Selling the Experience


Marketing Your Photography Business


Lesson Info

Selling the Experience

Selling the experience we want to become more than just a photographer what products what services are we carrying what do we need to offer in our arsenal to step away from being just a person with time camera cd we've got to be more than those three things okay and so that's the ultimate goal let's talk about it what is the experience what does the experience mean to you why is this so important so out there in the internet world I want you right now when I say what the experiences what do you think it is what do you believe the experience is to you what is it you're selling so right here I'm gonna pick on your jules what do you believe the experience is when I'm saying you sell the experience what is it you're selling or their engagement session um creatives on their wedding day um my passion for it okay so those are three things two of them is kind of sound the same right? So you're not articulating that I just put you massively on the spot all of you need to understand what you're ...

selling when you're selling the experience rob I'm selling my creativeness of but that's every photographer but also my passion for fine art and not just handing over here's her pictures go prime at costco okay rachel one more at home you should be thinking about this what is the experience um, so the creatives seem, uh, in the beginning and then also walking them through the products and services so that they I helped them figure out what they want to hang on their wall, what do they want to give to their grand parents and all that kind of stuff? So they're not trying to figure that out at home, on their own, um and and also the the experience of getting it and and that packaging and opening it up and things like that? Okay, you guys are all kind of clothes, but you're killing me because you're not articulating it quite correctly. All right, so and I did put you on the spot. I understand that. All right? So here's what selling the experience means to south and kata photography that experience starts when the first phone call comes in first phone call comes in first email comes in. We're not taking a month to get back to them. We're not taking a week to get back to them. We're trying to get back to them as soon as possible. You make a wedding inquiry, you are going to hear back from us in no more than forty eight hours, I mean that's, like, if I'm traveling and I have no access to anything. Ninety nine percent of the time you're going to hear back from me in twenty four hours or less that's part of the experience they call you you're on the phone with them that is also part of the experience that's where it begins then he continues on to the first meeting when I'm sitting down with you that experiences happening right then right there we're getting to know each other I'm asking you questions about your day what's important to you when it comes to photography that is part of the experience because you get no what no other photographers asking him that question so I'm immediately establishing that I'm interested in you your day and what you guys are all about you are you noticing a trend here? Guys, I'm not just asking for your money I'm trying to understand you what you need and then of course I'm not gonna lie I want your money but I want to have it it's got to be a win win okay can't be a one way street I've got to be giving you something of value and in return you're gonna pay for that service that is very important to understand that relationship. We're going to talk about what to wear there's also part of the experience I'm having a conversation with you, establishing myself as a trusted adviser I'm asking you we're gonna have a conversation about wardrobe how many of you were doing that with your clients you've got to do that it is very important to have the conversation about wardrobe because that's what they don't know what to wear then our fashion right gurus they don't know what they should be wearing and I don't know about you but a lot of clients are not very good at dressing so they show up in things I had a groom show up one time where at a photo shoot in chicago he drove up from chicago up from st louis to chicago he showed up one of his outfits with cargo shorts and white sneakers really engagement shoot I'm going to tell you fine art for your wall after that happened we never let it happen again right we ran into that wall we made that mistake took our lam's make a change do something different that was when we started having wardrobe discussion with every single client and hence part of the experience yes what if that's what they were cargo shorts and white shoes? Well, if that's how do you I mean how do you make the argument if that's who they are right? So the conversation you need to have is first of all, you need to be having the conversation about wardrobe okay? And I'm assuming that in the conversation about that wardrobe somewhere along lines they figured out cargo shorts was the way they were dressing up for the event that's where you is the expert have to bring that to their attention be like guys I understand that that's probably what you dress every day but here's what I want you to understand you're coming to me for wall art for your home and I don't want to create an art piece for you where you're in a pair of cargo shorts I want to create something for you that's going to stand the test of time and look like an art piece in your home, right? So hopefully we get you away from getting those kinds of clients on this coaching tip gets them a little bit closer to that even if that is how they really dress right? I want the best version of you that's a line you probably need to add to your conversation coin it best version of you and then they'll they'll hopefully get it um the shoot right, the experiences on the shoot while we're actually on the shoot there's an experience happening are you making it fun for them or just wandering around with the camera? Those are the worst kind of a tower for by the way if there just want around we should look at this site is really pretty is beautiful light yeah that's very warm it's very what nobody cares man just find a good place that looks good start taking some pictures start making them look good start