Designing for the Annual Product
The pre consultation is what allows you to design for the annual product okay, your client begins to feel listen to and that's kind of the residual effect of that they feel like they're part of the process and that custom ization of that product for them ups the quality it ups the perceived value in their head and implies that this is going to be a valuable process and a unique one okay, the client knows what to anticipate moneywise and product wise once you get through a good pre consultation and if they're comfortable with it then you're good if it's too much for him and they bail now all power from great get out of here before I spend waste my time and effort on you and you don't spend any money okay? I know that sounds a little harsh but as you get further and further into your business and start developing more and more clients you want fewer clint you want to get rid of the clients who aren't your clients you don't want those people and so many photographer struggle with that the...
y're like oh it's a client of the door it's a body it's a money and know that will ruin your brand if you truly want a brand to be solid and strong and communicated clear message he don't want clients who don't resemble that brand okay so so important I could do a whole course on branding your client of course feels like they care about your session that you care about their session so when you do an in depth free consultation like this they're like, oh, she really does care about about what I'm doing what we're doing with my with my son or daughter I just commissioned an incredible painter whom I absolutely adore to paint my son her work I have loved for years from afar and she's incredibly expensive and she stopped taking commissions for the last two years and I was heartbroken well and I bought a couple of her just kind of sketch pieces just like quick pieces that she does she sells on ebay occasionally like once a year and so I have nap one and so she was she and I have gone back and forth a little bit in email and I told her I'm like if you ever decide tio do commissions again let me know because I've been dying to have you pay my son just like yeah, I know I don't do that anymore you know? I don't deal with clients I just do my own work well, a few weeks ago she e mailed me and she's like, you know, if you're if you're up for it I we're you know we're kind of short on cash and and I I'll take a commission and I was like, well hellhole you okay? This is like but think about this it's the scarcity of the product, right? This is my shot to do it it's super expensive and I really can't afford it, but I'm going to do it anyway because it's the scarcity of the event on top of that she is talking to me about my son. She wants me to shoot hundreds of pictures of him and send them to her and videos so she can portray his likeness the best in this painting at his age, so that right there is making me feel that alone is making me feel like this process is so important to her and she truly wants to capture is like this she could paint him backwards and not showing his face and I would be thrilled, you know it doesn't matter, I don't need to see his face, I want her work, the fact that it happens to be my son is just fantastic I'm saying really she could turn my kid around and not even show his face and I would be thrilled with it, okay? But she is taking this time to really investigate who he is and what he's like he's a little boy and she wants to see all this and she said, normally I fly out to my clients and stay with their child for a while to get to know them before I paint them because but I know that you're a really good photographer you see light and you'll be able to photograph your son in a way that will help me see his likeness and it's as long as I have video I should be I should be fine so that's my job it's going to take six months to produce this portrait and I am so excited but the reason I'm telling you this story is because she and essence did a pretty is doing a pre consultation with me we're planning this I have commissioned her to paint my son and that's what your clients are doing for you as well with you as well and so it's critical to the process that you make them feel like their their thoughts their child is essential to the process their style is essential to the process does that make sense that resonate with you guys? You see what I'm saying the pre consultation and designing for the annual product of course also means your client understands the expectations of them okay and that all comes down to the policies your client understands those studio policies okay all right the result of a good pre consultation means the client is getting a great experience with you right we're starting off on the right foot with that customer service it means they will have confidence that the session is going to be good and that the outcome is going to be even better right, they have confidence in that you understand your client and what they're hoping for out of the process. Your client is motivated this's the height of motivation to finish the process because they want that completed product and the client is motivated and understands what it takes to spend on each session. So everything's kind of out on the table, which I prefer. Some business owners don't want that because they want to be able to sell, but I prefer a knife, I think it's better customer service to have everything up front. I don't like surprises, no matter how much money I'm spending. I don't like surprises when I go to buy something and there's nothing worse that when you go to, like, buy a car or something and the bass a car is a piece of junk there's no extra features, but I mean it's kind of annoying and you have to pay all this extra money to get the heated seats and the sun roof. You know, if I know what everything is on the table beforehand and there's no secrets, then I feel like the business is honest with me, I have confidence and trust them and that's the key is that trust factor, and to me that's, good customer service, so on the phone or in person you know, honestly, I used to really be a huge advocate of always doing it in person, but now I don't really agree with that. I've had enormous success with it on the phone, and most of miner dunn on the phone nowadays in person is extremely valuable, but I don't think you cannot get the same result on the phone it's different, you know, you can't see the reactions of the customer in order to guide things where you wanted to go when you concede their body language in their faith, you can you kind of know what they're thinking, you know, you can't read somebody. Well, then you have got a guide, the conversation in the right place, just by knowing their body language, okay, the client can't see the products necessarily if they're a new client, so that means you need to have a product guide or the products on your website so people can see what that looks like now. Will they see when they come in for the session? You betcha they will and that's a good time to showcase that, and sometimes that's. What I'm doing is I'm explaining stuff over the phone and then at the session we actually before the session begins, we actually show them the different products in the past. Abilities but the phone is pretty convenient and it's fairly quick you have to set aside a good hour two hours a time to do something in person worse you don't on the phone andi khun developed that relationship with the verbal communication now if you have trouble talking if you're not good at talking with people and have trouble asking these