Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Portrait Day Wednesday: The Presentation Appointment - My 14 Step Plan For A Successful Presentation Experience

Happy-Hooray_000001999168XSmallGood Afternoon Everybody,

Well, it's been a pretty exciting day at the Ziser Studio. I just wrapped my second webinar just a few hours ago and, by the comments we received, everybody sure enjoyed the presentation. We went on longer than our scheduled 90 minutes but, to me that's always a good thing -- just more bang for the buck. I'll plan to get another webinar scheduled in the next few weeks and hopefully many of you will be able to join us for it. If you missed it---stay tuned later this week for information on a download that will be available.

Hey gang, it’s getting late so let’s started with today’s post.

Portrait Day Wednesday: The Presentation Appointment – My 14 Step Plan For A Successful Presentation Experience
Well it’s been looking like this post was never going to make it on line, but this is finally it’s lucky day! This will be our second last post of our Portrait Day Wednesday series. But, pay attention , this is probably one of the most important posts of the series.

Okay, where  did we leave off a few weeks ago? We talked about preparing images for viewing. We talked about creating suggestions with the clients images in which to show them for their  consideration. We should be totally prepared - now it's time to make our presentation with them.

Let me walk you through my 14 step plan for making this a fruitful experience.

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

Here we go…

1. When making a call to schedule the client appointment, we always check to be sure that the selected time is convenient for mom and dad – the key decision makers - to come to the studio. If there's young children in the family, we always verify that the parents have arranged a babysitter while mom and dad are at their appointment. There is nothing that can ruin the sale quicker than having young children distracting mom and dad while they are trying to finalize purchasing decisions for themselves and we are trying to put our best foot forward showing the best images from the shoot.

DAZNOTE: This reminds me of a personal experience I had a number of years ago when my children were quite small. We headed to the car dealer to look at a new car for the family. The salesperson wanted my undivided attention but I was a bit preoccupied with my young children.

Just as the salesperson was trying to give me his best deal, my daughter was running through the showroom putting her fingerprints on all the shiny new cars. Now I not saying my daughter was misbehaving, I think it was more about her being impatient with the long time it was taking to close the deal in the car. Everybody knows buying a car can indeed be a long process.

Just as were getting one more “pitch” from sales manager #3, my daughter filled her diaper.  All I could do was smile.  Thanks to the inopportune “diaper dump” the salesperson made her last and best offer.  I accepted and got a good deal on the car.

I learned an important lesson on that day. It's important to have only the key decision-makers present when holding your appointment with your client. That would be mom and dad and you. All the kids are back home with a babysitter.

2. We welcome our clients in a warm and hospitable way asking if they would like a refreshment and being sure that they have the select seating in the studio for viewing images. We first reminisce about about how well the shoot went. I let them know that they look great and can’t wait for them to see them.

DAZNOTE:  During the early part of our meeting I always ask them if they thought about which part of their home or in which room(s) they might hang their family portrait. What I'm doing is introducing them to the concept of owning a family portrait. It's a very interesting thing that I've learned over these many years of being in business.

When somebody walks into a client’s home, the first thing they’ll comment on will be a beautiful family portrait hanging in the family room or over the sofa in the living room. The client may have just bought all brand-new furniture, but the house guests will still comment on the family portraits. The wall portrait is indeed the most eye catching and most pleasing home decor in the room.

3. After visiting with them for a short while it's show time. My studio is ready to go. The screen is down, the projector is fired up, and the first title image is on the screen.

4. I learned a long time ago that people get pretty darn excited when they watch photography with music. After checking that mom and dad are comfortable and ready to go, I fire up the music and start the slideshow in Lightroom. As the slideshow is playing, I watch and listen to mom and dad’s expressions. It's easy to spot what some of their favorite images are during the presentation.

5. At the end of the show the lights come back up and I just wait to hear what they have to say about the presentation. I have to say, the comments are always overwhelmingly positive. You know, there is just something special about seeing your family, your kids, your husband, your wife and  all those beautiful images with the musical accompaniment.

6. After the slideshow, we have really broken the ice with our clients. It's at this point I basically lay out our very simple viewing procedures. I let mom and dad know that we will be working through each of the images one at a time with them selecting their favorites.

I let them know that after they have selected their favorites, we will go through them again and “fine tune” the order. I also let them know that nothing is “etched in stone” and that they can change their mind on any of the images at any time during our meeting. 

7. We then move through the images one at a time. If they love it I give it a two star rating in Lightroom.  This part of the process is  simply to narrow down their favorite image selections from the larger presentation. We may show them about 100 - 120 images from which they will select 35 – 65 or so favorites.

8. After they have selected their favorites, we're now going to try to pick the absolute best for the featured portrait. During this process we end up with the client's favorite and also a couple of runners-up images. I'll make a couple of suggestions as to which one I like based on where the image is going to be displayed  and how it might be framed in their home.

9. The next thing is to determine what is the appropriate size of the wall portrait. A quick rule of thumb is that a framed wall portrait should accommodate at least 50% of the wall space over the furniture where it will be displayed  That means that if the portrait is to hang over an 84 inch long sofa,  then the framed portrait should be at least 42 inches on the long side. 

10. After selecting the final image for the wall portrait, it's a simple matter to pick out the rest of the images for their home, office, god- parents, grandparents, and any other relatives for whom mom and dad might want to purchase photographs.  Many times our clients have summer homes so, of course we should suggest which and how many images they need for their other properties.

11. At this point in the presentation you might think that you're finished. Well, you're not.  Why, because our clients have told us they loved 35 - 65 images from the presentation. They’ve only picked out three or four of the key images for themselves and family members.  There are still many, many images that they told us they loved. We need to suggest how they may display the rest of these favorite images.

I usually suggest a portrait album or a “Treasure Box”.  Both items offer a wonderful way to feature several more images from the portrait shoot. Family portrait albums are typically 10x10 inch or 8x8 inch leather bound albums. 

It's the album that truly captures all the nuances and all the variety of the family portrait shoot. Are clients that have opted for the family album have thoroughly enjoyed and treasured their albums.

12.  Be sure to share with your clients the other suggested image possibilities that you prepared for them before they arrive at your studio. Multiple image presentation, groupings, clusters of images, special effects such as black and white, water color………

13. All we need to do now is to make some minor decisions as to framing and album cover colors. At this point we are getting close to the end of the presentation.

14. I'll quickly calculate an approximate cost of the order and let my clients know that my office will be contacting them with the final invoicing and requesting a 50% deposit to start processing the order.

Our meeting usually takes about 90 minutes.  At the end of that 90 minutes, I feel that we've done the best we can do in presenting our images to our clients and helped them make their best decisions so that they can enjoy and treasure their family photographs for many, many years.  We say our good bye’s and I’ll notify my staff as to the selections, sizes, special instructions….so that my staff can then get the order into production.

Hey gang, that pretty well wraps it for today. It's getting a little late and I think I need an adult beverage. Tomorrow I jump on a plane for Oldsmar, Florida to meet with the man himself, Mr. Scott Kelby, and wrap details of my wedding book which, should be published and available in the near future.

I'll give you an update next week on where the production and time expectations are on it. I’ll see everybody tomorrow for a short and sweet Business Day Thursday probably posting later in the afternoon. Have a good one and I'll see you tomorrow, -- David


  1. Looking to modernise your Home with some new and stylish Leather Sofa Furniture Casamodern has everything you need.

  2. David, thanks so much! I think Scott Kelby woulg agree that all of our pockets are now a little heavier (maybe I'll buy a new leather sofa;).

  3. You are quite the salesperson!!! Thanks for sharing.