Defining Your Niche Q&A
When you were talking about the party the event and then you were showing the pictures to the client immediately yes and the yeses and the maybes so those were their yeses and they're maybes they weren't your your suggestions no and that's because we're showing them immediately following no one has even had time to look at them at and so the other thing that happens and I'm glad you asked that because the other thing that happens in that process is we explained to them how it works your guesses nose and maybes this how it works but then we also as we're flipping through the image is the first time if there's something that is really a no we don't let him to sit on it and just you know say ah if it's a no we're gonna put three which sends it to the no pile before they see them well they're sitting there with us so they're seeing it but we're just going to get rid of it for him you know where and honestly I mean when it's when it's part and you'll see tomorrow but when is part of this an...
d they're seeing it immediately following and you're just slipping through the first time they're they're not in that mindset even of that just that would just went away you know they they can see that it's ah even if they say if you give me even if they do say no they're not ever going to go back to it they don't remember okay so because when you said that earlier I was like wow hey wait a minute I'm the expert here you know when I see a really great picture or if I grab one you know capture it and um so I guess it just struck me funny that they're the ones who are selecting but I mean they're the client you know and the's pictures are for that says any time you know, even if you're doing the initial edit you're still presenting them with a certain number of images right? And so let's say you do a regular session and you're presenting them with thirty images yes those thirty images air still your your thirty that you chose from the session but you're still presenting thirty and then they have you know, those down to their very favorites so is the same process except for they're actually seeing everything I shot um with the benefit of that again is there seeing it there ordering it and I never touch an image again that was not ordered and so there is no there is not the sitting for hours and from the computer editing images you know and everybody knows these days exactly what weaken dio in photo shop and I don't know about you guys but I've had mom's even sit there and say, well, you can take that wrinkle out right well no iron your stupid shirt if you want the wrinkles out you know but they all do they all say make me skinny or take thes out you know I mean they know they know what we can do and so it's scary the first couple of times to show them immediately following the once you do it a couple times and realize that it does not affect your sale and you know, those sessions are so much more profitable because you have cut out a huge portion of the workflow and I was going to say this earlier as well and I I lost it but um we because of this process and I've been doing this since about two thousand one when I started doing charitable marketing events um where we shoot and then self and the same at the same time and so that turn into doing these really ll kids events but now we're actually doing them for other portrait sessions in the studio and that's happened because I am due in a tiny little town I'm about forty five minutes away from my target market and then I photograph people even beyond that so people are coming at a minimum forty five minutes and these days used to I never got the argument you mean I have to come back next week teo you know, drive all that way to see the images but I started getting it a couple years ago and so we said all right what's the yes answer for the client and yes for my business and my family and so we we came up with that what we call the same day experience and so if somebody even hesitates about coming back the next week we let him know you know what problem no problem we do have what we call the same day experience and what that would allow you to do is to come and be photographed in the morning which would be that eleven o'clock session on that will send you out to lunch I buy their lunch which you know I don't care if it's thirty forty dollars whatever that claim is invested in me and in that time it's a no brainer so I send them out to lunch and um and then after lunch they come back and ve their images so it's not a lot of time to sit and mess with images but I can pop him into light room I can run a few through on one software if I want teo I've got preset setting there um you know, I can just I can get him done quickly to be able to show them within forty five minutes to an hour when they come back so that that works beautifully as well with that pretty much the only thing that's gone are the major uglies you know we're not sitting down and editing down to like the thirty perfect ones, eh? So they're still seeing a huge variety and they're having call out the yes knows the maybes okay? So m k mads would like to now says you you say you like to always have a yes answer what if someone asked for a style that you're not that your traditional style or niche for example a post processing style far away from your own? How do you say yes to this? Um I think the first part of that is that people are typically you're going to ask you for something that you don't show and so always be careful that once you define your style and really what you want to do don't put anything else on your website or on facebook or anywhere else um and and that's a problem that a lot of people get into I think is an especially starting we want to show everything we don't feel like we have enough to show but I would much rather see five fantastic images on a gallery and and on you know, on a website then see thirty crappy ones and five good ones you know and so really get down to only what you want teo show what you want to sell and then you don't get those questions if you do get the question andi I actually got question this year from a very good client and uh we have, you know, now the world of pinterest and so clients come in going out with this and this and this and and again, if you have a super defined style, you're not going to get it as much, but I had a client that came in early this year and I'm going to show you the slideshow from this session one of these days but they came in or she called me and she said, I'm really