Thursday, September 24, 2009

Business Day Thursday: Nudge It Up A Notch Selling and New Contest Announced

Good Afternoon Everybody,

BH Gift Card Lots of things happening today. I’m announcing a new contest where you can win a $50 B&H gift card. Take a read about it further down the page.

Once again we had a great turnout and a fired up crowd in Motown last night. Today we are in Columbus, Ohio for the last city of the week. But do we get a break, not quite yet. After we get home tomorrow, we’ve got to repack the bags for Photoshop World next week.

This will actually be a nice break from our whirlwind travels and 18 hour days these past three weeks. You’ll be able to find me at the B&H Theater and Westcott’s booth doing some demos. I’m also doing the wedding pre-con and two more programs, one on Thursday morning and another on Saturday afternoon. I hope to see everybody there.

Hey enough of my travels – let’s get on with today’s post and contest announcement. Here we go.

Banner 2Quick Update On FREE Marketing Summit

I just checked with the Joy of Marketing people – the folks putting together this giant 16 hour marketing program coming up next Monday September 28, 2009, at 9:00 A.M. sharp.

One more time – here is the link.

So far there are about 8,000 people registered for this once in a lifetime marketing extravaganza. Be sure to register – It's FREE!!! Hey, I hope you stick around for my segment, too. ;~)

A New Contest And “Nudge It Up A Notch” Selling

TNudging - iStock_000000518699XSmallhe other night in Chicago we had dinner at Parker’s Grill. You’re thinking, “so what.” Well, the “so what” is what I’m talking about today. What I witnessed at Parker’s was about the softest upsell I’ve ever seen.

After sitting down we were presented with the menus and lots of items looked really good. Our server came by and asked to take our order for appetizers. We ordered what looked good on the menu – it was an order of 3 spicy bite sized wontons – I don’t remember the fancy restaurant name for them.

Anyway, his quick response was, “Instead of just three items, he could add a forth and that way we could each have 2 each.” We easily said yes to his offer. That was “nudge it up #1 at Parker’s.

I never gave it a second thought until we were offered the wine list. LaDawn and I both opted for the “wine by the glass” list as she likes reds and I was in the mode for a white.

Looking at the wine list, there it was again. This time I caught on to what was happening. The wines by the glass were listed in two sizes – 3 oz. and 6 oz. A glass of wine is typically a 4 oz pour. With the wine list I was viewing, I had the choice of a glass that was a bit smaller than a regular pour, but was also given the option of ordering the larger 6 oz size. Not a bad “nudge up” to a glass of wine that was 2 oz larger, and pricier than a regular glass of wine. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the larger pour.

It was after the “wine “ pricing experience that it hit me. What a great way to marginally upgrade the sale. In any business, a small 5-10% increase here and there in a sale could do a lot to anyone’s bottom line.

Did I care about the “sales nudges”? Heck no – hey it worked for Parker’s. We were happy “dining campers".” I just loved how smooth and easy it worked for the restaurant.

So, how can we take this same idea and adapt it to our businesses? I’m just thinking out loud here but here are a few of my suggestions.

1. Bundle 2 framed 5x7’s of the bride and groom for one price. Then offer your client a third for a modest increase in price for another special relative.

2. Selling slide show videos of the wedding to your clients? We sell the first at one price, but the second and third are substantially less because most of the production cost is covered the first time around. We even offer a forth for safe keeping in their safety deposit box – kind of like “picture insurance.”

3. I was even thinking about offering a 6x8 size image as a slight nudge over the typical 5x7 size image. It’s slightly larger than what most people are used to seeing, but still smaller than an 8x10. And, it’s different, size-wise at least, than what your competition is offering.

BH Gift CardI think there must be a lot of other great ideas out there too. What are some of your ideas? Here’s what I’ll do. If we get 20 or more suggestions in the “Comments” section below on how we could nudge up the sale, I’ll award the winner of the best idea a $50 Gift Card from B&H. What a deal! Let’s get those ideas flowing.

Hey gang, I’ve got to get moving here. We’ve got to grab some road food and get over to Columbus for tonight’s program. Again I hope to see many of you there. See ya’ tonight (and tomorrow.) -David


  1. First I think you are awesome and I'm a huge fan. If your bride is a princess and wants to show off her dress, ask her to twirl and shoot continuously. Pick 3 of the best shots and place in 3 pic folder or 3 pic frame. She won't be able to pick just one - because they're continuous shots of her flowing dress and too beautiful to break up. Facial expression is almost childlike & beautiful.

  2. 1.) For the shoot and burners, instead of offering to burn images onto a CD, burn a DVD. Use a program like iDVD and make a video playable slideshow. For not much more work, you have a better product that you can sell at a higher price. If you don't offer a CD and only the DVD option, you have up-sold without having to have your customer make the decision. (Also, if you have customers that are used to getting CDs, tell them you have upgraded their order at no cost to them, but also give them the option to buy more dvds at a reduced cost.)

