The $10,000 Challenge with Christine Yodsukar
My friend and colleague Mike Allebach and I hosted a workshop together for a year and a half, during which we coached photographers through the wedding album in-person-sales process. Mike started a Facebook group alongside it in order to continue the conversations on everything we worked on in the workshop. Last January, we decided that it would be great to challenge everyone after one of the workshops to reach out to past wedding clients, use what we taught them, and get wedding albums into their clients’ hands.
We called it the $10K Challenge: if you have ten clients from the past two years and sell each of them a $1,000 wedding album, you will have made an extra $10,000 that January. Or, if you have five past clients who never got albums, and you sell them each a $2,000 album, you’ll have hit the $10K goal as well. Basically, the idea was to get resourceful during what can generally be a slow month in the wedding photography world, and show yourself that opportunity is everywhere. For the photographers that did it, they went on to be some of the most successful with wedding album IPS I’ve ever seen.
While May might not be a slow month for wedding photographers, and in fact it is probably one of the busier months, why not make an extra $10,000 this month?
Step One: Segment Your Past Clients
The first thing you’ll want to do with the $10K Challenge is to go back through your clients for the past two to three years. In my experience, the more recent they were, the more likely they’ll be to want to purchase a wedding album; however, don’t rule anyone out. Sometimes people surprise you with what they want and how much they are willing to invest into it. As you work back through your client list, pick out all of the clients who did not get a wedding album.
Once you have everyone’s names pulled, you are then going to divide them into four groups and label them A through D. The A group is reserved for the couples you think will be the most excited to purchase a big, beautiful wedding album from you. In the B group, you will put names of couples who you think will be really excited to have a wedding album, but maybe the investment during the wedding was a difficult area for them, so purchasing a wedding album might be a little more difficult. Group C is for couples who you liked, but who were not very easy to work with or had some red flags that purchasing an album might not be on their to-do list. And lastly, group D are the couples that you don’t think will purchase a wedding album because they don’t value it at all, but you still like them and want the best for them.
Step 2: Email Them.
With your A group list ready to go, you are going to send an email letting them know that you would love to help them get their wedding album and that you’ve created a complimentary album design that you’d love to show them. You’ll do this for each group, but the purpose of going group by group is so that if everyone does want an album (which could very well happen!), you don’t end up overloading your workflow with a volume you’re not used to, all in one week. Pace yourself so your customer service doesn’t suffer.
In this email, it is helpful to acknowledge the fact that you are contacting them some time after their wedding, so that they are not left wondering, “Why now?” I suggest, at the beginning of the email, apologizing for not having helped them with their wedding album sooner. Explain to them that you now have the design skills and the systems to support providing them with the most amazing experience ever, and you’d love to guide them through this experience as well. Next, let them know that you’ve created a stunning complimentary wedding album design that you’d love to show them. Lastly, ask them if they have time for a quick phone call and give them two time-and-date options.
Send this email to the A group, wait a few days for responses, and then when your workflow has space, send the email to the B group, and so on.
Step 3: Album Pricing Quote
You’ve just gotten some email replies—congratulations! This is the exciting part…and possibly the anxiety-inducing part, because now you have to sell. If they have responded with a time to have the phone call, you can move on to carrying out this step. Some people, though, will not want to talk on the phone, so they will ignore the part about the phone call and ask more questions via email or ask you to send them over the wedding album design. Remember, you are the one guiding them through this experience, so you do not have to say yes to every request. In fact, you should get very comfortable with saying no, so that you can give people the best experience possible.
When it comes time to have your call, the main purpose is two-fold. One, you want to re-establish their connection to their wedding. Talk about the things that happened on their wedding day. Bring those emotions back up, and ask them questions that help you understand what their favorite memories from the wedding are as well as what memories they wish were more vivid. Your second purpose of this call is to quote them on album pricing so that you can have a surprise-free design consultation later.
Once you have connected them back to their emotions of the wedding, start to talk about the album itself. Talk about how stunning it is, how substantial it is, and how every other couple loves it so much. Mention your pricing, and let them know that you’re going to design a big album that includes all of their wedding day memories.
Bonus Tip: Make sure to ask them at the beginning of the call what they did with their wedding photos. Most of the time, couples have not done anything more than printing a few 4×6 prints. Your reaction to that should be along the lines of, “Oh my goodness! I can’t believe I left you to try to figure that out on your own. You’re going to love your album when you get it now!”
Step 4: Schedule the Wedding Album Consultation
Now that you have connected them back to their emotions from the wedding and quoted them over the phone, it’s time to set a date for their wedding album design consultation. It is important to pick a date and have everyone put it into their calendars while you’re still on that initial phone call. After the call, I like to follow up with an email that confirms their design consultation appointment and gives them exciting information about how wonderful and helpful the consultation will be. I set their expectations about what to expect and what the meeting will be like, briefly revisit the base album pricing I mentioned on the phone, and let them know that at the end of the meeting, they will be paying in full for the album they are ordering.
Step 5: Sell!
Now, you get to host your wedding album design consultation, showing them a big, beautiful album design, and helping them edit it to be perfect for their needs. Quote them the price for the final design they have created, and take their payment. Don’t forget to have them sign an artwork agreement before leaving the design consultation approving the design and payment terms. This workflow works for both in-person and virtual wedding album sales.
Last but not least, celebrate how much fun it was to serve your clients, get a stunning wedding album into their hands, and get money you did not expect this month into your business bank account!