loving this sun flare thing that I see on pinteresque not like not like that, not not bad for anybody else who doesn't that's, you know, that's great for somebody else just that's why we can all be in business I feel the same way about crazy baby props and hanging babies and putting them in a basket and whatever it's not for me, but that's people don't come for me to me for that they're going to choose someone else that's why we can't be in business but she asking about the sunflower thing great garrett great client and so I told her, you know what let's plan a session let's do I'm going to do all the things that I d'oh but I'll I'll, you know, experiment a little bit and night and I was just honest with her and I told her I am not into the sun flare thing, and so I don't even know how to do it, but I'll figure it out before you guys get here and and so it was it was a creative exercise for mia's well, and one of those things were no it's, not what I want to do on a day to day basis, but sure, I'll stretch myself and do something, so I think the important thing is to think your answers through and so when you know, if you're in a sales room and you get an objection, if you're on the phone and somebody says, but my kids are in school, you know, whatever it is, I think about how you're going to either address it before it comes up the next time or answer it with a positive answer that's right for you the next time great question from kelly day is what criteria do you have for selecting your sales person? That's a good question criteria for selecting a sales person is I absolutely believe that the sales person is the first easiest person to bring into your into your team, and our salespeople are always part time. Um, right now I don't have that sales staff like I sales, we have different people, my main staff has been with me forever ten years, five years, five years and um but and so my office manager kim is doing some the sails now I do some the sails now, but bringing them a new person in is one of those things that if someone loves my work and loves people, they're hired those were really the two main criteria I do want someone that fits the profile of my target client and that's what we're going to get into next so whether it's for the real kids events or studio whatever it is, I want that sales person to fit my target client because they're the one that's going to be connecting and communicating with them during the sale but the main two criteria I don't I really don't want them to have any sales experience, so they have to love my work and they have to love working with people, so um easy easy to find those people a lot of times when I'm looking for someone to come in and do sales I just call somebody that I think fits the part and I'll tell them I'm looking for somebody to work with our clients in the design process and help them with their orders um I thought of you immediately because you would be perfect for this and I thought maybe you would have a friend that might be interested and by saying that it opens up the door for them to say, you think I would you know, maybe I could do this you know what? Tell me a little bit more about it or they might actually know of somebody who kind of fits the profile so um usually friends surround themselves or people surround themselves with friends that are like them and so if you can kind of target that right person and you know, just make a phone call you never know what will happen. Um I've I've been able to do that quite a bit and bring on part time people um bye and that's a way to that I'm able to do eleven and one um is because I don't want a five o'clock sales appointment I don't want to seven o'clock sales appointment but somebody else that's going to be perfect for you she wants to be home with her kids during the day or she wants to you know, whatever it is and she wants to be out on you know, every thursday night with a seven o'clock appointment that's great for her so our salespeople we we pay a five percent commission too so that's another thing as well that you know they're very motivated to work with the client through the design process to get them amazing things for their home and they get it you know, and it's and it's five to ten depending on the product that they're selling but does it at least um they have a base hourly it's fifteen dollars an hour plus five percent commission so we have about fifteen minutes before we get our next break you want to keep going or ask questions or what you want to do if you have questions let's, ask questions. Okay? Okay, terrific wants to know when people ask you to take out the wrinkle. What is your response? How far how far do you take these kind of enhancements? Um I will go a ce faras they want me to go, um and actually that's one of the tools that you can use when you're showing the images immediately following or if you choose to take this step of not editing through your images, not retouching everything before they client sees them, which is a huge huge your workflow, but well, actually tell them now these images haven't been retouched that you're about to see. So as you go through them, I want you to think about how far you want me to go, you know, and I'll literally put it to them like that so that they can tell me I want it all gone or, you know, leave that birthmark or leave that mole or whatever, even with high school seniors with kids there sometimes when you can't tell if it's a zit or a mole you know and so I will literally ask them you know as we go through the images like you do with me retouching that booger and you know and I'll run a soft filter action on everything as we batshit out a light room and so you know, it's got kind of like a you know, portraiture export um on one's got a great one so we'll do some stuff like that but not we will not sit and, you know, retouch every image before they see it and and if you use again, use it in a positive way these are retouched and you know, I want I want you to let me and obviously you're goingto mess with one or two of them you want them to kind of see what what you can do but especially with kids man go black and white show him there's not a whole lot you have to do but absolutely we skinny mom's up we wrinkle free on way whatever we got, tio make sure they love the images and in fact that's something that I communicate to mom's when I say we've got a newborn session and a mom is telling me on the phone, I do not want to be photographed, you know, I've got twenty five pounds on