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Day 14 Bonus: "Initial Inquiry"

Lesson 27 from: 30 Days to Design Your Portrait Business

Lori Nordstrom

Day 14 Bonus: "Initial Inquiry"

Lesson 27 from: 30 Days to Design Your Portrait Business

Lori Nordstrom

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Lesson Info

27. Day 14 Bonus: "Initial Inquiry"


Class Trailer

Day 1


Day 1: So You Want to Be a Pro Photographer?


Day 2: Setting Up "Shop"


Day 2 Bonus: "Setting Up Shop"


Day 3: Getting Organized for Success


Day 3 Bonus: "Planning"


Day 4: Studio Image


Day 4 Bonus: "Studio Image"


Day 5: Defining Your Niche


Day 5 Bonus: "Your Niche"


Day 6: Defining Your Target Client


Day 6 Bonus: "Your Target Client"


Day 7: Marketing Part 1


Day 7 Bonus: "Marketing - Part 1"


Day 8: Marketing Part 2 Ideas For implementation


Day 8 Bonus: "Marketing Part 2"


Day 9: Networking


Day 9 Bonus: "Networking"


Day 10: Pricing For Profit Part 1


Day 10 Bonus: "Pricing Part 1"


Day 11: Pricing For Profit Part 2


Day 11 Bonus:"Pricing part 2"


Day 12: Projections for 2014


Day 12 Bonus: "Projections"


Day 13: Scheduling and Planning


Day 13 Bonus: "Scheduling & Planning"


Day 14: The Inquiry: Handling Emails & the First Phone Call


Day 14 Bonus: "Initial Inquiry"


Day 15: Client Education & Customer Service


Day 16: Defining Your Product Line


Day 16 Bonus: "Product Line"


Day 17: Packaging Your Product


Day 17 Bonus: "Packaging"


Day 18: The Portrait Consultation: Designing & Planning Session


Day 18 Bonus: "Consultation"


Day 19: Photographing at the Client's Home: Shooting for the Wall


Day 19 Bonus: "Wall Concept Shoot"


Day 20: Shooting On Location: Client's Home with Older Kids


Day 20 Bonus: "Mandi Shoot"


Day 21: Shooting On Location: Client's Home


Day 21 Bonus: "Dryden Shoot"


Day 22: Adding Video to Your Portrait Sessions


Day 22 Bonus: "Adding Video"


Day 23: Shooting with Studio Light


Day 23 Bonus: "Studio Lighting"


Day 24: Portrait Workflow


Day 25: Sales


Day 26: Handling Objections: Finding Your "Yes" Answers


Day 27: Special Events & Mini Sessions


Day 28: Charitable Events: Give & Get Day


Day 28 Bonus: "Charitable Marketing"


29: When Should I Hire Help? When Should I Go Retail?


Day 29 Bonus: Skype call with Lori & Carly


Day 30: Goal Setting & Motivation


Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

Day 9

Day 10

Day 11

Day 12

Day 13

Day 14

Day 15

Day 16

Day 17

Day 18

Day 19

Day 20

Day 21

Day 22

Day 23

Day 24

Day 25

Day 26

Day 27

Day 28

Day 29

Day 30

Lesson Info

Day 14 Bonus: "Initial Inquiry"

Today we're going to talk about the initial inquiry that's the first time that you've got to make an impression on a potential client or a new client, so we're gonna work through the first phone call and what that should look like you make it emails, and that may be the first way that someone's going to contact you, but you always want to get to that verbal communication, so I wantto just show you a few e mails that I have gotten recently. These are actual emails from clients from potential clients and s so that you can see that I'm getting emails just like you are and kind of how we get to that phone call. I never want to carry out the entire process through an email, and one reason is in the main reason is that the person on the other end of une male can only read through their feelings and through their personality, they can't read your personality, so make sure that you get on that phone with them even in person is great if that happens, if you've got a retail location and you've g...

