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Before the Sell

Lesson 16 from: The Business of Wedding Photography

Vanessa Joy

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Lesson Info

16. Before the Sell

Next Lesson: During the Sell

Lesson Info

Before the Sell

So sales, this is not a dirty word, I feel like it's a dirty word I hate that word sales. All I think of is going into the car dealership and it being like eh I don't want to be here. So we're going to learn how to do sales so that it's profitable and so you don't have a bad taste in your mouth and you don't feel like a sleazeball afterwards too we don't want that. So there are three different ways you're going to look at it we're first going to look at before the sale. So they're things that you want to do before presenting them with packages, before actually sitting down and selling them on xyz, we want to prepare them I guess is a good way to do it. So there are things you need to do before the sale. So number one, this is a client, you ever have a client ask you that, what's normal, so what do most people get. A lot of times I get that when they're picking out an album cover, what does everyone do. And it's kind of funny because don't brides want to be unique and have a unique wedd...

ing, why are you asking what everyone does. But the truth is most of them they just don't know, they don't know what's normal, what do people normally do. So it's up to you to tell them. Instead of responding to my leads with my pricing package after I'm available, I respond to them by asking more about what they want, more about what they want from their photography. I ask them do you want parent albums, do you want an engagement session so that I can then advise them on what's normal for their situation. It's also really good to do this because you can then engage them in conversation. Rather than just showing them the prices and wondering if they actually got your email or if they just saw the prices and ran away, this way you can talk to them and you've started a conversation and typically after you start a conversation people have the decency of saying goodbye when they're done with the conversation. Now I send an email before I send the prices just asking them about their wedding. Tell me what you're looking for so that now I can tell you what works for them. I can say oh great you want parent albums, then you're going to toy between collections A and B those both include parent albums, they both include an album for you (mumbles) blah blah blah. Oh you don't want a parent album, great then you're going to look between choices C and D, those are the two that don't have parent albums in it but they do have an album in it for you and you think collection C is more popular so you'll probably like that one but browse around for yourself. So you guide them, but don't guide them in oh you'll like package A every time. If you oversell a client that doesn't help either because then they feel like you're trying to get money from them. Like when you walk into the car dealership and you're like so I'm looking at this used car that's around I don't know $15,000 and they're trying to show you this $30, brand new car it's like no what did I just say it's not what I want, now you don't trust them anymore. Now they're no longer your guide in this process and that's what you want to be you want to be the guide in the process. Albums, albums, always always always. So we talked about how albums are crucial for that legacy being passed on but albums help you put food on your table if you're not selling albums then you really are going to have to charge them a lot of money for just rolling out of bed and showing up that morning and that's a little bit harder to do than selling them product product that you can sell them the value on that you can have them experience and touch and feel and smell yes, I actually smelled these albums when they came out, I love the smell of albums after I unpack them. So always albums. I have tons of friends that just shoot and burn, and then when I show them how much I make on albums they're like what, I'm like yes, you want to provide albums and I know a lot of people think they're a pain in the tush. You've got to design them you've got to redo designs you've got to do changes, but you know you'd hire somebody for that. They're worth it, they're absolutely worth it. In addition to being able to provide as a full service to your client then you've got this other marketing for sure, very large marketing for sure wondering around with your name on it. So sell sell albums it's a disservice not to and like I mentioned sometimes I gift them not the main album, not a main album I've never gifted a main album. I take that back I have an album that I'm getting ready to actually ship to a client she didn't get an album but I loved her wedding and made a sample album of it and I am going to ship it to her afterwards she doesn't know yet actually so that'll be a lovely surprise. I love surprising my clients. But I want them to have that album, you want them to have that tangible tangible album. I mean think about it, think about at work is anybody at work like passing around their cell phone oh look at my wedding pictures, look at my wedding pictures, but they'll pass around an album won't they? That'll circulate through the family Christmas party that year, that'll circulate through the office and again anything that fits into a purse they're absolutely passing that around. You know what Millers makes, they make these really cute accordion books. If you only have a shoot and burn client and you've tried your hardest to get them to print anything, fine they didn't get anything, make them that little accordion book they're like I don't know $20, they're nothing they're so small and cute and your clients will love them and be able to pass that around. Really really great tool, so just albums, albums always. You want to make it expensive to not have an album. So if you looked at that pricing before remember I didn't show you below there where there wasn't any albums I'm about to show it to you. And you want to prioritize albums in your upgrade options 'cause I want those albums to be bigger and better and larger than life, the more pictures the merrier right. Unless I need a wheelbarrow to carry the thing around and then we've gone too far. But this bride's album actually I want to say her album was 62 pages, it was big. I just printed one with Millers their signature album it's a 12 by 12 size with 82 pages in it. It was a big album like encyclopedia rather. I took that joke from my office manager she's like so Christina's album slash encyclopedia came in. Very very big. So this is what the whole thing looks like. Those are the ones that you saw before, but this is what it's like without an album this collection E. So $6200 there's no discount there, notice there's no value little section because that's essentially the ala carte price to have eight hours of coverage and just thank you cards there's no