me, you know, whatever and I'm gonna tell her, you know what bring something and be prepared because I'm probably I'm going to pull you into an image or to remember that it's my job to make sure you feel and look beautiful and you know and I'm basically telling her if you don't want to buy him no ma'am that's all on me, you know? And so I think that's another thing that we can communicate to people and and I will tell them, you know, yes, every image that you get in your hands is going to be perfect you're not going to see them perfect here straight out the camera I'm gonna let you help me decide how far you want me to go do you charge for this retired now? No, no, um I'm only doing it on the ordered images and so they've basically paid for the retouching within the price that we're charging ok senate comment that I wanted to make to you how much I appreciate you explaining when you work because I work probably five days a week from three until dark and then all weekend to accommodate families and seniors that that are in school. And when you pointed out the dentist, I thought, of course, how many times do we run our kids to the orthodontist or the doctor in the middle of the school day without even thinking about it? So that really might make a big difference I think for me, I think I was still too much of a scaredy cat. Just you want to make everybody happy? Yeah, such people, please read. I'm write it down e think it'll be a while before I can write it down any now and for a while afraid of definitely people pleaser. And I don't never want anybody be madam e when it breaks my heart and and so that it's definitely a struggle. But when you say okay, what has to come first? You know? And when you put your priority in place and say my family comes first, I'm gonna write down exactly what I'm gonna say to them and just write that out. Just write down, you know, you tell me how long it's been since you had a family session. That doesn't sound like I'm being bossier, you know? I mean anything. I mean, I really am genuinely asking, you know, how long's it been. Really? Well, you know, this is really important to your family, you know, it's a and it actually adds more value to this session into the portrait's. In the end, when you can communicate that. You know, dad, the fact is that I am the principal since I'm involved in the pack and all the people he's like guess what? Janice is taking kids out of school before, but you won't get that bad, you know? And the other way I look at it is you know, I can only photograph about two hundred families a year and you know, they're not all going to come from one school or, you know, some of them are during the summer yeah, anything but that has such an impact on our families when we worked evenings and weekends continuously yeah, so negative impacts it's nice and how old are your kids? I know your son, I called your husband and I have a twelve year old, a fifteen year old seventeen and nineteen wow twelve, fifteen, seventeen, nineteen so that's a busy place is busy there another at a good age, they're more self sufficient now, so it makes it easier for me to do this, but even so, they still need dinner they still need right after the house still needs to be cleaned it all those so a nineteen year old that had the twitter no fifteen, fifteen I still haven't figured twitter out completely so well herson posted her video for her husband to well, my son is a moviemaker, innit? You held him but I said just stick it on it's in a hurry we have a deadline and he wanted to put music and embellish and scenes and me all this stuff I just said just stick it online so hey, it was really hard for him but that's awesome but then yeah, I would wouldn't I went to the thing and it was a guy and so I was like, tell your wife that I like is my mom thanks for that. I actually have a sales related question your sales people do you have them actually go seek? I mean, obviously you probably don't have toe have them seek out, but I mean it for a person like me, would it be valuable for me to enlist the services of a sales person, to do some outside sales and bring them through that conversation of getting them booked? And you know what? I'm finding the client to me, right? I mean, clients are starting to find me more, but, um but I mean, is that something? Well, one thing that I did years ago and I know I don't do it anymore, but, um it worked great and I definitely recommend it, but I actually had somebody who looked at local publications, looked at the newspaper, you know, all these different things where if somebody was listed as one of the top ten realtors in the city or top ten doctors or they were being rewarded for some, you know, charitable thing that they did, you know, whatever we were always constantly looking for people teo congratulate and say we appreciate you and we would send them a letter and tell him you know how much we appreciate it was personal? We let him know why? And then we sent them a gift certificate for a family session, and I'll tell you in building the business any time there's a time and we all go through business building stages no matter how long we've been in business, you know you're going to go through it again and again in different stages. But any time that happens, if you know what your niches and know who your target client as words, we're going to go through the target target client process next if you know who your target client is and you can get that person into your business, I would do a free session every single day of the week. You know, if it's the right person coming there and and we'll talk a little bit more about that but you know for to be able to congratulate somebody that's, the right person to get in or if there is, if you have a sales person that's super well connected have her host an event, you know, for you there's different things that you can waste utilize them? Um, I I have a friend, travis gugelmin, who learned, and I have two from a photographer, bill sorensen. And I don't know if anybody's heard bill's name in a while, but bill, I invested a lot of money to go and spend with bill, and one of the things that he taught was, um, and if anybody knows, like dan kennedy, um, somebody like the marketing masterminds of you know of the day, um, bill kind of has had that kind of mentality, and one of the things that he did was cold calling, and he also did knocking on doors, and while it didn't for me, my friend travis gugelmin actually went and knocked on doors, and I always tell him that