Growing An Alternate Brand

 

Master the Business of Photography

 

Lesson Info

Growing An Alternate Brand

We're going to dive more into building an alternate brand, right? So I mean that's ultimately ah, lot of times you're gonna see a lot of work coming across your plate. What do you do? Do you build your brand? Where? It's your name salvator cincotti photography do you build your brand? Where? It's? Right, happy feet for tired be whatever you want to call your business each one carries a different I don't know meaning or branding tied to it when it's salvador's and cotton it's your name it's signals high end my opinion perception's reality it doesn't mean it is more high end but it's the artist name and so there's this perception that it's you're dealing with a single person and that person their time is worth more perception's reality when you have something like a happy feet photography who's the owner to really know who the owner is you don't write, you can announce yourself as an owner you can introduce yourself is an owner, but at the end of the day it almost sounds like a franchise...

. When you start doing stuff like that, it changes the value or the perception in the marketplace of your business again this is this is not salves way this is proven market research, just things like that go on, so in the spirit of that we went round and round. On what? To what? To refer to things as you know was shouldn't be salvador, some kind of tar fee should we come up with some generic name? There's a lot of different things to take into consideration when you're considering what you mean your business. So there's no silver bullet now, this isn't about naming your business. We're gonna talk about building this alternate brand, but it it does beg to be discussed. And so when you think about it, if I were to build something called studio c okay, which we did, we had we had a studio. We called it studio see, that sub brand was being built because I could sell it someday, but it can absolutely sell it someday. So if you're sitting at home, you gotta ask yourself what's the gold for your studio. You want an exit strategy? Or are you thinking yourself? I'm going to this brand. I am the brand there's. Nothing wrong with that. I believe in that salvatore's in qatar photography. I am the brand so much in fact that there were times in our career as the business was growing. People would not even they would be offended if they were sitting down with tail. All right, well, we're south. They don't even know me where south because that perception is my name's on the door. I'm the owner, I would introduce myself, I would say, hey, I'm south immediately. It's a different conversation now times have changed our studios grown tellers just a strong is a photographer she's out there she's doing her things. People don't really care anymore when they come in, but when we were first growing our business, that was actually a big challenge. Now, if I were to build that studio, c brand there's no figurehead to it know what I'm saying like, there really is no figurehead and it's really important, I think that your business has a figurehead, somebody who is just the person, the point person. And so if I were to build studio c, it truly would be built for an exit strategy. It would be built to produce ten for ten weddings on it on any given day, right? I wouldn't want to build a studio c, and we're just doing one waiting a day that doesn't make any sense. The two things are in conflict. So anyway, we're going to talk about building that alternate brand, and so some of things I want to cover his first, the story behind studio c pricing, how do you price this sub brand so you don't cannibalize the main brand? That should be the biggest thing you're concerned with the training plan. How do you train these people to come up under and actually take over and be primary shooters? That's that's, no easy task. We cover a little bit about how I trained elissa to be that being my second shooter, but now you got to start training people to be primary shooters and a little bit different working with vendors lot opportunity here for cross promotion of the brand's. Well, cover that as well. Uh, non compete, we covered a little bit that in the previous segment will cover it a little bit more, and we'll talk about again my story. I had to enforce it on sue someone sales. How do you run sales now? So suddenly, if you've got this sub brand that's producing more than one wedding, right, multiple weddings, now you've got more sail sessions that you have to contend with, who's doing those sales sessions, who's conducting them. This is the biggest challenge for growth. We face this, right? So there's, a lot of lessons learned to be had here from my mistakes, and then how do you promote it? How do you promote this new brand and not conflict with your main brand, right? So there's definitely a strategy there a cz well, and so I want to talk about this this story behind studio c, right? So that was our sub brand, I think it's about two and a half years ago that we had more maybe three years ago that we started it, but about two and a half years ago, two years ago that we had dissolved it. I'll tell you the whole story, the behind the scenes, all the dirty laundry behind it. And so the most important question asked, and I'm hoping you guys have some questions here because you've got to see the relevancy of this to you. Right? Right now most of your one man show, right? One man, one woman shows. Is that your is that your five year plan? Right? Know all of you shaking your head? No, no, that is not my five year plan. I don't want to do this. Uh, that long and I for one. I don't want you shooting weddings that seventy five years old. That's not my goal. So we all have to have that plan that five year plan, right? If you're following along at home in the atwork book, what's your plan right when you talk about growth. Where you going and so if you just see yourself doing twenty if we're having this conversation right now and you're drawing a blank in your head and right now you're just thinking yourselves my five year plan is twenty five weddings a year if you're thinking in those terms about how many weddings you're going to shoot or how many seniors you're going to shoot our families you're going to shoot you really don't have a growth plan that is not a growth plan because if you as the sole person gets sick accident right you fall break a leg assigned a growth plan that's that's a we're going to go out of business some day plan and so you got to start thinking about where is growth coming for you and your business right so at least I want that nugget in your head right now because that's why we started studio c I wanted away that not necessarily I would step back from the business I love photography I love weddings but a way for me to capture more than market and make money from someone else that's what I want to do right I mean that's what all companies do they're making money off the backs of their employees I pay you a salary and you're gonna help me make make more money so I wanted to take advantage of the salvador some kind of brand were established in our local market but we're very extensive in our local market, so I'm losing the sweet spot of the market remember to come back to this number two point one million weddings every year average wedding spends twenty seven call it thirty thousand dollars on their actual wedding on dso where I'm priced I'm probably in the top twenty percent, right? So if you think about weddings or just any business in general, they always talk about this bell curve okay, eighty percent of any market typically falls in the center of the bell curve, right in the sweet spot for photography around the united states is about twenty seven hundred dollars that's average across the united states somewhere in that range well, at eight thousand dollars for a wedding ten thousand dollars for a wedding I am well outside that range, so I'm leaving all this money on the table that's why I started studio c I was getting all these request for weddings that I had either weren't booking us because we're too expensive or I was booked that's what was happening? So when I started studio see, I think the year I started studio c I had fifty two weddings on the books, I couldn't I had no more capacity there's no more room for me to personally grow right? The growth planes over I'm hitting the wall unless I literally want to do friday saturday sunday weddings right for the next you know, ten years where's my growth fifty two weddings is a lot of weddings even somewhat split between taylor and myself that's a lot of saturday's uh that we're giving up where's the growth plant this is where studios he was born I thought okay, if I can come up with this weather this business where I'm right in the sweet spot twenty seven hundred dollars average wedding twenty five hundred dollars average wedding but it's still part of the salvadoran cotton brained right? I didn't want to annex it I don't want to set them up is to completely separate businesses I wanted to set it up as a sub brand can any of you tell me just raise your hand so I know who's going to talk can you think of anything in corporate america that has his brand sub brand that are not necessarily completely separate? You think anything that comes to mind? Yeah, most grocery stores