every time that phone rings you pick it up and you say hi this is doug packing photographer can I help you it's always the same question isn't it how much how much now here's the thing this is where business changed on day one I stated that clearly the rules of the game are being redefined every moment every step there's only one problem the rules are being refined redefined in a negative way aren't they because it's no longer about value it's about price so you have to get around that you have to make it where it's not about price so one of the things they'll tell you is do you think there are any prices on my website do you think I give out any price list no because I want to make it about the service about the experience and about me so what I'm gonna teach you in this phone call step is how to get around it how to get around that phone call and bring more value to it because the phone bowl phone call can't be what would you like oh I want this I want this I want that it's going to ...
be two thousand dollars okay thank you I'll call back and then it's over it's got to be about more than that so here's a typical phone port phone call good afternoon packing photographer this is doug can I help you yes hi doug I getting married on june twelfth of two thousand fourteen I want to see how much wonderful I really appreciate you calling uh first and foremost let me check and make sure the date is available now I may or may not know the dates available you guys may know because you're the only entity you know you don't have a job booked for two thousand fourteen do immediately spent you were available no you want to start to apply a pressure immediately but you got to apply it in a certain way so I was fined ok if you hold on one second I'll check the availability I knowwhere available but I'll come back then phonebook okay you lucked out we actually have a couple of weddings that day believe it or not because of the size and our reputation people book us way in advance so you're in a good good spot now because as of this moment we are available but I just want to make you aware of the fact that I don't know how long that last so let me tell you a little bit about us and I want to know a little bit about you first and foremost how did you hear about us why is that important I need to know how they heard about me especially if I get advertising saying I advertised on a web site and at the end of the year I'd look and I didn't book any jobs from that website should I advertise on not that website again the answer is you don't know yet because what's the job of the website the job of the website is to get you the phone call now whether or not you closed the sale is up to you isn't it that's the way you have to look at it so can you make a determination based on just knowing that nobody booked not yet so saying I got a hundred calls on the website I converted eight appointments that I met with but I didn't book any of them should I advertise on the site we still don't know because I need to know why those appointments didn't book was it because I was too expensive was it because of a terrible sales person because remember it can boil down to I won't advertise with the site because the clients that bringing may just can't afford me but that's why you need that information for a database every piece of information has to be controlled if a catering hall is recommending you if a client is doing a good job in recommending you and recommending multiple people you should let them know and give them a gift saying thanks for being there for us so we're trying to find out that information so once I find that out and they said okay now this person recommended me oh janine and as she's doing that I'm typing janine's name into my database to see oh janine she got married on july eleventh of two thousand eleven she was a crystal country club right I already have my database controlled because I want to show the bride that I have a personal connection to all of my clients and the fact that I could pull it up that best makes a world of difference well let me tell you a little bit about us first and foremost I'd love to give you pricing so I'm going to tell you a little bit about us and make sure we're on the same wavelength and go from there the most important thing that I could tell you about us is that we are flexible people love to hear that you're flexible that means you're gonna work with them we can photograph your wedding in a variety of styles what combination of thumb for instance we could do this in a traditional storybook climb which would be the typical portrait's and candidates that you've been seeing forever we could do it in a photo journalistic way which is completely candid or unobtrusive we could do it in black and white cps infrared we could do it any way you want but our personal preference is to do it the way that's going to make you happy and mix it all together now with that being said the way I would describe our work is kind of like if this were a combination of what I would say vintage glamour meets more of a contemporary fashion we're looking to explore and find that in a beauty and what a wedding really is now I want to tell you up front we're going to pose you but we're going to pose you look natural once the cocktail hour in the party starts you're never ever going to see us again and I mean that in the most positive of ways we're going to allow you to enjoy your day without interruption both you your families and everybody who's near and dear to you now with all of that being said much like buying a wedding gown we try to customize all of our collections to your needs and more importantly your budget so when you buy a gown you should know there's many different choices and not all of them are obvious now while I try to give you price is on the phone what I will tell you is that our albums are sizes on our collections are completely different than anything you've ever seen but what I can tell you is that our collections began an x number of dollars and go from there now the best bet is for you always to come in because the fact is when you go to most photographers is you know they're handing out a price list and you're looking at it and you're picking off a whole bunch of stuff that you may not need or want from my experience is someone who's been through what you're going through when I got married I remember photography is the most unfair part of your entire planning because how could you possibly know what you want yet you haven't seen a single picture or image of yourself so what I would recommend that this point is we customize it