Nothing is more important to a business than reaching its clients quickly. Whether the customer needs quotes, billing information, questions answered or just to check in on a job, speed is of the utmost importance. The accuracy of your information when replying is also equally important, and that’s where cloud computing and a smartphone can pay off very quickly.
When a small business begins, setup is everything. With programs like QuickBooks online, DropBox and Google Docs, you can pretty well run your business from anywhere with an internet connection. QuickBooks lets you handle your invoicing, quotes and more, right from your computer or smartphone (check compatibility before purchasing). DropBox lets you store all your brochures, flyers, and customer forms in a place where you can email them quickly and easily. Google Docs allows you to create word processing, spreadsheet and presentation documents on the go – and sync them instantly to your smartphone, laptop and office computer. Again, all three of these amazing services are available instantly to any of your devices, computers and tablets.
Lets play out two scenarios with 2 photographers that are trying to book the same wedding client. The first has a studio, a business line and great computers for editing and post production. While they have a great website and do wonderful work, technology hasn’t caught up with them to the point of having the freedom of working away from their computer yet. The second runs a small business of on-location shooting out of a spare bedroom with a minimal investment in good equipment and some technology that includes a smartphone, tablet and PC.
A client finds both photographers ads in a wedding magazine and emails both of them at 8:00 in the evening. The first owner sees the email about 9:00 in the morning. They quickly compose an email to the potential client and let them know about the years of experience, the professional grade equipment that is used and how their philosophy of wedding photography works. They top this off with a quote for the day, including travel times from MapQuest, and links to a few of their online galleries.
The second shooter is at the park with their children finishing up a great play date when the email comes through to their phone. They decide to give the kids a few extra minutes on the slides before heading home just to answer the email. The smartphone user jumps online to Google Docs, types in a quick set of numbers, then uses Google Maps to check time and distance for their travel charges, and finishes out a quick estimate for the potential client. They then share a few links in the email to their galleries and the client has all the information they need in a few minutes. This is all sent by 8:15 that evening, 12 hours before the first photographer even sees the email.
The client replies to the second photographer almost immediately. They setup a meeting at a local coffee shop for the next day and discuss the contract, services offered and finalize their plans. At this time, the photographer uses the coffee shop’s free Wi-Fi connection to log in to their gallery site online and show the client a wedding session or two right on a new tablet with a high resolution screen. They then take a peek at the pricing options, service options and even a few client recommendations in PDF form stored in the photographer’s DropBox account. The client is sold and signs the contract that evening. The client returns home that later to find the reply from the more experienced photographer sitting in their inbox. A quick reply of, thank you but we already booked a photographer greets the studio owner who laughs it off and goes on with their day.
The bottom line here is that speed can be everything in booking a job. Despite your experience level, equipment or personality, quick, accurate answers might get you a client that you may not have if you were slower. Whether its putting in a bathtub or taking photos, being the first to answer questions and concerns always gives you a leg up over the competition. The faster the response time, the more likely the client is to avoid talking to others. Once you have established a line of communication with the client, you have the advantage you need. The trick is outfitting yourself appropriately.
Visit our online store and check out how affordable we can make your smartphone bill. From $40 a month for SIMPLEMobile’s Unlimited 3G plan to a full 10GB data plan on Verizon Wireless, we have you covered. If you need that tablet for presentations, we have them from Sprint and Verizon Wireless as well.