Wednesday, June 24, 2009

DigitalProTalk Announces Free Webinar! & Portrait Day Wednesday: Part 13 - Prepare To Be An Order Maker, Not An Order Taker

Good Afternoon Everybody,

Webinar Custom Image200pxLots of stuff on my calendar today which explains the late post, but the "stuff" is really cool stuff.  I've been playing around with some webinar technologies these last few days and want to dry run the concept next Wednesday, July 1, 2009, on our very first Webinar Wednesday.  Don't worry, I'll get back to our portrait series the following week.  

I've selected 5 items off the Skribit widget in the right column and will discuss them. Here is the program title and the 5 questions.

Program Title: Webinar Wednesday: 5 Questions - 5 Answers

1. How do I use indoor flash at weddings?

2. How do I balance fill flash with daylight?

3. What camera color settings do I use?

4. Tell me about wedding photography and reception etiquette.

5. What are my favorite magazines I read for education and inspiration?

I'll plan to get through as many of these questions as possible.  What a deal - a free seminar. Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as a "free lunch", at least next week;~)

I will be using the "GoToWebinar" app.  It's perfectly safe and is the most popular app for these kind of webinars.  I think this will be a kick. You can sign up for my free first ever Webinar Wednesday right here.

OK, time to get on with today's post, "Be an Order Maker, Not An Order Taker!"

 Be An Order Maker, Not An Order Taker

Last week we got into my workflow when prepping the order for the presentation to the client. Now I know what you might be thinking, “Ziser doesn't just put the images up online so his clients can choose their favorite photographs?” The answer would be a giant negatory! I've been in this business for quite a few years. I was lucky enough to learn early on that proof viewing, whether paper proof's or Internet proofs were sales killers. Ever since 1980 I have been proactively involved in the presentation/sales process with my clients. Putting the photographs up online neuters any input and influence that the photographer may have in the presentation/sale.

Hit the “Read More…” link below for the rest of the story.

iPhone1Follow my thinking. For an example, let's use Apple's iPhone 3Gs which was just introduced. What have you read? What have you heard about the new iPhone? Are you excited about its new features? Are you thinking about upgrading your iPhone to the new latest release? Are you thinking of maybe getting an iPhone for the first time in  your life?

I'm trying to put my whole sales process in perspective - stick with me.  I happen to fall onto the group that may be thinking of getting an iPhone for the first time. Why? Because what I read online and in the various trade magazines. The word on the street is that this latest release is supposed to be the best iPhone ever. BusinessWeek just did an article [link] on the iPhone as well. Without using the exact words they used the article more or less called it a game changing device for telephony.

It simply comes down to this. What I have read on the Apple iPhone website and what I have read in other articles and ads - all these influences have been building my expectation of ownership of this very cool product. I've never bought one because I wasn't happy with what I heard about the about the quality of service from the carrier (negative expectation) but, I've always been turned on by what I've heard about the features (positive expectation) of the iPhone.

Now it comes down to this - the features now far outweigh the slight compromise in phone coverage I might get with Apple's new iPhone.  Apple is certainly building my expectation about the new product.

That's exactly what we have to do with our own (photography) products – build client expectation - about their ownership of our (photography) product.  You never build a strong positive expectation when the client views them online.

We need to build the client's (positive) expectation for the various portrait (photography) products that we can create for them. It's really quite simple. Are our clients coming in just to select a few 8x10's and 5x7's and maybe a 5x7 or two for grandma? I think that all too often is the case for many photographers  running their business.

Too many of us are simply Order Takers – what we need to be is Order Makers! It's not just about selling an 8x10 or 5x7. It's about helping the client get what they want. It's also about finding out what the client may want too but haven’t the expertise to ask for it.

Order takers never go that extra step to find out what their clients may be excited about purchasing. They simply take the order for the 8x10's and 5x7's. Order Makers, on the other hand, know exactly how to make that happen. Hang in there - we are almost there.

Suggestion4What we need to do to be Order Makers is to "preview" for our clients several (photography) product possibilities that could truly enhance the enjoyment of their family photographs.

Probably the most striking addition to their home would be a wall portrait of one of their favorite images from their session. That means that I need to show them what that portrait would look like hanging in their home. In our case we can show a preview of that wall portrait option easily with the software we use for our presentations. TimeExposure's Proselect software [link] is one of the best out their for doing just that.

Suggestion2In the old film days we photographers typically made about 48 exposures at a family portrait session. We edited those images down to about 15 or 20 from which the client made their selection. The client typically purchased two, three, or four images for themselves and their relatives.

What's happened with digital is that we can take so many more photographs than we ever did in the film days. As I mentioned in last week's post [link], we can easily shoot 150-200 images during a portrait session. We typically edit that number down to about 100 or so images. What I don't want to happen though is for the client to select two, three, or four images like in the old days.

Treasure BoxDigital allows us the opportunity to preview lots of additional client options with all those additional images. We may suggest a portrait album with the client's favorite images. In addition to the wall portrait or portrait album ideas, another nice option is to offer a mini wall gallery featuring the family group as an 16x20 or larger in the middle and then surrounded by four 5 x 7 or 8x10 images featuring the mother, the father, and the two kids. A perfect place to suggest where to display this wall gallery may be in the family room or master bedroom.

Last week in our Business Day Thursday we also discussed how we could enhance our images [link]. Previewing the client's images with these "suggested" ideas builds the client's positive expectation of their numerous photographic possibilities available at my studio.  8x10's and 5x7's are a thing of the past.

Just review a couple of the examples that I've placed throughout today's post. These are just a few examples of how you might enhance the viewing experience for your clients as well.

Let me list for you what I consider the five “biggies” for image preparation.

1. Show one image as a wall portrait hanging on your client's own wall.

2. Show a nice collection of images as they might appear in a family portrait album.

3. Show a mini wall collage that features three or more images from the portrait session.

4. Preview several images in black and white as well as color and then show some of your black-and-white products with these images is well.

5. Preview a small number of images with a special artistic treatment such as edges or matting or whatever you can use to enhance the photograph even more. See last week's post [link].

I hope, in today's post I have at least pointed you in the direction to get you thinking about how you might build the client expectations for your own business.These are just a couple of quick ideas that you might consider. We've got a pretty savvy group of readers at DigitalProTalk - I bet you have a lot of good ideas yourself. Why don't you share some of your own sales presentation ideas in the comment section following this post.

Hey folks that's it for me today. I've got some pretty exciting things happening at the studio today but I can't tell you what they are quite yet. Stay tuned I might give you a preview in tomorrow's post. So, on that note, gang, Adios,  – David


  1. Hey David.

    Thanks for that! Love these posts.

    Do you actually take a photo of the clients living area to use in pro-select? Or do you you just use one of your own photos?


  2. David, day in and day out, you really deliver with informative and useful information. Don't ever think we are not grateful.

  3. David,

    I've attended your Digital Wake up Call Seminar in Tampa, and I can tell you it was money well spent. Since then, I've been an avid follower of your blog, and I must tell you how much I appreciate all your helpful advice.

    I run 3 Meetup Groups in Tampa Bay, with one of them devoted to Wedding and Event photography. I pass and recommend your Seminars and Blog to all my members.

    Thank you so much for being so willing to share your expertise with all us. It is greatly appreciated.