ot people that are walking in that's super, but make sure that first contact that first communication is very positive and leads them through the process, just like you want to lead them, so here a couple of emails from potential clients, most of these air coming right through my photo biz website there's a contact for him there and threw those contact forms I can customize those. And so if it's a high school senior it's goingto ask what year they're graduating and you know some specific questions that way, if it's a family there on our regular website it's gonna ask them their phone number, I always want to make sure that I get that right away and it's going to ask them how they heard about me. So right away, I want to find out a little bit more, you know, knowing how they heard about you is going to tell you a couple things all ready if they heard about you in a specific place, whether it's a display or whether it's word of mouth from my friend you've kind of already gotten that common ground built, you can start talking to them about something you have in common. So if they have found me just with an internet search or, you know, on facebook something like that, I've got a lot more work to do and educating the client. We want to find that out right away. So here's, what a couple of emails look like first, we've got one that just says hello, please send me prices, you know, this is very, very bag, and so it leads me teo you know, open toe asking any questions that I want so I'm going to email back I'm not going to send this person prices right away I have to establish value before I can send a pricing over and it doesn't matter if you're charging ten dollars for an eight by ten it's not going to make sense to somebody unless the values not there so we've gotta build that first and I want to do that verbally on the phone and so even to this just very bag simple please send me your prices now I'm going to send back a question and I'm going to say, you know, thanks so much for emailing tell me about who we're going to be photographing and what type of session you're interested in and even if even if I was going to send them prices right away, I couldn't do it without knowing this so it's a perfect question to ask and I'll send that back to them we do have a couple of you know I don't want to say candy but pre written email responses but I always want to personalize that don't ever send something that's just a reply to someone that feels like it's the reply you send every single person make sure you personalize it a little bit and at least which a few things up we're going to e mail back and say thanks for e mailing and tell me about how you heard about us and who we're gonna be photographing tell us a little bit more about that I was always wantto end the email with what's a good time to give you a call, which is better morning or afternoon and so I want to get a little bit of an idea of their schedule and when I can call them because I want to start that verbal communication the next email just says hi laurie, I'm wondering about getting an appointment for my daughter can you send me pricing this question is much like that the last she's just asking for pricing but at least now I know that it's a daughter and so I'm gonna ask specific questions about her daughter and about her daughter's age she hasn't told me that I'm going to assume that it's not a high school senior since it came from our family website and on our senior website, but I'm gonna email back and say, you know, hey, thanks for e mailing us. How did you hear about us and how old is your daughter? What type of session were you interested in it's going to be that same question but just rephrase a little bit differently, I'm also going to end the email again with what's the best time to call you morning or afternoon if I don't already have their contact number I'm going to ask for it at that time usually if it's come from our contact form on our website they go ahead and type that phone number in so that's a role plus but I don't have it I'm gonna ask for it the next email is from our senior site and this one says I'm enquiring about a senior photo session for my son please contact me at your earliest convenience now this one is a little bit more direct I do know that it's a boy I know that it's a high school senior I she's contacted me from her website she's given me her phone number and said please contact me at her earlier earliest convenience because of this I could just pick up the phone and call because that's really what I want to dio and I will do that but I also want to reply to this email because that's how she initially contacted me and so my response is going to be heidi and she did give me her name here so heidi thanks so much for emailing I'm super excited to photograph your son and will be calling you very soon thank you laurie and so then I am going to call her but I do want to respond so make sure that you are responding in a positive way right away but then pick up the phone as soon as you can the next e mail is coming from someone who just says that they're referred by a friend. She does not tell me who and the mess, sir says, I'm wondering if you have time available for photos this fall, so this is pretty open ended. I'm going to email back and I'm going to say hello, thanks so much for emailing yes, we do have a few times available left for this fall. We'd love to get you scheduled. What is the best time to contact you morning or afternoon? So I'm leading right back into that I also want to end with I can't wait to hear more about your family and your vision for your session, so I wantto let her know that I'm excited to talk to her and that I will be contacting her what's best morning or afternoon, so always replying to the email, but always following up with a phone call and then the last one here that I'm going to share is the best kind of email I like to get and this one says hi, laurie, I saw your work at my friend katie blacks home, she raved about you. Can you send me some more information over? We love your work and can't wait to work with you, so a couple things have happened here. First of all, I know right away that this came from a referral and I know who it came from. It came from katie black so I know what katie black has hanging in her home and I know what this woman has seen and so this is the kind of e mail that I want because I already know that this person has seen and experienced the images but she's also talked to someone who, you know, buy in her words she says she raves about you and so she's already already coming with a very positive background and, you know, interaction with somebody who's worked with us before. One of the other things that I really like to see in an email is when someone says we love your work or I love your work saying your work kind of sets the bar up a little bit it's not we like your photography or we like your photos it's we like your work and so it's kind of putting you at a different level kind of at that artist level when they say we like your work and so this is a great email to get and I do want to make sure I replied to her b a e mail that's how she first contacted me but I want to get her on the phone as soon as possible so my reply is going to be hello thanks so much for emailing I'm really excited to work with you how do you know katie and so I'm gonna put the ball back in her court to continue that conversation and build that relationship you know how do you know katie I kind of want to know if they're friends with the kids if they socialized together on a business level if they go to church together that kind of helps me out as well to know what the playing field is she's told me that she's excited to work with me and so I want to reply that I'm so super excited to meet them and work with them and then when is the best time to call morning or afternoon? I do want to call her as soon as possible when we get clients on the phone there's a couple of steps that I want to take whether it's someone that I've called from an e mail and I'm starting the conversation or they've called me for the first time the conversation is going to go pretty much the same way if it's an email I do want to take into consideration the things that they've told me already on email I want to be sure to talk to them about those things so I'm documenting those things we're going to start a work flo envelope for that those clients and start documenting everything that we've talked about so I can communicate with them and, you know, go through some of the things that they've told me, so I'm not re asking the same questions, but if they call for