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Adding a promotional piece to every item that leaves your studio is a good way to encourage additional purchases. This piece, from Chatsworth Portrait Studio, is a good example.

business. This is very simple. Grab a stack of 3x5-inch cards and spend some quality time with yourself getting the creative juices flowing. It's easy to get carried away with spending all of our time playing with our new toys or reading up on the latest digital camera, or fiddling with Photoshop. We call that the substance of the business. For this exercise, we are talking about the essence of your studio. Where do you want to be in six months? Twelve months? Two years? Five years?

We have so many resources available to us, whether it be videotapes, magazines, books, CDs, or newsletters, and the tips they contain are ours for the taking. Give yourself some time to work through the materials and to accomplish any other business-related tasks you've been putting off. Make sure that you are working in a place where you won't be interrupted or distracted. Power Marketers are not born, they are developed. By spending just fifteen minutes a day immersed in learning and brainstorming, you will begin to create positive habits that will stick with you for the rest of your life. Once you come up with an idea, write it down. After you put it on paper, it will be much easier to expand the idea and develop it into creative breakthroughs.

3. Take the Five-Second Image Challenge

Take the Five-Second Image Challenge to learn how prospective clients see your business. (See pages 58-62.) Working on any problems you identify will only serve to strengthen your business.

4. Distribute Promotional Pieces

Add a sales flyer, coupon, and/ or reorder form to every item that leaves your studio. Anything that leaves your studio—portrait orders, statements, bulk mail, dance packages, sports team packages, wedding albums—should have some sort of promotional piece included. If we don't give our current customers the opportunity to make additional purchases, we are leaving a tremendous amount of money on the table.

The most neglected and underutilized market we have is comprised of our current clients. They already know about us, have done business with us, have written us a check, and more than likely have told their friends and families about us. Why not maximize this potential and make sure our studio is in the forefront of their minds? When you do, you will be surprised at the response you will get.

5. Track Your Results

Track each and every call, walk-in, and inquiry for the next seven days. This project can be done simply with a piece of notebook paper and a pen. First, create columns across the top of the page that list the prospective client's referral source, and then create a column along the left side of the page for the prospective customer's name and date of inquiry (see the chart on page 38). When somebody calls or walks into your studio for the first time, ask them how they heard about you. Was it via a referral from a satisfied customer, another photographer in town, or from the local florist, church, or yellow pages add—or maybe an event facility, family member, or neighbor? This will do two things. First, you will find out what forms of marketing are working for you. Second, you will find out what is not working. Tracking your inquiries will show you which efforts are returning the best results and which need to be reworked—or dropped altogether.

6. Emphasize Add-On Sales

Make it a goal to add on at least one item onto each order for the next seven days. This doesn't have to be a big item, maybe even only one more 4x5-inch print, a two-way portfolio, or an additional unit of gift wallets. If you consistently work on adding just one more item to each of your orders, it will add up to a substantial amount of money over time.

This can be done in a couple of ways. You can either add some extra value into your packages that gives your customers the incentive to move up to the next package on their own, or you can create a unique product that can be added on at the end of the sales process for a nominal amount. If you let the way your packages are built do most of the work for you, there will be little need for you to have to force-feed another item down your clients' throats. Since we are artists, it's sometimes difficult to sell our own work, so it makes sense to let your packages work for you.

7. Do Some Networking

Spend at least thirty minutes this week talking with at least two other photographers in your area. Most of us are friends with several other photographers in the industry, but how do you feel about sharing your knowledge and expertise with other photographers in your market? We need to realize that we all are charged with the responsibility of educating the general public about the benefits of having professional portraits done. To that extent, we are all on the same team.

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