The Product Mix
So this afternoon we're talking about the marketing mix and we talked about how that's our cake mix and we have our ingredients and we're all gonna be figuring what about what our ingredients are and I know everyone's been saying what's with the mustache is and this was a client who came in and we did these as part of just the end of the session they had actually seven kids we only we picked forward to put up here but really awesome clients and we're finishing the session and the little one was in our treasure chest but the mustache on and wanted his photo taken so we're like hop up and then each person in the family did it and they're cracking up having this amazing time by the older sister there was no sticky left and so it's falling off and they just talk every time I see the dad comes in to do all the transactions he's like that was so fun I was so funny would've thought photography could be so fun and we talk about what makes us different and what products we offer and all those t...
hings and one of the things for me is things like this you know, part of what we offer is that experience that's the purpose of the mustache is and the fact that we do things and we create products and an experience that get people talking about us if we're vanilla and we're doing the same thing that everyone else is doing we're a commodity photographer price matters you know when you go to the mall or or a chain store pretty much you're going probably pay the same everywhere you go you might go toe one where there's a really dynamic photographer and you love them and they're worth a lot more and then the next time they're not there and that's what you get that's the expectation you get what you get and you don't have any control you don't have a relationship with them it's a totally different kind of thing so what we wanted to talk about in this chunk is the product mix one of the hardest things for photographers is figuring out what offer and what not to offer for and for me over the years I think the ah ha moments come most frequently with our clients for tarver's who are studying with us is when they realize that they can offer whatever they want you guys can offer whatever you want we had a photographer wants he said I just I don't like while portrait's I'm a it was a photo journalistic a newspaper photographer and he said I want I don't want to just have one image that doesn't do it for me I want a whole story you could do that you can just sell books and albums you don't have to sell while portrait ce selling five by sevens is going to take you a little longer, so hopefully you have a product that is bigger and worth more of an investment. But one of the people who influenced me with tim inbev, walden and beverly always says one of the hardest things is knowing what to pass up. You go to the trade show and it's, you know, all the stimulation and all these pretty things, and we go by and we touch him and we feel when we want to them, but they're not always right for us and so that's, one of the hardest things is figure out what you don't want and here's the reason why we need to really simplify our product mix. We're gonna talk tomorrow about selling and in the salesroom we have won our toe, hold our clients hand and help them make their selection of their artwork. If we have three thousand things that were explaining to them of you can pick this or this and this and this, they're not going to make a decision, we're going to overwhelm them, we're going to confuse them. We want to keep them in the emotion of the beautiful images in there, baby in the dimples on their elbow or they're cool senior or the beautiful wedding couple not deciphering a spreadsheet of offerings, but back when I first started the big thing everybody had a trifle price menu and they had like six finishes the rembrandt the picasso that this that in I remember being michael what are all of those and they bring a little display that shows you you know, one's bumpy and one smooth and one's this and that and I was kind of like there's one that I like I'm gonna pick it and go with it back to the pick a horse and ride it was that horse or pony could be they're really they're the same thing for senate abalone is horse right casey back so where was I know that there is no body no s o u you don't have to offer your clients why does your client need to pick between five finishes? Why do they need to do that? You're our work might be awesome with a textured finish your artwork why would you you might not ever wanted to have a textured finish because it's you don't like it it's not right you guys may go either way so why let your client choose something that you really have a preference on? So when I started I pretty much picked that one and stayed with it inside has asked people what which one is the most popular one of clients pick they picked this one than offer that one working into the price if it's a little more than the other choice is just base your cost of sales on that particular finish, and that goes with albums and books and and all of the we call knickknack patty whack you my house, but we've got a certain siri's of things that we have to sell in our businesses. We've got a higher profit margin item group of items, wall portrait ce al books and albums, if that's what you specialize in that type of thing, your wall portrait is the most profitable your large while portrait you can upsell a frame, you could include a frame, whatever. Then you've got your middle products, which in my case, is more of the book in the album, with more