Understanding how to better connect with your clients is critical to the sustained success of your photography business and bridging the value-gap is an important piece of the jigsaw.
This is our third and final part in a series of posts that will discuss exactly how you can do this.
In our first post we discussed why clients might be asking for "just the digitals" and the irritating effect it tends to have on photographers.
In the second part, we looked at why we need to embrace the change, shift our mindset about selling digital files, and how we might adapt our offerings so that we can bridge that value-gap.
For this final part in the series, we will explore some examples of the best way to bridge this value-gap with your clients.
Don't Just Sell Photos, Sell an Experience
For the vast majority of Photographers trying to introduce or improve their in-person sales (IPS), the print viewing sales process is a solution that can help bridge the value-gap between you and your client, and, help you achieve the sales you deserve.
We've already discussed the fact that people want the digitals, however, it has been proven that as humans, we feel a deeper connection to a printed product versus an image shown to us on a screen.
Using a Print Viewing in your business is the perfect solution to satisfy the requirement for both printed images and digital.
The impact of touching, feeling and interacting with printed images should not be underestimated. Once the prints are in your client’s hands, it will be very difficult for them to leave them behind.
You’re far more likely to get the sale when you present your photos in this way versus showing them on screen. Having said that, many photographers also include a video slideshow to music or some behind the scenes footage of the shoot during the viewing session. This is a perfect emotional primer prior to showing the prints.
By offering this type of experience, you're ticking all of the boxes. You're giving people a digital experience with the video slideshow to music to prime their emotions. Next, you're satisfying that desire for deep emotional connection by getting your client to hold and interact with printed images. Finally, you're giving your clients what they want by providing the matching digital files of the images they buy in print on a USB within your folio box for easy plug and play or on an online gallery for easy access and sharing.
You now know the 'why', the question now is 'how'?
So, how do you implement a successful IPS Print Viewing?
Let's take three different scenarios where you could implement a Print Viewing:
1. You currently don’t have a studio and you photograph your client on location or at their home.
2. You have a home studio, you are limited for space but want to do your viewings there.
3. You have a studio with plenty of space and really want to do a print reveal as part of your sales process.
Before we get into each of these individual scenarios let’s talk about a couple of other boxes that also need to be ticked before proceeding.
1. You have a clear, easy to understand price list based around three to four collections.
2. Your client sees this price list at the consultation, or, at least at the shoot stage.
3. Your client fully understands your 3-step Experience that delivers successful portraits via your:
- Pre-shoot Consultation
- Shoot Experience
- IPS Print Viewing Experience
In short, there are no unexpected shocks in store for your client... only surprise & delight added on top of your already understood ‘Experience for Successful Portraits’.
Now, let's explore some examples..
Example #1 A Photographer doing IPS on location
This can involve taking portraits in a park, forest, on the beach, or even within your client's home.
Your clients love the fact that you travel to them. Many of your clients are families, where both parents work full time. They are time poor, so by bringing the studio to them you are adding massive value.
You have done the shoot for Joan & Mike and their two children at their home. You had a great time with them, shooting wonderful images around their family home.
The weather was great so you were able to capture great portraits outside, around their gardens as well as the classic indoor shots.
After the shoot you ran through your price list with them explaining your four collections.
You explained that anything they buy in print, they will get the corresponding digital.
This was a key requirement of both Joan & Mike. Joan wanted them for her social media, and for accessing them on her phone so she can share with her friends when they meet for a coffee at their favourite café. Mike just wanted the security of having the digital file just in case anything ever happened to their prints or indeed you the photographer.
You didn’t have a problem with this because you knew that you wanted to maximise the sale at the viewing as no client ever returns to buy more later, even when you don’t sell the digitals.
Since you started bundling both, not only did the request for ‘just digitals’ disappear, but more people booked you when you explained your service and the fact that both were bundled.
So now you are returning to their home with their Folio box of 20 images. They greet you with a big smile. You go to their living room. You connect your laptop to their TV and play the slideshow to music.
One minute in, Joan starts to cry with tears of Joy.
You suspect there is also a tear in Mike’s eye that he is doing his best to withhold.
Even their two children, Claire & Mike junior sit glued to the TV.
"Pity they weren't like that at the shoot" you say to yourself and have a quick laugh internally.
The slideshow ends. You approach Joan with the folio box of images. She opens it and starts to lift them out one by one and pass them to Mike. Her eyes start to well up again.
After they go through them Mike looks at Joan. "I know we said we were only going to buy the 10 package but you want the whole lot, don't you?"
Joan nods her head with a smile on her face that says it all.
"Okay" says Mike, "We’ll take them all".