having fun with them making them laugh that is the experience we are selling there is never when I'm on a photo shoot with a client rarely will they catch me looking at the back of the camera right? I'm going to take a test shot I'm going to set them up then I am going to look at the back of the camera and then we are off to the races we're going to start taking pictures I'm moving, we're having fun we're laughing I'll pop off seventy five to one hundred frames you guys have seen me shoot seventy five to one hundred frames ten minutes or less all different type middle wide vertical horizontal different lenses and then I walk up to the mike all right, guys is easy you having fun like yeah that's real easy just give you some perspective ivory popped off seventy five hundred images already they're like really? I'm like yeah, this is how it's gonna be on your wedding day so I don't want to impede on your wedding day I'm gonna get what I need to get and we're gonna move on quickly and they're like that's awesome they all love it I've never had a client tell me like, wow, could you make this take a little bit longer and make it a little bit more painful okay nobody's ever asked asked me to do that they're all happy that it's moving quickly s o that's the key that is also part of the experience the first sales consultation so now they've done their engagement session or their senior session or family session they're coming into your studio is not part of the experience what's going on in your studio is it noisy? Does it smell? Are you offering food? Are you offering alcohol? That is all part of the experience when they come into our studio we're offering wine, champagne, beer that is part of the experience we want to create a very relaxing environment taylor's lighting candles right to bert too just we've got next to our studio now everybody knows we're building a new location, but in the one we're in now we're right next to a uh ah barbecue place, so the studio is constantly smell like we wanted just eat barbecue all the time but that's not what we wanted to smell like when clients come in, right so tailors spraying like febreze or she's lighting scented candles just to anything to get that smell out of the air because that's not what we want them thinking about when they're looking at their pictures smell is part of the experience lighting mood is all part of the experience these are all things I'm telling you about that you might know but are you do is it part of your discipline is it something you're doing before every single session that is part of something we do we make sure the studio's clean tidy smells right looks right uh consulting on the timeline jules you alluded to this earlier we're talking about the timeline that timeline discussion to me is a value added service nine out of ten clients do not know how to plan their wedding I have no idea how to do it you are the expert you become the de facto wedding planner why because you are the on ly vendor that's with them the entire time the caterer delivers the food they're done the florist drops off the flowers they're done the priest has the ceremony done we're the only ones that are with them from the beginning of the day to the end of the day so we should be naturally care about that time line so that being said that initial timeline discussion is happening right out of the gate during that initial meeting then it happens again midway through and then of course the week of we're having that time on discussion yet one more time we are never I don't say never our brides always managed to surprise us but most of the time we're not surprised about the time line right oh I didn't know that was happening taylor's asking the question is there anything special you're doing for each other all right, one time we asked that question my bride was like, oh yeah, at the end of the night we're gonna have a new orleans band come through and played and the night oh, wow, she didn't even tell us about that. It only came up because taylor asked the question, is there anything special you're doing now if she had? Not? If taylor hadn't asked that question, we wouldn't have known and we would've had mud on our face if we miss that event at the end of the night. So again, this is all part of the experience the day the wedding that is also part of the experience are you making it fun for all the brides and bridesmaids? You know what? Almost every single bride comes back and says to us after the wedding there like my bridal party loved you guys, that is the ultimate compliment. You want that compliment? Because why the bridal party? Some of them are going to be getting married? I want those weddings, they know what it's like to work with us there to a certain extent prequalified you've got to make that wedding and experience not only for your bridegroom, for the parents, for the bridal party and for all the guests, so what I say by that, what I mean by that is, you know, when I'm on er when I'm there, I get asked all the time what do you do about people all trying to take pictures while you're taking pictures? Well, they're not doing it during the creatives, right? They're not even doing it during the prep, mostly it's happening at the church and it's happening during the reception, which for us is not really where we're making our money, we're making money on our creatives and so what I'll do all the time if I see somebody over my shoulder like I'm taking pictures of first dances and the worst place to stand is next to me because I'm moving all over the place as you can tell from here while I'm taking pictures if I see somebody next to me trying to get a picture, I'll say, hey, let me get that for you I take that picture for them, I hand them their climber back you how much goodwill I just turned they're like bragging they're like, oh my god, he took this picture for me like they can't believe I'm doing this. Why? Because a lot of photographers get a little pissy about it that you're in their territory and they're not willing to help you, man stop being so paranoid and help people, uh, you know, be a good ambassador for our industry, right? We're photographers were in this together be a good ambassador. Help people, man. They're not your competition. If that's your competition, you have missed everything I've just said