who what where when why questions in person might be the best way to start because it will help you read the situation a little bit better and it may help you come up with questions a little easier now I know this is scary but if you have this planned out and have a system in place to do it and your questions were written down the beginning you know what information you need to achieve by the end of the pre consultation then you should be fine okay on the phone it's a little more difficult especially if they haven't booked already and you're trying to get them to book the session that could be extremely intimidating but would there what it comes down to its connecting with a client so when they call oh yes we want to join your baby plan how much is it great let me tell you a bit more about what baby plan offers and how it works. May I ask how you heard about us and you know what you plan to do with the images oh, we heard we saw about you online or whatever they find you in all kinds of places great that's fantastic have you had a chance to look at our website? Yeah we saw your website we've seen baby plan and kind of see how it works a little bit but we needed you know more details about what it costs fantastic what do you plan to do with your images notice I haven't answered the question of what it costs yet what do you plan to do with your image is well I don't know we just know that you know he changes so fast this first year we wanna make sure that we capture it well let me tell you a little bit about how we do that most of our clients end up investing in some kind of annual product that offers incremental stages so you basically purchase a piece of art that culminates in at each session that culminates into an annual product that highlights their growth over the first year I have tons of different examples of this that I can certainly show you when you come in or we can send you our electronic guide to kind of show you what that's all about but the joy in this is that you're really creating something custom for a certain area of your home and it's something that we're going to plan in advance so that we can make sure to shoot consistently and provide you with a product that looks like it coordinates not only together but with the space in which it's ultimately going to reside. Okay, so and then I start talking about the experience I'm not I haven't gotten into pricing it the experience with us as we specialize in baby photography, particularly newborns. Our studio is fully equipped to handle babies all we ask you to get here and we will take care of the rest. We have the styling, we have the props if you have a special outfit or something that grandma knitted of course we want you to bring that, but we have a baby changing table. We have snacks, we have a coffee machine, you don't even have to eat breakfast. We will take care of that for you when you come with snacks and goodies. So I know it's overwhelming to get your baby here. But we want you to know that once you get here we will take care of and create beautiful images for you. We've shot over, you know, five hundred babies, bubble bobble there's two sofas here for your reason. If you need to take a nap when you're here, you can take a rest, so we basically, ah highlight the experience of what they're going to achieve with us and how much fun it's going to be and how connected I get to the client I'll say things like my baby planners I hate to admit this are really special to me because I get to see you guys so often but I do get a little emotionally attached to guys so I hope that's okay you know I mean I say that I like I I hope it's okay if I can attach to your kid is basically what I'm saying and it's it's absolutely true I do get attached but by saying this kind of language and connecting with them before you've even talked about price makes them go wow this is going to be really different than I expected and cool and kind of sweet and neat then we'll start asking me questions like well do you offer the general's house we yes of course every single client who walks out the door every session ends up walking way for digital files we provide this digital files for you on usb but then we are and that's happens on the day of your order appointment if you do create a collection but then we also upload them to an online professional lab where you can print products that matched the color tones that we've seen here on on our system in the studio the prices are our cost they're very similar to consumer level lapse but this is a professional product that it's archival to one hundred years or more yes, you will have the digital images, but it's important to note the digital images are not I mean, you guys know I've said this a thousand times to know what the digital files are not archival, that they won't last forever. So the print really is the product that's gonna last? And we could always make a new digital negative from a print, but not from the file. So when I say this thing, then I start talking about price, okay, I'm still on the phone, this person that we start saying, oh, how discreet collection work it works like this. It starts at six sixty and goes up from their most of our clients spend this you can come in and just to allah car, if you like for around five hundred or so. But most people really want the urine product to highlight the child's growth and really help as they grow as they get older over the years. Give them something to hang onto that you as an heirloom. Okay, so this is the capitol language I use, and then I finally get into that price and I think that's so important because this point you've already sold the process, you've already sold the experience, the customer service, okay, then they're more willing to spend or you've given them more reason to do so finally, a pre consultation will give you parameters to work around it makes helps make the creative process not so overwhelming and of course you will understand your client much better the relationship will be off on the right foot the expectations will be set you will know what you're shooting for and you will know that your annual product is solidified in the end and that each session with that client is going to be profitable which is an amazing place to be so in review these are those seven steps to a successful baby plan we've talked about how to structure your plan we've talked about how to develop a product line, okay? And we've talked about the pre consultation that is so important to the beginning of this process tomorrow we're going to get into pricing your product line. So how do you create packages that enticed the client to spend more at each session? You know, keeping that annual product in mind we're going to talk about internal systems were going to photograph a sixty seven eight month old tomorrow which will be super fun. I think we have two babies both the boy and a girl coming I have three actually one on standby we're going talk about internal systems and creating a flow for this throughout your studio I want you to get everything on the inside set and your baby plan before you launch it okay. And then, of course, on day three, we're going to be talking about policies, creating collateral. And then we're talking about howto launch and promote all this once you are ready to do so. So that's day one, folks. Quite the pack load of information. But I hoped, at least it's giving you some kind of step by step process to do this in your own studio. On the pre consultation is a really important process and that's going to happen with every single client, even when you get these internal systems in place.