Get your Business Streamlined and Organized with Amanda Rae of 17Hats

Natalie: Well, hi, Amanda. Thank you for being here.

Amanda: Hey Natalie. Thanks so much for having me. This is so exciting to speak with you again.

Natalie: Yeah. I had such a great time on our last call. So many awesome points. I'm going to obviously link to that episode in the show notes. So if you haven't heard it go back and listen to that. But today I thought it'd be like really useful for people to just give them kind of a behind the scenes peek into some of the functionality at 17 hats. And just as it relates to photographers, because that's who we're talking to.

Amanda: That's right. We can chat about all of that. I was a past photographer as well, and I actually use 17hats for my own business. So, you know, it helps in so many different ways. You can send individual contracts and you can send individual invoices. But what I love to use is our three in one functionality: it's sending a quote, contract and invoice altogether.

Some people are like, “I don't want to use a quote.” I'm just going to go on my soap box of why you should use a quote really quickly.

If you don't use them, they are amazing for multiple reasons. One, your lead can listen to you all they want, but they're only going to process about 20% of the information. And so they're not hearing everything that you're saying. So a lot of times they're going to come in to the conversation with a preconceived notion of what they want, and it takes them a while to move away from that preconceived notion.

And so that is a journey on its own. And talking is one way of moving them from that. But also actually showing them something and letting them read it. This happened to me when I was a photographer, I was at the end of my session. I did everything I felt like was right, I went through everything. I talked to them about everything. Showed them my pricing and menu. We went through everything.

We're at the reveal session and the mom says something like, “Oh, I wish we could have done like two locations or something like that.” And I was like, “oh, that was my highest package.” And she said, “I didn't even realize you offered that.” And I was like, “are you serious?”

But the reality is that as a newbie photographer, I told her and she didn't have time to process it. I went through everything too fast. This is their first time, a lot of times, so they need that time to process. And so by having a quote, because it's attached to the payment, they actually take a little bit more time to sit back.

After you talked about it with them after the pricing menu, after they've looked on your website. Having that quote, because it's a more official document, they're like, “oh, I need to pay attention here.” They look at that quote a little bit more and usually whatever you talk them into, right.

They will justify going with the higher package because there's FOMO. They're scared to miss out.

They will go with the higher package and you can add on so easily. But having that quote, it automatically takes them to sign their contract.

You have three documents in one document, creating a super streamlined experience. And there's no hurdles in the experience because every time there's a hurdle, your lead drops off.

You want to make it easy, like easier than easy. And if you don't think it's easy, then make it easy. If you think it's already easy, like try to make it a little easier.

So that's the goal of the quote, contract and invoice. It's boom, boom, boom three documents in one, you can do all three of them at one time, they pay you online: done. As soon as they complete those, they receive a confirmation email.

So you don't have to send an email to them with the document. They receive that, it's all done in your account. So you're good to go. You can sign the contract electronically yourself and it's finished. It literally takes less than five minutes to complete a quote, contract and invoice in one year.

It's amazing. Having that automation piece–say you have like a retainer baked into something where someone doesn't pay the full fee up front–it's going to just keep track of stuff for you. And you don't have to be like, “wait a minute. Did I mention that piece?”

It is so essential to have those pieces working just automatically for you, because there's nothing more embarrassing than trying to offer a higher price product, like a wedding, you don't want to be asking people for money or like making it a huge mistake that you missed.

Like, oh yeah, I see that you did pay, sorry that I had you go through your entire bank statement. Cause I missed it. You know, that's not cool. And then they start like one time you might be able to get away with, with one client because something just kind of screwed up and that might work.

But you know, if it happens over and over and over to multiple clients, people talk. You know, your trust, that professionalism goes down.

When professionalism goes down, trust goes down, people don't trust you. They start to dictate your photo shoot. Have you ever had that happen? Like when you very first started, people being like, “how about the single, how about you do this? How about you try this? What about this?” And you're like, “I need you to sit back and leave me alone and let me do my job.” But the reality is, and it happened to me when I first started too. I had not yet instilled in them that I know what I'm doing and I'm the professional that I am.

And so that goes back to your client experience and it goes back to these little things that we're talking about today: Staying organized, staying on top of things, getting the right information over, making sure that you're putting that professional foot forward.

Because at that point when that professional foot is forward, because you're nice and organized, trust is instilled with them and they're like, “Ooh, they got this, they're professional.”

And that's when you start to see clients back off and stop telling you how to run your business. That's huge and trust really, truly does go hand-in-hand with having a seamless process for people. A system like 17hats offers where people immediately are like, “wow, that was so easy. They're on the ball. I'll work with them again.”

Maybe in the early days that that doesn't matter so much, but it goes such a long way. It's sort of like, you can liken it to almost anything. Like if you are going to a restaurant because someone recommended it, but the menu's like dirty and tattered, but everyone's like “the food's really great.” And like the glasses are dirty, whatever, like those little, little things. They add up, piling up in the back of people's minds.

And so if you're not really clear about packages and you forgot to send them their invoice and all of the stuff we've already covered, I mean that even if you're a lovely person and have a great product at the end of the line, those little things are frustrating for people that are busy.

