Building Your Photography Business for under $3,000

Lesson 23 of 41

Mobile Sales Kits

 

Building Your Photography Business for under $3,000

Lesson 23 of 41

Mobile Sales Kits

 

Lesson Info

Mobile Sales Kits

So this is everything that you need for 1,000 plus dollar sales every time. What do you think? Is that something that you can manage? Okay, so let's take a look at this bad boy. So it can be any kind of suitcase that you like. It needs to have wheels because you are gonna be carrying it around and it does get a little bit heavy. I personally like to use a camera bag because it has dividers in it and it lets me separate my products and protect em and keep em safe. They are expensive samples so I wanna make sure that I take good care of em. So let's dig into this bad boy. So when I get to my client's studio I want it to be neat and orderly so the very first thing they see is something beautiful. So... I start out with the metallic canvas that I showed you earlier. And then everything is layered very carefully and so in this pocket I have the print samples that we talked about in the first segment. It's just a little slot and if you guys noticed earlier, they are sized five by because al...

l I really need em for is to give my client the feel of what the texture and the quality is of these products. So I keep em all in this little sleeve right here and then I can pull em out and hand em to my clients one by one. And so I can lay em out on a table, I can let my clients pick em up and touch em and think through em and see which one is the best product or the best the best texture and material for their portraits. So just on the very top and in the little pocket on the side I have a canvas and all the different finishes that I offer. In the center of the case I have all of our albums and I start out small, medium, and large and so I can lay that out on my client's table or on my table as well. And then it's just a couple of other things. It's really simple. In these little pockets up here, I have the different leather samples for my albums that they can feel and look at the different colors. So that goes in this front little pocket. This is why I like the dividers. And then I have the exotic wood samples that we use for our premium album and there's some metals and all kinds of fun things. And then this is my most important tool in my sales kit when I go to somebody's home. This. Have you guys ever heard that you have to show what you wanna sell and that you need to show big big big? Well I don't have any room for big in my sales kit. This is it and I have to carry it around and it has to live with me in 150 square feet in the RV. And so big is just not an option. But I can go to a client's wall and figure out exactly what size they need. I can hold up the tape measure for them and say, "Okay, this is 30 inches. What do you think? "This is 20 inches, probably a little small, right?" And they're like, "Oh, yeah, we probably "should go 40 or bigger." So this is the power of actually being in someone's home is I can pull out this tool. This tool's made me more money than anything else probably. I can pull it out, I can measure their wall, and say this is the size that I recommend. Mkay? And then up here, this is another really important tool that I have. It's an HDMI cable and it allows me to connect my computer to my client's big screen TV. We can sit on their couch in the comfort of their own home and I can show them their images at least 40 inches, and sometimes bigger, across. So that's how I sell, that's how I show images big big big. So this is a gem. And then the last thing is these are our cards that I keep safe and sound. So we have all different kinds of cards for different occasions and different experiences for our clients and so I can show them all the different shapes that are available and so it's just a really nice thing. Remember, these cards, these are one of those essential things that we have to offer and often book at sessions so I have lots of different samples of our custom cards there. And that is everything that I need when I walk into someone's home. Oh and my laptop fits right in the front pocket. So I walk in, it's sleek, it's professional, it has everything that I need to sell my product line, and it's easy to use. How do you size the photos on the wall to make sure you're not giving the client something that will be too, too underwhelming or too overpowering for the space? Absolutely, that's a really good question and it's one that we have addressed over the years or we've heard it over and over again. The clients are like, "Whoa, that's really big. "I'm not sure." And here's what we've found in almost 20 years of doing this is that nobody ever regrets buying the bigger piece. They often regret buying the smaller piece so here's what we offer to our clients. We say that if you are on the fence between two sizes, go ahead and order the larger size and if you don't like it we will replace it and refund the difference. You know how many people have ever done that? That many. Ever. Okay? So that's one way to handle that objection. And then, really, if I'm there with the tape measure we really can custom size it together. I can hold it up, they can hold it up for me to look at, we can take the frame into account specifically for which frame they want to make sure that it's not gonna beyond the edges of the space that we were thinking about. So it really gives me the opportunity to custom guide em and with so many years of practice it's pretty easy to figure out what'll look good in any given space. Alright, here's a little one. Okay. This is from Bonnie Iot who says, "How do you build an invoice at the mobile session "and take payment?" So just a little practical question. Oh, yeah. That's a really good question as well. So on the software that I use, ProSelect, it automatically builds an invoice as they place their order. I can do the same thing in my QuickBooks software. I can just build a quick invoice. So two different ways you can do it. You can always write it out by hand, too, and do math they old fashioned way if you have an order form that works for your business just check the boxes and write the total down and add it up. As far as payment goes, we can do it a couple of different ways. I have a little chip that plugs into my phone and I swipe it or I can key it in on a computer or I can email my clients an invoice and they can pay it online. So lots of different ways depending on the scenario. So if I'm in person I use the card to swipe it. If I am remote I send em an email right there on the spot. They can pay immediately online and it applies to their account and I see exactly when it goes through through QuickBooks. I just wanna come back around to at the beginning of the class you talked about the amount of money that we're gonna be able to invest in our $3,000 that we have to start up this business and part of that was for samples. So is this kind of something we can do for, I think it was $500? Absolutely. So $500 in your mobile sales kit. That's a great question. So let's talk about the nitty gritty of this. The print samples of the different materials were about $60. The albums can get expensive and so I would recommend if you want to offer an album get one to start off with. You have to be able to show them something and most companies, whenever you start working with them, have a sample discount so it might be half price or something like that. Be sure to ask about that to help you get a sample. Sometimes the materials, the swatches, sometimes there's a charge for those, sometimes there's not. So these can $30. The albums, depending on what you offer, could range from a $20 album for a simpler album up