are like that they have the major label kraft mac and cheese and then they have, you know, walmart, mac and cheese so they're producing it get a little closer to where you know that connection to the brand you're going the right direction american auto dealers do that our auto manufacturers do that that's where I was going right? So if you think uh right you've got a lexus toyota all right everybody kind of knows those those are pretty much the same company my mom does write my mom refuses to buy a lexus she's like no I'm going by the toyota cressida whatever the hien toi because that's the same I looked it up online right? My mom does all this research it's like I'm not gonna pay for it what about volkswagen? Audi right same companies right and I don't remember the cars I think it was like the audi a four looks like the volkswagen jetta right? Like literally they just took off the volkswagen and put the audi symbol a right this concept exists it's not like I've come up with some new you know, newfangled idea this concept exists out there where there's this main brand sub brand and where there's certain things that are separate but there's definitely people know that those brands together because they're banking on the reputation off the main brand okay well that's what I wanted to do with studio c so we didn't annex studio c and just created a separate it was position and if you look at the logo logo says studio c a salvador cincotti company we wanted to make sure everybody understood that these two brands were together sol may consent all right so initial results were incredible we stood up the brand and within the first four months okay we had booked twenty five plus weddings it's incredible! You guys are having trouble booking twenty weddings and you're in business several years this stood up and immediately started booking business. It was incredible for me to see the pent up demand for our work even though this is now a sub brand people knew the salvador cincotti brand and they're willing to spend money just to be part off that brand that means we're doing a good job of brandon that's what it says to me people want to be part of the salvador, some kind of family great, so I hired two shooters husband, wife, team they had tried, they've done consulting with us, they tried to stand up there own business, they couldn't do it, they kept failing, failing, failing for whatever reason she was having a baby, they wanted to have more work, life balance, they didn't have time to really invest back into their business. I thought to myself, this is the perfect person or set of people to bring into the business now because they've tried and failed, right? The last thing you want to do is bring in somebody to kind of be primary shooter who's going to turn into I want to go off and do my own thing you want to bring somebody in who is ok working for someone else, and I thought, what better person than somebody who's already failed okay, so now I got this person they know how hard it is to start up your own studio and so they're perfect, right? Well, nothing could be further from the truth ends up being two of the laziest people I've ever met in my life. And this is why their business failed because they were lazy. They just were not motivated. They were not hungry. And they're the kind of people where we all know people like this in our lives where you do you have anybody in your life where they tell you how hard they're working and then they like, works for, like, four hours and you just want to try and do you know anybody like that? Like I have people in my life there like I am so tired would you do today? Oh, my gosh. I mean, I had to go grocery shopping and I was gone for, like two hours and guy's so hot outside what? I was outside in one hundred fifteen degree heat shooting for ten hours today I do not want to hear how tired you are, right? We all have people like that in our lives that we know and you just roll your eyes and you move on that was these people okay, turns out to be the worst two people I could have brought into a brand you see how hard my team works behind the scenes? This is a team that is go, go, go! We need to bring in people who support that. Um, they quit with no notice, so I'm walking out the door. I have twenty. I don't remember. The exact number of weddings is twenty five years ago. I don't remember the exact weddings I had in the book might have been closer to thirty when they actually quit. So we had about thirty weddings on the books they punch out. I get a phone call on a saturday morning, fifteen minutes before we're leaving for a wedding. Okay, they didn't have a wedding that day, so they didn't leave it on that day that our wedding, the night we can, I'm walking out the door fifteen minutes, I get a text message sorry telling me that this isn't working out and basically they're quitting. I was just dumbfounded at what had just happened. So now this turns into a disaster for me and taylor. We had thirty additional weddings on the books you want, talk about a set back to your business with I'm sharing with you dirty laundry this they now quit me and taylor are stuck holding, holding the bag on, uh, thirty weddings we have to deliver on people don't care they don't care that my second shooter's quit so now I think about the conversations we have tohave with our brides those thirty bride's way to call every single one of them and let him know your photographers quit don't worry we're gonna make sure we have coverage on your wedding day now there were about four brides we had no way of having coverage on their wedding day it ended up putting us in a situation where it was like a five wedding day I was booked, taylor was booked we needed our shooters and we couldn't just get random people there so a couple of weddings we had to let go they were livid okay as they should be right? So I didn't protect myself I didn't handle this the right way on the back and we'll talk about how to protect yourself because I really do believe it's a good idea even though it might sound like I'm bitter about it, I'm not you know your business it happens you just gotta learn from it and move on. So learn from my mistakes. What we had to do to make it right was suddenly taylor and I on any weekend that we were free so we had to start going through the calendar if she was free she was shooting this wedding so now suddenly they've got a ten thousand dollar wedding photographer that they paid nineteen ninety nine four so those clients were super super happy right there like what taylor's gonna be there great what sally's gonna be there? Awesome yeah for them not for me. Okay, so now suddenly I'm killing myself this year filling in these gaps on weddings that on weekends where I wasn't available retailer wasn't available suddenly we're splintering off elissa shooting those weddings lauren shooting those weddings they're not primary shooters their secondary shooters so now my second shooter's gone and I've got some random second shooter we can you understand the turmoil this is going to create for your business you've gotta learn from this on and do it right now the fallout they go and they start up there own business right with uh that I mean like two weeks later they started their own business right? Call it x y z photography start showing up on facebook start showing up in all these places and it was clear they had been planning this for a while because you don't quit in a week later boom everything is stood up their website and all this other stuff and so now now they start their own website they're immediately served a cease and desist immediately served they get suit, they lose, they pay me money, I win so the noncompete is enforceable we'll talk a little bit more about that but it gets better not only do they do that after they pay me the penalty for being in breach of contract and violating it literally three weeks later their websites up again we assume again we win again their attorney says to my attorney I could seriously have the dumbest clients in the world right? You would think after being sued once and losing you would just go okay I've got I've got one year so one year non compete you have no choice now all that being said I share all this with you from a lessons learned perspective what would I have done differently? That's the most important part what did I learn from this what would I do differently as a business owner as an entrepreneur, what I would do differently is uh well I had a non compete that was my leverage over them okay, which obviously they didn't see the value of that until they were sued twice that was my leverage but what I would've done differently is had a penalty phase or penalty in the contract meaning if you've been contract id for a wedding and you've committed to that date if you do not deliver on that wedding date and you don't do not continue through those dates you are now liable for the cost of that wedding you see what I'm saying so if somebody pays four thousand dollars to me and you want to quit and I can't fulfill that about contract now for four thousand dollars you now owe me four thousand dollars so suddenly that changes if you know you're under contract with that suddenly that changes the way you handle yourself now what would you give get there be I would be willing I would have been willing if they had honored that part of the contract