It's so important because especially when you first start out, your marketing is really based on referral market. People going, “I had a great experience. Let me tell you about this experience.” So these little details, sadly, is what many people do not do. So if you can do them, you're one step ahead of your competitors.

People are busy, they got kiddos, they have lives, they do not want to be trying to figure out how to pay you.

Natalie: So, I mean, as far as organization goes, we've got the calendar, the to dos, the booking, the contracts. Is there anything top of mind for you that that would be in the organization bucket that you can think of?

Amanda: So there's two things, actually. One is going to be the little detail. Right. So when you go to the doctor, the doctor, actually puts the charts on the outside of the room. And so when they pull the chart up, they actually read your details and they come in, and they're like, “Hey Amanda, how are you? It's been a year since I've seen you.”

And I'm like, “you don't remember that!” They don't. They read it on the chart that's outside of the room. Right. So take a cue from your doctors and how they play this, right? So when you talk to your leads, they're usually very open with lots of information. They tell you their kids' names, their spouse's names, their favorite foods. You have these nice conversations.

You need to be able to take those conversations and those details and put them somewhere. And so that's going to be in your project page on 17hats. You can create a note and you can just say “here's the information that I know about them.”

So before they show up for their service, you can quickly scan over that. And so when they arrive, you are ready to talk to them like you know them. Like you have heard everything they've said, and that brings their stress level down and makes them very comfortable with you. At the end of the day, it's going to give you a more successful session and provide them a better experience.

Natalie: I love that so much. One of the best things I've implemented in my business in recent years is asking people who will be at the shoot. And unless it's like an anniversary party with 50 people. We all have those clients that when you get busy, and you have dozens and dozens and dozens of families to remembe, you don't remember the kids' names, or you forget one of the parent's names, it just happens.

It's not because you're a horrible photographer, or a horrible person. If you're able to do the doctor trick and say, “Let me look, let me pull this up quick,” then you can greet everyone with that level of service that you're charging for.

Amanda: And I think, I think this is so important for wedding photographers, because they can send out a questionnaire that says: who's your maid of honor. Who's your best man? What is the mother of the bride's name? What is the mother of the groom's name? Who are all these important people that you need to know, gather their information. And so then when you show up, you're greeting all of them.

If you can put your best foot forward and just be really approachable and have people be comfortable with you, that is a huge step to them booking you. People want to book with people they feel comfortable with and they trust.

Natalie: I love that so much. One of the best things I've implemented in my business in recent years is asking people who will be at the shoot. And unless it's like an anniversary party with 50 people. We all have those clients that when you get busy, and you have dozens and dozens and dozens of families to remember, you don't remember the kids' names, or you forget one of the parent's names, it just happens. It's important to reiterate that because I think as creators as artists, photographers are rightfully very focused on the quality of their work and the style that they have.

But I've said this many times in my coaching programs, my one-on-ones, every single step of your process, from the time that you're at a dinner party giving someone your business card, to the time after they've received their photos–that's all your brand. It is your business.

It's such a huge thing to pay attention to those little details. And I think anytime you can put it all in one bucket, all the businessy things, it's super helpful. So I think this is just a great place to introduce people, to like the magic of being organized.

Amanda: That's right. And then of course you have online scheduling, which we all know the hassle of trying to schedule a phone call or a consultation or a reveal session over email. It's back and forth, back and forth and back and forth. And so being able to send them directly to your scheduling link that has your available days, you're not opening up your whole calendar. You're just saying I'm available for these days during these times, and you can only give them the next seven days or the next 14 days. You can give them a timeframe in which they're booking. And that's so much better than back and forth emails.

And. You know, they're going to be able to go in and select a date there, be able to slip the time they're going to get a confirmation email.

If you're doing something via Zoom, you can connect to your Zoom account and it will automatically create a Zoom link for you. So it's all of these steps that have just been taken off of your plate. Because you have a system that was created to be your assistant.

The great thing about online scheduling is that we crosscheck your calendars. So you can cross check your family calendar. You can cross check your booked calendar, your lead calendar, so you can cross check all of those calendars. You can make sure somebody doesn't book over your child's birthday or your doctor's appointment or whatever it is.

Being able to have that automation and that organization with calendars, and then to be able to put that organization into play with automation, that is where you truly save so much time.

Natalie: Thank you so much, Amanda. I really, really appreciate you being here again. Just a reminder to go back and listen to my previous interview that we did back in November.

I'm so excited right now. I'm like, Ooh, I just want to organize everything.

Natalie: Thank you so much, Amanda. I really, really appreciate you being here again. Just a reminder to go back and listen to my previous interview that we did back in November.

Amanda: Thank you Natalie, for having me. I enjoyed it.

17 Hats Discount:

Go to use code photobizhelp to get that big discount. If you are even kind of on the fence, there's never a good time to get your business organized. And I promise you if you do it later down the road, it's just that much harder.

About Amanda: 

Amanda Rae is COO and part-owner of 17hats

Check out Amanda's previous episodes with Photo Business Help!

Episode 262

Episode 263



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