Could Video Email Improve Your Customer Responses?

Photographers tell us that one of the most frustrating emails they get is the potential client who writes, “how much does it cost?” Often, it feels like answering these emails is a waste of time. If only you could talk to them on the phone and explain the value you offer in your service.

If that sounds like you, why not consider video email? Instead of a text reply, you can take 1-2 minutes in a video to build the value of your work, then encourage a potential client to call you and discuss their needs in more detail or to set up an appointment.

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A Business Card and Good Conversation

conversationIt’s an old axiom in photography that the best camera you own is the one you always have with you. The same holds true for marketing your photographic business. The best marketing tools you have are the ones you always have with you: a business card, and good conversation.

Business cards are the least expensive, most powerful marketing tools you can use. You should have a professionally designed card you are proud to give to anyone. But just as importantly, you should have them in your pocket or bag 24/7.

Never leave home without your business cards.

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Graduation prints for $5 at Walmart

I recently spoke to a mother who was frustrated with the professional photographer she had hired to do her twin’s graduation photography. Her side of the story (admittedly biased) was this. She had contracted with a photographer who specialized in grads for an offsite “urban decay” photo shoot. The cost they agreed on was $1,600 dollars for the shoot, with prints to be chosen later.

After later reviewing the images, the mom was told the prints she ordered would cost almost $15,000 dollars. She said she didn’t want to spend that much, tried to cut the number of prints down, got frustrated, and eventually left the studio.

Because she didn’t have prints to show at the open house, she asked a friend with a camera to take some outdoor shots. The friend gave her a memory stick with all the images. She had them printed at the local big-box store.

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5 Ways to Use Psychology to Boost Sales

ThinkstockPhotos-495721137-300x300Every client is unique when they are ready to make a purchase of a big-ticket item like professional photography. However, psychologists who study sales behavior know that there are common mental shortcuts we all use when we’re ready to buy.

Think of it as part of our “animal brain.” For example, if we hear a sudden, loud noise, we might jump, yell or jerk our head around to see where the noise came from. Our reaction is based on our body’s “fight or flight” response. We cannot help it. Even though we’re sometimes embarrassed by our reactions, it is almost impossible to control.

The same holds true with sales. When we are ready to make a purchase, we use emotional shortcuts wired into our brain that we may not even be aware of. By knowing what these shortcuts are, you can increase the likelihood of getting a client to make a purchase.

So what are these built-in shortcuts? Here are five examples, and how they can help you motivate your clients:

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What To Do When a Client Says “It costs too much.”

one-dollarRecently we had a meeting at the lab. We set up a table with some of our popular products including gallery wraps. One of the attendees said she was going to stop selling them because she gets too many “I can get those at Cost Mart” objections when she tries to sell them.

My initial response was “Ok”. We do not sell the least expensive wraps. I have customers say the same thing to me. I didn’t argue. Instead, I tried to help her to understand the value of my gallery wraps over the cheaper ones at a big box store so she could explain that value to her clients.

This isn’t really a problem of cost – it is a sales objection that we all potentially face every time we talk to a client.

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Photography Sales vs. Marketing: What’s the Difference?

salesRecently we had a training session at the lab. During the break, one of the photographers said she wanted to hire a sales and marketing person. I told her they are completely different people. The best sales person doesn’t really know anything about marketing and the best marketing person may have no idea how to close a sale.

What do I mean?

While there are lots of great examples online explaining the difference between sales and marketing, it comes down to this: marketing gets people to pick up the phone. Sales gets them to write a check. A marketing person thinks about how to write a great ad for people they will never meet. A sales person thinks about how to handle an objection like, “I can get it cheaper somewhere else.”

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Increase Sales with Projected Sales Presentations

projected-image-salesDuring our recent Wall Portrait Sales webinar, Charles and Todd Lewis suggested using a software program called ProSelect. Although we’ve been familiar with the program for years (it reminds me of ProShots), some of you may not know about it. But you should. ProSelect has all of the features and functionality needed to create a professional projected sales presentation.

Projected sales presentations have been used by many of the top wedding and family portrait photographers for years. Clients sit in a living-room environment in the studio, and watch a slide show of the event or portrait sitting. They then work with the photographer over the next hour or more to create an album, choose wall portraiture, or order photo gifts like parent’s albums. This technique has been shown to consistently result in bigger sales than the original packages ordered.

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The Perfect Event Photography Experience

event photographyI escorted a nine year old young lady to a “Daddy Daughter Dance” last weekend. Between dancing to the Chicken Song and eating home-made cookies with lemonade, I decided to have our photo taken. The experience was delightful. In all my years, I had never seen such a professional and well-run event photography setup. If you offer event photography, I hope you might be able to take away a few tips from what I noticed.

We walked up to an 8” table with 2 people taking orders. 3 “packages” were taped to the table on both ends: an 8×10” print for $18, an 8×10” plus 2-5×7” prints for $28, and a deluxe package (I don’t remember the price). The worker took cash or credit card via a hand-held reader. When you paid for your package, you were given a colored ticket depending on the package you ordered: red, blue or green.

There were a couple of things I noticed. First, the middle package was taped ahead of the other 2 to subliminally suggest this was the most “popular” package I should order. Second, there was nothing to distract me from the only decision I had to make: which package to buy. Each package were actual prints taped to the table with the price below it in 6” tall numbers. No explanations. I could have completed the transaction even if I didn’t know how to read. The employee didn’t ask me for my email address or give me anything to order reprints later online. Their only goal was to move hundreds of couples through the process as quickly as possible.

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Features vs. Benefits

I read marketing or promotional pieces from dozens of photographers, labs, and companies in our business every week. One of the things I’ve become sensitive to over the years is the difference between a feature and a benefit.

Why should you care? Because nobody ever bought a feature. People buy the benefits a product or a service will bring them.

Understanding the difference between features and benefits is critical to all your marketing efforts.

Here are some examples:

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“It’s a little over, is that OK?” Up Selling for Photographers


Marche-aux-puces-Lausanne CC-BY-SA-2.0-fr

I went to the farmer’s market last week to pick up a pumpkin for the front porch. While I was there, I decided to treat myself to half a pound of a great 10 year old white cheddar they sell at the cheese shop. Expensive, but it tastes amazing. Nothing like it at the supermarket.

The young lady finished cutting the cheese, threw it on the scale, then looked up at me and said,

“It’s a little over, is that OK?”

What could I say? Not only was it okay, but I was impressed that this student had already learned the art of upselling. Then I started thinking about how upselling could work in a photographic studio.
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