michael ok man it's not working out this isn't what we hoped it would be we want more family time whatever that whatever their reasoning was I don't know because I never really had a good conversation with him but if they'd come to me like that and said look, I don't want to screw you we know you believed in us and started up this business around us we don't want to screw you if we honor those weddings would you be willing to let us out of the non compete? Yes, I would have absolutely let him out of the non compete out just yet if you guys don't screw me over and you help me not have tto do what ultimately ended up happening I will absolutely honor the non compete are you know we can get rid of the non compete and let you out of it that to me is my big lesson learned that I want that language if I were ever to do this again I would have that language in the contract speaking sense fun times all right, so in the spirit of all that, hopefully I haven't scared you away from wanting to do it. Some of you may be sitting back at home and going no way, I'm not starting up a submarine. I still think there's value to this because there's only so many weddings we can do on our own and there's definitely a part of the market that will never be able to afford, right two point one million weddings. They're getting married, but they don't. They don't even appreciate fine art, right? So I'm not. What about all those other people? What about that money? Can we capture some of that money? Can we get another twenty, thirty, forty weddings a year under that brand will help we prove that in a very short, weird period of time, just based on the reputation of the main brand, we were able to stand up a sub brand and bring in a lot of dollars. I mean, this was forecasting to be another quarter million uh, two, three hundred thousand dollars into the business just from studio c. It was trending that way. So let's talk about pricing because that is the most important part as you stay in this up, if you find the right people, things like that let's assume you're going to do that what becomes a very very important he's standing up pricing and I know you guys gonna have hard time here seeing it so I'm gonna kind of walk you through it on the left hand side you're seeing what is at cp pricing top package eighty five hundred bottom package forty five hundred right just kind of in ah in a nutshell there on the studio seaside what you're seeing are three packages we follow all the same formula right? So if you're watching at home and we were talking about pricing the other day the framework is the framework is the framework I'm not lying to you when I tell you this and so on the studio seaside we have three packages as well they go from thirty nine ninety nine twenty nine ninety nine ninety nine nine notice they don't cross into as cp at all so there below the price point that's by design I don't want to cannibalize scp I'm gonna take you through these packages really quick same three package concept each package is a thousand dollars bump so the base packages nineteen ninety nine that's the that's the one we're gonna lead with we're gonna advertise based nineteen, ninety nine right that's the way we're gonna get people in middle package twenty nine ninety nine that's where I wanted them to be so if I could pull in three thousand dollars a wedding that would be perfect that's not including sales or any of that other stuff. That's just contracting even though I'm not making, I'm not making the full price point on this, right? Because I gotta pay my shooters there's still a lot of profit in there for me. The top collection, the venice collection thirty nine, ninety nine, right so it's four thousand dollars then you kick into scp, so that was step one to not cannibalizing. Step to to not cannibalizing is the products are completely different, so none of our signature collection albums are available in studio c that's very, very important, right? So what these were were photo cover style books, so the basic collection in nineteen ninety nine was an eight by eight photo cover book from bay photo. Actually, I think pages, though, right? So they make those books with thicker pages, but they're not signature collection albums. The middle package that was a ten by ten photo cover book that top package ok was a photo cover book twelve by twelve so all we did was you size as pull through there we were not giving them an opportunity to get the same quality of albums that you could get in salvador cincotti photography. This is very point not to cannibalize now, let's, look at some of these packages because some of you no matter where you are in your career you're at this studio c price point right now but you need that path how do you get to the more expensive price point well here's where you can be right now so our basic collection nineteen ninety nine one photographer six hours of coverage it's our entry level package I don't want anyone booking it even at studio c I'm following the same guidelines I do with everything else dvd proofing no digital negatives in the base package everything I'm doing from a framework perspective is happening right here same way um album thirty page album right no games with the albums and engagement session and then a thirty day web gallery we jumped to that next collection what's the pull through the naples collection has two photographers now so the pull through is on extra photographer eight hours of coverage first six engagement session the digital negatives from your wedding so the digital negatives are a pull through thirty day web gallery and of course, that ten by ten naples siri's wedding that photo cover book okay let's go to the venice collection, the top one thousand dollars more to photographers, ten hours of coverage, an engagement session and engagement guestbook digital negatives and a twelve by twelve album so we're using size to pull them through these air this is clean, simple packaging att that level thoughts about this who's thinking about this who's thinking about creating suffering yeah my question was when you rolled this out walk me through the phone call or the discussion when somebody asked what's your rates are at this point now that you're running brands yeah that's a great question and we'll talk more about that but t answer the question we would say in all our advertising pricing starting at nineteen ninety nine yeah because that's where it starts you've got tell us what you want and how you get there but I'll talk to you about how that sale session work's too because that gets a little tricky right how you run that sales process wendy you guys are looking at what do you what do your thoughts here john? Are you running this out of your main studio also that's right? Ok and you then when they see the higher end albums it's basically now you've got six packages versus three of this product and three of this product yeah in theory you've got six packages right? But you got two different companies and so we'll talk about it in this segment we're going to talk about like how do you get toe where their price point is before you even get to the meeting because what I don't want to really do was sit there with a client walked in through six packages that can become just turns into a nightmare very, very confusing and so I'll just I'll tell you later on in the segment how the sales process actually works when you sit down with somebody what am I sitting down? How does the discussion start like what's your what's your price wants to give you a high level the tag line that we were using in the advertising one studio two great options salvador some kind of tar fi studio c right? So that was kind of the branding behind it all were letting everybody know it's salvador's and kata brand one company to great options for you prices starting out and I think we had salvador some kind of tired feet pricing starting out forty nine, ninety nine or forty four ninety nine studio see prices starting at nineteen, ninety nine and our emails were adjusted as they would go out we would say that same thing, right? Two great options just let us know what your budget is and we'll set up the appropriate meeting and so but that's kind of interesting to we'll talk about lessons learned there because the minute you, uh you do something like this, you're already everybody's gonna default to the cheaper price s o that becomes problematic as well. Now I can tell you from experience this did not cannibalize our business s so we did this and s e p I mean, maybe maybe we had the first year we roll this out, maybe we had like four last weddings than we had had the previous year, but this was not cannibalizing it because of the way we sold it and I think that's a big lesson learned for you guys because we had a studio coming from denver one time to train train with us he wanted to take our business model what we had done with studio c and he came in about two and a half three years ago and he wants to take our business model and do it in denver and he had a team of shooters you had three or four shooters and he wanted to get to a point where they were producing like fifty hundred weddings a year out of that and they came out they brought their whole team and trained with us for a week on business on shooting on presenting and we did the whole thing, their booming uh because of that, so it works that's the key, we've