Thursday, July 02, 2009

Business Day Thursday: Selling To The Out Of Town Client - It's Easier Than You Think!

Good Morning Everybody,
Well, it looks like yesterday's 5 - Questions... Webinar was a HIT! We had nearly 400 show up and stuck around for the entire program. Just read the comments in yesterday's post [link]. Everybody seemed to have a great image quality and clear sound from all points around the globe. Thanks to all who attended and to all those who offered the feedback on the Webinar.

Several asked about recording the Webinar - I did record it as a WMA file. Converting it to a MP4 file resulted in a 3 GIG! file - a little large for an easy download. We are looking at alternatives so stay tuned.

I'm planning another webinar in two weeks - Topic-wise, I'm thinking, "How To Use Off-Camera Flash To Create Beautiful Bridal Images In the Church." What do you think? I'll keep you posted. Anyway, lots of good stuff waiting in the wings.

Oh, by the way, if you missed it, I finally got my video posted on how to shoot panoramas on Tuesday's post. Here is the link right here - Enjoy!

Hey gang, let's get on with our Business Day Thursday episode today. Here we go...

Selling To The Out Of Town Client - It's Easier Than You Think!
I know, I know, everybody's thinking, "Just put the photos up on-line. Then anybody can see them and pick out what they want." It's that type of thinking that make photogs "cry" about their sales averages. It's why we have so many photogs in business today and gone tomorrow. It's the reason so many photogs are in this profession for "Beer money" instead of "Real money!"
OK, strong words from my soapbox. Why am I up on my soapbox again? Folk's it's simple - Unless you are proactively involved in the sales process, expect the sale to go nowhere! I've been shouting that mantra for 29 years.

Sure, I jumped into the photography business the way so many photogs have gotten into the business today - OK photography, cheap prices, and crummy sales. Thankfully I attended a seminar or two early on that changed how I ran my business. I remember a photog speaking at our local group and showing a slide show of his wedding images. I was tearing up watching the images - and they were not even my images - something emotional was happening to me and many others in attendance.

Hit the "Read More..." link below for the rest of the story.

I thought, "What would happen if I showed my clients their images that way?" The rest is history - I almost overnight tripled my average. By 2006 we were selling over 70 weddings a year at over $2000! Boy, don't get the wrong idea - I'm not tossing this info out to brag. I'm tossing the numbers out to get your attention!

In 1980, I began inviting my wedding clients back to my studio to view a slide show of their wedding images. They loved it. I was able to share with them what I saw in my "mind's eye" and felt in my heart as I photographed their wedding. I was able to bring "meaning" to so many of the images I had created for them on the wedding day. How in the world do you do that on-line? YOU DON'T!

Putting your images on-line only makes you an ORDER TAKER - you need to be an ORDER MAKER if you want to be successful in this business. That is especially true today when every photog with a camera is a "wedding photographer."

I know I'm getting fired up here. You say I can't get my clients to come to your studio or home to review their images - time is just too short. Folks' that brings us to today's post. You go to them, but still in the comfort of your own home or studio. And best of all - it's simple.

Many of you attended my 5 Questions... Webinar yesterday, well here is the deal. The same company that made that technology possible also offer another service called, "GoToMeeting." It is a very simple, reasonably priced way for me to collaborate with my client on their wedding selection in real time. Here is the GoToMeeting link.

I simply fire up the GoToMeeting applet and send an email to my client. They click on the meeting link in the email, enter the 9 digital code, and presto, we are connected with both voice and picture. Yes, you hear me right - I can put my computer screen right on their computer screen and we can both hear each other like we are in the same room - it's like WOW!

Last week was my first try - the client's words were, "This is wonderful!" I knew I had "struck gold" with a practical application to reach my out-of-town clients. I could still share with them my thoughts and suggestions on what images would be best for their album. I could suggest a series of images that would be best at telling their story.

It was a win-win studio/client communications solution. I'm actually meeting with my NYC client one more time tomorrow morning to wrap up the her wedding order. I have to say, I'm looking forward to it. I'll put my screen (showing Lightroom) on her laptop and simply "fine tune" the order together.

The bottom line is this folks, we have to stay connected with our clients if we are to offer them the best customer service and support possible. Heck, we are all "super" connected with each other on the social scene via Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc. Why not be connected where it counts - while making the sale. What better service could you offer your next out-of-town client than you being with them sharing your own thoughts, feelings, emotions, expertise, and creativity in putting their wedding collection together?

The technologies are easily available - some even are free. Here is a link to several I found in my Google search right here. Some like DimDim [link] have gotten some pretty nice reviews.

I have to say, I'm a big fan of GoToMeeting as it is still my favorite source because, right out of the box, it was easy and intuitive to use. I've also found their Tech Support to be friendly, knowledgeable, and easily accessible.

So there you have it folks - the easiest way in the world to be connected with your clients around the world. Plan to watch your client's enthusiasm blossom and your sales grow - it's a brand new world out there!

Hey gang, that's it for me today. I've got a few projects on the front burner that I need to complete. How about I see everybody tomorrow for another episode of "You Light Up My Life Friday." See ya' then, -David


  1. I like the idea of Dimdim because it's free.

    Thanks, David!

    Kelly Newport

  2. David, you are a genius! I don't yet know how I should incorporate this tip, but I know that I will in the future...

    Thanks for the great advice and have a great day.

  3. Seriously good stuff D. This has all really been hitting home for me these days after attending the Wall portrait conf, but I knew I would always have some clients that lived far away and simply could not come in.

    Doing remote meetings had been in my mind for album viewing, but seriously I can use it for everything when the client is out of town, and then perhaps add a full access gallery for friends after the main viewing.


  4. David,

    That actually made me sit up in my chair and read your post twice. That is an outstanding application of existing technology in an innovative and functional way.

    This is going to change a lot of things for me and solve a few big problems I had on the horizon - thank-you so much for this, you are a diamond in the rough!

    And if that's 'the' Gavin Seim posting up there above me - love you work too, the podcast is awesome and the presets get better and better - !!! why haven't I realised what amazing communities and resources are out here sooner???!!!


  5. Very good article. I use a service called ilinc to do the same in my work as a project manager(day job). I haven't ever really considered using it to connect with my photography clients... I wonder now why I don't, it makes perfect sense! I can testify with David that these services (gotomeeting, dimdim, ilinc,etc) are a wonderful way to get in there and show your distant clients what you want them to see.

    Just an added thought. This is also a way to market yourself as a "greener" photographer...if you or your clients care about that sort of thing. Not sure about dimdim or gotomeeting, but ilinc has a little "green meter" that will show everyone logged in how many gallons of gas you have saved to date by using ilinc rather than driving to see the client. This amount build up quickly. There is no data entry on your part. I think ilinc must use the IP addresses of everyone involved in the meeting to extrapolate the distances/mileage and then gallons saved. I think there is also a way to enter some of you data, and this "green meter" will show you how much you save by not driving.

    In any case, it's a neat little tool. Not sure about the pricing though as my company pays for it. :)

  6. Mr. Ziser,

    I just recently had an opportunity to blog about my experience with the Digital Wake Up Seminar! It seems I was on vacation too long! (Is that even possible!?). Sorry its been a while but here is the link. I look forward to continuing to learn from you! Thanks again!

    Kasia Gilbert

  7. Great tips, David. I have been doing online proof for years and now seriously thinking about other way. Online meeting is certain one of them!