to an $800 album for like our organic natural wood one. So if that's half price, maybe you get one in the middle that's $200 for a really nice album. The case, you can start out with just an inexpensive suitcase. Then you can move it into something that has dividers in it. Or maybe you don't need it. The HDMI cable is gonna be about $ depending on the length and then card samples you can add as you go. We always just add a couple of extra cards every time we place an order so that we have a lot of different samples. So that's something that you accumulate over time. So $500 will get you a nice album, your samples for your different materials that you're printing on, the HDMI, the suitcase, and the swatches. So if I'm just starting out would I use like my family for sample portraits in the album or would I offer my friends like a session and then use them? So that's a great question, as if you don't have any samples, any sample images, what do you do? How do you start out? And so absolutely, we started out with our daughter and we made images of her. We got images in the process which was great for us. It made us go out and photograph her regularly, but you can't have every single image of you and your family. And so this is where you can be the most amazing friend in the universe (laughs) and so what I have always done is if we ask our friends to be models for us it's not anything that I'm gonna sell to them. I'm gonna be an amazing friend, I'm gonna take the images, and I'm gonna it to them as a gift from my heart to my friends. And honestly our friends aren't really our target client. And so we're not losing out on a sale there and it's an opportunity to just be a really incredible person and do something nice for people you really care about. So absolutely, talk to your friends, talk to your family. Family, your own family is the hardest one to shoot, by the way. It's sometimes hard to get samples of your own family. And then do something where you reach out to a similar business in your community and see how you can serve those clients and offer a free session to serve those clients. Shoot those, get the samples, and then sell it the real way through the normal process. What are your thoughts about having the book have like the one session or your best work in it? Ah, that's a really good question. So I always feel like you should create a sample product that you could sell to that client. So I would say pick one session and show what it's really gonna look like from that experience with a client. The only exception I can see to that that would make sense is to, for a wedding venue if you are partnering with a wedding venue and you wanna showcase that venue, you might wanna have different clients during different seasons with different decor inside that venue. That would be an incentive for the venue to show that book to every single person that comes in to see, to book a wedding at that venue. So there is a different motivation behind creating that sample, but as far as selling to your own personal clients I would absolutely recommend doing it just like you would for any other client. So just as a review, a case with wheels is critical. It makes it easy to get in and out of places on location. You need to have a sample so that your client can envision your products and what they will look like in their own home. You need to have a laptop and an HDMI cable so you can attach to their technology within their home. And then a merchant account of some kind so that you can accept credit cards on location. You can do that through Square which is really inexpensive. You can do it through QuickBooks. There's lots of different options for that. If you accept credit cards, you open up the possibility for much bigger sales than if you just accept cash or checks. Mkay? Alright. For the Online Sales Kit you gotta have some kind of screen sharing platform so that they can see what you see on your monitor and you've gotta have high speed internet. Don't stream this. It's a bad idea. (laughs) So we used a hotspot for one session and it didn't work very well. So a screen sharing platform. I use Skype. I've used GoToMeeting. There's all different kinds of platforms that you can use. Use one that is either free or very inexpensive because you only have $3, to get this whole thing off the ground. For the Online Sales Kit if you're doing it online you either need to show them your products at the session itself when you are in person with them or you need to have really good images of your products that show them every little detail. The spines of the book and the thickness of the material and see if you can capture some of the luster of the finish. All of those things are important when you're trying to communicate what this product actually looks like to your client. And then it's also very helpful if you can have an image of your client's walls and this shows them that you care about them. So when you talk to them in that planning consultation say, "Hey, would you mind taking a couple of pictures? "It can be just with your phone. It's easy. "Just stand straight perpendicular to your wall, "take a picture. Let me see what it looks like. "Let me see what your home looks like." And they will be so excited they will send you room after room after room after room which is perfect. That's what you want because then you have wall after wall after wall to decorate, right? Since what's better than selling one wall portrait? Selling 10 wall portraits, right? (laughs) So if you can get images of your client's home, you can quickly place one of your photographs on their wall in Photoshop. Give em a feel for what it looks like. Do it ahead of time ahead of the meeting. Take that picture, scale the image to an appropriate size on their wall. You can just put a black band around it for a frame. It's very simple, it's rudimentary, but it gives em a feel. It gives em an opportunity to test drive that image in their environment. Mkay. There are also, we use ProSelect. It does that, it scales it automatically. It's one of the features of the software, but you don't have to have that to make it work. Mkay? And then that merchant account is super critical for online sales because you don't have the opportunity for them to hand you a check so it's critical for this. Alright. Are you guys ready to go out there and kill it in sales? (audience laughs) This, it's a foolproof process. It works really well if you've set up your prices appropriately, you've developed your product line so that it matches with your style, you walk them through and let them fall in love with how amazing you are, you do a good job on the images, you prepare them in advance for what to expect by giving your prices in a nonthreatening environment, then all you have to do is walk in and swipe the card. It's great and you guys are gonna be so good at this. I know it. So walk in with confidence. Don't give anything away. Pretend like I am on the other side of the door and you're gonna have to explain to me why you've given something away or discounted something. Or have somebody on the other side of the door that you have to be accountable to and say, "Alright, I blew it. "This is why I screwed up and I'm not gonna do it next time "because here's my strategy." And if you're really nervous about it, practice it a few times online, get your script ready. Get all your notes, try to imagine every objection they will ever come up with in the universe to why they can't buy. Think that through ahead of time so you can think quickly on your feet when you're meeting with them and then charge and ask for that target sale that you need to make this business profitable and successful for you 'cause that's why we're doing this.