seen it work, we did it ourselves, it worked, and we've seen other companies do it and work. So my question between this studio c and s c p r they still receiving the same branding type photography in thie studio c wait, we're gonna talk about that on what that you're definitely you want to break away from jonathan, don't you wait keep leaning this way we definitely have different styles. Yeah let's announce it here in creative live photos by windy let's go tonto no, that would be my my main concern if they're able to receive your style photography at a lower price point then it's to me it's a no brainer I'm going with a lower price point, right? So here's here's the deal, those shooters they're trained to shoot like me. But guess what, there's only one south and qatar there's only one wendy there's only one michael there's only one rob, you got to start understanding the value of your personality to this equation. I'm telling you you're under the statement you're making right now suggest to me you're underestimating that value on it's there and it's big because I was going to talk about this later on we'll talk about it now real world scenario eliza's friend was getting married, right? So this is at that age where all our friends are either engaged or getting married, right? And so that is that age for me, right? So good all my employees are in their twenties that's really cool. So we have built in referral network but her friend calls her up and she's like, oh my god I wanna have ah can't afford sau is what she says she is but I really want to work with you guys and this is like great you know we've got studio c now and she's like what's your budget and she's like wow, she goes you know, I was thinking about two thousand dollars three thousand dollars and she's like perfect, you know? So we'll set up a meeting for studio c okay, so I wasn't even supposed to be at the meeting she comes in I happened to be coming in from a photo shoot so I'm there in cargo shorts and a t shirt I never go to a meeting like that at least try to be in jeans and something presentable and they're waiting to get into our studio because my studio c photographer is having another meeting and we'll talk about how we run meetings but she's having meeting with another client there so she's waiting outside her and her mom are waiting outside with me so far, you know, I'm just hanging outside, I'm just talking to him I'm like getting to know them like, you know, what's going on with your day I wasn't trying to sell him on being in the salvadoran kata I want studio c to grow keep booking business in there, man, and now you're already telling me you have no budget, so I'm not really particularly interested, so we're just having a conversation get to know them opens up like all right let's go in I'll sit on your presentation and her mom are like, you know cool so I walked him through all studio c take him through I don't even have scp pricing sitting out that's not what we do I don't want to bait and switch uh so we just walk them through the studio c get through it mom looks right over the table at me and she goes what's it gonna cost to have you there what she said I'm like well mom I'm so sorry that I wasn't even prepared she's like that's okay, I know what we told you what's it gonna take to have you there I go let me print off pricing I'll walk you through everything then we print this up this pricing we now sit down we have the conversation we go from them telling me they have a two to three thousand dollar budget they walk out signed contract deposit left black label south and kata how'd that happen? I have no fricking idea but it happened right? So that is because of me I know that and you have to realise you can do that as well, right it's not because I'm this wow great person it's because I understand the value I bring to my own brand do you understand the value you bring to your own brand mom hurt her and her daughter were sitting there talking, and as soon as she said what's, it gonna cost to have you there, right? Her daughters like mom because we don't have much of that. They're talking right in front of mom. We don't have a budget for that, and she goes, you know what? I was going to get you a gift for your wedding. I was going to get you video, she goes, would you rather have video? Or would you rather have salad a wedding? I'm literally sitting here and she's like I'd rather have sound at the wedding and that's how this whole thing happened. And so the reason I'm sharing this story with you is because I want you to realize that the power and value you as artists and photographers bring to the table that it's so much more. The mom had no conversation with me about photography. In fact, up until that moment, when she asked me that question, she had not seen a single one of my images. She had been looking at my studio see photographers, images, my studio, see photographers, albums, so it wasn't about picture you with me. The decision she made had nothing to do with imagery the decision she made was a personal one. And that's the part we've got to get through our heads so you won't if you play this right it's not about the style of the tigris stop the tigers were drawing him into the brand everything else is up to you your studio is lately has reports all over indoor inside has all my pictures all over there for in the room that you're doing the presentation that wasn't what did it she doesn't know if she's looking at my work her work that wasn't what what did it it was it was a personal decision that she made you know, if we go back the room she was sitting in there spotted three pictures behind us and at no point was she's like whose picture am I looking at? Right that's how you know it had nothing to do do with that far she knew she was looking at pictures of my second of my photographer from studio c it's a personal one we have to understand the power of that don't underestimate it what else? Yeah rob so I see the price structure makes a lot of sense how you have it between the two brand and we see this is on the front end but on the back end as far as like paying train training these two shooters are you treating them like almost like second shooter like where we're talking again like you know, two hundred dollars wedding two hundred fifty and that's what we're talking about for for like because essentially their primary one of them has to be a primary shooter, right? We'll talk about that I'm gonna cover how we pay them coming up next because that's that's also as important how do you pay them? How do you motivate them? How do you win sent them to not just show up, shoot the wedding and and walk away and go who cares what I get? We'll talk about that because that was also really important to the growth when so just going back real quick teo that consultation when the client is coming in when they would come in for studio c would they be on ly seeing studio see images then that's, right? Yes, not only were they only see studio see images they would be meeting with the studio c photographer so I tried as much as possible to stay out of that sales presentation because I felt like that it would introduce confusion. Now you're sitting down with me and I'm sell, sell, sell ng you and then all of a sudden I step away from the equation and then you're dealing with susie and I didn't want that to happen I wanted them to connect with susie right? Because then that's what they're booking there, but I believe in personality that's why? I didn't want to be in that sales room because I didn't want to dominate it and then on my wedding day, somebody else on their wedding day somebody else's showing up and they expected my personality, so I always make sure that they're meeting with our I did make sure that they were meeting with that photographer same thing today if I'm booked on a wedding day. Okay and now it's taylor's turn to book a wedding taylor's holds holding the meeting. Not me. I'm not going there because if I book him and then taylor shows up in the wedding the personalities are completely different and vice versa. I usually so if somebody calls for a wedding on may fifth, okay, tail is probably going to take that first meeting. I let her book the day it's easier for me to book the day than it is for her. Why don't you guys rob why's? It was it easier for you? Easier for me to book a wedding than it is for taylor. But me it's your name on the gringo that's it it's the only reason there's no other magical answer here. I'm not going to sit here on me like I'm a better for tarver she's a better for tiger literally has nothing to do with it my name's on the door so its immediate perception that I'm I'm the better shooter whether it's true or not that's the perception so those first meetings I lead taylor take him and then when they meet taylor there's never a question about anything them, anything meet taylor, they love her and so they're going to meet with her because she's booking on a personality then it makes it easier when that next request comes in. I'm the one who sits and make sure I have that meeting because again, at that point the phone rang for two reasons they fell in love with work they were seeing on the website and the price point is it within their budget now once they come into your studio and they've met with you, you can on ly screwup that meeting and so if you find that three of four