designed, more hand holding, you're framed siri's your collections, your things like that, and then you've got the what I consider them to be at all wants the jewelry, the purses, those types of things that it's harder to make a profit on. And if you just sell these things, your profit margin is smaller, you're going to attract clients who don't have the bigger budgets, and they're going to show all their friends and then all their friends are going to come. So I hear people say, but it's a marketing tool? Well, yeah, but you're marking the wrong thing to the wrong people. You wanna show wall portrait's like this where people walk into a house and say what in the world is that oh my gosh and the client says, oh my gosh we did mustache is it was the best thing you've got to go those are the clients I want that's how I want to get the right clients not because someone saw a purse and just wants a purse and now a lot of these places you're competing with you know, best buy has purses and and it's really hard to make what we need to make to stay in business on that stuff okay? So we want to start by looking at our products and everybody at home all of you guys if you have your product offerings now is the time we want to pull them out the other thing I want to say about products then you can jump in with anything you want to add tio here's the thing when it comes to selling ok, I know I'm kind of gonna be jumping back and forth a little between pricing and products and selling, but they're kind of like peanut butter and jelly that go together they're better together is that people get hung up on the product what am I going to offer? What will my clients like your clients don't know what they're like? You're selling the destination, not the airplane case of your tiny convinced daniel you want to go to hawaii for vacation? Are you going to stay, honey? Let's go to why I really took a seven forty seven carpet and little trade it comes down and unplug our iphone in we can hold hands because we could move up the little bar is that how you're going to sell it? No, you're going to say honey, we're stressed out we need to go to the beach no computer, no internet access the sun it's winter were paced e you mean you're going on you know we can have family time together and it will be awesome and relaxing that's how you're selling him on something and think of it that way with our clients they're not coming to you saying, oh my gosh, I saw your work I wantto eleven by seventeen double matted with a two inch frame I would love it they're coming to you saying I want something like this of my child because when I look at it it makes me feel so wonderful and it the fact that you've got this on your walls is beautiful. They want to savor the engagement session the wedding moments in the beautiful dress in the fact that the new baby it doesn't have teeth yet or the four year old hasn't lost her baby teeth that's what they want that's the destination how you get there is the airplane now when you guys flew here did anyone of you care what airplane you were flying you may have cared with their air wine and that's a branding discussion but did you care what airplane did you know is this do you even know you probably know because I think they are actually did this is a bad thing here that you're not the normal all but no because we want to get to the destination we want to come to seattle that creative live and that airplane is what got us there so you've got to remember that your products are the vehicle to get your clients what they want so there is no right or wrong they're not going to be able to tell you how they want to fly car bus plane train it's your job to say to them if you want to go to hawaii I have a plane that can get you there safely quickly in great style that's all you need to know and so same thing with our products we wanna pick products that we love and that we feel great about these air campuses from white house custom color and I love them and I show them my clients buy them they hang them in their house people come in and they're like I love that I want that could I tomorrow completely stop selling them although I wouldn't maybe not completely but sure I could decide you know what? I want to sell on ly framed artwork, which are everything in my studio leaves framed, which is a product decision I've made, and I could say, I'm not going to do those anymore. Would I still have those clients coming in? Yes. Would they be buying large framed while portrait? Yes, I can direct them because I'm the one passionate about it. I'm the one that's creating this artwork that they can enjoy on their walls in their home so that I think should be really great for all of you guys to just know that you don't have to be all things are people. You don't have to offer everything that every lab in every vendor offers, you just don't and it's funny because in my studio, very boutique, so I pretty much sell what I like. I like fun frames. I like the gallery wraps. I don't like a lot of the traditional products that photographers for years have sold like the senior folio, that little leather thing that holds, like eight proofs well, for when it holds proofs and I don't sell proof, so I wouldn't want it for that reason anyway. But that's not how I want my artwork portrayed, I want to sell a big beautiful piece of art work and I don't care people only come in and get one I don't have to sell them thirty things that's how I want them to enjoy my artwork I don't love it in that folio it's too much my I can't take it all in it's overwhelming and so I I