the first time, I want to make sure, first of all, that I'm answering the phone with a happy face, and that does make a huge difference when you're answering the phone if you answer with a smile and if you can't answer with a smile, I would say, let your machine get it, you know, if you're going to be too distracted, maybe they're certain times during the day where you do answer the phone, or or certain times during the day where you return phone calls. But if you can't answer and not be distracted with other things and answer positively it's okay toe, let your machine get it. I'm not against that all. Make sure that your machine, your message does leave specific directions on anything, any information that you want them to leave for you. You can also let them know how they can see your work if they haven't already very your website and then you want to let them know what time's will be making return phone calls so maybe you want to set aside. Certain times in the afternoon, every day, maybe it's, just twice a week, maybe it's you'll answer within twenty four hours, but do give them an indication on the phone of when you will be returning their calls or maybe even another way to reach you. One of the things that I do now is r r business phone is also a cellphone, and so our clients can actually text us, so we want to let them know that you can text the same number if you need to get a hold of me immediately and, you know, that's, just another way to build personal communication with your client because everybody's texting these days and so that's meant something for me, that's been a huge bonus, not only just with, you know, constant communication with clients, whether it's about clothing or session times or somebody's running five minutes late, but it's also it helps all the way through to the sale because they're sending me images in snapshots of their walls at home and their clothing laid out on their couch or whatever room we're going to be designing for, and so it really helps along the way, so that's something I want to let them know, and it really has built that. You know, kind of personal relationship with clients when they know that they can just text you and get ahold of you so that maybe if that's your thing as well, that may be something that you want to leave on your machine. The first thing that you want to do on that phone call is to find common ground build rapport with this new client, so I want to find out if it's somebody that calls me for the first time, it doesn't matter what question they asked when they call typically it's going to be can you tell me how much your packages are? Can you tell me about your session fees? Can you tell me how this works? You know, they want to know something that has to do with what you dio and how much is going to cost him, and of course we don't want to give him the answer right away that are, you know, sometimes I will talk to about a session fee if they'll ask me a second time about pricing, but I'm never going to say my eight by tens or hundreds fifty dollars I'm never going to say right away our clients spend three to five thousand dollars. You know that's just not something someone wants to be greeted with I do want to lead them to that and I want them to know before they ever come to a session what there you know, looking at and so we'll get through that and through the first entire first process of this call but from the beginning I want to turn that question around and ask a question back to them so if someone calls and they ask me any question about pricing or anything else I'm going to say just you know, thanks for calling I appreciate it calling you know tell me about who we're going to be photographing so that might be question number one question number one might also be tell me about how you heard about us those two questions are both going to be asked sometimes it's an easier leading tio how did you hear about us and sometimes it's an easier lead into tell me about who we're gonna be photographing so we want to just take that conversation and the question that comes in and then we reply with one of those questions and so I would encourage youto have those two questions written down and we're gonna work through a phone script together but make sure those first two questions are written down for you so you ask each and every person that you're contacting you each and every person that is contacting you those two questions, because that's going to help you start that relationship building and it's going to help you start building that common ground and getting to know them. And so how did you hear about us is going to tell you a lot of things it's going to tell you, and if they've seen your work in real life before, you know, if they were at a friend's house, where they saw display it's going to tell you if they googled you and found you online, so it's going to tell you a lot about even what you need to do in the education process if they've already seen and experienced your work, you've got a little less work to do on the other end, if they googled you, we got a lot of work, tio educate them and really let them know what it is that they're goingto experience and what they're going to get out of the experience. So very first, we want to ask one of those two questions and then moving on from there, we're going to let them know what to expect, and so I always want to let them know, you know, here's what's going to happen next, and so we're going to continue to walk through that phone call process and really take them through from that initial phone call and thinking that they're calling just you know how much is an eight by ten how much your packages toe leading them through this process of getting really excited about doing something very special for their home hanging portrait's in their home designing something beautiful for their space and you know, talking to them about all the benefits that are in it for them always script you're yes answers and I'm big on phone scripts and we will be doing that together but always script those yes answer is make sure that you're writing down if somebody has a question for you on the first phone call, write it down and figure out how you're going to answer it very positively you don't ever want to give the client a no and it's not because they're always right but we do always want to give them that yes answer but by scripting them you can also plan for what the right yes answer is for your business and for your family and you're going to hear me say that over and over again you know what? It's a yes for the client but it's a yes or my business and family first and by planning out those answers, I can really make sure that I'm taking care of the yeses on both ends and not just for the client so script those out, plan those out and write questions down as they come up so that you can plan for your answer at the time one of the things that I tell employees is if they don't have a yes answer right away from the client, and they're not sure how to answer a question it's okay to say, you know what? I'll find out the answer for you, and I'll contact you back as soon as I can, and so, you know, make that part of your your plan as well that if you don't, I have an answer right away for a client. It's okay to say, you know what? I'll find out that answer for you right away and call you back and give yourself some breathing room, write down your answer and figure out how you're going to answer those questions or objections or things that come up. Another question that I want to make sure that I asked each and every first phone call is, have you thought about where you're gonna hang your portrait? And this is a question that I have found over the years, we've been asking this question for years, and it came because I found that if I get to the sales room and I'm asking a client when they're done, usually, you know, you get through the process and they see all their images, and I love everything I love, everything, how am I gonna choose and you know we get to the end and we get through the process of narrowing everything down and it's hard work and they're having to make these you know, selections and decisions and we get to the end and we say ok, what would you like? They don't know what they want we have to tell them and so asking this question on the first phone call have you thought about where you're gonna hang your portrait? I guarantee you the answer is going to be no they have not thought about it they do not know where they're going to hang their portrait and so if we don't start asking those questions and getting them to start thinking about these