to you not only for the last two days, man, but every other time I've been on here. Okay, help these pig people out. And one guy could not figure out how to get his pop up. Flash to work. Uh, at a wedding, right? Straight a little camera with a pop up flash. Could you take a look at this for me? Right? I took a look at a forum. I showed him out of poppies. Flash up. He was forever grateful. Okay, so that's, who we should be is people all part of the experience. Of course it continues the day of the wedding, and it also continues post wedding when they come in to see those pictures. So hopefully that makes sense. Now, what are some other factors right to becoming? Remember what we're talking about here. We're talking about taking that next step to selling the experience notice as we go back to the slide and we talk about selling the experiences. Everybody understand what I'm referring to here. Is this all making sense to people nothing in there is it's tied to price. Right, this is all tied to what you're getting beyond me, the camera right and that cd of images people are willing to pay a premium for this level of service. This is what people talk about. This is what my brides are talking about yeah, they're talking about may imagery and they're like, oh my god that's that's such a beautiful photograph who's your photographer but then the next question is oh my god, my bridal party loved him on the wedding day, right? We had a great time with him these air the kind of things that are coming up that are helping sell the studio b on the cost of the studio so I hope that is really making a lot of sense you guys, some other factors okay, um pricing for success your turnaround time? How long is it taking to turn images around if you do not believe that this is part of the experience once again you are not connecting dots in our industry. One of the main things photography are notorious for is taking too long to turn images in this day and age where people want to see images right here right now this is something we're missing on right because they've got instant gratification, they know we're not shooting film, they know the film's not going off to get developed and I understand right there's this sense of urgency and we don't want to oversimplify what we're doing because then maybe that takes value away but ultimately a month is too long okay six eight weeks way too long and anything longer is just it's just ignorant at a certain point what we're doing is we outsource I've been out sourcing for four years yes I own evolve edits I acquired them a year ago right? Because they became strategic to my business and as part of that you have to understand that they don't go away right your clients are going to go away this is a very important fact so look guys, I don't care if you outsource I don't care if you do it yourself, okay ultimately what you have to hit is that two week mark two weeks or outsource right? And so for me we obviously outsourced to evolve at its final delivery these are other factors that take us to that next level beyond just being a photographer how about hand delivering prints to your clients you want to blow some people's minds show up at their job and deliver the prints to him? Time is money for people make life easy form so when possible obviously if I have a client that lives two hours away we can't get stuff out to them but where possible can you imagine if you showed up delivering all your package products to them by him I mean everybody in the office would be a buzz right when this stuff is showing up they're gonna be like oh my god what's that right now that she's opening it up in front of all her coworkers think about the exposure you're getting now for your brand beyond if she's just at home doing it by herself were opening up some right brown box that just arrived from ups this becomes much more powerful uh what about response time an email or voice mail right responding quickly slide shows you know when you do a slide show at a wedding that is monstrous we do a slide show at the wedding the day of the wedding we show about a hundred pictures to two hundred or three hundred guests at a wedding that is advertising I cannot pay for its completely priceless what does it cost me once again sweat equity right it's just a little bit of extra work and hustle for me at the event once you buy a projector and a screen that's a son cost we don't have to worry about buying that for every single event it will pay for itself I've had my screen projector for four years now okay so that's more than paid for itself so that's yet another way that we're standing out from the crowd and showcasing our work and what does that last slide on the slide show my logo so now two hundred three hundred people have my logo burned in their brain once again it's very difficult to say you have not heard of us in some form or fashion in our market working with the guests or family we talked about that seniors portrait make up artist music playing telling the kids what toe where taylor plays fashion consult with the kids they'll bring in twenty outfits taylor's the one putting together jeans and blouses, shoes and most of the time she's putting stuff together that they would have never put together on their own okay, so very, very powerful um and then of course the ultimate goal in all this is to become the trusted advisor everything we've been talking about is getting you past the point of being just a photographer and being more of a trusted advisor once you get there and your client's trust you they will listen to anything you are telling them because they know you are acting right with nothing but good intentions that's the important part there look everybody knows our story we have grown tenfold in the last four to five years, right? We've got not only do we have an active photography studio doing fifty weddings seventy, five hundred seniors where do we have an album company today? Right? Signature collection albums we've got evolve edits for the post production we've got behind the shutter we've got shutter magazine the business has grown exponentially how do we build a high performing team behind me? I want all of you to go out to a site called strengths finder dot com and this is really, really interesting to see and it's very, very powerful stuff. So this