Thursday, August 12, 2010

Business Day Thursday: If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them. Show Samples Of Products You Don't Want To Sell

Good Morning Everybody,

What a surprise I had yesterday.  We are in the process of restructuring our storage space.  That means out with all the “old” to make way for all the “new”.

Polaroid Camera It has been quite a treat to see some of the “old” that has been buried away in storage for years and years. I ran across some of my old cameras – a few Bronicas I had totally forgotten about, several Polaroid cameras.  Here is one of the Polaroid cameras pictured here.  I wonder what there're worth on the Antiques Road Show, and a few other historically old cameras too.

There were even a few rolls of film in some of those old boxes – I had forgotten what it looked like ;~)  Anyway, it was fun to go through the boxes of memories. No, I didn’t throw anything out,  I just repacked it in new boxes – LaDawn is ready to “kill” me ;~)

OK, enough “funning” around, time to get on with serious stuff.  It’s Business Day Thursday – time to make some money.

Show Samples Of Products You Don't Want To Sell

Dead Wedding Albums Last week I did a post that raised a few eyebrows, "Are Wedding Albums Dead?" [link]. I mentioned that in today's market there are so many inexpensive outlets for photo albums and prints and with so many photographers offering their images on DVD, the clients could easily create and design their own albums and have printed at Blurb or Costco.

Sure, I know many photographers still offer their clients the best product line available, us included. In fact the album is NOT dead in my studio because that's what our clients come to expect of us - exciting photography beautifully bound in a handcrafted leather album.

The fact of the matter is that photographers serve clients at all levels and price points. I believe it's that middle tier photographer that is suffering the most with the $400 wedding photographer and inexpensive album options. It's a simple fact that digital photography and all forms of social media have commoditized wedding photography.

But it's commoditized it for mostly the lower priced weddings. There is still hope for the middle tier wedding photographer who wants to be successful in this profession. The first thing we need to do is stop being in denial of the bottom tier wedding photographer. They are simply a fact of life these days.

Show The Cheap Imitations

I say, "If you can't beat them, join them!". OK, before I get a rash of nastygrams - hear me out. Here is what I am suggesting, and yes, this suggestion even goes for the "shoot and burn" photographer as well.

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

You're thinking I'm crazy, right? Why in the world would ANYBODY show products they DON'T want to sell? My quick answer; "To educate your clients as to why your product offerings are so much better than the bottom end products being offered by your competition."

Order an album from Costco and say one from Zookbinders and let the client see, smell, and feel the difference, as Joe Girard would say. DAZ NOTE: Joe was considered one of the greatest salesmen in the world. Don't forget to have a custom labeled Wedding DVD so you can discuss the "pros and cons" of DVD only delivery of wedding images.

Tervis Tumbler store I remember visiting the Tervis Tumbler factory in Venice, Florida years ago. Tervis Tumbler is known throughout Florida and maybe the world, for making the best plastic tumblers among the seafaring set. The showroom was not very large, but right in the middle of the showroom was a table of cracked and broken "cheap imitations".  They wanted customers to see, feel and maybe even smell the difference in their product thus justifying the higher cost. They also guarantee their tumblers FOR LIFE!

Isn't that, in effect, what we are talking about here? We have to begin to educate our customers about the "cheap imitations", both is photographers style and product, that abound everywhere in the wedding profession.  Don’t get me wrong.  There is certainly a market for that level of product. But is it where you want your level of product to be? Probably not.  I’m not being derogatory here to the manufacturers of those selling these products. I shop the Dollar Store myself now and then ;~)

The "cheap imitation" shooters I'm talking about are the ones that are ONLY in it for the money, have no clue what they are doing, don't care to know, and are less than professional on the job. We’ve all heard the horror stories - you know what I'm talking about.

Answer The Objections Before They Are Raised

Objections You know, from a sales point of view, it comes down to answering the objections before they are raised. "Why should I buy the more expensive album when I can get the cheaper version from this other guy?" Now you show them exactly what the "cheap imitation" looks and feels like. You can discuss the lasting quality, the design, style, enhancement of images all the specific details of your product.

If they just want a DVD, you can ask them how often and convenient will it be for them to enjoy a disc of images probably burned on low cost disks which have a life of only a few years with the possibility even probability that the images will be gone in 5 years. All these points should be addressed on your website, Facebook page, and blog too.

Visiting With The Client In Person

In the days of film, clients always made a visit to the studio. That is just as important to me today, maybe more so. I know we have the Internet and Craig's List shoppers, but discussing these matters in person certainly creates a greater impression of your product and service with your client.

I've been saying it for years. We professionals must CONSTANTLY strive to raise both the actual and perceived level of our profession to the buying public. It's harder these days because of the huge influx of new photographers and the commoditization of photography in general. What it all boils down to is that we need to work even harder at it!


Hey gang, on that note I'm out of here. Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of last week's discussion, "Are Wedding Albums Dead". I promise we'll get more photo-centric next week.

See ya' tomorrow, David


  1. Again, such good practical advice. Thanks David!

  2. I loved today's post, David. Thank you. Brian F.

  3. Makes perfect sense. Sounds like same basic principle as having different levels of packages/service. You provide the lower tiers, but they tend to drop away in the customer's mind when they see the next steps up.