things and making suggestions that we can't expect for them to get in the sales room or, you know, sitting down with you for your order appointment and making those decisions on their own we for sure can't expect them to do it if they're looking at their images online, they can't make those decisions so at any point that you've decided that you're going to move to the next level and not sell just digital files that you're going to sell an actual product to your client something that they can enjoy every single day and share with friends and family that's the time when you need to start asking those questions and they need to be asked right from the beginning not after they see their images, and even, you know, the sooner the better, and maybe it's not wall portrait's for you, maybe it's albums or image boxes, or you have some sort of specialty product, but whatever it is, make sure you're planting those seeds from the very beginning for me. I want to get images on my client's walls, I want to help them decorate their home with something beautiful that they love and they cherish every single day, and I will tell them that and use those words, and so I want to ask them, have you thought about where you're going to hang your portrait? And typically the answer to that unless I worked with the client before, the answer is going to be no, I really haven't thought about that. The answer might even be, you know, we're just thinking that we would like a few, you know, five by sevens and four by six is and, you know, maybe we'll get one or two of those blown up and, you know, like an eight by ten and so, you know, and that's really typical for the average consumer, you know, we live in a digital world, they do not know the options that are available to them until we tell them. And so remember remember they can't say yes if you don't suggest you know that's a big rule for me so make those suggestions so I want to ask have you thought about where we're gonna hang your portrait the answer's gonna be no in whatever way they give it to me and so that I can tell them you know what? I have a state of the art design software and what I'm gonna be asking you to do is to just walk through your home and any place that you would even consider hanging your portrait I want you to just take a snapshot of that wall for me and texted over I will be asking you to teo stand straight in front of the wall I want you to take the snapshot dead onto the wall, not on it at an angle and I also want you to get some other elements in the room because what we'll be doing is when I get those snapshots from you, I'll be giving you a call so that we can plan and design your session together. And so the next step of that is getting them excited about hanging portrait's in their home and then choosing their clothing to go along with the images that were hanging or the space that were hanging in and so it all you know it all starts making sense and all flows together when you start planting the seed and asking the right questions I very often have people ask me you know, how do you qualify a client during the first phone call and that's a good question to ask but you know, it's really pretty simple you're going to qualify the client just by asking questions and asking about where they're going to hang their portrait is a really good qualifying question, especially when you know and expect them to say no they have not thought about it and so then when I'm leading them through the process afterwards, you know here's, what I want to do I want you'll walk to your home in any place you'd even consider hanging a portrait I want you to take a snapshot of that wall for me and texted over I'm gonna give you my cell phone number you can send it right over and as soon as you d'oh, I'll be calling you to plan and design your session with you will be choosing clothing together. You know we're going through this process and if somebody gets through that conversation with me and is really not excited about that, then I may direct them to another type of session it maybe they're going to be involved in one of our special events or something else, but I wanna work specifically with clients who yes they called not ever having imagine having something on the wall not ever having imagined spending lots and lots of money on something for their wall in for their home, but we get through the conversation and they can get excited about it because of the conversation and because of the questions that I'm asking them, and so, you know, that's gonna happen, and if you will start doing that, I promise you it'll happen. You'll turn somebody who called thinking they want four by six is five by sevens in a great big eight by ten or maybe even called thinking they want digital files and you'll be able to turn that client into somebody who's excited about your final product just by leading them through that process. And so, you know, with the question of digital files, if somebody asked me about digital files, the next question I want to ask them, and I would encourage you to write this down and make sure that you're asking every single client who enquires about digital files. Do you mind telling me what you plan on doing with your digital files and it's a it's, a fine it's, a happy, nice, positive question, and you're just really want to know I'm curious, what do you plan on doing with your digital files and the answers that we're getting? We usually get about three different answers for that typically and the most popular answer is well, I just want to make sure that I can share them with my friends and family. I just want to make sure that I can put them on facebook and so my answer then is going to be, you know what? Every single image order you're going to get a free web sites file to share with your friends and family to put on facebook to do whatever you want with online that's going to be free can't even buy it and so that's the answer that question we can move on that's all she wanted, the second answer that we might get is I want it I want to print something and I will tell you that that doesn't happen very often and we know research has shown us that people are not printing their images and you guys know this I mean, I know for me, you know, I used to print everything I used to get my four by six is back from vacation and from christmas and you know, from all the stuff with the kids and now with digital I shoot lots, lots, lots, probably even more than I did with film, but they live on my computer, I'm not printing stuff and we know this is happening research has shown us that people are not printing they're they're images anymore and it's a sad, sad thing and that's something that we can educate our client with that you know, people are really printing things anymore and I hear from people all the time that you know, I worked with my wedding photographer and they shot digital and I really wanted those files and now what do I do with them? I don't have an album I don't have something special to show to my kids or um you know, something beautiful that's going to become an heirloom for my family there's not something on my walls that I'm enjoying every single day and so really think about that as you're working with her a client so that's number two is that they want to print something and I will tell you if you'll put that question on in your scripts you know, do you mind telling me what you plan on doing with their digital files? You will hear print them very, very little and then the third thing that we're getting a little bit more now as people are coming more sophisticated, more digital savvy is we're getting I want to archive my digital files, I want to make sure I have control of them and we're going to hear that war and more as time goes by, we live in a digital world people know you know what digital is, what the capabilities are but I want to educate that client as well and let them know that yes, we do have options for you to archive your image is we know that some of our clients want to take a cd or a hard drive teo a safety deposit box even and they want to archive them and make sure that they're safe and fireproof but I want to let them know you know digital files are fragile, they are not forever hard drives all have a shelf life, it doesn't matter how much you spend on a hard drive, there is an end date done I mean that's just the way it is and, you know dvds, we have no idea for even an imp be able to play them in two years. We have no idea if there is even going to be the capability except if we, you know, pull something out in two years it's going to look like a cassette tape, you know, at some point