Online Selling Tools
So let's look in depth at these selling tools. So here's what we use to help our sales process in our business. The portrait gallery, because I want them going to my website instead of Pinterest to get ideas for their portrait session. I direct them to that gallery. It's the best work that we do. It's a representation of our style and the images that we want to create, and it gives them a place to go and get excited about what they're going to experience with us. So it's great to have a gallery of what you want to create for your clients. It's great to have your expectations. This is where you can build positive client expectations about what they are going to experience with you. This is a great place to put your policies and your procedures. It's where they can go to learn what's next if they're so inclined. The really nice thing about this session information thing, if you have all of this written down in a positive way on your website, when there's a misunderstanding you can direct...
them to a public place where that information is displayed. So if they come in for the sales session and they didn't bring their spouse who is an important decision maker, and you have to tell them, well, I can do another sales session with you, but there's going to be an additional charge, you can direct them back here and show them where that information is public if there's any discrepancy. Ideally, you want to avoid situations like that, but if it comes down to it, that can be a good resource as well. The location guide is one of the favorite things I've ever done. If you're a location shooter, this is a great place for people to shop at their convenience. And what I found in the location guide, typically we shoot anywhere from right in Boulder to a couple hours beyond when we had our studio location, but at the end of that session guide, I had places in California, and I had places in Wyoming that we loved to go to, and we used that as just sparks to get people thinking. And they might not book a destination session with us right then, but if it was something that connected with them and they loved to travel and experience new things, it would be something that they would call and ask us about later on. So I could put destination locations out there in the location guide, people would see them, and then it wasn't a hard sell on my part. It was just planting seeds. And oftentimes, we would get calls. They would say, okay, we really want to go to Wyoming or wherever. In Colorado, we have the aspen bloom in the fall when all the leaves turn yellow, and we had a specific location that we went to for that, and we always booked that location almost a year in advance because it was so coveted, and that we planted the seeds in our location guide as well, and that was a super hot seller even though it was a three and a half hour drive from where we were based. And then any time you can create videos, there are different kind of learners out there, and some people prefer to read. I'm a reader. Some people prefer to watch videos, that's Peter, and some people prefer to interact in person. And so if you can hit all of those learning styles on your website, you're going to have a better chance of connecting with a broader base of people. So give them different ways to interact with you that meets their learning style. Okay, so again, are you showing images that you want to create? Filter through those. Make sure that it is exactly what you want to be doing, not just what you are currently doing, even if you have to beg a friend to go out and create something new and amazing that you've had stuck in your head as an artist, go out and do it. Give it to them. Collaborate together. Create this amazing thing that you want to create and show it to people, and other people will love it and want you to do it again, okay? Is it your best work? Is there anything you can eliminate that gives you pause, where you're like, oh, I wish they didn't have that smile or expression, or oh, I wish they didn't have those red pants on or whatever it is. Eliminate anything that bothers you, because it does have to be your very best. It's your first impression with people. All right, so this is the who, what, when, where, why, and how. This is the session information. It gives people expectations on what to do, so it's all of that text for your written learners. And then like I mentioned, let them see all of the options on the location guide. You never know what people are willing to do. Sometimes I was afraid to mention these far flung locations, and sometimes those were people's favorite things. They came to us knowing about that, so show them all the options. Destination sessions are amazing. So I think this is pretty important to clarify. We have done destination weddings, and we've done local weddings, and we've done destination portraits and local portraits, and here's what we've learned over the course of time is that destination weddings take way more time than what you can get paid for. You earn a little bit more at a destination wedding than you do a local wedding, but it often doesn't offset the time. So here's our thoughts on that is that if you can do destination weddings in your own backyard, you take advantage of that little bit of additional profit that often comes with a destination wedding, and you can take that money and go on your own vacation where you don't have to work. Highly recommend that. Destination portraiture is a little bit different than that. For a destination portrait location, we group together groups of people that are interested in going to the same place. So I could do six portrait clients over the course of a three day weekend. I could do one at dawn and one at dusk for three days in a row. And so when I get six portrait clients, it's almost always at least a double. I can double my sales average on a destination session versus a local session, and if I can group six people together and be very efficient at it, I have a lot more earning capacity over those three days than I do at home with those three days. So yes to destination portrait sessions, no to destination weddings as far as our experience goes. Just go on your own vacation, it's way more fun. And then the location guide is also great for clothing recommendations.
I had a question that had come in earlier, and I'm curious just because of the topic where you're talking about wedding destinations. Eric Henson had asked, have you had any experience with or know of any photographers that specialize in documenting other family vacations sort of as a family session, and it's an idea he says that keeps popping up in his vision, but he's not really sure if it's a viable type of business. Have you ever been approached to do that?
Yes, we have. We have been to Mexico and documented a honeymoon. We have been all different places to document people's travels in wild, beautiful places. That's kind of what we specialize in now. And here is the important distinction, at least for us. We don't want to run around and be paparazzi following somebody on their vacation. That takes a huge amount of time, and the images are not fantastic, because they get in the way of the experience. So what we want to do personally is carve out an hour of that time in that amazing place doing that incredible thing and capture that brilliantly, and then get out of their way and let them have their vacation. So it just depends how you want to operate and what you want to create. We want to bring out big, dramatic lighting, and we can't do that running around chasing somebody on their vacation. And you have to think about your daily rate that would be required to photograph however long you're talking about. So depending on your client, it might be cost prohibitive, it might not be. But you just need to think about your goal, what you want to create, and then pursue it. But I think there's a huge niche for people that want to have where they go in these extraordinary environments captured and displayed in their homes. I think it's a good business model, just make sure it aligns with your goals and your business personality.
Sure. Okay, so the videos on your website as you create them down the road, it needs to give you a feel for what to expect. It needs to build anticipation. They need to be fun and exciting like, oh my gosh, I cannot wait for this experience, and they need to confirm that you are the best choice for the job. You need to look professional. You need to look experienced. You need to look tight in what you're doing. You need to be efficient at what you do. You need to be brilliant at what you do. You need to make it look easy. All of that should be included in these videos as you show them. They don't have to be very long. The shorter the better. 30 seconds to no more than three minutes. Okay? So your selling tools online, we talked about the home page. That goal is to get them to contact you. The selling tools need to be to motivate a buyer to book a session. It's the same thing as the sales consultation, the initial consultation, and it needs to confirm that you're the best choice. So as we go back to this consumer psychology and we have cognitive phase, that's the learning. That's the home page, that's your essentials, your gallery, your about us, your contact us, and possibly more information in your blog. Your constructivist part are your selling tools. So that needs to be your portrait gallery or whatever gallery you're creating. It needs to be more information about the experience. It needs to be some of your policies and procedures, and it needs to give them a place to be inspired to book a session with you. That's how we're going to use our website for these two fields.
"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.
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