    2.) If you shoot a wedding for a friend or family member, or you just want to give a gift to your clients, make a hardcover photo book (lots of companies and labs offer these at competitive prices). Give one as a gift, then give your client an option to buy copies of the book for the all the parents. You look good because you gave an awesome gift, and once they see the book they will want more, You can sell 4 or more copies, for the work of one.

  3. Offering metallic prints in addition to regular prints would be a nice little bump up.

  4. If you offer thank you cards printed from the wedding photos, you can bump up to offer Christmas cards as well.

    You can bump up the large framed photo to a "memory" one with extra detail included, like the bouquet, invite, cake, etc.

    If they buy an extra print for family/friends, you can offer free postage and send it to the family yourself (and include your business card ;))

    To get them to buy an extra print, you can mention a nice framed print for the husband's desk at work. It might be hard for him to explain why he wouldn't want a framed picture of them on his desk ;)

    If you offer them small digital copies for social networking, you can bump it up by offering to set up a blog or website where they can direct family and friends to view the photos. That way you control where and how the pictures are viewed and you are assured your name is attached to the photos

  5. I think a nice "bump up" would be to offer a First Anniversary session for a modest fee (or free) when they pay for an engagement and wedding package. It won't take much of your time, maybe an hour or so and helps to build an on-going relationship. They will think of you first when they are pregnant with that first baby!

    Also, I always offer 20% off for all referred customers and include 4 of my business cards with each order to encourage repeat business. My clients are my best marketing team...and to them I offer a free portrait session for every 5 booked & paid referrals. (Not really a bump up, but it is good marketing strategy for me!)

  6. Glenn,uk.
    My basic album is £399 this is sixty pages for £499 they can go for the larger ( one inch square larger ) and seventy two pages. The cost increase is negligable but the customer experience is fantastic. I am yet to supply a basic album despite virtually all my brides indicating this what they are after at our initial meeting. Following the wedding at the proof meeting, they see a basic album but get to hold for the duration of the meeting a sample of the larger one. This crates a bond with the item and the nudge up is simply stating to the bride " so you will be wanting the larger..." . It has never been refused.

  7. I shoot a lot of babies, and have been thinking that if parents want to upgrade a single session to a "Watch Me Grow" (12 sessions - 1 per month) package, then I could add a book at the end of the year that includes shots from all 12 sessions. So it's the child's first year in a hardcover book. Of course the "Watch Me GroW" package will have the cost of the book built in, but what parent wouldn't want that book.

  8. My bumpup - when a client pays for a CD of 20 fully edited images, I print a 10x20 storyboard with their 3 favorite images for free. This is a small expense for me but a great wall piece for them. I also make a dozen 4x6 "calling cards" with all of my information on them but with their child's photo on them. They can't wait to pass out the cards featuring their child's lovely image - and my information!

  9. One of my favorite upsells is a Press Printed version of the clients album. It's a smiple upgrate, I already have the files made. I tell them the albums are great, which they are, but the smaller press printed book is great to take to work, or pass around.

    If the client is not getting an album, I print one up to show them and I either wind up selling them an album along with the book, or sometimes just the book.

    Thanks, George Starr

  10. This one hits home for me. For many years we've done this same thing. Just last night it showed in a very successful way. We were presenting a couple's engagement photos to them, and they wanted to buy an album. We offered to sell them extra copies of the album for the parents at $50 off the regular price. After all, we don't incur any extra design time to make copies.

    They bought two extra copies on the spot. It was a quick and easy way to make several hundred extra dollars on the sale.

    A couple years ago the same thing happened, except they bought four extra copies.

  11. When I meet with a client and they elect to include an engagement shoot, after receiving the images from the shoot, they can not wait to show everyone.

    At that time I offer to display the best 11 shots in a poster-sized collage at the wedding reception. The collage is presented in a gorgeous frame on an easel with a picture light attached to the frame. There is always one one display and this has never failed. An extra charge for the design of the collage, easel & frame rental, and the cost of the large print (which they get to keep).

  12. Hi David,

    Here's my suggestion to nudge it up a notch:

    With every shoot/project you do, include a $$ coupon which could be used towards an additional:

    1) portrait session
    2) print
    3) album
    4) online-class, or
    5) workshop

    For example, include a $50 coupon which a customer could use towards towards a second portrait session, a bigger print, another album for a family member, a david ziser class @ kelbytraining, or even a discounted rate at a digital wake up call workshop.

    I think this keeps things simple, easy to manage, and gives customers a choice.