had someone a couple years ago say, well I my older daughter got, you know, one of those things I was like, you know what? Explain what made us different and why that's not something that we offered it's not it's, not consistent with our style and it's not really our favorite thing either and here's what we do do we do this kind of thing in that kind of thing? And the thing about my older child had it well, your kids are diff print, they don't have to don't wear the same blue jeans, they don't drive the same car, they don't need the same senior portrait experience well and I think what you said is important because we do feel like ok in order to get our sales average or in order to feel like a success, we want them to walk away with more than one thing because we live all twenty things that we're showing them, but but you don't need that you don't need that if you set your business at the right way, you don't need that so showing what you love and it makes it so much easier for you to be able to sell it because look at sarah, she lights up when she's talking about these campuses on the wall I mean that's truly what she loves yeah, I mean she loves that she wants to see that in people's home was all over her city and also very particular about how my artwork is framed. I told you yesterday with my life story you saw the picture of my head cut off and I didn't really exist is a child and I want to have my clients have these images for themselves when they're adults in their first apartment and everything so I basically my clients when they come to me they have to have their artwork are kindly framed I mean, it can take it apart and put it in a cheap, ugly frame, but why would they do that? And we offer beautiful frames in beautiful choices and you ve glass and I'm very particular about my mats they get an ivory a soft cream matt on the color photos and they get a white nat on the black and whites it's rag matt so when you cut it the in the devil is pure cotton all the way through acid free has acid on the top in the bottom this is going to send your chat room like all crazy the difference between acid free and right now, but I take time to explain this to my clients. I don't want acid on this photo. I'm framing it for life. I'm not the kind of photographer you come to and you swap things out. Other people do that and that's great, but for me I want that beautiful piece of art that's an heirloom. And so I have made these decisions of how I want my artwork framed. I would never put a colored matt on my artwork ever your eye needs breathing room. In my opinion now colored macs may be great for you guys or or metal frames like the black skinny metal frames. I've just made certain decisions that that's how my artwork comes now do people come in now and then, and they have a perceived idea of what they thought they would get it. A photography studio, what they actually what I offer? Absolutely but that's where this whole process, what we're going to talk about tomorrow in how to how to present yourself, how to build that relationship, how to tell them what you do differently, that's part of the sales process. Ok, so you guys, if you have the freedom to sell anything you want, yes, yea, does anyone have questions about that concept or wanted, disagree or argue like, I know I have to sell this or you guys are feeling good, anybody have a moment of clarity on something you can cut out or what? Okay, because I'm sure the framing adds, it definitely drives up prices, prices, so I'd probably say eighty percent goes framed, loved by fourteens, and ok, higher, I work with the local framer, so it's all yeah, kindly frame is right, but some people say, I've got a frame at home that I'm going to take the old one out in the newsroom, so I do sell it separate, okay, but in your case, you're saying no way, jose. Yeah, I made that decision, and if you're selling eighty percent of the people into frames that's awesome. So your systems probably not broken, okay? And I know that that's hard again, we talk about everyone has to take this information, run it through your filter. I educate them highly upfront. What makes me different and why I do what I d'oh. And I explained that the frame comes with it and that this isn't the kind of thing you swap out in my market. There are some photographers that do the big groups, and I have friends that do with a big family group in every three years, they they have it over the mantel and they want to swap it out. I'm not the photographer for that, so if I if I find out that's what they're looking for, I may even say, you know, I'm not the photographer for that, but that's, I think probably over the years I have lost some clients because they they they have a frame or that's not what they want, and I'm ok with that because my business is thriving people to come to me that love that concept and want that artwork of their kids and someone else in my town can do exactly what it is they're looking for well, and I think to you haven't touched on this, but you know, as as it from it from an artistic perspective, you feel very strongly that how your art looks in someone's home because it reflects on you if they've taken that great photo that you took and then put it in a bad frame because but well, and she even cheap, cheap, whatever. But you know, just they may not have your taste and what they're doing may not really highlight the image it may make the frame, the star or whatever the case may be, and so as an artist, you have that right to be able to say, you know what? Look, I'm just really particular on