meetings or walking out the door after they meet with you and are not booking you, you're doing something wrong. We have to accept that that person prior to the meeting do you ever play who'd be better suited to sit down with this person from a personality standpoint? You're taylor do you ever choose that way of whose he's doing the pitch? No way don't we don't choose that way who's doing it? I'm more worried about who's available on that date or if they've expressed interest in video, I'll usually sit and be and be part of that meeting just be there in spirit. I actually have to let taylor drive the meeting when it's when videos involved, because on a video wedding day, I don't want the client thinking that I'm going to be the main photographer and then when I hand taylor the camera, they're like what's going on because on a video day, we'll talk about this in another segment, I'm the one directing everything, but I'm doing video and photography and I don't want the client to get upset because they're likewise and south taking pictures why's taylor so I like taylor driving that meeting all right, so let's talk about the training plane first of all, however you train them it's got to match the brand, the people you hire, the way you train them, it has to match the brand. So in the spirit of york, your question wendy, what I can't have happened, wei pushed, you know, split and the looks are completely different actually, those shooters that I had for studio c husband, wife, team, the wife was the main shooter, her personality was actually more like mind she was more of ah stronger type personality, the husband was more quiet, more like a tailor personality and so it was just what it was she told him what to do when to do it not made sense so she trained to be the primary primary shooter so I coached her and trained her the same way I coached and train elissa right so she came up with me she was literally with me on every photo shoot for six months seniors, families, babies, weddings, engagements everything and in fact I was probably more heavy handed with her than I was with a list of my second shooter I was more heavy handed with her because I needed her to learn how to see learning how to see is not easy that is truly the art of what we all do anybody can take a picture right but can you see the image we're trying to create our camera c completely differently than the human eye right? I don't know if you figured that out yet when you walk onto a scene we can walk in and we can see just this tin wall right? But if you're looking at it from back here which is how the human eye sees it it's not really that interesting but if you start seeing the way the camera sees right and you start realizing the camera can get right in here this wall suddenly becomes something very, very interesting there's different things we can do about using different angles that the field different lighting creating shadows right you start learning how to see like the camera does. And that's that's too. Me a very difficult thing to communicate and train people to do well. That's what I had to train her to do to see the way I would see to see this shot. The way I would see the shot. I needed her to be as close to my style as possible. And she waas was damn good. She got really, really good on the few wedding she shot. They came back. Clients were very happy. With what they what they were getting out of her. That was perfect. She had a good personality. She had a bubbly personality on. So she was perfect. What she was doing. They have to follow the formula. I'm not looking to hire that shooter and have them develop their own style. Right? Suzy style it's not what I want that's not what this is. If you want suzy style, you go start susie photography. You're here, you're inside our brand. You are going to conform to the brand and that's very, very important. And you as the only way you reinforce that is after every job you're looking at their work, no. No no remember earlier on I told you that guy was like taking pictures of dead birds dead rats uh trash in an alley right? The guys he'll be a great street photographer that's what? He's gonna be he's not gonna be a really good wedding photographer and so you've got to break them of their habits and they have to conform to your brand because ultimately it's your brand and I will add to that eighty five percent of it has to conform to your brand fifteen percent go do what you want and that's what I would tell him I'll say hey eighty five percent of what you deliver on this day has to look consistent with what we do meaning the bridal prep the groom crab all those pieces fifteen percent go do your thing tried experiment see what happens um I think they should be a dedicated shooter for one year do not bring someone in and in less than a year splinter off and give them their own brand that makes no sense you bring them in under mentorship you let them know I'm bringing you in we're going to start this company in twenty sixteen I'm going to coach you for a year you are going to be tutored by me for one year then we will start booking events out under u that's the way you should be doing it you with me what about working with vendors? This became a huge opportunity for us, believe it or not, in the beginning, a cz we started growing in recent prices, there were a lot of venues in town that their their clientele couldn't afford us. And so back in two thousand eight, two thousand nine, I was on their preferred vendor list, but by two thousand ten, two thousand eleven, I'd outgrown their vendor list nobody they were sending to us could afford us. So now this became a really nice story that we could talk about walk in, have a conversation with them and say, okay, here we are salvator sikari photography studio c we think being great fit to work with you and your brides in your clientele we got two great options, they love the story. So now all of a sudden that part of our business was growing very rapidly as well, we were now in venues that we had outgrown and couldn't couldn't be in previously the sub brand is perfect for this niche and so I don't wantto take the salvadorans and kind of brand and start putting it into low in venues that's not what I want to do, I want to be in the coronado's I want to be in the four seasons I want to be in the higher end venues in my area because of my price point today when I was starting up, I was okay being these other venues, right? As should you that's where you should be it's part of the natural progression. But as you continue to grow, how do you how do you deal with that loss of business from the lower end of the market? That's how you deal with it? Emotionally advertising, right? Uh, one studio two great options. We talked about this before should tied to the main brand that's the one that has the reputation that's, the one that is established and that's how we did it. So we're running two page magazine ads salvador's and kinda photography, right? One great company, one company to great options that's the way we were running the advertising campaigns. So we were cashing in on that salvador's and kata branding and logo that's the one that was established in the market magazines. Like I said, bridal shows. Now the key with bridal shows is we had to separate set ups, so we didn't have one set up for salvatore conte photography. And this is interesting. The way we did it was we bought four booths. Two booths were south person kind of photography. Two booths were studio c and they were side by side with each other all the picture. As you can imagine, the boots were set up identical uh all the pictures in the studio c booth were all from my studio see photographers they've been shooting with me for a year, right? So they were able to use their second shooter shots they were able teo to use some of their engagement pictures that they had now shot building up to this show boom there in there in there on their own booth I'm in my own booth I've got my albums they have their albums are flyers now we're two sided flyers right one company to great options salvador sing out of tires on one side studio c on the other and so we were handing them out and we were educating brides on the difference between the two studios and it worked flawlessly I mean, everybody understood it there was no confusion. They understood pricing they understood the difference between the products and in the packages andi was a that bridal show was an absolute just a boon for us. I mean, we were higher but we were hiring or getting contract id left and right for people and then studio c would walk people over to salvador since photography I would sit over and have a conversation with brides there telling me their budget I would walk them right over to studio c was perfect and so that's the way you guys should consider consider doing it yeah, I have a question about um at what point do you perceive a limit for your higher and brand and have you found that by having an option of studio c with that lift that higher and perceive sealing off? I'm not sure I understand the question when you say, uh, lift the ceiling for my higher and brown what do you mean by that? So at one point in our business, we were almost priced out of the market, we were too high ok, so I wouldn't say too high because we were still doing sales and receiving the money, but there were just was not the same