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Every photographer should spend a dedicated amount of time monitoring and evaluating the efficiency of each area of his or her business. Running a photography business is about more than just taking pictures. Each department needs to have as much TLC as the photographic product. The sales department is often one of the more neglected areas, coming at the end of the process and sometimes being the bit that photographers feel the most uncomfortable about!
When monitoring the effectiveness of this you need to go back through the journey that each client takes through your business. This journey allows you several opportunities to prepare the clients for the sale experience and thus also prepare them for a realistic spend.
Your marketing activity should ensure that you have the right target market clients coming through the business, but from the very first point of contact they need to know an estimation of what they are likely to spend. In fairness most clients won't have a definite idea of what they want as a final finished product so it is up to you to educate them, start to get them thinking about the physical product that they want from the shoot whether it is a collection of pictures in an album, or framed pictures and canvasses for the wall. Introduce the price points for these options –'Most of my clients spend anywhere between £xxx and £yyy' Framed pictures start from £xxx upwards, collections of images in albums start from £xxx.
At this stage this is enough information for them to start to feel comfortable with, anyone unwilling or unable to spend this much will be filtered out here. Following the initial call, send out your printed material with a covering letter, this letter should support and reinforce the message you were giving out over the phone, confirming all details and again have a simple reference to prices and the sales process you will be taking the clients through so they have a thorough understanding of both the method you will be adopting for the sale and the price points of the various products available.
The next stage which offers you an opportunity to pre-sell is the photographic experience itself, throughout the shoot you can mention products and prices if the opportunity arises, if not there is always the valuable time at the end of the shoot. Don't rush away, an extra 15 minutes over coffee at this time will give you the best opportunity to prepare the client, they have had a great time with you so far and are now quite relaxed. Take some products with you, keep them in the car and as you are chatting start to prepare them for the next stage.