Increasing Sales per Client

Most of us want to work less and make more. Or maybe you just want to make more, period. Either way, one step toward higher earnings is generating more revenue per client.

PPA member and PPA Business Consulting mentor Allison Rodgers, Cr.Photog., points out that the first step in boosting sales is understanding whatCopyright Allison Rodgers your clients want. "It's critical to go into your shoot knowing what your client wants to purchase," she says. "If you don't do a pre-session consultation or pre-qualify your client, you are both going into the ordering session with only a vague idea of what's going to happen." That, points out Rodgers, can potentially turn into a big waste of time for photographer and client alike.

To avoid that type of situation, Rodgers always makes sure to talk about money during her pre-session consultations. "I realize that talking about money is hard for many photographers, but it's very important to get everyone on the same page," she says. Rodgers points out that clients always have a dollar amount in their heads before the session even happens. For example, your clients might be thinking of spending around $500 on their baby portraits. If your target sale is closer to $1,500, then you have a problem right off the bat. Better to have the conversation up front so that you don't go through your entire process for an end result that leaves everyone unhappy.

Carrie Wildes, CPP, also a PPA member and PPA Business Consulting mentor, points out that this process may scare away some price shoppers who don't want to pay your rates, but that's okay. "Sometimes it's best to take 'no' for an answer," she says. "Not everyone is going to be the right fit for you and your studio. Your average sale will be much higher with the clients who appreciate the art you can provide for their homes, and who want to make that investment."

Offering a good assortment of products is another key. Products help you fulfill your clients' wishes, and also help you build a customized price structure for their session ahead of time. If you know your clients want a collection of canvas wraps with a small keepsake album, then you can establish your expected sale before you ever click your shutter. Plus, products give you the ability to upsell, adding additional items to the order during your sales session when the clients are enamored with your stunning artwork. If you just sell a disc of digital images, where's the upsell potential?

IMAGE © ALLISON RODGERS PHOTOGRAPHY

Selling professional-level products also gives you an opportunity to build trust with your clients by creating customized recommendations for their home. "If your clients feel that you're working for them, they will trust you more, and that usually leads to higher sales," says Wildes. "Just make sure that your products are well above the quality that your clients can get on their own at places like Wal-Mart or sites like Shutterfly. You have to offer something that they can't copy or do themselves."

Copyright Allison RodgersWith this framework in mind, Rodgers and Wildes offered a few more tips for boosting average sales:

  • Forget your own budget. Don't think in terms of what you would buy; think in terms of what your clients will buy.
  • Encourage people to go big. When selling packages or image collections, show their value by providing a visible discount over a la carte pricing. Make that discount more pronounced in the higher-end packages to encourage people to upgrade.
  • Go interactive. Project images during an in-person sales session with an interactive sales tool. Both Wildes and Rodgers use ProSelect sales software from Time Exposure. The application helps you design customized packages and mock up how images will look in real spaces, giving your clients a better concept of how certain products will look in their home.

    IMAGE © ALLISON RODGERS PHOTOGRAPHY

  • Make it easy to buy. Make the sales process convenient for your clients. For example, you could accept credit cards and/or offer a payment plan. A $2,000 sale might sound too big to a client on a budget, but if she can break it up into several installments or put it on a card, it becomes more manageable.
  • Don't bank on emotions. Emotions alone will not sell your images. Clients may be wowed by the photography, but you still need a sales plan to capitalize on those emotions.
  • Don't limit your sale. On your website and studio literature, consider not listing a price range. Instead, leave the pricing figures open ended. If you say, "Packages between $1,000 and $1,500," then you have limited yourself within those boundaries. Better to say, "Packages beginning at $1,000…"
  • Slow down. If you're offering a more customized, boutique-style experience, it pays to slow down and consider all the options that will work for the client. You'llCopyright Carrie Wildes provide better customer service and probably boost your sale because of the personal touch you put into the experience.

IMAGE © CARRIE WILDES PHOTOGRAPHY

These tips have worked for Rodgers and Wildes. Will they work for you? Maybe 2013 is the year to find out!

Copyright Carrie Wildes 

IMAGE © CARRIE WILDES PHOTOGRAPHY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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