Thursday, September 29, 2011

Business Day Thursday: Selling The Wendy’s Way

Good Afternoon Everybody,

Success- iStock_000000432883XSmallI have to tell, my doc told me I’m spending too much time behind the computer (blogging) and was totally out of shape and  needed to begin exercising. Well, for the past three weeks I’ve managed to walk at least 5,000 steps a day on purpose! That totals up to about 3 miles a day.  I’m even going to a gym – what can I say, this exercising might just  kill me ;~)

Actually, I feel MUCH better and much more energetic than I have recently so I guess that’s a good thing. The down side, it’s taking about 1 1/2 hours out of my day and cramping my already SUPER-busy schedule.  Anyway, all good, I suppose ;~)

Hey gang, I’ve got something for you to think about in today’s business post – let’s get right to it.

Selling The Wendy’s Way

Wedding photography and photo studios in general have taken quite a hit in recent years.  With the proliferation of digital cameras, camera phones, Facebook and Craig’s list, photographers are coming out of the woodwork.  I just clipped this from Craig’s List Cincy a few minutes ago.

Craig's list wedding photogsAnd many, as you can see, are offering their services for next to nothing to absolutely FREE.

Nobody Is Making Any Money!

What does that mean to the main street studio who has been around for years.  Well, for one thing, they had better get a lot more creative and competitive in their marketing policies and practices.  Some have and some, sadly have not.

But what about all these new photographers entering the marketplace – are they making any money.  I suspect some are but most are not.  Why, because most have no clue how to sell their product and services.

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

Here is an ad I clipped again from Craig’s List:

Craigs List“For a limited time, ABC Studio Studio is offering wedding photography for only $400. We also offer video for $400. Do them both and receive $200.00 off.  Photography and Video for only $700
We use professional equipment, and have experienced photographers and videographers.  Don't miss out on this great deal.”

What’s the message? We sell cheap and we use real cameras.  Wow!  Where do I sign up! – NOT!!!

That’s what I mean, the huge influx of new photographers we’ve seen a huge drop in any kind of sales expertise.  BTW, Sales Expertise = Business Success. 

There is way to much money left sitting on the table for lots of wedding shooters out there. And, that being the case, I suspect they will be out of business very shortly.  Weddings are hard work and qualified wedding photographers deserve to make a fair profit. Hey, we have families to support too.

It’s About Time Wedding Shooters Learn To Sell

Focus on Success Magnifying GlassWhen I got started in this business years ago, I learned early that if I was going to survive, no thrive in the field of wedding photography, I better ramp up my business and sales skills.  I featured Blair Phillips and Zach and Jody Gray, three of my favorite rising stars in this profession.  All three of them got it.  I liked what Zack Gray said, “I was advised to read at least one business book a  month.  I figured if one is good, two is better”  They were out of debt and building a new studio in just a few years. 

Being successful is about education.  That’s what I try to bring to Digital ProTalk – education not just in photography but is sales, business, and success strategies too.

It Time To Start Selling Like Wendy’s Hamburgers

I know what you’re thinking, “Ziser’s crazy.  I’m selling wedding photography, not hamburgers.” That’s true but how are you really selling your weddings?  Are you giving your prospect client one choice like the previous mentioned ad above.  Most of what I see is that photographers are only offering a one choice menu for their clients.

Now what’s funny is that they may offer many wedding album styles but still only a limited number of coverage's for their clients.  I learned a long time ago, whether the album was green, red, brown, or hippopotamus hide, none of that made any difference to my bottom line.  It was always about the number of images in those albums that affected my bottom line – the more images, the better the sale.

You’ve Got To Show Big To Sell Big

wendys-tripleThankfully this is another concept I learned years ago.  I learn it from my good buddy, Chuck Lewis.  I attended a seminar way back in the 80’s where Chuck was telling me to show big to sell big.  If I wanted to sell that 24x30 inch portrait I needed to show a 30x40 or 40x60 inch portrait on my studio wall.

I was primarily a wedding photographer so I figured I could make the same concept work in wedding photography.  If I wanted  to sell large albums, maybe even double volume sets I better be showing triple volume sets!  I immediately ordered my first triple volume sample album. 

The rest is history.  I remember when I first showed the triple volume set to a new perspective client – they were shocked that ANYONE would consider buying a three volume wedding album! They asked me how much it was.  I told them and they nearly fell off my sofa.  But you know what, now that BIG, FAT single volume album looks just right to them.

So, you can see, it’s about time we start selling like Wendy’s Hamburger’s. Show the Single, the Double, and the Triple and you’ll sell the Double a lot more often.  In fact in my studio, we sell a double volume set over 50% of the time.  In fact, just last week, I sold a double volume parent’s album.

It’s Time To Show Them Or Fold Them

InnovationFolks, I’m note trying to step on any toes or be braggadocios in any way.  What I’m trying to say is this.  Too many photographers are complaining about today’s wedding averages, final sales, and the customers willingness to bargain. With the kind of things we see on Craig’s list and all the folks offering shoot & burn only wedding photography, it’s no wonder complaints are so rampant in the industry.

It’s about time we took some responsibility for our sales and business success and started making decisions the are success oriented.  It’s like exercise, you are never going to get your business in shape unless you do (practice) the business exercises to make that happen.  And guess what, that takes effort and commitment, and that folks, is the difference between success and failure.

Food for thought-  David


Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  It’s getting late in the day and LaDawn and I have “date night” tonight. Everybody have a great rest of the day and I’ll see you tomorrow with a short post.

See ya’ then, David


  1. Awesome, awesome, awesome

  2. When I first started shooting weddings I was guilty of under pricing. I was so happy to get my first wedding gig that I told them $100.00, yeah I know it was crazy. I spent more on film and processing than that, but it was a valuable lesson and those are the one's you tend to never forget. That was 26 years ago, and while my prices were raised higher I was still under pricing them, just to get the work. I managed to shoot some, but when a job opportunity came I decided to quit photography and take it for a weekly paycheck.

    After 7 years of back breaking work, I have decided to return to my first love, photography. I have a better understanding of not only photography, but also business. And while there is still much I want, need, to learn before hanging out my sign. I know I will be better than ever.

    David I love your work, you have inspired me to take my work to the next level, and to always work to better my images. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us.

    Glenda Callahan

  3. Any thing from David is worth listening to. Selling to day is difficult. A lot of customers do not know what good photography is about. If they are in it, then it's good.

    I was recently shown pictures taken with a Point & Shoot. The person told me they weren't that bad. I said nothing. They were terrible. Poor choice of background, extremely poor group shots. They got exactly what they paid for.