Class Description

"If you are serious about starting and running a successful photography business... this IS the road map to follow!"
-JB Photo Design, CreativeLive Student

When starting a new business, you will make hundreds of decisions, and many of those can be costly and affect the future of your business. Most photographers have little direction available on how to take these critical first steps to set themselves up for success.

Kathy Holcombe and her husband Peter have built multiple photography businesses over the last 15 years. Kathy will share what they have learned so that you won’t waste time, money and resources trying to find the perfect formula.

You will learn how to:

  • Define your brand
  • Set up social media channels and a business website to support the vision of your brand
  • Develop an effective strategy for marketing to your ideal client
  • Develop a product line and profitable pricing structure
  • Develop a sales strategy to maximize your time and sales average

This class is for anyone who is standing at a crossroads, wanting to start a photography business, but not sure exactly how to go about it. You’ll not only learn how to get you started, but also how to turn a profit through your photography in your very first year of business. Skip years of trial and error and invest your precious startup dollars in strategies, tools and equipment that will immediately start making you money.

"You don't need to be a beginner to get great info from this class, it's packed with ideas and tips that even an experienced pro can put to work and take to the bank literally the next day. I highly recommend this class."
-Jeph DeLorme, CreativeLive Student

Reviews

Amanda Beck
 

Kathy was a wonderful instructor. She was engaging and someone who was precise and incredibly helpful. We have a full time photography business and are always looking for new ways of running our business. Her information was insightful and forced us to have conversations about our business that we have haven't had in several years. She is fantastic and someone who has the information needed to help you start or expand your business. Thank you for a wonderful class!!

Chrissie
 

Thank you Kathy for yet again another very thought provoking class. You are such an inspiration, teaching us the right questions to ask ourselves so we too can be brilliant photographers / entrepreneurs. I was a fulltime RVer for seven years, traversing 44 states and seeing some of the most beautiful places on our planet. It gave me a great opportunity to meet some extraordinary people and to hone my photography skills. Now I have put down roots in Stapleton - Denver, CO and am soon to launch my own Family Lifestyle Photography business. Your course has definitely given me the courage to just charge ahead and go for it!

Tristanne Endrina
 

I am VERY impressed with this class! The structure of the class is well done. Each segment was thorough and backed up some knowledge from the previous segments. Kathy breaks everything down into understandable knowledge and also makes it very enjoyable to watch. I HIGHLY recommend this class if you're unsure about what to do to start your photography business. $3000 may sound like a lot of money, but you'll going to find yourself in a determined state to raise that money if you're REALLY passionate and serious about starting your photography business. Thank you, Kathy & Creativelive, for this class. I'm excited to get the ball rolling and build my photography business.