what, my, what my stuff looks like because you can tell a story of how you've seen it before or not, but, you know, you have seen it before, where the art's been hanging in someone's home, and it was an image and, oh, yeah, that's a sarah petty, but doesn't look like a sarah betty, because it's in a frame, you know, right? Well, matt organs up under the client's bed or in the closet, and I'm not going to let that happen because there were no photos of me and it's important to me that this art goes up. I mean, I'll go to people's houses and pick paint color. Did you like our set change today, paint color way haven't even think, do we acknowledge? We did not even acknowledge your amazing didn't I tell you anything you want here? Get totally spoiled, totally going to be hard to live with for the next couple days, and we get home, so I don't want to make this about framing, because I know a lot of people are going to go oh, my gosh, I should be offering framing I should be, including framing it's, not about that, and really that's better as an add on, I have a very different kind of business and I'm very boutique and I'm very custom and that's not right for everyone you can still be boutique in custom and you don't have to include frames but I'm giving that as an example because I'm doing something that drives my prices way up so if I can do it you guys can do it by narrowing down your product mix in your focus and really staying focused on who you are and what you love to d'oh any other questions from you guys yeah questions you guys have a question or two you always have questions way have a world of questions for little girls ok two people have a very similar question when is julia ray photography and the other is cowgirl jessie repair and both are working out of home that studio would you would you suggest buying one of each product to show the client like a wall portrait and cowgirl jessie how to sell with no studio meeting presentation space yeah great questions so the second one the presentation space we're going to talk about how to present tomorrow okay? So hopefully everybody will stay tuned tomorrow is going to be awesome so everybody needs to like cancel all those clients and everything else because it's going to be awesome we're just by and have it what was the first about? What do you show? Okay? Yeah yeah so you've got a show big to sell big okay, what if I want to come in here and had a bunch of little little sit around frames I call them weapons for you guys that have kids back before I had kids I had all this cute little the countertop frames I get kids in there like boom like broken I broken everyone has broken glass and so my style now as you see there's no frame sitting anywhere I don't sell him I don't have I don't think I have one in my house because that's for me it's about having simple like simple couches, simple bed simple everything a fun great paint color and then let the art shine and I'm not afraid to share that with my client so if you don't have a space to show it, you've got to take it so these gallery raft campuses they're great because I wouldn't want to take a framed peace and haul it all around but I would take a big one I would take a big one and here's a big nugget that I tell people a lot because people are I know when you're starting their expenses I remember buying my first eleven by fourteen trying to figure out how can I afford this and it was you know, whatever twenty five, thirty five bucks so I remember those days of starting out and I was I still am frugal I still look att what everything costs but you can go to those friends and family who have been benefiting from your fabulous photography all these years and say I need a display who would like a large family portrait it cost and I'm going to take it I'm going to display it for six months I'm hanging around town I'm going to take it to clients do that with your friends and family every six months offered a photograph someone else free because they all expected want a discount and that will help you help pay for your marketing and promotion fun one more question and we have a surprise ok one more question from fashion tv who is in singapore and is a regular sarah is saying sarah asking about talking about big prints do you sign your big prints? Would you sign any of your products and if we are artists in your opinion does it the signature make our image is more valuable instead of people asking who shot it they can see it there on the print I that's a great question because that is really important to me I didn't love when I first got into this twelve years ago the big gold foil samp it just wasn't to me it seemed cookie cutter I wanted it to be signed well how am I going to ensure that I can sign every match asked by including frames so yes every piece of my artwork is signed by me and every gallery rap campuses signed. Teo. I totally did forgot because these shipped directly here from white house, but I do always said that sometimes I signed him up the edge. Sometimes we put words around the edge. I have a client that's on her third or fourth child that brought her kid in at five, did the wall portrait, and we put words around the edge of all this child's favorite things. She just let him. I feel I like blue like this. I like that, and I love this in mommy and daddy, and we put him around the edge in it's, an heirloom for this child. Mom. Dad could even write a note and sharply on the back as a keepsake. How cool is that's? Very cool, it's, very cool. So I tell that story to my clients, and then it gives them that idea.