volume of people trying through, so then my mind went to the place of our we just price too high. So now looking back at that, wondering if we had the studio c option if that would have actually lifted that sealing off, it would have lifted the ceiling off. I think you're thinking about it correctly right now. So you got a ding ding ning I mean it's going it's going off? You're going to that ceiling? I'm hitting that ceiling right now, which is why to grow my business on pushing into chicago pushing into new york right very subtly, I'm not looking to do twenty weddings in new york, but if I can add another five weddings under my belt from chicago on my higher price point now I keep my business growing when you hit that ceiling you have a couple options studio c was that option for me so the ceiling doesn't go away I'm still there but I'm not losing business anymore I'm making money off someone else's back that's the way you want to look at it so the ceiling will still be there unless you push into another market or another niche like maybe start going after three hundred thousand dollar weddings things like that I mean there's there's people like job using bambi cantrell you know roberto valenzuela just people out on the west coast that are getting these like high dollar multi million dollar weddings that are happening well great that's happening in beverly hills but where I live right back in the real world we don't have weddings in st louis that are for million dollar weddings and it just doesn't happen so they're sealing there's no real ceiling right if you're telling somebody who's planning a million dollar wedding two million dollar wedding that you want thirty thousand dollars for photography okay, fine yeah great they don't care it doesn't matter to them but you can't sew but how many weddings are there that wedding pool is really, really, really really small I don't want to compete there I want to compete in the meat of the market right if you don't want if you only want to shoot four weddings a year great that can be your that could be your business model I don't I want to shoot thirty forty one's ear so your ceiling if you will is wherever you need to be to shoot the number of weddings you want to shoot so if you want to shoot twenty weddings year start raising the prices right? I already told you for next year already have twenty contract contract in weddings that's the point we're already at if I want to keep raising my prices now I can but I don't I want to shoot thirty forty weddings my wife wants to shoot ten weddings, right? So we're in different were different there just like you and jonathan, right? So we have different opinions about about things so what I would do in that case if we rewind to that part of your history in your business I would have started that sub brand so that all the people who were hitting you because they love your work but I'm going whoa, we can't afford him they're trickling down to that sub brand hey no worries you can't afford is great we've got this studio c option something sense I know it's a long answer because that is all makes sense good, good, good jonathan the packaging makes sense now the question is as a reorder additional for us by using the same price point on your twenties thirties you know the story that's good actually really good question the ala carte is actually cheaper proportionately cheaper, right? So I don't have my studio see ala carte in my slide deck here but if we were to go ala carte studio c gifts sizes would be twenty five dollars where's scp gifts sizes are fifty dollars, right? So there's, this proportion and things you know when they come in package is it follows the framework the framework is the framework it works it's just it's all the prices are altered to match very much like it is in the studio c as cp comparison you with me? All right, so let's talk about the non compete I kind of drilled into it in the previous segment has to happen no scenario that it doesn't they're not allowed to work or train with you if they refuse to sign this non compete now, in addition to that non compete, you have to add that part I was talking about the lessons learned, right? I'm gonna let you out of this noncompete. But for any contract contract in wedding that you have that you walk away from your penalty is the cost of that wedding and lost to the studio so if they sign a contract for a three thousand dollar wedding and they walk away from that you always three thousand dollars it's that simple it can have an attorney put it together. It is, in fact, enforceable the non compete. The only way to make it enforceable is to be very, very specific in what the noncompete relates to. So in order to do that, we have to determine a radius mile radius, a reasonable mott route mile radius. I can't just say. Okay, you can't do wedding photography for hundred mile radius. That's not reasonable courts are not gonna enforce that twenty five fifty mile radius. That is, that is a reasonable mile radius. I also have to be specific in the niche that we're referring to write. I can't. You say you can't be a photographer. Courts will not enforce that right toe work, right? Most states are right to work state. And so instead, I can say this niche. You cannot do wedding photography in a fifty mile radius, right? For a period of time. One year is a reasonable period of time. Yeah, like yours that operates in different cities. Would that noncompete cover that you can only work? You cannot work in a fifty mile radius of of seattle of new york. Of you know, you know, would you be able to spread that out and a bunch of different cells. I'm teaching you what you need to know if you the question we're asking is actually very, very viable. I just didn't put it out there because nobody else a lot of studios aren't operating the way we are for me and my non compete, it was actually a three hundred mile radius, right? I could enforce that because my attorney said, you're going to be able to enforce that mile radius because your business operates much further outside of st louis. So yes, if your business operates in different cities like mine does, you can absolutely put a bigger mile radius, so I'm just trying to educate you guys, that's, why? I was saying the twenty five fifty, so I didn't create confusion for you, but no very relevant question. If your business that operates in major cities, you can absolutely put where those aren't so good question now to this non compete. Like I said, I'm working with somebody that I've been coaching her and her husband has got to be like two years now, she's in this horrible situation where she's growing or business she's following our formula, she followed our studio c formula, she brought in the shooter's underneath her, and I just talked to her literally last week, and she told me there they've left. They're under noncompete she's gotta enforce it I don't know why she doesn't want to be the bad guy here but not only the un under non compete they're stealing her clients and so she's had she said she's had twenty five thousand dollars in lost revenue at this point time that they've cancelled their wedding with her and they've signed up with us this new studio that's really bad, right? She's got to protect yourself she's got enforce that and so uh, the's the things you've got to consider man people do some weird things, some crappy things sometimes and you've got to have these contracts in place to protect you self protect your business, you're the one building the brand, you've got to protect it compensation several of you were asking me about compensation it's salary plus commission that's the key they're not hourly employees, right? And they're also not just a saturday employees, their employees of your business and so for us we paid twenty five thousand dollars base this covered her working during the week, assisting studio management, odd jobs around the studio, being on my bag, all those things that an assistant does, so that was her base salary, then she got paid um a commission ten percent of gross sales um for every package sold, right, so twenty five k covered the weddings so I didn't have to worry about paying her additional for every wedding that was booked that covered wedding so if she booked uh I think we had up to thirty weddings a year in the contract anything above that certain bonus kicks in so that twenty five k covers those those thirty thirty weddings after that there was a certain bonus that kicked in for everyone in your book above it you get a five hundred dollar bonus on top of that on top of that wedding right so I didn't want it to feel like we're gonna book fifty weddings and just pay her twenty five thousand dollars right? So there was incentive there for her to go above that thirty but I also don't want to create the environment where they go they shoot they do wedding photography they shoot ok and then they're done they walk away right they go screw it I'm down on my saturday I got crappy photos I walk away I'm done no so I tied it in on the back end ten percent of gross sales so if after the wedding they come in and spend two grand on pictures doesn't matter what my cost is she gets two hundred bucks added to your paycheck right? So now she's being scented the right way now you don't have to do it this way you can come up with a more complicated formula that adjusted for after expenses