digital files there they're not there. They have to add them up. So if they took this and then hey I'll buy an album later, they'd end up spending just for the difference between the two with this little mini eight by eight 20 page album which that's a small album hardly anyone's going to get one that small, I've had one client with one that small before that didn't upgrade and add more pages. They're essentially going to add $350 more so it's more expensive to not have an album but what usually happens is they look at this lower one and then they look at this one but what doesn't this have? It doesn't have the digital files still. So the lowest one they really want is that one down there. So if they just go with this and add the digital files, the digital files are 950, so let's just say $1000, $ and typically people don't need eight hours they need ten usually in my area in my neck of the woods anyway. So by the time you add that and then you add two more hours there you're essentially at that price and you're getting so much more. So they would try to book this with the additional hour and additional files no album and be paying the same exact thing as if they had an album. So when I phrase it to them that way I'm basically saying you're going to get an album essentially free just go for collection C and you'll want it and then I of course educate them on it and sell them on it and tell them you want it, you're going to want your album. So that's how you make it more expensive to not have an album. So make sure that you get that in there. This is what my engagement collections look like, sorry this print's not pretty I meant to fill that in. But you can look at those online as well by all means. I prioritize the album in most of these so when I give them the 30 page album which is the average they could fit their wedding in 30 pages but they want to add more, they usually want to add more, so I make it easy extra ten pages there, extra ten pages there in the engagement album. Engagement ones have parent albums in there as well. And then also if they're in that early delivery of the high res files because if they're going to commit there I don't need to hold the files as a carrot because I know they're invested in it they're going to want their albums. And this is what the post-wedding collections look like. Again I'm really prioritizing the album. Extra ten pages in your wedding album there, extra 20 pages in your wedding album there. And a lot of times they end up with that first collection again because it does have everything that they want. And I do tell them what's normal, what's normal, while normally people want more pictures in their album that's normal and normally people want a wedding portrait that's the nice one they hang on the wall and a desk size one like that wood print or that framed print that they put on their nightstand or in their office, that's what's normal so that's what I give them. 24 by 36 canvas, smaller 16 by 24 piece which you could definitely put on a lamp table coffee table or in the office adding parent albums if they don't have them again with the early delivery of the files and also a proof book. People sometimes ask for proofs I'm like I'm not printing you 1,000 four by six pictures, you don't want them the proof book I can offer you. All of your pictures printed out nine per page file names underneath, it's like a companion to your digital files. So you can look in there and know what file number to go print later. So that's what they look like and they're structured this one is very similar it's actually almost identical to the engagement ones, so they're familiar with it by the time they get to here 'cause they've seen it already. So you want to make sure all of your packages make sense make sure they're simple, when I give it to them they're vertically done they're just horizontal here for you guys. But when you go here you'll notice that they're all vertical so they're easy to scroll. Start with the highest one first, got all the value adds and things like that, you're more than welcome to copy these by all means. Very rarely do we do the lowest one, again because what's not in there the album extra pages, so even with the post collections you want to make sure that you're still applying all those rules of pricing here. Any questions about those? Two again, pages are we defining those as spreads or those individual sides. Individual sides, I used to do it by saying spread but it wasn't as translatable, so now I just say pages like you count them in a book 'cause that speaks a language. And then I noticed for well actually I'm seeing a couple of them but you've got 16 by 24 metal wood or acrylic do you price all of those the same and they just decide on their material. I do and they're not the same, it's more expensive to do some other ones, but I just base it on the highest one and the fact that I usually typically sell the acrylic, which I think is the most expensive one is the acrylic so I just price it on that. If they order a wood or a metal then I don't know I get to go out to dinner that week (laughs). Yeah. So do you send them this information after the wedding or for example after the engagement shoot or do they get everything in advance when they first book you. So I don't want to give them everything ahead of time that's overwhelming could you imagine me sending them three price lists forget it. No I send them ahead of time but I preface and I allude to the fact that I'm going to offer them things afterwards. Notice my wedding packages they don't have any prints in them, I don't want to sell you canvases right now because you don't know where you're going to put it, you don't know what picture you're going to like and if it will look good on canvas or maybe it will look good on acrylic. So I tell them I offer that to you later, sometimes they ask but they know that I offer later. And they can always look on the ala carte price list when you go this price list below it you can browse the ala carte options and it shows what acrylics cost with glass, what wood costs and things like that. Extra pages even. So it has it all there. However, before their engagement viewing I absolutely send this to them and before they come in to pick out their album cover, I absolutely send this to them beforehand because I want them to see this beforehand. Sometimes they've decided what they want before they even walk in the door, great they've decided they're going to buy something the only way I can go is up from there. Then great, that makes my session shorter rather than me showing it to them there and they're going over these options and they don't know 'cause they haven't seen it before and by the way sometimes I do email to them and they still haven't seen it 'cause they haven't read my email but that's another story. I need to make a video for that clearly (laughs). These are your options video. Alright so where to introduce products, this is really important we are still in that before the sale section. So we need to introduce these