and figure out what's best for you so like I said packages beginning x number of dollars and go from there now with all of that being said when would be a good time for you to come in and see me do you think I lose many phone calls don't that phone script is on the desk and they go throw it until they have it memorized now am I asking her to make an appointment little things make a difference on my asking her to make an appointment new I'm saying when do you wanna come in I'm already confident you're making an appointment cause if you don't you're an idiot I know I'm the best at what I do I need to get u n so I'm telling her she's coming in for him when do would you like to come in now is it always best to make the first appointment you want to work with people subconscious don't you so you say when would you like to come in uh I don't know when's available okay so let's take a look at schedule what weakened you thinking uh I don't know I'm thinking maybe a week from now on what day's the best usually tuesday or thursday most times when you ask people what's best they're going to give you two days you don't ever want to go with the first day unless it is the most convenient you want to let them think like I'd love to bring you in tuesday that week but unfortunately we have booked up with solid appointments all day does it matter if you have an appointment or not no but you're telling hard him you're busy that they got you're squeezing them in you're making room for them you're setting them up on your making that appointment subconsciously you want to keep reminding him I'm busy I have a lot of people who want me why is that important anybody urgency you're placing an urgency on it saying you gonna make this decision quick I'm going to subconsciously beat them to the ground before they have a walk for the door sales is a bigger art form than shooting you need to read people's body language you need to read their excitement wait till we get on the couch and see how that works so now with that being said I set up the appointment how much information do I want to take during that appointment when I'm taking the appointment okay what's your name what's your wedding date what's your phone number and be done I want to know everything about them this is my chance to engage them I want to know okay great can I have your names wonderful and you were recommended from janine excellent now where's the ceremony being held at oh it's being held at st anthony's so which one is that the one in north porters at the one in amityville oh it's one of north what a beautiful churches excellent you got absolutely gorgeous grounds there it's wonderful perfect and where's your reception oh it's being held at chateau lemaire all what a beautiful place on the water I'm sure you know then that were actually recommended at this facility which works out great because it's beautiful and you know what makes it really specialist were recommended by a lot of holes I'll be honest with you but the fact is chatham is different because this service is just so outrageous they're always right on top of you and you're just going to love it the food is great the atmosphere is great and obviously nicky or tino or lou we're going to be one of your maitre d's I'm engaging them letting them know how do I know this information because if a new call opens up do you think that I don't research it before we ever go there when I hear hole or reception so it's opening up ai researchers do I ever say oh I've never been there do you want to say that you want to be experienced even if you haven't been there if they ask you you should know about the place you avoid the question by knowing the answer before it happens sales is about controlling the situation so I find out all this information on a recent I find out all this information on the phone is it goes right into our database the sales person is studying up before the kind ever walks in the door now when a client walks in the door that day alright there's all those other steps beforehand which I should explain to who do you think confirms all of the appointments inside our studio may even when I'm out of town do you know every morning when I woke up here I called the appointment like today I called monday's appointment yesterday I called today's call up into high this is dog I'm the owner of packing photographer um I know that you're coming into our lindenhurst a studio tomorrow unfortunately I won't be there I'm out of town traveling lecturing but I wanted to let you know how much it means to us that you're taking the time to come see us I hope that everybody treats you well if there's any questions of concern here is my personal cell phone here is my email please let me know and again thank you so much for this opportunity we really appreciate it more see you tomorrow morning at ten a m now that's a start isn't it so I'm confirming the cause myself and I told you I'm basically leaving messages I call it our times this way could set everything up now with that being said when I walk into the lobby no rings I know I have this appointment so someone else a dug your appointment's here I walk up and introduce myself now this is a key moment and if you could watch this when I walk up to every thing's about engaging it's about engaging your coin the way you act in the way you set yourself up with them makes a difference if I walk in and be like hi I'm doug nice to meet you congratulations she's got a firm handshake but that's great but that's not a personal connection hi I'm doug I'm so happy to meet you thank you so much for coming in today congratulations you must be her fianc it's a pleasure to meet you I don't even know how you got her but max on a job it's nice to meet you how did you guys hear about us you recommended and meanwhile there just standing in the lobby but notice my body language I'm engaging them how did you hear about oh we were recommended oh by who ginny thompson ho jin in thompson's wonderful she got married two years ago right I think it shocked him there because she gonna remember she gave all that information on the phone she didn't even speak to me but I'm already engaging well how did you know that we really like to try to stay connected to our people after doing as many ways we I think personal relationships that are most important nothing what's your wedding date do I not know the wedding date of course I know the wedding date what is it oh it's january thirteenth of two thousand fourteen when you called someone checked to make sure we're available right okay I'm just I'm sure we all because they won't let you come in I'm