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What's In It for You?

As the photography industry changes to reflect the rush of new photographers, varying products and country-wide economic challenges the ideal business model has become different things to different people.  The target of this audience article is for studios that are looking to increase their sales average, attract better qualified clients, and do it at a great value.


Your personal goals for your quality of life and business must be written down. I know you probably have heard this a thousand times.  If you don’t write them down ahead of time then most folks have a hard time staying on track – because they don’t even know where the track is.


Let’s start with a sample goal to inspire you:


1.       Improve the Quality of Life by running my photography business better (not working all night on the computer or squeezing in-between the kids naps or etc….)


TRANSLATION: Get paid accordingly for the time you are putting into your business


Questions for HOW to achieve this:


1.       How much do I value my own time?

2.       How can I get clients to spend more?

3.       How can I attract better qualified clients?

4.       How can I achieve this on my budget?


How much do I value my own time?

We all have to face it, we may not be our own customer. If you still want to succeed, then we just have to get over it. Your time is the most limited precious resource available on earth! We have talked to many photographers with established studios or those who are in the process of running a maturing business and their challenges are similar. Creating value for clients with their portrait work has become more challenging over the last few years and at what point is it worth doing. 


We are happy to report there are many success stories and part of a consistent theme is taking a stand to say “Me and my work are worth it”.  Set a per hour/per session/ per whatever goal that will make it worth your time. Everyone’s expenses are different but set the bar high and soar. If you aim at the stars and miss you may still hit the moon. Aim at nothing and you will probably hit it right in the middle.


How can I get clients to spend more?

If you can get your sales average up then you don’t need to handle as many appointments to reach the same or better goals. That means there is more TIME available for you. Don’t give away your most desired products until your necessary price point is reached. After you have refined your products, pricelist, selling tools & techniques you have to look at the clients’ themselves. It is your business and YES you want to be a high service oriented business that is responsive to clients but that all needs to fit into your big goal – remember your time is a precious commodity. You may be in the market for some new clients that are better pre-qualified to match your business model.



How do I attract better qualified clients?

If you want clients that appreciate fine portrait work, then you have to show it…they can’t get that from a computer screen or fb image. Your work on people’s walls in their homes attracts that kind of client. If a client comes to you solely from a digital file or small print it is most likely that is what they expect to purchase from you. If a client comes to you from seeing a neighbor’s wall gallery of images, then guess what? They expect to purchase those things from you too. There is not much selling that will be necessary to increase your ticket a tremendous amount plus you won’t have to wade through tons of clients to find the RIGHT ones.  Now you have time to run your business properly…on YOUR terms.


How can I achieve this on my budget?

It depends on your personal budget or timeframe, but when we did this 10 years ago I had just lost my job and had absolutely NO funds. This requires some ingenuity and is the smallest of all the above mentioned obstacles. What we did was put all our old frames on display discount and sold many of them  to get a little money together to buy new display prints-frames (not many but the ones we did get were over the top). We put together some groupings for display and modified our pricelist to encourage wall art sales with incentives. As we got a few galleries setup in client’s homes we started receiving referrals (of the right kind of clients).


I have to admit it didn’t work out exactly the way we planned it. We originally wanted to offer wall galleries to sell more frames for short-term profit increase. It actually did work for that but the much larger indirect benefit we didn’t realize we were achieving was attracting more qualified clients. It was definitely a case of aiming at the stars missing a little but still hitting the moon J


Your questions, personal challenges or brainstorming sessions are welcome. If you need help getting started or RE-started in providing wall collections and attracting the right kind of clients, then contact us for some ideas.


Thank you for your time…

Brad Salmons

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