Sales Techniques Q & A
When someone calls you for the initial consultation and the first question is how much, and they're calling five other photographers, and how, what I often get is they don't have the patience or the time to wait for my explanations. They just wanna know the price right now because they wanna hang up, think about it, call the next person. How do you change the dynamic to make them understand to take the time to understand what you want to tell them?
Well, I think that people love to talk about and brag about their children typically. So switching that conversation right over to their children. Tell me about your kid. Tell me what they do. They typically wanna tell you about 'em. And then I kinda just get them engrossed in the conversation and then create that excitement for those products. At some point in that conversation that I switched over, I will answer that question. So, they ask well how much is our eight by 10? And at some point I will say when I'm talking about pricing, I'll...
say, what I explain to people is that if I spend two or three hours with you at your portrait session and a couple hours getting your portraits ready to view and a few more hours at your order session we've invested a great deal of time at that point. If someone comes in and just gets a single eight by after all that time, it's gonna be our a la carte price of 129. However, if you're in a collection and get more than that, they start dropping in price. So, at six or more they'll drop $40, eight or more drop $45 and so on, does that make sense? And so I do answer that client's question about that price of that eight by 10, but I do it after I've created the desire for our products and excitement for our studio by explaining it like that to be honest. Most people I'm talking to on the phone will say man I would never do that to someone. I would never just buy a single eight by 10. And a lot of 'em tell me, in fact, I should raise my prices. You need to be charging more for what you do. That's a great response. That's exactly what I wanna hear. It means they value what I do.
Great, thank you. Go ahead, Dee.
Do I need it?
Oh no, you're good actually.
Okay, I forget the question. When you're starting to like portfolio bill for this kind of thing, are you just, I don't have children. I'm surrounded by high schools and colleges. I'm literally right smack in the middle. And so I'm like, gosh how do I start portfolio building for this 'cause I've done it with models, but it's like do I just seek out friends who have teenagers in school? Do I make it like a referral program where if like their shoot would be free? If they got three other people to book with me as far as like getting bums in seats to produce this kind of imagery to create the desire?
Okay, perfect question.
Do you to have something to show?
It does take obviously a little time. We have a lot of product images but with a lot of different seniors. You don't necessarily have to have all different seniors. A client could easily get the same idea if it was all the same picture of the same client in all your pictures 'cause they could see oh this client got this and this and this and this. Actually, on our pricing guide we have a big image of all what a client got, like a bunch of different stuff on there. But it could easily just use one single client. One of the things that I do is, we specialize kind of in senior athletes, on seniors specifically, but we do a lot of teamwork, stuff for the teams, and we'll be talking more about green screen stuff later, but that's a great way to get different athletes and different people in your studio is to kind of specialize. We do some stuff for the teams and then the most popular outgoing athletes are interacting with you and telling other kids about it in school and you're creating desire that way. So how we developed it is that's like our personal way is just interacting more with teams and creating that desire that way.
I noticed you answered the eight by 10 question very well, but how do you handle it when they ask you how much are the digitals because they don't care about the eight by 10.
Great question. So digitals and it kind of depends on your scheme too. What we personally say is that the digitals kind of just depends on what you're looking for. Many people just want the digitals so they can show off to friends and family. And some people say yeah that's exactly why I want it. Well, we offer those as a bonus. You can get the digitals. They're low resolution and something you can't print from. They have a watermark on them, but then it's a great way to have to display to all your friends and family and different things like that. Some people then go force it and say like yes I actually want them to be able to print from. Well, we do offer that. It just kind of depends. For our pricing structure what we've set up is that kind of the more product that you get, the less the digitals are. So it's gonna kinda depend on how many other prints you actually get. We do offer them as individual or in groups of digital items like that. I say I'll send you our pricing guide once you talk about a session more and you can look over the digital options there. What we do is we have like for our digitals to matter of factly answer your question we have like one digital image about the same price as a medium size wall portrait for us, to kind of give you an idea. Obviously, it's going to replace the fact that they're getting something from that, so we have that priced about the same size as a wall portrait. And they can get packages of or kind of collections of 10 or 30 images and, again, they get a slight discount off those, but we're not trying to sell digitals as much. Digitals have a bad name, and honestly, it takes me a lot less work. But I can't control it, so I just have to figure out if I wanna give up control or if I wanna like have less work and less cost into it.
