Break away from your traditional thinking and create something unique for your studio

On at least 75 percent of your sessions, you will be able to sell some type of product that allows your customer to keep a multitude of images in a single product. You will have to look at your product line and decide what those items are. If you don't have any, you will need to create some.

A great place to start is with what we call the Lifestyles Album. We developed this product several years ago as a way for people to be able to keep a large number of their images without having to get individual prints of each one. It's basically just either a 4x5, or a 5x7 album with either ten, twenty, or thirty prints inside. Regardless of what type of session you photographed, you can create a beautiful, one-of-a-kind album that captures the personality of your customer.

Something else that has become quite popular is a Wall Collection, which can accommodate eight to twelve images. There are also digital composites that can be created in Photoshop with a couple of easy strokes. The sky is the limit here, so break away from your traditional thinking and create something unique for your studio that no one else has.

Final Selections. Once they have decided that part of the sale, it's time to move on and select the images for their package. You can use the same process, but now there are fewer images, so you can switch it up just a little bit. For example:

Now Mrs. Jones, I know you like all of the remaining images, but what we need to do is decide which ones will only be included in your [name product] and which ones we will be doing something else with—images for gift portraits, wall portraits, gift wallets, small folios, etc. Okay?

Suggestive Selling. It may take a couple of times to get down to their final selections, and you may even need to do some suggestive selling here. For example:

Mrs. Jones, if I can recommend something to you, I would suggest using the portrait of the family down by the river as your large wall portrait for the living room. Then, use the black & white of the family in front of the trellis as a smaller wall portrait in the dining room or hallway. How does that sound?

You are the professional and you have earned the right to suggest things to your customers. When you go to the doctor and he makes a suggestion about how to recover from your sprained ankle or tells you what to do to lower your cholesterol, do you listen? You bet you do. Your customers will listen to you as well, just give yourself the chance!

Finally, Select the Wall Portrait. Once the customer has selected the images for their package, their wallets, and other specialty products, the last thing they select is their wall portrait. That way, the process begins with little de-

Should I Do Á La Carte Pricing, or Should I Do Packages?

In my mind, the best strategy is to have your a la carte prices listed in order to establish a baseline value for your products. The meat of your sales, though, should come from the sale of packages, bundles, or collections—whatever you want to call them. You can use the techniques we talk about in chapter 14 to help build some packages that not only give your clients a compelling reason to invest at a higher level, but also will give you substantial profits. That way, both you and the client go home happy!

cisions and then ends with biggest and most important decision.

This is completely the opposite of how most photographers have done their sales in the past. However, having the customer select the wall portrait first effectively kills any chance of them ordering large packages, or albums— or anything else for that matter. They are asked to sprint to the finish line and make the biggest decision first, which leaves lots of emotion (and dollars) scattered along the way. You will be fighting an uphill battle for the rest of the session. Additionally, the wall portrait should be your customer's favorite image from the session, and that takes some time for them to decide.

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