Thursday, March 19, 2009

Selling - Business Building, Adding Value, & Bundling - Part 2

Good Morning Everybody,
Wow! I can't believe the week has gone by so quickly. I was ready to do a Wednesday post today until I realized it was Thursday - I think I was thrown off by my Technique Tuesday actually being posted on Wednesday. Yep, some weeks it seems the days run together. This is one of those weeks.

About 4pm yesterday, I get a call from my team to head on over to the production area - my office is in an "Ivory Tower" you know ;~) They told me I had to see this really cool thing they wanted to show me. Well, it turned out LaDawn and my team of "angels" had popped the cork on a bottle of champagne to celebrate my book being finished and coincidentally, the Tour Handbook as well.

Jennifer had been working hard to complete and prepare it to specifications for the last several days. It was uploading to Marathon as we were enjoying the champagne and snacks! Anyway, lots to celebrate - might explain the late post yesterday. Anyway, how about on with another Business Day Thursday episode. Hit the "Read More..." link below - I know you will enjoy the read.

Here we go...
Selling - Business Building, Adding Value, & Bundling - Part 2

Last week I started a short series on how to sell more effectively in these trying times of our economy. A lot of photographers are feeling the budget pinch these days. Hey, it's not just because there are so many new photographers entering the market - even those new guys are feeling the squeeze, too.

It's always struck me over the years that businesses that are truly successful are businesses that are always on the move - one way or the other. It may be in new product offerings, enhanced customer service, or pre-packaging and polishing up their current product offerings.

How can we, the small studio owner learn from the big guys? Easy, copy what they are doing. What can we do to polish up our own product offerings. This is easier than you might think and I'm not necessarily talking about lowering the price. I'm talking more about raising perceived value for what you are offering.

Hear me out: Let's say you are a wedding photographer and the client is looking at their purchasing possibilities. One of those possibilities is a family album - notice, I didn't say parent's album. Why? Because only parents will buy parents albums. Any family member in addition to parents - godparents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, maids of honor, etc. - may purchase a family album. You get the idea.

OK, so we have some interest in someone wanting a family album - how do you "close the sale?" They may think the price is beyond their budget at this time. Heck, we all think that from time to time when we are buying things. What makes the decision "to buy" easier for us many times - it's that "perceived value". Yes, we will make a buying decision if we think it's worth it, don't we.

The deal is that when it comes to this family album, your client has to believe that the purchase is worth it. So, why not do this. Why not offer the client your new "Studio Special" - remember re-packaging and polishing your current product offerings as we discussed. What is that "Studio Special?

Let's give this a try. "Thank you Mrs. Smith. I thought Mary's images were beautiful too, I was really excited to have you see them. Have you thought about a family album for yourself?" We have a few new items together at my studio that we think our clients are going to be excited about." With this sentence, I am doing what the sales books call "building expectations." I say it not to trick anybody here - I really do believe our clients will like what I'm going to offer.

Back to my client conversation. "With the purchase of twenty or more images, we will include the leather cover at no extra charge. That's a $200 value." Value add #1. "Something else we are offering is one of our "Platinum Series" images with each family album with a minimum of 25 images - don't worry about the odd number of pages. Do you have a extra invitation? I'll be happy to mount it in your album with my compliments. Our new "Platinum Series" B&W images are printed to our exacting specifications and looks beautiful. (building expectations again.) We are even including our Onyx frame at a 50% savings."

How many times have I done a "Added Value" to my offer?
1. 20 or more photographs means the client receives a $200 value with the complimentary leather. Added value - $200.
2. We are including a beautiful 5x7 or 8x10 "Platinum Series" portrait. This is a new product offering. It's a B&W image printed on the Kodak "Metallic paper". It looks very contemporary, especially in B&W. This is something they probably have never seen before from any of the competition either. The image just shimmers in a black frame - Added value - $45.
3. Mounting the wedding invitation at no charge. Added value - $20.
4. 50% savings on the Onyx frame. Added value - $20.

So in all, if the client decides to make the decision to purchase 25 image family album for herself she will be paying for the 25 images plus $20 for the Onyx frame, but will actually be receiving a total of $285 in added value with everything else mentioned above. Now it does look like a really good deal - and better yet - it is.

So in review, what have I done? I've added substantial value - $285 - for the purchaser, offered to enhance the look of the family album by custom mounting the wedding invitation, introduced her to our cool and different new product offering - the "Platinum Series" B&W print, and gave her a convenient and stylish solution to framing her new "Platinum print."

Folks, I think you get the idea. But you have to develop your product offering, and develop more than just one. You need to rehearse your offer Value Add presentation being prepared with answers for any objections the client may raise, and lastly be confident and happy that this one business building process will add to your bottom line. You know, one of my favorite sales mantras is. "Stop being and Order Taker and start being and ORDER MAKER!"

Digital WakeUp Call Note:
My Digital WakeUp Call 58 city tour [link] is more than just about photography. Part III of my presentation is focused on "Business Building" for your photography business. The 20 ideas I'm presenting will have worked for photography businesses everywhere, large and small. Many of my attendees enjoy my business building sessions the best. I hope you will too. Here is the link to the tour's content right here. Hope to see you there!

Hey gang, on that note, I'm outta' here. See everybody tomorrow, -David


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  2. Congrats on getting the book done. That must be a load off your mind.

    Good thoughts on adding value. It has me thinking of offering a basic album based on what clients full storybook album. We can make up press books like WHCC for a fraction of the cost since the design will already be done.


  3. Adding Value?

    I'm missing something here, I understand the sale and all but what are you actually charging the client for? It seems like your offering quite a bit of work but what are you charging them for? just the 20-25 photos? and how much are you charging for them or this hole package deal? How much for the package?



  4. Congratulations on your finished projects. Thanks for all your effort you give on this blog. Look forward to meeting you when you head out on your tour.

  5. Dave, I am so excited about attending your Tour stop in El Paso next month. And congrtats on finishing the Book and the tour workbook, when will we be able to order the book?

    Also, in the Photo, it appears the light is coming from camera left instead of camera right. Or am I miss interpreting the where the light is coming from?

  6. Great post! I think a lot of us have trouble in the sales area, simply because we don't know how to do it! You gave me some real food for thought here, and I will definitely be trying a few new things in my sales sessions.