gonna bring you right into here to this first room on the right on what I'm gonna do is I just want to double check and make sure hold on one second I start walking to the back what have I done already pressure I've already pressured you I've already nailed you a pressure at this minute you're sitting there and you're like oh my god and most times you know what she'll say she'll be like I told you we should've waited so one that stuff books up best on I'm walking about I know we're available but the fact is I'm about engaging you and pulling you and I want you thinking I want your neck to be up here that you're ready to explode if you don't give me money I want you begging to give me your money I'm gonna make you work for this okay so now I walk back when I'm a big it worked out it looks like someone changed their day you're broke up I thought we were booked out but someone moved their date is that no pressure yeah it's not pressure so I bring you in now the key is how you interact with the client the key is how you put yourself in a place with a client now what's important is you will have sample albums and portfolios correct here's the thing do you know them inside and out do you have every page memorized do you have every image memorized you know why that's important because when I'm flipping through my album when I'm flipping through it I want to be able to flip each page and know what's there before this way I can lock in on you and why is it so important that I lock in on my clients can you tell me because I want to read your body language I want to know that when she I flip to the page and the girls got her legs up on the wall guess what you don't really like it I want to say to you because I want to be able to say to you that we don't have to do it that way the sales pitch is the same all the time it's a matter of gearing so what I'm doing is I'm sitting on the couch now you could have different looks you could sit and let a subject look at the albums and sit back and relax now here's the thing if I let the client look at the albums by themself what's happening I'm allowing them to interpret the images the album my art the way they want teo part of it is the story I'm going to make them interpret it the way I want so was there sitting here looking on flipping through the almond let me tell you a little bit about ourselves the most important thing that I can tell you is that we're flexible I want to make sure that you know that we want you to enjoy your wedding without interruption we want you to have fun we want to create things that are a little bit different we're going to pose you but we're gonna post you to look natural so in other words I'm going to put you in the most uncomfortable positions you've ever been in in your entire life but I promise you you're gonna look better than you've ever looked before we're going to make sure that you enjoy your entire day without interruption so in other words once your cocktail hour on your party starts I don't ever want to see you again and I mean that in the most positive ways we want you to enjoy your wedding we know that you've heard horror stories about how long it takes photographers to do things that's not the way we are so the best way I would describe our work as you look through it and now I'm flipping through it because you're looking through the work and you're talking to me if I keep talking to you are you going to be able to focus on the work so any imperfections you may have is going to be taken away at that point isn't it so with that being said what we're trying to do is make sure that you're connected with me and then you're looking at the work because I set it on day one if I'm excited who else is excited may so this is what I'm going to tell him the way I would describe our work is we're flipping good is more of a fashionable editorial approach the idea behind what we deal was we want to put you in a position to succeed as I'm sure you've seen before photographers take punny of images of guest walking around hanging out laughing unfortunately if they tell you that it's really a photo journalistic style it's not because these things just don't occur so what we're going to do is prompt you for this moment to occur because there's you know there's no chance that you two are ever going to look at each other big oh my goodness let's frolic well you're never gonna lift up your dress and spin so I want to put you in a position for these to succeed now he is the great things you notice every image we take is edited and re touched the perfection on I'm on a page with all close ups with no bags under the eyes if you look there's a mixture of color and black and white and cpr and infrared and all sorts of toning what do you think so I'm not paige going through that and notice again we're moving around and building a story all of our albums stories their individual to our clients now let me tell you this everything we do is custom designed to you what we deal with set up for you to enjoy everything we want to make it as easy and experience is possible and we want to make it the most personal relationship you could ever imagine so with all of that being said here's how it normally works the most important thing that I can ever give you a za photographer is an engagement session because the fact is you were recommended by someone but you never actually met the photographer they had now in this case I'm telling the client very simply I don't want them to come in and book and individual I want them to book a brand on dh then because I don't want to hear it toe one individual what I'm doing at this point is saying let's do the engagement so here's the best part we're going to do an engagement session for you that's free it's included in your collection on I put a lot of credence on the importance of this and the reason why is simple engaging portrait to me is the most important thing we do because it tells me a lot about you it tells me all you're good points photographically and they're not so good points which we obviously have it allows me to know what you really like because the truth is because we can photograph you and so many wide array and varieties of styles that you may come in here and say listen I'm really really different I like unique and then when during the engaging portrait I'm laying you down on top of each other like oh my goodness what do some type of pervert or something and they usually laugh and I said well you could be the complete opposite you're looking at me and you're telling me you're really traditional but then when I take you inside I try to push you a little