  13. One of my package upgrades is to offer them a DVD slideshow.

    The bump I use is to offer them a FREE iPod version of the slideshow, as well as putting a copy on my website for friends and family to view.
    This is at no additional cost to me since I have already created the slideshow (I just click another button to create the iPod version, which also loads on my website better).
    Not only have I given them something they can easily share, I generate more traffic to my website with potential customers.

  14. While I agree that upsells are a great way to increase your bottom line, I do not agree with Parker's approach. THey decrease the base item to upsell you a slightly larger one. Is the 3 oz glass of wine cost close what a 4 oz glass used to cost?

    I think you have two options - 1) to upsell the project with a reduced priced extra or 2) give or sell a sample at a reduced rate. For example, Olive Garden sells $.25 sample pours of wine that entice you to order the full glass after you try a sip. (I learned from Chris Anderson who wrote the book FREE, that you should sometimes to charge a little something like $.25 to fend off the free loaders.)

    Cyndy Loo suggestion was close to my first idea. A variant is too offer a free session for their first born's photos too.

    You can offer a short Bebb Studios style video presentation with the Photo Book. This short 30 sec or so video would work great for the client to post on their social networking sites or portable media devices (iPod). The upsell would be to offer two full video packages consisting of a longer video (3-4 minutes) and the short film including most of the wedding photos and video clips (10-20 minutes.) Also include a web version with either package for free viral marketing of your work.

  15. Some customers opt to purchase a number of smaller prints (4x6, 5x7) One suggestion we offer is to make them a matted multi-photo frame. This allows them to display the smaller prints on walls.

  16. Full-frame images look great in horizontal format! Be certain to get plenty of these images in your photo sessions.

    Have samples ready to show the difference between standard crops and the full-frame image in your proofing meeting. For example, if the client suggests purchasing an 8x10, upsell to an 8x12. A 16x20 order could be upgraded to a 16x24.

    The client gets a nicer print, viewers of the print are more impressed by your photography (word-of-mouth advertising), and you make more profit. Take the time to show the difference!

  17. When sending out proofs or disks, through the mail include a handwritten thank you card, and include a note about getting a custom printed enlargement with special processing and filters. This provides another opportunity to sell something additional.

  18. How about an extra 4-6 pages in your custom photobook, it is only an additional cost of $X

  19. With the newer cameras these days, how about offering a small video of certain portions of the wedding/reception, such as the cake cutting or bouquet toss, for a small fee? You can still take 'stills' out of the video for photos, yet offer something that can be used in this day and age of youtube and facebook...

  20. One of the best options I heard a long time ago has made the biggest profit difference.

    Give them three pricing options:
    (Pricing is not actual, it is just to illustrate the point)

    • $100 for prints
    • $200 for digital copy
    • $200 for prints and digital copy.

    The same example works for just prints:
    • $100 for 8x10
    • $200 for 16x20
    • $200 for 8x10 and 16x20

    They will almost always go for the last option because it feels like they're getting something for free. If you remove the middle option the effect will not be the same.

  21. Make a wall gallery showing the customer how their images will look displayed on a wall.

  22. How a bout this one. Offer (with your bigger package) a discount on their first baby photographs. Who knows they may be having one sooner than everyone thinks. And we all know that newborn photos are a sure sale. When the mother asks what will happen to them if she doesn't buy them, well you get the picture.

  23. When I initially read this entry and the comments left after I thought that all the good ideas had been taken.
    But I see that others have kept raising the bar... well i would like to give it a shot...

    I think that I may have a solution to providing your customers with a digital copy of the images. I figure as samrtphones keep gaining momentum (and they will), why not give your clients a really small file that is custom made for their smartphones (phones like the iphone and Blackberry's, etc).
    This really would only require an action in Photoshop and would take minutes to do after all the images had been edited, so any cost to the photographer/studio is negligible.
    If you know the type of smart-phone that they have then you can download it to them or put it on a memory card. (I just bought my 8GB micro card from amazon for 23 dollars. Bought in bulk it should drop considerably). Offer this as the bump/nudge to get them to the more invested or up to the next package. Its the same product (the edited image). They cant go get a nice print from a 480 x 360 px image, right?(this is the size of my screen on my BlackBerry)
    This gives them the portability they want and protects your files as well!
    Put your name on the image somewhere and there is more advertising for you when they show it off!
    If you need to buy them the Memory Card roll it back into the fees.

  24. During the print sales process urge them to go from a standard enlargement to a gallery canvas wrap, or an aluminum print from ImageWizards.

  25. I have a simple idea. If you can get the customer to purchase an album and a fine art enlargement 16x20 or larger- throw in one enlargement for free; of equal or lesser value. To top it off- offer a framing discount from a local art framing business.

    You are enhancing your sale but sharing business with a local company. Odds are they can send you more business in return. Good way to network with local business and promote your work.