because they're even the new I'm max and my macbook air there's not even a place to put a cd in it it's just not an option anymore. And so we have to be really careful about how we educate our client about digital files and instead it was think about doing something that's permanent let's do something that's forever and that's going to be those those images that you hang on your wall it's going to be in those heirloom album it's going to be in those image boxes, those products that are actually, you know, tangible items, they're not digital files at our fragile now we do have people that will archive to a cloud and, you know, back him up in multiple faces but, you know, again, it's it's important to stress to the client that it is not forever so make sure your scripting all those yes answers and then make sure that you are establishing value within the phone call and you can do this, whether your retail location or a home studio or on location there is something that is unique to you and the way you do business right now. And we talked about that as we went through your studio image and your uniqueness and kind of defining your brand and your usp. So hopefully you have some of those things written down and, you know, learn to communicate those things when you're on the phone with their client and I always talk about them in the benefit that it is for them not this is why I'm so great, it's here's what you're gonna love this it's all about what's in it for them, and we want to make sure that we're establishing that value and communicating that value throughout the call I want to talk through some of the other questions that we get on the first phone call and how we're leading the client through the process. One of the questions that we get a lot right on the first phone call is about out that changes you know, how many clothing changes can we bring or we may even get somebody who says, can I bring three girls easter dress that aunt sally bought? We really want a photo in that? And, you know, my answer is always going to be, how many outfits can we bring? I'm gonna let them know, you know what? After I get those snapshots of the walls in your home or planning on hanging your portrait's, we'll talk about clothing, and I'll be making suggestions for each one of the rooms it will be designing for. And when you talk about it in that way, it starts making sense to the client that you know, it's, not just about a clothing suggestion, that's, random or seasonal it's going to be about where that portrait is going to be displayed, where it's gonna live, and we wanted to live comfortably. So we want to know more about their decor style in their colors, and I want those snapshots of their walls because I'm going to be designing something for that room based on the decor style I might suggest campus raps I might suggest the hand painted wild sorbet frames are might suggest traditional framing I might even suggest metal if it works in someone's home even though that's not something I even have on my menu but if I saw somebody that had a really cool, funky modern home I might suggest metal or acrylic or something like that that I don't even offer but I could do for them and so it's all going to be based on there their decor and where we're going to hang the portrait and so my answer to that question is when they ask you know can I bring the easter dress from aunt sally and sally wants at least one photo in that I'm gonna tell her you know what? Send me over a snapshot of that easter dress and then when I get your and your snapshots of your walls we'll see if that's gonna work somewhere where you want to be displaying your portrait and then usually it's like a oh no that I wasn't thinking about hanging it on the wall I just wanted one of those you know, just a quick photo for aunt sally and then I'll tell mom you know, why don't you go ahead and get those snapshots she's gonna love what you do for her just a cz muchas as anything that I would do because all she wants to see is katie and her dress and what I want to do for you is create something beautiful for that living room that we talked about are for katie's bedroom you know, we want to do something special for that so let's concentrate on the clothing that's gonna work best for that space and so it's that yes answer for the client but it's yes for my business once we've talked to the client and we've worked through you know, have you thought about where you're gonna hang your portrait? We've built that relationship we've asked lots of questions we've gotten to know the kids or the family, the situation we want to go ahead and schedule their appointment so this is kind of where the next objections might come in because I have really specific times that I shoot. My appointment book is open on tuesday, wednesday, thursday at eleven and one o'clock I am just now starting to open up some weekend sir actions as my kids are now older and I've got two out of the house just one at home and you know, to be honest, my son is playing football on friday night and saturday morning he's usually sleeping in till noon he doesn't even know if I'm gone to do a session, so I mean I am scheduling some saturday sessions here and there, but for years my my appointment counter was only tuesday wednesday thursday at eleven and one and so I have to have those positive yes answers for the client in regards to that, I would never want to tell a client. Well, this is all it's available. You're gonna have to work it out or no, I don't photograph on saturdays. No, I don't photograph on thursdays thursday evenings, you know, I don't want to give them those no answers. I wanted to be very positive, and so when I'm going to schedule the session, I always want to give the client two times that are available. What that means is I've already gotta have those times planned on my calendar, and so my appointment book is gonna have a session scheduled at a certain time without a name on it. If that's a time that I want to be shooting, if that's the time that I'm going to be filling and so it's very easy to look at the calendar when I'm talking to a client on the phone and and let them know I have this time or this time available on the calendar, which would be better always start with two if neither of those times are good for the client offer them one more don't offer up your whole calendar, and that is very normal to do when we're starting out is to just say, oh, when's, good for you! When would you like to come when would you like me to be there? You know, don't do that start taking that time back give that time back to your family, you decide when you're going to be photographing, put those times on on your calendar and then laid your client through the process of scheduling during one of those times and so I want to have those yes answers if somebody says, you know, I've got kids in school and really we I don't know, you know, about taking them out, that just doesn't make sense, can't you do it on a saturday? You know, I'm going to my first question back to that client, and when I have this written down, this is a script, this is a phone script, um, I know my question back is going to be, you know, how long it been since you've had a family portrait? And when that question is aunt's asked, you know, they're going to answer whether it's been, you know, a year or three years or five years or never, I even get that sometimes from people who call for the first time for a family session, you know how long it's been since you've had a family portrait? Well, we haven't done one since the last baby was born, or, you know, at the very least, it's been a year and so I can let the client that no, you know, this is a really special time for your family would you consider taking the kids late to school one day or getting them out early one day and so we're kind of, you know, putting that consideration and the client's hands by saying this is important this is something that is really special for you guys would you consider taking them uh you know, later getting them out early and a lot of times the answer is they hadn't thought about that until I suggested it to them they can't say yes if we don't suggest and so make that suggestion would you consider the same answer is going to apply teo you know, well, my husband is his schedule is crazy and you know, there is no way I could get him tow you know, to schedule during the day do you have something on saturday or do you have something in the evenings? Same thing I'm going to say, you know, how long's it been since you've had a family portrait and she's gonna tell me I'm just saying, you know, this is a really