Alright Ben, we've got some questions coming in from the folks online. One is from Gary who said that he gets the seniors themselves, the high school seniors emailing about pricing. So, do you deal directly with the high school seniors ever in terms of phone consultations or how do you get their parents or whoever's paying on the phone?
Occasionally, if I'm talking with a senior I'm pretty much not talking a whole lot about pricing stuff. I'll just get 'em excited about ideas and kinda get 'em talking more about what their vision is and then ask to talk to the parents a little bit more or whoever's paying for the session so I can give some ideas and tips on what they'll be investing with this.
And is that through email first with the seniors?
If they call or if they email us first, we have kind of a bulk email that we have, a canned email that we can just respond to 'em that says we'd love to talk to you more to create a little bit of excitement about our studio. But want to actually get ahold of them one verbiage that we put out in our email that's very nice is saying that we'd love to talk with you more just let us know a convenient day and time to give you a call 'cause offering to give them a call, if they don't like respond back and give it, I know when people do that to me, like hey just tell me a convenient time to give you a call and we'll followup with ya, I feel like kinda like the bad guy if I don't respond to 'em and give 'em a date. Otherwise if I just say give us a call, they might just blow us off. So I just ask for a date and time that would work well to talk to them more about their session.
Go ahead. Do you wanna stand up please?
You kinda just led into another question that I had for you. You talked about never hiding your pricing from the client, which I really appreciated, but then also how you need to build the value before you get into the pricing. So like when people go to your website, how do you handle that 'cause I'm assuming you don't have just your prices listed?
Our prices are on our website on a hidden link that we'll send the client once we get more into the scheduling and stuff like that. But we don't necessarily have any of our portrait pricing on there. It's just more about creating desire through our images and things that we're showing them. We do have our sessions listed on there, but to again help qualify the client a little bit, but I wanna definitely talk to 'em a little more and explain what's happening first.
So your goal in that is to get them on the phone?
A question that had come in from Mica. Do you ever do in person consultations or are those just on the phone?
We do offer in person consultations with our clients for our studio. We have a lot of people traveling from all the country to come in. So, the in person doesn't work as well. So, most of 'em are on the phone. But if a person can come in studio, it's great 'cause I can actually show them the (mumbles) I'm talking about over the phone and interact with 'em a little more, so it creates more of one on one value with them and they're more likely if they take the time to come into the studio, they're more likely to book a session also.
Great. And then another question from JC. I think you mentioned it when we were going through the (mumbles), but how many images do you offer for review for a typical senior or a family session and then also somebody else had asked like what percentage is that of how many you actually photograph?
Okay, so what we show again, for our seniors, a lot of 'em are athletes and have multiple sports. With those multiple sports sometimes we are doing like 20 shots in a row of them going up for a layup or something. I'll do burst mode, them going up for a layup and we'll have tons of images. So it's easily like 100 images that I will show them. Again, but they're down to exactly half for us, so it'll be 50 images in their favorites from there and then 50 images in their album, which is a very nice album. And the percentage, what was the question about percentage?
Just how many images are you photographing versus what you then end up showing them?
My whole setup on my studio is that I wanna have fun with my sessions. I am not there to be like all businessy and like a mass production line of getting seniors in and out. So I spend as much time. I don't have a time limit if you noticed on my sessions 'cause if I really like these guys, I'm having fun, I wanna have as much fun and not worry about getting out the door and having another session come in. So we only book one session a day. We have a very limited number of seniors that come in 'cause we only accept that many 'cause I wanna create custom stuff and not like mass producing it. So we spend a ton of time with each senior and have a lot of fun. I might take, with the sports stuff, there's a lot of retries as far as hair blowing in their face and like a crazy sticking out their tongue situation as they like try to tackle somebody or whatever. So there's a lot of retakes. I might take six or 800 images on a typical session and then show them 100.
Well Ben, I think we are gonna close out the class now, but any final words for everybody about in person sales, getting over those fears, like jumping out of an airplane?
Yeah, be confident. Again, if you have a structure actually set up that you follow and present your client with and get 'em ready and create that desire for your products, it makes everything flow much smoother. Being able to educate them. Know exactly what to expect. If they have that checklist of like the policies and confirm they know that, then it just makes your day go easy because they know what to expect and we're not trying to hide anything from our clients, but just be confident and hopefully by standing up here and going through this live in person, so what I always wanted as I was evolving my structure, to actually see how a sales session worked. I think hopefully you took a lot of value from that and be able to kind of develop your own systems.