it was easier for him because he's mormon but he literally would go, not a war's when somebody would answer, he would say first they went and hung door knob thinks and they haven't door knobs that said portrait session the week of ah um, gugelmin photography, you know, just kind of had like an ad, and then they went back, like, three days later, and they said, I'm here to book your portrait session and they did it in select neighborhoods like high end neighborhoods, and they would just knock on the door and, you know, hi, I'm I'm travis gugelmin, I'm here to book your portrait session. Well, what do you mean, we didn't even call? No, but I'm here to book your portrait session. He literally did this and he got busy and he runs one of the most successful studios in this country. Um, hard core works is butt off and, um, started door to door how he started his business so it's. Not that I can't work, you know, um, the cold calling thing, I think if you've got a list of it's got to be pre qualified, you know, you've gotta have some parameters around that, but there's no reason not to. I know for me and my business, I'm not cold calling, but we make lots of phone calls when it gets to be about fall. I know these days people are so busy and they're sitting around thinking about it, but they're not picking up the phone, so we called them and we say, hey, this is laurie I I was just thinking about you guys how's, everybody doing, you know, we just chat. And then I let him know, you know, hey, I would love to get you guys in for a holiday session we are really booking up, so if you guys want to get on the schedule let's go ahead and find a time that works for you and we're booking sessions I actually calling them instead of waiting for them to call us and it's just the sign of the times you know we're all busy we're all distracted oh, you know, I have a million things go in and, um yeah quick question when you're giving away those family the free sessions to the influential people are you? Is it just the session fee that is free and are they then purchasing their product and how I find that a little bit tricky for me when I'm I'm I'm photographing influential people for instance, a lot of high profile social media people, so I'll photograph them and I'm giving them some product for free because I want them to have it and I want to be, you know, generate but then I don't know howto then rufer enough self again, I'm although I'm intense, I'm kind of still terrified, so I'll tell you yes e I'll tell you the yes ok, what do you do to get up, then gets a sail out of the free free sale yet and this and and I'll go back to this again when we talk about displays, but the reason I started doing this was as a result of displays and displays built my bill business in the beginning and it's always that kind of that natural thing. Well, if I asked them to be a model for the display, I should give him an eight by ten or give him, you know, and I didn't want to do that. I knew I didn't want to do that, so putting that script in place, what happens is whether it's somebody that you give a gift certificate to inviting for a free session. I've never had anything printed that says, hey, you're kid so cute come in for a free session. However, I will stop my target client in the mall or target or wherever and say you have adorable children, I'm a photographer, I would love to photograph them let me give you my car, all right on there, I said it else tell them you know, let my staff know when you call that the session's on me. So what happens with any of those sessions that we're doing like that they're going to ask us and they will every single time they're going to say to you, am I going to get to buy anything? Am I going to get to see these I mean, the question will come up in some way and so our answer is the same every single time and it's absolutely every day we're gonna walk you through the process and just like a regular client, you're gonna get to see all the images and if there's anything you'd like to purchase that's great if not that's ok too and so it's just this script you know, if this is the way it happens every single time and it will happen that they will ask you and usually it's right when your booking and it's right on that first phone call if it doesn't, they're going to ask you during the session and they're going to say, you know and and the answer is we're gonna walk you through just like a regular client because like I just did it, I shoot this last we can end up till two thirty in mourning my poor came doing her phone her but book and she loves the book I sent her the preview I saw just one check it over for you order it and so she loves it and I told her I was gonna give it to her no cost because she's doing advertising for me for for yeah, yeah, and I told her I'd give her a cup eleven by fourteen for free but then so she then she asked for two more for holiday gifts because she loves me just like oh, can I get two more? So I do I just give themselves her those at cost because I told her ok, what there are no way no way your cost is e no so then I'm like what do I do because I feel so it's just then I get scared so then I'm like okay, well maybe I'll just give her each of them right cost and then I just laurie how weight training so you know, next time you're going to let her know from the beginning anything additionally I'd like to purchase that's great if not there's no there's no pressure away she already knows that if she asked for something else she will be purchasing it okay, but for this time I would just say, you know, absolutely I live free teo to grab anything you like, I'm going to send you over my product mania ok? And then just okay mallet or was I think you mean she didn't I didn't tell her that I would do the additional that cost I just didn't really mention it yet, so I think if you've already given her an album, then you've gone above and beyond you give him an alibi wasn't evil and that album I mean I spend I'm a pa perfectionist. I've gotta get that under control. So, you know, I spent about eight, eight hours on her album, and because I did it twenty pamphlet. No, no, I know, I know, because I'm just I'm a perfectionist and need to work on that. And so, you know, I've already given her so much work for free, so I just didn't really know how to handle that so well, and I would just center it, say absolutely, you know, I'm I'm gonna send you over the prague meant you. Anything you'd like to add on this grey cup, just very positively and