that you’re sharing, that’s the kind of thing that people are going to reach out to you for? If you really want to shoot more in home sessions. Are you showing those anywhere? Do you have them on your Instagram feed? Are they on your website? Are you talking about them in your emails? Or are you sharing other things like outdoor images while just kind of secretly hoping that you’ll get requests for more in home sessions. The fact of the matter is what we show is what we will become known for. The problem seems to be when you start to have a desire to do something different than what you’ve been doing in the past.

Let’s say when you first started your business, you photographed families outdoors. And now many years later, your heart just isn’t in it anymore. Maybe now you’re interested in seniors or branding, or births or in home sessions. It doesn’t matter what the interest is. The thing to acknowledge here is that whatever this new interest is, is something different than you have been doing regularly before, you’re super passionate about this new thing. And all you want to do is photograph it as much as possible. The problem is, the inquiries that you’re getting on your website and in your DMS are mostly four year old offering that thing that you don’t even really love anymore. I bet if you were to take a step back, and really look at how you appear to someone brand new, someone brand new that lands on your website for the first time, you’ll see that you’re not sharing this new thing nearly enough. Maybe you’ve sprinkled it in a few images here and there. But if your business is established, or even if it’s only a year old, that means that the vast majority of your work out on the internet is of the old thing, not the new thing. I’m not going to sugarcoat this and tell you that you’ll start booking this new thing immediately, once you post a few images, there is a little bit of transition time required. But the steps are really, really simple.

Start showing what you want to sell over and over and over again. And honestly, if you don’t want to photograph the other thing anymore, I would stop showing it at all, I would take it off your website, I would delete any of your more recent social media posts that pertain to it. Now, of course, if this new passion that you want to photograph is in addition to your business, you don’t want to replace anything that you’re currently doing, you’re just really excited about and want to start offering more of the new thing than don’t delete the old stuff. But I do want you to plan on going all in blast the internet with this new thing for a while, because it’s going to take your audience a hot minute to realize that you offer the new thing. You’ve probably heard the claim that we need to see something seven times before it really registers to us. I’ve also heard more recently that now with social media and being bombarded with the internet, that it takes us seeing something 12 times before it registered. So think about this for a minute. Let’s say you’re consistently sharing on social media four times a week. And we all know that not everybody sees every post. Unfortunately, it’s more like 10% of your followers that see your posts on a good day.

That means that 10% of your followers We are seeing you show up online. That means that 90% of your followers are not seeing you. And if you only share about this new thing a couple times a month, do the math. People don’t know you offer it, my friend, you need to be sharing this new thing for a solid month, everywhere. You need to be sharing it on social media. In multiple emails, you need to be talking about it in Instagram Stories, it needs to be all over your website, including your homepage. This needs to be front and center until it is absolutely drilled home with your audience. Friend, if you have a brand new photography business, or maybe you’ve been in business for a few years, but you aren’t thriving, I think I can help. Let me introduce you to my new course the aligned photographer. In this self study course, you will learn practical and tangible ways to lead with your heart so you can focus on capturing your magic. In these seven modules, you’ll learn things like pricing for profit, marketing, setting goals, creating a sustainable schedule, email marketing, building boundaries, and more. Plus, there are three incredible bonuses built in to really take things to the next level. Lessons are a mixture of video lessons, audio trainings, and printable worksheets. Plus, every module has a resources page full of free things to help you take the topic even deeper.

The best part, in my opinion, are the live monthly q&a calls where you show up and get all of your business questions answered by me. So if you find yourself in a photography business that is burning you out, that isn’t making you a paycheck that is uninspiring and just not everything you had hoped for, then definitely check out this course. And as a special bonus, just for my podcast, listeners use code podcast at checkout to save 10%. And now back to the episode. Here’s where my second step comes in. I know that you’re probably thinking Sabrina, that’s great. But I don’t have that much variety in this particular body of work, I don’t have that much to share, because it’s new, I don’t want to share the same images over and over again. And so that I’ll say you’re right, I agree. But this is a really easy fix, enter the model call, I am not talking about a giveaway, please hear me loud and clear. doing a giveaway. And hosting an intentional model call will yield very, very different results. You do not want to do a giveaway. In this situation, you want a model call and I’m going to tell you exactly how to do it for maximum results. So going back to my example of wanting to photograph more in home sessions, in this example, you will need model families who are willing to be photographed at home. So how do you go about setting those up and finding those people? The first thing you need to do is clearly define exactly what you are hoping for. What kind of families do you want to photograph? How many kids do they have? Are they going to be relying on natural light? Do they need a lot of windows? Or will you be using off camera flash?