bit to do something unique and I really get it out of you now here's the great thing about my company everybody here is taught and trained by ming so with that being said they all could shoot the exact same way but I'd be lying if I told you they didn't have preferences the fact is that everybody has a different personality every bride comes in if they liked me they say well who's closest to you and you would think it's my lifelong best friend steve on you would say I haven't but steve we've been best friends for thirty two years steve wash trained and taught by me there's only one difference I like to really push the envelope and get sexy steve was an altar boy some of the things that I do he doesn't really love now does that mean he won't do them of course not but it means it's not his preference so I want to match you up according to your wants and needs but then again I'm not just looking at that I'm looking at everything else about you I'm looking at the times that you're actually getting married I'm looking at your families to see who's divorced and married I'm looking at your locations I'm looking to see how easily you fall into poses I'm looking to see how you interact because I'll give you an example as a photographer I'm a toucher I like to touch you on practically caressing you and I want to make sure that this is nothing that you're uncomfortable with so during your engagement session with finding all this out and we're taking notes now at the end of the day when I look at the notes and I look at the images you liked I'm going to make a recommendation for you and say based on all of this I think this photographer is great on what I want you to do is this is not an assignment it is a recommendation I want you to come back meet this photographer get to know them you khun do an engagement with portrait with omit no charge no what you could do ten I don't care how many times she come in because the more you get to know them the more you develop a personal relationship on what I need to tell you is that no matter what you need to know your photographer and bond with them because at the end of the day if you don't like your picture if you don't like your photographer no matter how good your images are you're never going to like him you're going to remember it is a negative experience so to me it's about connecting with the photographer I'm working from there have I not sold you before I even got into a price or an image it's all about connection do we have any questions before we even get into how to package in the audience yes particular customers who say wanted you know wedding in the mountain on a mountain lodge are the one that wanted it at the beach would you the problems you'd show them would be corespondent or what they will try to I'm going to gear their albums it just so happens that if someone comes in from a particular side I have the albums of course I want gear to them but we have to remember one thing if we allow clients to look att images they're not educated they all begin toe look alike you need to sell you what your biggest asset you you show your personality why do people pay extra from it the confident that I'm going to do the job they know they're going to have fun when I was a terrible photographer do you know why people paid for may because they liked me it's the same exact way success is built on personality I promise you in today's age we're doing the greatest thing possible now we're watching this live on the internet this is the coolest thing possible the greatest thing that's ever happened is the digital revolution if you want to call it that what's the worst thing that ever happened digital revolution because years ago I would talk to you I'd want to meet you I wanna hang out with you today I don't want to do that anymore I want to tweet you I want to text you I wanted facebook you I want to do all of it I sat watching a movie with my kids thea other day and I'm looking my daughter is on one side my sons on the other side what do you think they were doing who were they texting each other each other we were five feet away way opened a wonderful we decided I got this brilliant idea I wanted to franchise my studio and I wanted to open it up in multiple spots it might have been the dumbest thing I ever did because I didn't realize that the on ly there was no way for me to pre qualify the person other than the fact that they had a lot of money to buy the franchise so what happened was the franchise was successful immediately we opened up in austin texas we booked two hundred weddings the first year now if you've ever heard about franchising they don't become profitable for many years we were profitable the first year the problem was the person who was running it decided that he wanted to run it different than what I did he felt that he lived the office was in texas and that ultimately it was going to be different so the franchise couldn't work we couldn't connect the way that we wanted toe work because they wanted to embrace the digital revolution I wanted to embrace personality so it was best that we separated at that point this business is built on a personal relationship people connect on personalities not afraid to touch you not afraid to talk to you I'm not afraid to hug you you all came in I never met you what idea hooked you was that for everybody no but I wanted to connect with you I wanted you to know I was excited to see you that I appreciated the fact that you came this far to see me I didn't look at it like some people would look at big o you're here he came to see a free class don't look at it that way I looked at it and said you took the time to make a video you wanted to see me you wanted to show up late it's all good I wanted to know and do that okay the fact was I appreciated it because I want to connect with you because if I connect with you your client for life warren you have a question I don't know what yeah I want to get into this a little bit deeper this topic so I was talking to my friend tiffany tiffany angelus a little while ago about the same thing about selling putting your personality first because I was I was trying to tell her you are your personality is the most important thing not everybody has your personality doug or your body for that matter thank you so my question is for people that that is not their personality their not extroverts they're not outgoing they don't have that is not necessarily their strength can people sell themselves on their photography or something else or today's environment do you think you could sell it on photography is the person educated enough I don't