special time for your family and I so appreciate that your husband's going to be a part of it do you think he considered taking an extra long lunch one day, you know? And just by posing the question it's it's ninety nine percent of the time a positive answer they're going to say you know yeah let me talk to him and see what what days that he can you know take an extra long lunch that makes perfect sense so you know just think about it how you're going teo answer those objections how you're going to keep it positive how you're going to make it a yes for the client and I yes for your bed business the next question that we're getting more and more is can I get the digital files and we answered this a little bit before but uh my answers for this are always first you know do you mind telling me what you're planning on doing with their digital files because I want that answer I want to be able to communicate with them about what they're thinking they're going to dio and if it is just you know where we want to put him online when I put on facebook we want to share him on her family blawg then I'm gonna let them know you know you're going to get all those images for free every single thing that you ordered you're gonna have a free web sites version of that image to share so that's that first yes answer second yes answer is absolutely we do have digital collections available to you and I'm even going to show you how you can get them for free and so I want to encourage you, teo, you know, ifyou're, if you've been selling digital files to your clients, don't stop making them available, they want them, but I want you to get what you want and then give them what they want, and so include them when they spend over a certain dollar amount or include them with your top package. You know, however, you can get them to them after you've done what you need to do for your business. It's fine, we do live in a digital world, they do want those digital files, so let's figure out how to make them available to them and let them get what they want. But after we do what we need to for our business and for our family, and so I think through that your yes answer what that looks like, um, I do want them to know that we do have digital collections available, that is my yes answer. I'm also going to let them know that they can earn them as a discount as they work through our bonus schedule, and I'm also going to show them how they can get them for free, so, you know, lead them through the process, whatever your processes, but write it down, make sure you're you've scripted that, yes, answer after we've scheduled the session with a client, I want to let them know you know, here's what's going to happen next and that's always a good lead and tio into your next you know, things that you want to talk about is let me tell you what's gonna happen next it's a story starter gets people a little bit more interested in what's what you're going to say and so I want to let them know at that time, about a week after your session, we're going to bring you back to the studio to view an order, your images and if I was on location or if I was had a home studio, you know the answer might look a little bit different, I might be saying to them, you know, about a week after your session, I'll be meeting back with you in your home too show you all of your images and help you through your order, but whatever it is, we want to let them know what that process is now and not later, not after the session, not when we're trying to book the order appointment they need to know in that first phone call, this is the process, this is how things go, and so I'm going to bring you back into the studio about a week after the session to view your images and place your order and at that time, I can start answering objections if there are any sum the objections I get are, you know, g, I don't I don't really want to come back that far. I'm about forty five minutes to an hour for most of my clients, and so they might say, no, wow, do I really have to come back a week later and and drive all that way? And so I've got a couple of options for them. I need that, yes, answer. And so my yes answer is gonna be we do have an option for you to view your image is the same day we photograph you, and what we would do with that is we would photograph you at our eleven o'clock session that morning session and then send you out to lunch, and then you'll come back after lunch in view and order your images of that time. Does that sound like a better situation for you? I will make sure I've got a baby sitter there if I need teo it's, probably just going to be an employee and that's fine, but we want to make sure that we've got that yes answer in place, so you know, that's what they need? Well, you know, to do a quick down and dirty at it, and we'll show them their image images immediately following and I actually really love when our clients do this because it cuts down on our workflow so much we only then have to ever touch the images that have been ordered so it's a really it's a great thing by knowing this in advance I know I've gotta shoot a simultaneous ron j peg so I can pop those j pegs into the computer really fast and so it's important to talk about it right there on the first phone call they also might ask me um you know, can't you just put him on line? You know? So I don't have to come back well, putting them on online is not an option for me I will be with my client to help them through their order I know that I can double triple quadruple my sales if I'm right next to the client making suggestions and a lot of it is happening along the way it's not necessarily happening when I'm sitting beside them but sitting beside them in the order appointment finalizes that process and it keeps the energy going and it keeps everything positive and I can really tell them what a great job they did with their decisions even though I've planted those decisions all through the process so putting the images online I'm gonna answer them absolutely every image order will be placed in an online gallery so that you can share that with friends and family and so and that is something that we do for all of our clients. Their entire order is put into a password protected gallery on our photo biz website so that they can go in there and they can check it out and neither images afterwards. And that answers a lot of questions for us, whether it's, um, you know, well, I know my my mother's gonna want to purchase something. You know, graham is gonna want something. Can you put him all online? You know? And I know years ago, I probably would have said, oh, I don't want to miss out on that sale, so yes, I'm going to put him online for her. But now I know that grandma is going to buy a very specific size. She's either got five by sevens of all the grandkids or maybe big eight by tens of all the grandkids, but they're all going to be the same. And even with really high end clients, I probably two or three times a year have grandmothers purchased large portrait's for their walls or for a lake house or something like that, typically it's a small print that they have the same size of every grandkids, and so when mom asked me that, you know, can grandma see ma, can you put him on line? I'm going to say, you know what I would like for you to find out what size your mom wants, and then we'll go ahead and make a selection for her, and in all the images that you order are going to be put into an online gallery for you, and she can check out all of your favorites that way, and I'm sure that she is gonna love what you chose for her and if she wants us, which it was something else that you chose that's perfectly fine, and so we're giving her again that yes, answer that's also, yes, for my business overall, in the first phone call, I want to make sure that I have taken the client through our entire process. I wantto let them know what to expect. I also want to be asking questions, I want to lead them, I want to make suggestions, and I want to let him know you know how this process works, why we're asking the questions that we're asking we're going to be asking them for snapshots of their walls so that we can plan and design their session, we're going to be talking about clothing that works best for that room, we're gonna be talking about the best presentation of their images that I'll be designing for them and preview so we're walking them through that and with previous software I do say to the client part of my phone script is we have a state of the art design software I'm super excited tio build something really special for you that you can see we designed custom concepts for