Do you want to style your families? Or do you want to go with a more documentary style approach? Will you be taking photographs or creating family films? When are you available to photograph the sessions weekdays or weekends? Do you want to photograph models as soon as possible? or 30 to 60 days out? How many model families are you looking for? Hint, it should definitely be more than one. So after you’ve defined exactly what you’re looking for now is time to set up the actual model call. I’m going to give you a really strong piece of advice here. Please create an application form. Do yourself that favor whether you’re you use a free tool like Google Forms, or something that is built into your CRM, like dubsado Whichever you choose is fine. But you want all of this information to stay organized. You want it nice and neat and not just slammed into your inbox because that is super overwhelming. And I am not about adding to your overwhelm here. So when you creating this form or this questionnaire for model applicants, feel free to ask them all the things. I personally like to ask about their personality, how they met, what do they do on a typical Saturday as a family? Where do they like to shop? What kind of music do they listen to? What are their kids personalities like, you can also ask them to submit a picture of themselves or of their house, that’s totally up to you.

You want to make sure that when people are applying to be your models, they are number one really invested in the process. And when you have an in depth questionnaire, only the people who are super duper interested are going to take time to actually fill it out. The other thing is that you want to be able to get a feel for the family’s personality and their interests before you commit to them. This is going to help guarantee that you’re choosing to work with people who fit your ideal clients. and they can create the types of images that you want to photograph more of. Remember, these families are getting free images from you, it is okay to be very nitpicky and choose very specific families to meet your needs. So, after you’ve created this application form, how do you get people to apply simple, share about it everywhere and give it a deadline, a deadline is going to light a fire under people to apply ASAP instead of just kind of putting it off until later. And sharing about it everywhere gets people excited. Everyone likes free stuff, when you share about it online, whether it be social media, or a blog post or your email, I want you to spell out exactly what you’re looking for inside that Instagram post or inside your Instagram stories.

And then ask people to share and tag their friends who fit the bill. And guess what they will. And remember, you’re gonna have to share about it more than once. If you are going to open this model call for 14 days, you should be sharing about it every day or every other day, to remind people to tag their friends, to drop the link in your bio, to ask people to forward it to people they know, try and get that spiderweb going as much as possible. And you will be so surprised to see what kinds of applications come in. So the last step to a really successful model call is to hop on a zoom with your top choices. Once you’ve gotten a whole pile of applicants and you go through them on paper, you’re going to have a gut reaction to a few of them, you’re going to be able to tell Okay, these three or these five are incredible, then you want to hop on a zoom, this really gives you a chance to chat with the parents or the mom face to face just for like five minutes, they’ve already given you all of this information, you just want to make sure that you click this helps to set you up for success for both yourself and the client. You want them to love the experience to love the images they get because they will share about your business in the future.

You also want to love working with them. Because that means you will get beautiful, heartfelt emotional images, right. We’ve all been at the session where the people you just didn’t really jive with and guess what the images were probably mediocre. On the flip side, we’ve all been at sessions where you are obsessed with the family you’re photographing, and guess what the images are incredible. Okay, so getting on a zoom call with them to really take that application process one step further, so that you can see them and chat with them and laugh and get to know each other just to make sure that everybody’s on the same page that is going to make the experience a win win. I know this whole model call thing sounds like a lot of work. And I won’t lie, it is a lot of work. But please don’t see it as a waste. This is an investment in your business’s future. Look at this experience as a marketing investment.

Yes, you are photographing for free, and giving images away for free and donating your time. But it is not a waste. The entire point of these model sessions is to expand your body of work for the thing that you want to photograph. The bigger the body of work, the more images you have to share, the more you can show the world that this thing is available and you want to do more of it. And that’s how you increase the inquiries for the thing that you want to do the most. Don’t look at this exercise as a waste of time. It’s an investment in marketing and the future of your business. Okay, so to recap, if there is a new type of session that you’re really wanting to photograph more of, and yet you’re not getting inquiries for that thing.

There are two things you should be doing. Number one, show what you want to sell, and show it everywhere, over and over and over again for at least 30 days. And number two, do a very intentional model call and select multiple families so that you can grow that body of work. All right, friends. That’s it for today’s episode. I hope you found it valuable and are inspired to rethink what you’re sharing online and maybe even get some model calls lined up soon. Thanks for being here. We’ll see you next week. Thanks so much for listening to the shoot it straight podcast. You can find all the full show notes and details from today’s episode at Sabrina gebhardt.com backslash podcast. Come find me and connect over on the gram at Sabrina Gephardt photography. If you’re loving the podcast, I’d be honored if you hit that subscribe button and leave me a review. Until next time, my friends shoot it straight.

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