is back from my days at microsoft they forced us to take this personality test if you're husband and wife team force you and your spouse to take this and if you go to strength finder it's a ten dollar taxi totally worth doing it. So at microsoft, if you think about it, most of you try and manage to your weaknesses so for example let's say you are horrible at time management how many of you will say I've got to get better at managing my time? Well, there's a philosophy out there okay that you cannot if you're on a scale of one to ten you are a two or three at something you will never become a seven out it just impossible it's not something you're good at why am I trying to get you to invest all this energy to go from being a two to a seven it's impossible. However, if you are seven at something let's say you are amazing a time management I can very well get you from a seven two a night so you managed to people's strengths versus their weaknesses that's counter to probably most of you in the companies that you work for today they're typically managing you to your weaknesses okay microsoft and other high performing companies like google apple they managed to people strength so taylor and I took this test to figure things out because it is very important for you not only you and your spouse but you and your team to understand what makes for a high performing team. So this was incredible to see the results of this test and how me and taylor are just perfect fit for each other. So here was here where my strengths achiever commander maximize er focus, I just want to briefly read to you what this is okay, and I want you to go take these tests achiever your achiever theme helps explain your drive so if you guys are wondering why I am out of control, there it is achiever describes a constant need for achievement I'm telling you I cannot turn it off. Taylor gets angry at me or at least she used to because I'm constantly wanting what's next what's in the future it's in my dna it's how I wake up every day I can't fake it, but I can't turn it off because these are my strength, so asking me to turn this off just makes things impossible you feel as if everyday starts at zero I don't know if any of you feel that way every day when you wake up it zero for me, I've gotta have ten check box is checked by the end of the day or I feel like a complete failure. Command command leads you to take charge unlike some people you feel no discomfort with imposing your views on others let me I'm definitely opinionated. Um, let me explain this task to you when you take this test, you cannot trick the test. The questions you have less than like three seconds to answer a question, and so you can't analyze the question, trying to figure out what they ask what they're asking you, and they ask you the same question five different ways so that you cannot trick it. This is a test using corporate america. Um, maximize er excellence, not averages, you're measured. Taking something from below average to slightly above average takes a great deal of effort and in your opinion is not very rewarding. Transforming something strong into something superb takes justus much effort but is not thrilling. Focus where my head and you ask yourself every day you ask yourself this question every day, guided by this theme of focus, you need clear destination, this these are my top five or four strength. That come up in my finder now you might look at that and be like, okay, no big deal this explains why he's a madman uh, let me show you my wife taylor empathy, her ability to rate relate to other people on my test empathy was last off thirty four traits measured empathy came up number thirty for that is my least trade I could care less man it's all about getting things done if you're sitting there crying I'm going to like, pick yourself up let's get going, okay? The empathy personality trait needs the commander toe work correctly. So is your building a team? If you had a team of five people coming back with empathy is your number one trade, you would get nothing done. By the same token, if you had a team with five people who were commanders, achievers, they would kill each other, nothing would get done. Okay, so next trade developer adaptability ideation the two worth reading reading our adaptability and ideation. And the reason it's worth reading is because every member of my team shares those two traits and it will make sense in a second adaptability you live in the moment. I don't know if you remember one of my key traits I cannot live in the moment I'm constantly looking to the future you don't see the future as a fixed destination instead you see it as a place that you create out of choices you make right now you discover your future one choice at a time you start understanding how I could not have any other type of person than one who has this adaptability trade in my organization they have to be able to adapt to the direction I'm setting for them and finally ideation you are fascinated by ideas and idea is a concept the best explanation of the most events you are delighted when you discover beneath the complex service ah simple concept to explain why things are the way they are an idea is a connection my team most of them all have this both adaptability and ideation is part of their traits and that allows us as a team to work together to achieve we've been able to do in just the last twelve or twenty four months so what's your take away from this first of all I challenge all of you to get you and your spouse to go do this because it might explain a lot for you why your strength or their weaknesses and their weaknesses are your strengths this is the yin and yang of why we choose our spouse okay and I'm not telling you how I'm not gonna give you marriage counseling here I'm merely highlighting for you that for me and taylor once we took these tests it made it much easier for us to determine roles and responsibilities within the organization. Now, as we're hiring people, this is a requirement in orderto work for the organization, because we would never hire another commander. Another achiever. What we're looking for more people who have adaptability in their personality, ideation in their personality, right? And that developer trade in their personality. So we're looking to build a team that's, cohesive.