but I felt like that wasn't fair to her. I want her to know here's what you're gonna get, you don't have to figure out okay if they went with this package, the cost of goods is this much if they go with this package costs against this because then I'm rewarding bad behavior. I'm encouraging her to start selling the wrong path instead, I just wanted her to see whatever you sell. You get ten percent right off the top and so we had her on a calm plan together she could she could have hit that first year. She was on track to hit about fifty grand. Not bad, not bad for not having to run your own business, not having to have insurance, not having to have any of the overhead and responsibility just kind of show up, do your thing and go home so she was a good gig and that's how you want it, you want to compensate them s so that it matters and you can adjust that base salary whatever makes sense and you're in your local market, right? But to me twenty five k and you've got no responsibilities, I think it's a good job, this is so the twenty five thousand dollars this was for her she was the primary correct that's, right? What about her husband? Her husband got paid he also we brought him on board way brought him on board with a base salary is a little bit higher because he wasn't getting any incentive on the back end so you know, I wanted these people to be able to pay their bills and pay for their family things like that so we brought him on higher higher base but he was also working another job inside the company so we pulled him away so he could quit his his regular job give one hundred percent of the attention internally he was actually working with signature collection albums in the beginning when it started that was his full time job they're so we brought him in a higher base and in part of that was he had to shoot uh weddings yeah um so my mind just went to can be adjusted to after expenses when you're running the workflow of this separate company do you run it through um s e p or are they a completely independent structure of their work flow with people handling the studio management in the file management in the retouching and all that a safaris like expenses go? Are you saying like that? So expenses everything came through for that reason into sub brand cp we didn't set up separate books, separate tax returns or anything like that all of this went through s e p I don't I'm trying to think if I had to do it all over again I don't know that I would change it either until especially the beginning normally when we start up a new business internally we don't start up immediately a separate ella see it's just becomes too administratively heavy to manage that I gotta now pay my attorney a thousand dollars I've got my accounts to set up another company and manage tax returns so whenever I start up a new sub brand until it's about two years old it actually starts up under scp everything for that matter like signature collection albums are album company we started that up we started up under scp scp was the cash cow it's what's making all the money then we funded signature collection albums one signature collection albums was successful we knew the business was going to be around long term now we have signature collection album set up his own company tax returns things like that so let your business whatever idea you have even if it's not second shooting let that business get root and then once it does spin it off so would it be advisable than once it begins to take a life of its own to keep the two connected for your workflow are because then you really never know if they can stand alone it's right through there costs right yeah I think it's advisable once once it's up on its feet right, you should still track income and expenses as best you can, but you know let's look at it from a position of her where I'm paying her in this scenario I pay or a base out of twenty five k part of her daily duties was actually working on scp stuff, so it becomes a little bit a little bit muddy and you could you could pride estimated cost you could say ok she's working fifty percent of her time here and here but it's still just kind of finger in the wind right guesstimates but once you know that it can stand up on its own, I absolutely would start separating everything with salary come from there but the expenses and the accounting and everything come from there because you do need to know if this business can stand up on its own, but in the beginning it won't it's just impossible to new business, right, baby? And so the com plan like I said should reward growth. I want that person to feel like as the studio grows, they're growing, they're making money and you want them to have that skin in the game if you just pay somebody a salary, I'm just telling you nobody cares about your business as much as you do on, so if you just pay people a salary you're you're not gonna have the results you're looking for how do we pitch it and so pitching it? Aziz, we wrap up kind of this section and we talk about she's pitching it a cz you pitch this to clients? We talked a little about this throughout the segment the pre qual e mails asked which brand right? So we have the same pre qual e mails that we've used in the past where it's like thank you for contacting us. Prices start at forty four ninety nine however, now that email changes to something along the lines off thank you for contacting salvador cicada we have two great options for you depending on your budget studio see prices started nineteen ninety nine and you'll be working with one of our senior photographers, salvador cincotti guitar for you will be working directly with the owner's either south or taylor prices starting at thirty for ninety nine right forty four, ninety nine whatever the price is and so that's in one email please let us know which brand works for you. We'd love to set up a meeting sometimes they would tell us which company works for him sometimes they wouldn't if they don't tell us we just pitch both brands if they do tell us we just pitch the brand they're telling us right? So that's that's the pitch we didn't complicated, we didn't turn it into a set sails the thing you can walk them through both studios there, the pro con of walking them through both studios at the same time. The pro is the scenario I told you about that story where the mom was like, how much to have you there? That was awesome, right? But the con is, quite frankly, all the time invested, right? So I don't want to sit in on thirty meetings where they're already telling me they can't afford me if they can't afford me, why do I want to sit there? I don't. You still do like talk talk down across all six packages. Or jaime? How did george you line them up? This the top package or warnings? The top package? The other? No, no it's a good question. So when we would pitch both, we would actually start at scp theeighty five hundred dollar package, showing them all the louis vuitton high end albums. And then, you know, we would come down. We kind of say, do you want to look at it? We get to the end of that and say, do you want to take a look at studio c or do you want to stick with that? C p and that would be our kind of pivot point I don't even want to start talking about studio see if I know I can keep you in the cp and then they would say to us and we'll kind of walk us through what what's a s a p and you know we are studio c and then we pull out those albums right and then they were looking at those they're like no right they'd start shaking their head no, they want that uh cpr in fact we would do something maybe it is a bad thing I don't know or maybe it's just good sales we would have if they came in for studio c we would have the album sitting out I wouldn't show it to him we wouldn't put in their hands we'd wait for them to ask about it and they would be like, what about this album right back? Oh that's part of as part of south and kata photography you'd have to be in in the main studio for that right? And then that would be a way we can pull them up too so it can be really seamless if you're running it the right way right? So try not to treat these two companies like just bastard stepchildren, right? I mean they should be rolled together on dh really bringing them into into the fold so hopefully that gets everybody out there thinking really good or long and hard about your growth plan, right? Start working this in your workbooks are taking more notes, what's your growth plan. How do you plan on growing your business? How do you plan on? You know, what's the future. You want to be shooting to you? Seventy five years old? Uh, what do you want to have something that you can sell? Is there an exit strategy? I will never be able to sell salvador simcon photography. It just won't happen that that brand will die. So I want to build a brand with me. I should say I want to build a brand that maybe someday I can have an exit strategy to build ten shooters under it. Push one hundred weddings out a year. That's not that's, not some far fetched goal. I think he can. He done so next segment, we're going to be driving into the wedding day timeline the magic behind getting the shots you need having the time to get to it always causes confusion for people toe. How do you tell your client what kind of time you need and what goes on during those periods of time? So we'll cover that in the next segment?