products to them to make them fall in love with them to make them want all of the things that we're offering them so that's what I call soft selling. So on my website you will see these products introduced early on. I have my engagement details, wedding photos, and then I have right here a gallery of different products. There's canvases in there, there's albums in there, there's all these other things that they can buy so I'm introducing this to them ahead of time, it's also on my Instagram there's a section there for products and I always do Instagram stories of the albums. That's another reason I want the albums to come to me first that's my big sale. So I have them come to me so I put them on Instagram stories or I just post about them on my regular feed, on my Facebook I'm introducing to them beforehand. Then I make blog posts about them, so I've got different wall art that came and this bride bought wood very similar to those but a little bit smaller four by sixes I think she bought, yeah those are four by sixes. Four by six wood blocks these are all table numbers and (mumbles) I was like you're going to buy all these things for your wedding you ought to be able to use them later, so now she has all of these hung up in numerical order in a cute little spot in her house. So really great use for table numbers there. New client products that came in whether it's save the dates anything write a blog about it, great for SEO and what I do with this is I'll send them an email that links to this stuff sometimes so it's really good for SEO really good for introducing these products beforehand so they're familiar with them. So they love them, they see them oh I want that I want to see what my wedding photo looks like on that. And current clients see this too. I don't think I have the example here but I have one email that I sent them that talks about save the dates so I have a blog post with a bunch of save the date options. And they get an email that one's probably ten months to a year before their wedding, have you thought about your save the dates yet, here's some of the things that we can do 'cause we have a graphic designer on staff that can make something completely custom for you and then link them to the blog post. And that's also good for social media because then I'll have a blog post that I'll put it up on Pinterest. New save the date ideas just in, they can click and go to my blog so endless endless ways of doing this. And then of course you've got video here. I'm really happy with that number there, I just flipped their wedding album that came in, that reached a lot of people had a lot of views on it and then of course I tagged all these people. And it's funny because to me I think no one's going to sit there and watch me flip through a wedding album but they do especially brides they want to see this. And then of course you've got videos so this is a video that my husband made. Love lockets, who doesn't like jewelry. Eating McDonald's with her dad in her wedding dress. This girl's so pretty it's perfect for a canvas. All of our clients get free thank you cards. I get such a thrill when clients hang my work on their walls. (mumbles) seconds done, that's on one of my Insta stories I posted at some point now it's in my Insta story highlights, it's on my website somewhere. If you want to you can hire a videographer just have them come in for like three hours. In three hours we filmed enough content for me to make 12 videos like that, that's like a year's worth of video content for your social media one a month you're at least one a month and you know it's worth it for sure. If you can use stuff like that, email that to them, put it in blogs use it on social media, always reuse your stuff use it everywhere you can. This is just a picture that I put up and this was quite a while ago, this screenshots from quite a while ago but tons of likes tons of comments on this one too just showing off the different things. I love the album box too. Where else, during the initial client conversation. So if you can get them in in person that's a great way for you to introduce these products, I love showing off what it is that I can offer them when they're there 'cause then I can make them touch it, before when I was telling you about feeling the rose petal print, perfect perfect way to do that, get it in their hands if you can. If you can't you can show it to them on the video chat or you can talk about it, even if I just talk about what the paper feels like it still is going to help introduce that early on. So this is a video that shows what my client consults look like. I love inviting my brides and grooms into my home and making sure everything's perfect and pretty and making them feel welcome. I feel like we end up dating for the next year until their wedding so I want to make sure that they feel special. That's exactly what it looks like that's my living room, I meet with them in my living room. I'll probably start meeting with them in my new studio that we're building because after you have two kids I just don't want to clean the kids toys up every time a client comes in. But I have everything out, this is a great little (mumbles) thing that I have, I've got the wood out, the (mumbles) in the back things like that. So not (mumbles). And then finally the third place you can introduce the products is in communications so that's in the emails. So this is one that I send three months beforehand. I say we're another month closer to your wedding can you believe it, soon you'll have so many beautiful photos from your amazing wedding that you won't know what to do with them. The best advice I can give you is to start thinking about it now. Check out this blog post to see all sorts of fun ideas for using your wedding photos as home decor. A little link to the blog post there and again this is automatic, you are just using this via 17 Hats right. Really easy automatic and oh if you like what it is I actually saved all of them 17 Hats has this little marketplace where you can download all of my templates. All the things that I say. I do update them all the time so don't kill me, do you guys do that, you write things and just update them all the time. I used to yell at my husband he would update his logo all the time I'm like stop it that's your brand you have to keep that.

Ratings and Reviews

Célia Gomes

I loved this class! So inspirational and useful tips! Congratulations Vanessa. Thank you so much for sharing your experience! And thank you Creative Live for opportunity of watch the class for free. Célia Gomes, Portugal.

angela warmington

Great course. Full of great business tips and practices that are adaptable to your own personal style of business. She has such a passion and love for her work and it comes across very clearly as she teaches. I am new to wedding photography and am so glad I purchased this course!!


I loved this class and got some great new ideas and insights thanks to Vanessa, thank you so much! Love from Holland

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