Class Description

Learn actionable and affordable marketing strategies you can use to help grow your business from Sal Cincotta in Marketing Your Photography Business.

In this class, you’ll learn how to generate more site traffic and prospective customers though easy-to-implement digital marketing techniques. Sal will show you how a combination of social media (Facebook, Twitter, blogs) and search engine optimization (SEO) can attract leads to your site. He also show you how to build a marketable portfolio that impresses potential clients once they arrive on your page. You’ll also learn how to determine if your marketing plan is working, and how to fix it if it's not.

This course is great for both beginning photographers and established studios. The basic strategies provide a good fundamentals refresher for established studios, and the more advanced information gives less-established photographers a roadmap for the future. There will be advice for ANY genre of photography marketing.



I'm currently a business owner in another industry. The business is financally successful, highly respected and the envy of our competitors. In order to market the business how I visualised our brand/customer, I learned how to take a photograph! I then feel in love with photography... I can completely relate to the concepts Sal is offering. This is fantastic advise many of which I have implemented in my own business. It's amazing how this advise can easily transfer to marketing any business or product. Unless like I had done you want to find the time to read countless books on the subject of business marketing, learn from trial and error, then simply fast-track years ahead and buy this course. It's a no-brainer! If only CL had been around when I had literally fought my way through setting up my business I would have found success a lot earlier. Sal's passion, drive, creativity and determination is what he can't teach you however. You are gonna have to do it your own way! Good luck to you all and Happy New Year.