believe so and guess what my personalities and act if you've seen mei when we goto lunch how many times have you seen me sitting by myself you'll see me go and sit down by myself because I am that quiet shy guy but this is stage this is showtime it's a matter of me connecting my ideal world is made my wife my kids and my mom and dad that's my ideal world you know there's a couple other people in there but I don't want to insult anybody so I'll keep it simple because people expect my mom and dad the fact is my ideal world is I want to go into a bubble and I just want to be there and I'm happy and that's not good either but I know when to turn that on I love connecting with you I love hearing your story but if you were left alone with me enough I'd be panicked but I know right now that I have that advantage I know that I have that advantage that's what matters because I know what I'm talking about I think that anybody has a personality if you love what you do if you bring that out in conversation saying how much you love what you d'oh that's what's going on what's gonna bring value to what you're saying that's my firm belief well and it doesn't it doesn't have to be but doug gordon personality no I can't sell it as I told you I had this the wonderful woman jesse public she's phenomenal but it took her a good year to find herself because people she was being made which is good but like I told you I'm assertive europe be word just the nature of the beast as a female photographer you have a direct advantage you understand their needs differently you understand the personality you understand how to connect on that level makes all the difference in the world because you can feel that emotion but I'm going to tell you what makes sales is understanding and that's going to be where we go do we have any questions before I goto understanding understanding doug I want you to understand how much your mom loves you over lunch time that your mom was upset because we're not really out for my mom he did not do it will you tell her it wasn't my fault it was not daddy's fault I wasn't really sure that it was you but now that you said it was your mom was watching my mind and my studio watch okay so nanny of seven ninety of seven new york is my mommy okay says thank you created by for having doug on the show he is the best and most entertaining person ever no matter how many times his father and I see him he is funny a great teacher and he always dares to be different anyone who doesn't see him and miss is missing out on a great experience love you doug oh thanks much nice thank you mama thank you mama all right back to you back tio thank you okay so I don't remember where we left off my mommy threw me off a little bit there and you see I haven't been a loss for words in a couple of days so yes lauren get me back so well when you're talking about your engagement sessions are you shooting them since you sometimes I'll shoot them if I meet with them I'm gonna want to shoot them because I want to see it through but I'm always the one doing the assignments the photographers will take notes the sales personal take notes but I'm going to try to get through that and kind of function in that way so where I was leading is everything we do is based on personality that's how we assigned photographers we want people who get along we want people who connect on that level that's all important and key information now when sitting down to do the actual sale that's what really matters I want youto all think about it I said it before in the last second when was the last time you saved twenty thousand dollars for in a single year doesn't happen too often does it so how are we expecting couples who are young median age twenty five to thirty five not fully established to save that type of money do you appreciate that when you walk into herself do you appreciate what the income of people is do appreciate what their life is when you're walking and for a wedding sale or a portrait cell or anything like it if you don't you're missing the boat so I got married fifteen years ago on dh I did everything wrong in terms of my wedding at least that's on my cell is going to go so when I talked to them about their wedding I'm going to say to them what would you like do you think I ever hand them a price list I don't even have a prices what is it that you would like well I don't really know well can I make a recommendation for you then and I'm going to recommend him towards a product that I think is gonna work based on their whole based on what they're telling me they like and things like that so what I'm going to say to him is the first thing I'm going to say is kind of what this person on the phone call said I want to remind you this very important thing that wedding photography is very unfair it's impossible for you really do know what you want because you haven't seen a single image of yourself
Doug Gordon is a New York based professional photographer, writer, and speaker. Doug runs Patken Photography, a family-owned studio with a staff of 27 shooting 1,000 weddings every year. Doug has been a professional photographer for 22 years and a
I loved every minute of it! I watched and re-watched the Live show 3 times and now have the video version to burn into my mind. I don't get sick of watching it, I learn something new with each viewing. I have notes upon notes, inspirational quotes and I was truly inspired. I saw you live at your workshop and I wish we would of covered the business section a bit more in depthly because after watching you here on creativeLive I was floored! I can't wait to attend another one of your workshops because you are a wealth of knowledge, energetic and you inspire me to be better! I'm so glad I wasn't afraid to try even though I was terrified at first. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being such an amazing mentor!
a Creativelive Student
Doug is AMAZING! The way he teaches makes it fun and easy to understand. The way he poses his couples are so fast and easy to learn, I have taken my photography from mediocre, to world-class. I would love to meet him and thank him personally one day. Thank you Creativelive for introducing me to Doug, and thank you, Doug, for introducing me to CreativeLive! The best community for learning!!!
Doug has so much enthusiasm, it is beyond measurable. He is truly a fantastic motivator. He helps you understand the best ways to work with the light you have and shows you some very simple yet effective posing techniques. I highly recommend watching and buying this course if you want some great advice on improving your photography.