Maximize PROFIT, In Today’s World Means Getting The Most Out Of Each Client!

Getting the most out of each client sounds like such a bad thing, but if you believe in the quality of the product you sell (your photography) selling, up selling and selling different product types is simply, finding out what a client wants and helping them to get it.  Reality; there are fewer people who have the money to spend on professional photography (and many more ‘less than professional photographers’ out there trying to con the ones looking for a deal). Blame it on Bush or blame it on Obama it is the reality we have to live with.

Your current clients represent the best source of additional income your studio has. Current clients obviously have money or they wouldn’t have come to you in the first place.  Current clients take little or no marketing/advertising dollars to add to the bottom line/profit of your business. While many photographers and studios employ some of the practices I will discuss, in today’s economy you need to do them all.

First step is to increase orders. You need to have a professional sales person that goes through everything with each client.  So many photographers or the spouse of the photographer try selling their own work and are not trained in sales. What you say, the way you show your work and how to respond to the clients questions can mean the difference between a $300 order and a $1000 order.

Second, develop products to add the order and offer incentives for those products to increase the overall order size.  Products like Christmas Cards, Grad Inserts, Collages and Groupings, templates, frames, folios, albums and hand bags can all add to the profit of each order. Show every product to every client whether you think they will buy them or not. I once sold a 30×40 family portrait to a family that lived in a literal shack.  Right after they picked up their family portrait they started building a new home, I like to think to showcase my portrait (and you thought you had an ego?)  You never know, I have seen people in cars that looked like it wouldn’t make it out of the parking lot order $1500 worth of portraits and pay in cash.  On the flip side, I had a lady in a $100,000 Mercedes and a diamond wedding ring that was so large it looked ‘cartoonish’ get her daughter back into her car after showing up for the daughters senior portrait session because the girl didn’t inform the mother the minimum package was $300!  This lady spent more than $300 a week on her hair, nails and facial services, but I guess you must have your priorities.  The point is you never know who will be a $1000 sale and who will try to buy the minimum, so do your best with each and every session and have your sales people sell like everyone is going to buy $5000 worth of portraits!

Once you increase sales in the sales room, increase reorders by including a reorder form in the package.  Almost every clients forgets someone to give a portrait to or had their eye on a product or portrait in the viewing room that would have put them over their self-imposed spending limit.  If you put your products and portraits on an easy to use order form you will add to your sales.  Make it easy, our client can call in their re-orders using a credit card and general description of the pose or poses they want to buy.  The easier you make it, the more orders you will have.  Make sure to show each client the reorder slip as you go through their order with them at pick-up.

Put cards, handouts, mailers and/or advertisements in with the orders that current clients are picking up.  Why not sell additional types of portraits to happy clients.  If you do weddings, wouldn’t an advertisement for your boudoir or even baby photography be a natural next step in the evolution of a client?  We do seniors, so each senior gets a family card and a “mom it your turn” card. The mom card is based on the fact I hear so many mothers comment while with their daughters at their senior portrait session, saying “this looks like so much fun I want to make a session for myself!”  They become involved in ordering their daughters portraits and typically never make the appointment.  So I want to give them what they want and this advertisement is a reminder. Around the holidays many seniors give their moms the gift their mother gave to them!  Gift cards, gift certificates all can make it easier for clients to spend money at your business.

Many photographers complain, “I just can’t afford additional marketing, everything  I have talked about this far is free or very inexpensive.” If you can’t afford full color, professionally printed cards/advertisements print them out on nice paper from your ink jet.  Costco refills ink for most printer at a fraction of the cost of replacement ink cartridges.  The last suggestion will cost money, but will improve the response rate for the money you spend. Send out thank you notes, happy birthday cards, upcoming specials and events to those clients in your database. Mailing costs can be high and you can lose a client that is overwhelmed by junk mail, but  three or four mailings a year isn’t going to offend anyone.  The more you can categorize your clients in your studio software the more efficient your mailing will be and the better the response rate for the money spent.

The key here is to replace the business the economy and increased competition has taken from you will larger sales, more re-orders and selling different services to the same clients.  This is will Maximize Profits by getting the most out of each client, by making it easy for them to get what they truly want!

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~ by jeffsmithbooks on September 19, 2010.

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