I also want a 30x40 for the wall, and I think that one of the four of us is best. They pick which of the 3 frames they would prefer.
You explain that they can keep the folio box of images today and that you will have the wall art back to them in a few weeks. They are over the moon at being able to take their photos home with them today.
You explain that their slideshow is on the USB, and that later today they will receive an email and text with a link to their gallery that also contains the slideshow.
They can download the images and put them on to the USB, or direct download to their Dropbox account for further back up.
You explain that their gallery will be live for a year after which they can extend it for a very reasonable fee and that many of your clients do this as they like to have them backed up in the cloud too.
They are absolutely delighted. You take payment and leave with a big smile on your face and a big fat cheque to deposit.
Another delighted client in the bag and you just know Joan will be dying to share her images with friends and work colleagues.
"Let the referrals begin" you say to yourself.
Example #2 - A Newborn Photographer working at their home studio
In this example, you're a photographer who works from home. You've managed to convert one of your rooms into a small studio, but you always do the viewings in your living room.
This way you can use the big TV to display the slideshow. Your husband who is a carpenter built you a great mobile reveal wall that folds down easily for storage in the broom cupboard.
As you specialise in maternity and newborns, it is much better that you shoot in your home studio. You can make sure the temperature is just at the right level so the baby sleeps.
The studio is right beside the bathroom for any awkward moments (if you are a newborn photographer, you know what I mean!) and you also solve your client's worries about their home being clean and tidy for a shoot.
You are expecting Mary & Pat to arrive for their viewing. This was a very interesting shoot of their really cute twins Bill and Ben. Mary and Pat arrive about 10 minutes late – understandable with twins!
They arrive all happy and excited to see the images. You invite them into the living room. Your mobile reveal wall is all set up and you have your reveal sheet covering the matted prints. Your window folio box already has a matted print in the window (your favourite shot of the session).
Mary sees it and starts to smile. Pat has your price list rolled up and sticking out of the pocket of his jacket. You sit them down and play the slideshow.
Mary is overcome and apologises as she says "It is an emotional time after bringing these two into the world". You nod with an air of understanding. Then you walk up to your reveal wall and pull away your reveal sheet.
The sheer joy on both Mary and Pat’s faces just fills your heart with happiness. They start to hold the matted prints. They can’t stop looking at them, passing them one by one to each other while pointing out the subtle differences between their identical twins.
They decide they can’t leave any of them behind and put them all into their Premium Window Folio Box.
Pat says "I just love the fact that we can have a print on display and change it at any time. It truly is a box of treasures."
You know what he means.
They can change out the image on display easily, and it is properly framed even if they take some of the matted prints out of the box.
When you hand the completed box to Mary, Pat says “Thank you so much. We Love your work and we’re so thrilled to have this beautiful box of photos of our two boys. We’re really excited about being able to change the image in the window because we live in a modern apartment full of glass windows so we don’t have a whole lot of wall space and this will look fantastic on the sideboard in the living room.”
You smile to yourself as you knew that already. You discovered that in your pre-consultation with them. Another happy client and the money banked. ???
Example #3 - IPS Print Viewing in Family Portraiture
You are a portrait photography studio doing a number of different genres, but you are struggling with the averages you are getting on family portraits compared to the other genres you do.
In fact, your average order value (AOV) is less than half that of your other genres. You are doing instant viewings for your family portraits so it’s not the inconvenience of the sales process that is the sticking point.
You decide to try out the print viewing for some of your family portraits, even though it means they will have to come back for the viewing at a later stage.
You already have in-studio printing set-up, so you are good to go. You re-design your price list to include 4 collections and it's really simple to understand.
You're ready to go.
You decide to combine the "Secret Box Reveal" with the reveal wall, a technique known as the "McIntyre Flip".
Click Here to Watch the 'McIntyre Flip' in Action
The McIntyre Flip
You start the reveal and your clients love it.
They love the fact that they can leave on the day with their prints and the accompanying digitals.
Your AOV goes up by more than 300% and surpasses the AOV of your previously top performing genre. You're thrilled!
The challenge now is to get more Family portrait sessions into the studio but at least you know the IPS Print viewing works.
In this series, we've explored the importance of bridging the value-gap with the consumer and why selling digitals is not the "devil". We've also looked at a few different sales techniques depending on your circumstances that will help you bridge the value-gap and give your clients a wonderful experience which they will no doubt be talking about for a long time.
From experience, the easiest and best way to give the current generations what they want is to implement a "Print Reveal" or "Print Viewing Sales Process" in your business.
Click Here to watch our webinar on how you can successfully implement a Print Viewing, and dramatically increase your Average Order Value.