each and every client and you know this is going to be something that's beautiful and amazing and special just for you something that you're going to enjoy every single day and so leading them through that process most women you can get pretty excited about decorating and really doesn't matter what they initially came into with the thought of their budget if you start talking about designing for their home and doing something really special that they're going to enjoy every day you know I'm gonna be asking them questions about how they're using specific rooms and their home you know what's the most lived in area of your home I might ask them I might ask them where does everybody enter you know what's the first thing that you see when you come in the house because those are going to be really special place cece for hanging there portrait's and so I can make those suggestions I also want to be able to answer the theobald sections from somebody who might say initially well we really don't have any wall space our house is all windows or we have lots of artwork and whatever that objection is my answer to that is going to be you know what? I love a challenge so I want you just walk to your house anyplace you consider him your portrait's just take those snapshots and let me see what I can do for you and I want to take those same clients into preview designed something for them I can always find a place and what happens is when somebody does, you know, take that challenge, they walk their their house and actually they do that they start seeing things that they haven't seen before, and so that same person who said, oh, my house is on windows, there is no place I could hang anything once they actually start walking through, they start seeing places oh, I guess I could do something here we could do something there, and so they come up with those things on their own I don't even have to do it for them, but of course I'm happy to do it for them if I need teo, I have even suggested to people to move artwork before and, you know, don't be afraid to do that don't be afraid to say, you know, with that giant, whatever be suitable in another spot in the house and you never know they can't say yes if you don't suggest so the main things are to build report you want teo, make sure that you're asking lots of questions and writing those answers down when they're talking to you be writing away and make a cz many notes as you can about their kids and about their life and their lifestyle so you've got all those notes to go back teo but we wantto make sure that we're asking those questions and building the relationship and then we want to let them know what the process is. You know, let me tell you what's gonna happen next and make sure that your scripting things out planning really thinking about answering those objections and those questions with yes answers and really writing all those things down lauren or some studio, this is lori. Hi, laurie. My name is sarah reese and I was calling about scheduling some family portrait ce with you. Hi, sarah. Thanks so much for calling. Can you tell me how you heard about me? Um, one of my friends has your little angels calendar and I just fell in love with it right away. And when it gets more information from you all right? Great. Well, were you wanting to do little angel pictures or what was what type of session were you looking for? I was just looking for a family session, not necessarily little angels okay, that is good news. We do little angel sessions once a year and so I would love love to photograph your family and that sounds great tell me about who we're going to be photographing I have four girls and their names are taylor and she is ten scout who's eight kennedy who six and alise who is for and myself and my husband kennedy annalise and I'm going to write this down and at least was four he said I did okay and kennedy six six you are really busy I am uh uh do you remember the friend that you heard about me from who had the camp calendar? Yes, her name is cathy palmer. Okay, great. I always like to thank people that refer people in so I loved a thank kathy absolutely awesome. How do you know her? Uh she's a friend of mine we've been friends for a long time and, um just happen to be at her house and saw your amazing calendar good and so have you just seen the counter? Did you see some actual the images that kathy had in the house I did and I love her portrait's that she has around um and I'm wondering that was one of my questions do you specialize in black and white or do you also do color we we do specialize in black and white and uh, right now though what I'm doing I've been photographing in black and white for many, many years but we are really, really focused on doing something really unique and special for your home and so what I'll be asking you to do as we work together is just walked through your home and anyplace you would consider hanging a portrait I just want you to take a snapshot of that wall and that's how we'll plan in design your session and actually even decide if we're going to shoot black and white or we're gonna shoot color and I'll be making some clothing suggestions and even background on location suggestions based on where we're gonna hang your portrait it's wonderful you make it sound so easy well, good, I like hearing that have you thought about we're gonna hang your portrait it's you know, I really haven't thought about that. All right, that is ok, that is very typical and that's all right? And and then I do specialize in that that's something that I'm gonna help you with, ok? And so I will ask you the phone number that you called that you can actually send a text message to, okay? And so I'll just have you go around and take the snapshots, and what I need for those snapshots is just for you to stand straight onto your wall and then make sure there's something measurable in the snapshot in a lot of times, it's just the easiest thing tio go ahead and tape a piece of paper to the wall. Okay, most people have a piece paper laying around, so that should make it easy, but what that allows me to do is I can bring it into my design software and actually place everything to scale. So if I've got something to measure than I know, if I'm putting a ten by ten on your wall or a sixteen by twenty on your wall it's going to be exactly as you would see it finished. Okay, okay. And so and that really is fun. And you're going to get to see everything completely finished before you start making decisions. I love that. So, yeah. Good. Good. So, um, what let's talk about what? Your kind of envisioning? I will be making some suggestions as we move along for where we're going to hang the portrait. And where would be best for a location or a background. But did you have anything in mind coming into this? Whether you want to shoot here in the studio are outdoors or at your home. What was your thought there? You know, I haven't thought too much about it. I I guess I would base that based on your your suggestion, okay, great, all right, well, I will wait to get those snapshots from you before we make that decision then and that'll be good you know, we haven't talked about price at all and I guess I was just wondering what your prices were and if you could help me out in that area definitely I will send you an entire product menu so you'll be able to see everything so perfect and when you get that, you can give me a coffee have got any questions at all, but it will kind of walk you through the process a bit. Okay, so you'll be able to see that and before we hang up, I'll get your email information and all that info so that I can mail it over to you. Great. And then, uh, would you do you want to go ahead and look at a time right now? Absolutely. Okay, perfect. All right, let me get here. You open up my calendar here, all right? I've got a couple times pulled up here in the next month. I have got tuesday the twelfth available. We've got an eleven o'clock available on that day or we have wednesday the twentieth at one. What either of those work for you, uh, do you have anything or offer anything later than that? I've got three of my girls are in school and I really hate to pull him out of school so let me ask you, sarah, how long has it been since you guys have done a family portrait together? You know, thinking about it, I guess that would be our four year old she's not in any family portrait, so I guess it would be longer than four years ago. It's been quite a long time, it's been a really long time, so you understand that this is really important for your family? Yeah, and you're not really an excited it here that you want to do