There are two types of photographers — those who love the sales process, and the rest of us!
Yes, most of us really are shy about sales. We don't want to come across like car salesmen or slick real estate people.
But we run businesses, and it's sales that make the business world go round.
So here are some ideas to boost your album sales without being pushy or sales-y. To sell but stay true to yourself. To leave your clients feeling they've been listened to while consistently delivering beautiful wedding albums to them.
By the way, these ideas will work with all product sales — and have you noticed how many photographers actually do move over to real estate? LOL.
Build a product line that you love
Start by designing a product line that you love, and that aligns with your brand. One you're excited to share with your clients, and that you completely believe in.
We work with thousands of photographers around the world, all with different tastes and styles, which is why Queensberry offers so much choice. But you can simplify.
Someone said the job of a design store is search out all the beautiful things in the world so that we don't need to. That design store is you! Your clients come to you because they like your brand and style. Choose the products you love from our range, and chances are they'll love them to.
Once you've chosen your albums, learn about them. So that when you're speaking with clients, or sharing them on your website, blog or social media, you can point out why they're special and why you love them.
TIP: Read more about making your product line simple here.
TIP: If your clients ask for something different, of course they can have it, but don't start by overwhelming them with too much choice.
TIP: If you're not sure where to start, email email@example.com and we can set up a phone call to design your specific product line.
Design Studio Samples that you're proud of, and make sure your clients get to see them
Your display samples are key to your success. They allow your clients to imagine their own album and encourage them to get their own.
You want them to wow your clients. Literally! It's great when they say "Wow! I want that." Or "Wow! How much is that?" So make sure they reflect what you want to sell.
One to three high quality samples, carefully designed to show your work at its best and encourage upgrades are a lot more powerful that ten random samples that don't really tell a story.
TIP: Show one wedding per album, not a "greatest hits" collection (that's not what you're selling).
TIP: Know how much they will cost, so you can answer when clients say, "I want that one, how much?"
TIP: Make sure your samples reflect and encourage your upgrades. What does your base level album look like? What could they have if they want to spend more?
Set the scene and create excitement before they book
In our experience, the photographers who are most successful at selling albums and other printed products work hard to create interest, desire and trust at all of the touch points with their clients – from the very first look at their website to regularly in their social media feed. Enthusiasm and consistency are key. Set expectations and share the album love!
TIP: Show your images in the products you want to sell.
TIP: Photograph them. Share your album designs using Workspace album Proofing. Make short, personal videos of your albums, and a "reveal" session if you do them.
TIP: Use social media to build awareness to your product line. You'll need permission to do so, but most people love the idea. Tag them in your Facebook and Instagram posts.
TIP: If you're using our drop-shipping service encourage your clients to post about their albums — subtly of course — or we may be able to photograph them occasionally before they leave us.
Include the album in the package
If you sell albums "a la carte" (after the wedding for example) it can be very difficult to ask clients to commit. If you include your base level album as part of your package you're reinforcing the message that this isn’t an "extra" but an integral part of your service.
TIP: If you can't build an entire album cost into your prices, try including an "album credit" they can spend how they wish.
TIP: Structure your prices so that, if people resist buying the product, you don't miss out on too much profit, and it doesn't look like much of a saving to them. Remember, those products will be great "silent salesman"!
Set clear expectations
Explain what you do, how you do it, and how much it costs. Don’t make your clients feel like they’ve been hit with a cost they didn't expect and can’t afford. Have a clear plan for how you handle upgrades and special requests (like album boxes or custom embossings). If they're not clearly set out things can get messy very quickly for both you and your clients.
TIP: Setting out a timeline is also important. So they know what to expect from you, and when, and how much time they have to respond.
Don't push it too hard!
We often talk about not letting the sale go cold. What that means is you should start the sales process as quickly as you can — like when they get back from their honeymoon! Get the design to them fast, and respond to edit requests quickly. Remain enthusiastic and responsive.
But to make progress both parties need to engage.
We've been talking about "setting expectations", so hopefully your clients won't be surprised by you wanting to talk about their albums — but if you can tell they're reluctant or distracted I think it's worth asking whether they're ready to start the process.
Sometimes people will drag out approving an album design — or paying for it! — for months or even years, and we do know you don't want to be pushy! Besides, being pushy could just waste your clients' time, and your own, and maybe stress the relationship when you could be focusing on more engaged clients.
If you reach that point, try coming back with a "winter sale offer" the following year, or catching up with them on their anniversary. Yes, sales tend to die when they're drawn out, but don't assume they have. People really do get distracted despite their best intentions.
Here's what to do next:
• If you're new to selling albums and aren't sure where to start, get in touch with us. We'll schedule a consultation to help you choose the perfect products for your studio.
• If you know what you're going to offer, but aren't sure how to sell them, start by researching the products you'll be offering. List their special talking points and how you'll express them. You'll be building your authentic voice and learning how to be clear, not "slick"!
• Design your sales workflow. A good place to start is our blog post about making albums easy to buy.
• Start thinking about how to change your packages and prices to promote product sales.
• Start building albums and other products into your website and marketing. Whether as special offers, general education on the importance of print, or sharing samples and client products on social media. "Share the album love."
• For much more about how to build a profitable studio, check out Love's Not Enough, our book about the lessons we've learnt from 50 years talking to successful professionals.
Thanks for reading.