Can I be honest with you all about something?
For the first 7 years that I was managing our wedding photography business? I used a single Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that lived precariously on my fiance’s cluttered laptop home page. I think it was titled something along the lines of “2009 Leads” and I never updated the title. Every time we would get a new wedding inquiry, I would have to wait to borrow Kyle’s laptop, find the Excel doc (and keep fingers crossed in the meantime that he hadn’t deleted it), and add the lead’s name and email address to the sheet. I also included their wedding date. You know, just for good measure.
I ran our business like this for a good 7 years, friends. Until we were busy photographing weddings more weekends than not. And every time I needed to find something for or about that client? I had to go back and dig through email. Or the Notes app on Kyle’s laptop. Or 1 of the 4 notebooks that I took with us to client meetings.
I didn’t know that things like CRMs existed.
I didn’t know that there was a way to make my life easier, that there was software built specifically for people who had businesses just like me. And I certainly didn’t think that I needed one since we were only running our business as a part-time side hustle. After all, if it’s only a part-time gig on the weekends and I’m not making any money off of it since I’m mainly shooting for friends…I don’t really need to invest in that “professional software,” right?
Okay…show of hands…who’s been in this same place and mindset before?
- Who thought that you don’t really need a CRM because you’re not a full-time professional?
- Or that you can’t afford to invest in one because you only do this part-time?
- Better yet…who isn’t even sure what a CRM is?
No shame here, friends. We all start somewhere (as I well learned all those years ago). Let’s dive in and get to it, dear.
What exactly is a CRM?
CRM stands for Client Relationship Management, a process in which a business or other organization administers its interactions with customers. They’re designed to house all kinds of data for you about your clients (names, address, relationships, anniversaries, etc.), any communication that you might have with your clients, can be used to schedule meetings or sessions with your clients, and can even be automated to send emails and information to your clients. Most CRMs are housed online, which means that you can access them from anywhere, anytime, even from your phone.
What exactly does a CRM do?
Well…. How much time do you have? In all honesty, though, there’s not a lot that a typical CRM today can’t do. They can store client information. Communicate with your clients FOR you. Give your clients access to your calendar (if that’s your jam), so they can schedule meetings or sessions with you. CRMs can also keep track of how and where your leads come from, your cash flow, help you accept payments, and so, so much more.
Do you need a CRM?
Well…that kind of depends. Based on the story I told you earlier, no, technically not everyone needs a CRM. However, if you want your life to be easier, your business to run smoother, and to be able to deliver a baller experience to your clients? Then yes, you need a CRM. Because not only will your CRM help you do all of those things, but it will also save you so much time and energy and will cut so much excess, unneeded stress out of your life. Whether you’re a full-time wedding photographer or weekend warrior, having a CRM in your toolbox will help you manage your clients better, manage your time better, and make sure that you’re delivering the best damn client experience to your clients that you can.
Still not sure that you need a CRM? Here are 5 ways a CRM can make your life easier.
5 Ways a CRM Can Make Your Life Easier
1. A CRM can keep all of your client info in one place.
Gone are the days of digging through email or notebooks trying to find the correct spelling or phone number of your client’s last name. Your CRM can store all of that data for you, which is time built back into your day.
2. A CRM can keep all of your client communication in one place.
Did you remember to send your clients that one email? Did they respond to it? Better yet….did they even see it? No more wondering where you put the notes from that one meeting you had because it’s in your CRM. Just imagine all of the time that you can save by not digging through notebooks and inboxes trying to find an email from your client!
3. A CRM can automatically reach out to new leads, even when you’re not “at work.”
Yep, that’s right. All of your leads can get an immediate response from you, no matter the time of day, or whether you’re at your computer. This is one of my favorite automations that can be set up in any CRM that takes so much stress away!
4. A CRM can help you deliver a consistent client experience…saving you loads of time and stress.
By using your CRM to set up tasks and workflows, you can be sure that all of your clients get treated the same way, receive the same emails, and go through the same steps of your client workflow. Bonus: this helps keep you on task and on top of when you need to be accomplishing certain to-dos for your clients too!
5. A CRM can keep track of all of your income (and potentially expenses) and when you’ll get paid.
There’s not a lot worse than not knowing when you’re going to get paid. A CRM can take all of that weight off your shoulders by automatically creating invoices for your clients AND sending out reminders that those invoices need to be paid. Most also have a feature letting you see when you’ll have income coming in so you can stay on top of your cash flow and know when you can invest back into your business.
These 5 ways a CRM can make your life easier? They’re just the cherry on top of how a CRM can make your life easier. There’s no bonus or prize for running your business the hard way. Your business should work FOR you, not make more WORK for you. Investing in a solid CRM is one way to prevent this from happening.
Because honestly, babe…if you can make your life easier and get more time back to be with your family and friends? Why shouldn’t you?
Be sure to get the list of my top 4 Recommended CRMS for Wedding Photographers if you’re currently looking for a CRM. This breaks them all down and compares and contrasts them so you don’t have to do as much leg work!
Still not sure if it’s time for you to think about investing in one? Feel free to DM me and we can chat about it!
Already have a CRM and are ready to make your life easier by putting some workflows and automations in place? Click here to schedule a discovery call so we can figure out how to make your life easier!
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