Class Description


Business skills are non-negotiable – you must have them to succeed. Develop yours in Master the Business of Photography. In this 30-day bootcamp Sal Cincotta will teach the business-first approach to photography you need to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace.

The viability of your photography business hinges on your plan. In Master the Business of Photography, you’ll get actionable business insights and guidance from Sal, an award-winning photographer, author, and owner of the million-dollar photography brand, Salvatore Cincotta Photography.

Sal will coach you, start to finish, through the process of developing a winning sales, marketing, and business plan and how to implement it. You’ll define your ideal client, learn how to get your price list right, and develop effective responses to sales objections. You’ll examine emerging trends in engagement and wedding photography and learn how to integrate them into your business. Sal will help you re-imagine and energize every aspect of your photography business. You’ll learn how to:

  • Build a portfolio tailored to your ideal target client
  • Use social media to grow your business and expand your influence
  • Proactively instigate vendor relationships
  • Use marketing to book more sessions
  • Apply the new rules of SEO

You are not entitled to make money – you have to earn it. In this class you’ll develop an action plan for growing your business – no matter how long you’ve been in the business – with 30, 60, 90-day, and 1-year plans for keeping your growth on track.

Photographers work in a competitive industry and everyone can benefit from learning fresh, new marketing, pricing, and sales techniques. Commit to the success of your business and join Sal for Master the Business of Photography.


Reviews

Brandon D
 

Sal isn't disgruntled and angry like someone below said, and he doesn't have time for people constantly whining about why their business isn't going good. He's from Brooklyn, so he can come across as harsh at first, but after watching several of his classes and even getting to meet him in person and talk a bit I can tell you he is a really nice guy who truly does want you to succeed. He was very encouraging to me after I thanked him for helping me and my business get to where it is now. Growing up, I can remember photographers grabbing us and posing how they wished. They are often in a hurry to get things right, such as at a wedding, so I am not sure why one reviewer stated he would dismiss them. Sounds like he is just looking for a reason to feel powerful. Anyway, this is a great class to get you on track with your business. Yes, its a bit wedding heavy, but the concepts are the same no matter what. Just apply them to your niche and you are good to go.

fbuser 0af5cf47
 

I have been a long time fan of Creative Live and have sat on the fence with all of Sal's classes because I already attend Shutterfest every year and get loaded with valuable information there, so it was hard to pull the trigger on a $300 course that was filmed 5 years ago. Also, in my earlier days of hearing about Sal, I'd heard a lot of negative opinions about how he comes across. Still, I'd heard he's a marketing guru, and my background is in marketing as well, so I really wanted to see what this class was all about. Now that I've finally gotten it, I'm completely blown away. There is just SO MUCH MATERIAL in this class that its actually difficult trying to decide what to implement first! It is good stuff too. It is all about marketing, sales, and workflow. If you're looking for a class teaching you how to take better photos, this one is not it. This is the class that teaches you how to get your work where everyone is seeing it and convincing people to book you and tell their friends about you! Now as far as others have already said... this class is definitely geared toward wedding photographers. Yes there are bits of information that work for other types of photography, but it is so heavily wedding oriented that there might be a better fit out there for another type of photographer. If you do weddings though, this is an amazing class! As far as Sal's personality goes.... he's a New Yorker transplanted to St. Louis. So expect that NYC no BS type of attitude. Susan Stripling is another one of my favorites and she is similar in attitude (and also extremely talented), so if you like her, you should like this. If you have a hard time with her, you might have a hard time with this. Regardless, its stuff y'all need to hear and implement to be successful. Obviously because the class is a bit older, you may have to make small tweaks to a few things (even though he says don't jack with the recipe), but the marketing principles are solid and timeless. Shoot this course is worth it for the SEO advice alone. Just buy it already!