So many of you have dreams of being a full-time photographer, but you can’t afford to go full-time until you can’t afford NOT to. That means your part-time income from photography has to exceed what you’re making in your day job, so you have to go full-time or lose substantial revenue.
Truly successful business owners don’t sit and passively wait for money to roll in. They also constantly revisit their goals, their strategies, and their progress. Coming up with a business plan is not a one-time deal; you don’t just set it and forget it. This definitely holds true for photographers. Get in the habit of examining your goals, running your numbers, and measuring your progress. Depending on your results, either fix what’s broken, or set a new, higher goal. Implement. Assess. Analyze. It might sound like a lot of work, but I guarantee the first time you meet your monthly goal, you’ll be hooked.
The first time I tried after-sales, it felt silly. The most I could bring myself to do was send an email after their wedding telling them that the free thank-you cards that came with their wedding package could be upgraded in size and style. I also threw in the idea that they could add pages to their albums. I still remember cringing as I hit send. I felt like such a sleaze.
For the past several months in The Business Corner, we’ve been building your sales system from the ground up in order to get you to your target sales average. Now it’s time to put all your hard work into action. It’s time to craft your client experience workflow to maximize your sales potential. That workflow starts the moment a potential client inquires.
I wasn’t always able to sell digitals the way I sell products. In fact, the word digital scared me. I had put so much work into learning how to sell products and testing my approaches that I hadn’t even thought about how to sell digitals. Through learning how to sell products, I learned how to build value for the products I was offering. The albums and wall galleries were family heirlooms that served as a valuable daily reminder of what is most important to people. Having something in your home you can look up at every day and feel better about the troubles you’re facing is priceless. I could sell that all day long to my clients because I understood the value of it.
Our goal this month is to round out your sales system with clever and desirable upsell options to entice your clients to get the most out of their experience with you (and to get you the most profit). A quick note about terms: In the strictest sense, upselling means selling the client a higher-priced product than the one they were considering. The terms cross-selling and add-on sales describe selling the client additional items beyond the one they were considering. It’s become commonplace to use the word upselling for all methods of achieving a higher sale. For the purposes of this article, we use the broader meaning of upselling.
For successful sales, you have to create a system that makes getting to your target sale easy and fun. This month, we focus on the role of your price list in making your target sale the easiest way for the client to buy from you. It is not just a list of every product you offer, but a systematic approach of presenting different items and offers that your clients can’t resist.
You read that title right. All other things equal, marketing is the reason I see most businesses fail. They ether don’t do it at all or, quite frankly, they suck at it. And no, running a Facebook Ad is not marketing. There are time-worn strategies that go into marketing. You don’t just do something and magic happens. You need a plan. You then must execute that plan. You then evaluate the results, make adjustments and re-execute your plan. Rinse and repeat.
For a long time I despised marketing because I did not have a strategy for our B2B video and photo company. Anything that I had tried, like posting on Facebook and Instagram or email marketing, did not seem to work for me. These strategies work when done well, but I did not figure them out and was getting frustrated. A mentor told me to look at my best clients—the 80/20 rule—and figure out the commonality between all of them. Were they all the same type of business? Did they all have the same product or service? Did they all find us through Google?
In-person sales (IPS) offers the number-one way to make real money as a photographer in today’s digital world. But lots of photographers still resist this proven strategy. Most people who refuse to implement IPS are terrified of it. That’s understandable. The idea of sales has such a negative connotation, especially for artists who already suffer from the “Am I good enough?” complex. Those photographers are expected to sit in front of their clients, confidently make eye contact and ask for thousands of dollars? Forget about it.