the whole family together and have everybody there and including your husband, which is really, really important and that's going to be important to the girls later on as well. So do you think you could would consider taking the girls out of school one day or maybe even just taking them late or getting them out early? One day? You know, you're right, you make a good point um, I can we can make the twelfth work that sounds great, okay? So that's wealth at eleven o'clock and I promise you won't regret that great and the girls will love it, they're going to get out of school and they'll have a great time and won it really is funny you're gonna have all the family together and we'll be creating some great memories there together and that's really the biggest part of the portrait's to me is really capturing you guys, personalities and relationships together and you know it it really does make making that time worth it all for you I'm excited now I do have a question when you send over your product menu I think you called it well, you have wardrobe suggestions in that or how can you help me decide what the girls and my husband and myself are going to be wearing? Um I'm just not sure what what you'd like us to come in now, that is a great question and what we'll do is once I get the snapshots from you of your walls at home, I will be making specific suggestions for each one of the walls that will be decorating for ok and so just walk through and really anyplace you consider just go ahead and take the snapshots I will design something for each of the walls that you sent to me and you may send more than you, you know, where we may narrow down and that's okay, okay, but if we're going to design for two walls, you will be changing clothes two times we're going to design for three walls, you'll be changing clothes three times and so we'll narrow those down together and I'll make some really specific suggestions based on where each of those portrait they're gonna hang great and then once we get those rooms narrowed down and decide where we're going to be designing for then we'll really narrow in on the clothing the locations and make a better plan for designing your session together oh, that sounds great good I'm glad you're excited about it too this is always one of the most fun parts for me so that's awesome and then about a week after the session I'm gonna bring you back in the studio to view and choose your image is so I'd love to get that appointment set up with you now oh wow um okay, that sounds like a lot of work am I gonna have to make all my decisions then? Or um how does that work? It actually will be a really fun time for you and what happens is when we work together to pull those wall designs together before the session and then we're shooting for something really specific during a session the process is really easy and so when you come in and we're going to be choosing images specifically for those designs that we've already put together and so a lot of the guests work and a lot of the choices have already been done by then wow and so what happens is it it is really fun and I promise you that I'm going to hold your hand through the entire process and you're going to be really, really happy with everything before we're done. Oh, thank you. That's a huge relief to hear that. Well good is do you think that you would want your husband along with you when you make those decisions? You know, I d'oh I think uh I think he would like to be here to help. Okay, great. Well, let's pick a time when both of you can come and that is perfectly fine and most moms definitely feel that way they want dad along tto finish up and make those decisions so so let's get a time that works for both of you. Okay? All right, sarah, we've got you and michael scheduled and you know I can ask you what does michael do? He is actually a firefighter in des moines fire department and he is also, um a captain in the army for the national guard. Wow. So it sounds like you might be alone with the girls quite a bit. Yes, yes, I am. Well, that is that is great and you sound like you are super busy have a ton going on and you know, I love love love hearing that mike is going to make some time for this and do this with you guys and you know, these images are going to be spoke so special to your girls especially because he is gone part of the time and you know when they see these images it's goingto really they're goingto have all the memories from the session and having dad there with them and they're going to really feel important because you guys took the time to do this together oh well, you already have me excited awesome. All right, well, you know and I'll tell you to he is going to love being able to see everything finished before he buys that's always a great hit with the dads that you know, in the software that I have, you're really going to be able to see everything finished and done before you, you know, say, go and guys like that and so hopefully uh, michael too, and, you know, with you guys coming together, is there anything else that I can do to help you prepare your husband? Uh, you know, I can't think of anything once he gets here and sees the finished product like you say he's such a pushover when he sees our portrait ce I'm sure there will be no questions, so I can't think of anything okay, super well, I'm gonna email you over this product menu and if you'll give me just another two minutes, I'm gonna go ahead and get all of your info from you address, phone number, email address and then how would you like to pay for your session? I would like to pay for that on the visa. Do you accept credit card? I accept anything, you've got wonderful. All right, so we'll go ahead and get that information from you. And then, um, all of your contact info, and I'll get that product menu over to you, and you can give me a call with any questions, and otherwise we'll plan on getting that text from you as soon as possible with your wall snapshots. And when you get the product, man, you have some more complete instruction on that as well. So, um, if we can start with you guys, is address, absolutely.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Day 30
Day 28 Press
Day 29
Day 8 Mommy and
Day 23 Contact Sheet.pdf
CL_LORI30 Desktop Screen Saver 1.jpg
CL_LORI30 Desktop Screen Saver 2.jpg
CL_LORI30 Desktop Screen Saver 3.jpg
CL_LORI30 Desktop Screen Saver 4.jpg
Day 3 Weekly Calendar.pdf
Day 3 Monthly Calendar 2014.pdf
Day 4 Thank You Back.jpg
Day 4 Thank You Back.psd
Day 4 Thank You Front.jpg
Day 4 Thank You Front.psd
Design Gift
Day 7 Blog
Day 7 PlayDate
Day 8 Gift
Day 8 Mini Accordian Book
Day 8 Promcard Digital and or
Day 8 Timeline
Day 9 Gift
Day 9 Vendor
Day 10 Accordian
Day 11 Event
Day 12 8X8 Econo Layout
Day 13 Grateful Worksheet.pdf
Day 14 Call Log Worksheet.pdf
Day 14 Phone Scripts.pdf
Day 15 Welcome
Day 16 Square
Day 17 Certificate of
Day 18 Consultation Phone Scripts.pdf
Day 18 Consultation Planner.pdf
Day 19 Wall Cling
Day 20 Image
Day 21
Day 22 Designer
Day 23 Holiday
Day 24 Workflow
Day 25 Record of Sales Workbook.pdf
Day 26 View and Choose Appointment
Day 27 DVD and DVD

bonus material

Course Outline.pdf
CL_LORI30 Model Release.jpg
CL_LORI30 Model Release.psd
Day 2 Workbook Sample.pdf

Ratings and Reviews


This course is amazing! Lori covers so many essential things to have a successful photography business. She goes through everything in a very methodical way. I also appreciate ALL the free stuff she gave to help make my business successful. I also love how she shared how she gives back in her community and worldwide. Thanks Lori!

a Creativelive Student

I cannot say enough GREAT things about this course!!! I've been in business for over 10 years now, but still need to check in on the business side of things periodically. This class reminds us just how much fun marketing, sales, and planning can be. It has rejuvenated my passion for the BUSINESS side of this business. In fact, I'm so inspired by what Lori has to say, I think I will recommend this class to my COMPETITORS down the street. We will all be better for it and the industry will be better too! This is perfect for those just starting out AND seasoned pros :)

a Creativelive Student

I have loved so many creativeLIVE courses but I have to say this has been THE BEST for me. Lori thank you so much for sharing your wealth of knowledge! I am feeling more confident and excited about moving forward and making my photography a real business finally. I have been crippled by insecurity and fear and with this course I feel like I have finally been given the ok and the KNOWLEDGE to do what I need to do. Thank you!

Student Work