1 easy idea to get your current clients to refer you more often

  (Image from the Complete Wedding Course by Zach & Jody) Let’s get one thing straight… Brides KNOW other brides, and many times they are standing right next to her on the wedding day. You need your current client referring you to ALL of her friends that are potential clients. But how in the world do you get her to do that? The answer is extremely simple. “Give your clients a reason to talk about you, then give them the tool they need to share you in an effective way.”  – Jody Gray (tweet this out!)    My wife is one smart cookie. She realized very early on in our business that we only needed to figure out how to get our first few clients when we started our business. After that, we needed the top clients, the best ones, to send us ALL of their friends. If we could get them to do that, we would quickly have a business full of amazing clients that we wanted to work with. Sound easy? It is!  Sort of.   A Reason To Talk It all starts with giving your client an exceptional experience that they can’t help but talk about! Seth Godin said in his amazing book The Purple Cow, “Are you making really good stuff in your business? If so, how fast can you stop!” What he meant was that it is not nearly good enough offer really good service or really good products in today’s business. You need to instead offer something great, and great is usually something unique or different. It is unique, in the photography industry,  to offer... Read More

How to use an incentive to book more shoots

When we were shooting weddings, we had a 95% close rate when someone sat down to meet with us about their wedding day. This wasn’t luck and wasn’t because we are the best wedding photographers. It was because we know why people buy, and made sure to give people what they wanted. Today we want to teach you one of the tools we used so you can start to get the same results. The Why of Buy  People show up when there is a sale, people buy cars when the dealer throws in a set of tires, and when what you want might be gone tomorrow, people buy because of scarcity because no one wants to miss out. We know that people buy when they see value, when there is scarcity, when they feel safe, and when they are incentivize.  So how can we use these facts to help give our clients what they want and help us close more deals? Simple, INCENTIVIZE! (Click here to Tweet this out!)   When a client comes in and sits down with you to decide whether or not they are going to book you, there sometimes comes a moment right after you “close” (ask them if they are ready to book you), that they hesitate. This hesitation is what I call “riding the fence.” They didn’t say no to you, and they didn’t say yes. They are right on the fence and just need a little, soft push from you to fall on your side. In these situations, we always have an Ace in our pocket (an incentive). We would use an... Read More

Why Great Photos Don’t Sell Anymore

Something More than Great Imagery…  Could it be that we have spent all this time honing our craft to become better and better photographers, and the harsh reality is that having great photos alone isn’t enough? The Truth About Quality Photographs  The truth is clients just expect their photos to be good. No one goes around saying “I take OK photos, want to hire me?” So why in the WORLD would we try and base the price of our images off of the quality of our images? The answer is because we are artists and this is our art. We want people to value it, but the hard truth is that once photography became widely available and much easier to do, the overall quality of images went up and clients started to simply expect them all to be good. What Else You Got? Subconsciously, this is the question on all of our clients minds. If they are asked to pay anything over average for our products and services, then they expect something more. So what MORE do you have to offer? That is simple. We have to offer emotional connections to the products and services we offer. This is done by first, telling gripping stories when we are initially meeting with clients and then second, following up with a great experience throughout the whole process from booking through the wedding day and beyond. If we can do that effectively, then clients will pay a premium for us. We saw this time and again in our wedding business where clients were willing to pay average prices up front, but once we created an... Read More

How We Charge More Than Our Images are Worth! – Katelyn James

We have a treat for you guys today! The brilliant and talented Katelyn James is sharing how you can charge more than what you’re images are worth. Intrigued? Before we hand it over to Katelyn, for those of you who may not be familiar with her, let us brag on her for a second!  We could tell you how she brilliantly started her business out of her dorm room and is now charging a premium for her services, or we could share all the publications she’s been published in or how she’s the leader in building community with her brides, or we could share about her crazy talent for brand and design (don’t even get us started on her interior design!), but we won’t :) Instead, let us brag on how she is truly such a genuine, caring person, with such a sweet spirit with a heart of gold :) We hope you get the chance to meet her and her husband Michael one day and you’ll see that we’re exactly right. In the meantime, enjoy her post on how to charge more! Hi Everyone!  I’m Katelyn and it’s an honor to connect with all of you!  I’m excited to share some of the foundational steps that we have taken to catapult our wedding photography business!! We have brought in a 6 figure income for the past 4 years and that’s not easy to do when you’re in a heavily saturated and ever-growing industry!!   Enjoy! I’ve said it before and I stand by this bold statement… I honestly think that my work is worth about $3200. Based on my image... Read More

Why Great Photos Don’t Make Money

“People make purchasing decisions based on their emotional connection to a product or service.” -Jack Trout, The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing Something More than Great Imagery… Could it be that we have spent all this time honing our craft to become better and better photographers, and the harsh reality is that having great photos alone isn’t enough to build a successful photography business? The Truth About Quality Photographs The truth is clients just expect their photos to be good. No one goes around saying “I take OK photos, want to hire me?” So why in the WORLD do we try and base the price of our images off of the quality of our images? The answer is because we are artists and this is our craft. We want people to value it, but the hard truth is that once photography became widely available and much “easier” to do, the overall quality of images went up and clients started to simply expect them all to be good. What Else You Got? Subconsciously, this is the question on all of our clients minds. If they are asked to pay anything over average for our products and services, then they expect something more. So what MORE do you need to offer? That is simple. We have to offer emotional connections through the services we provide them, and through the products we sell. This is done by: #1 – Telling gripping stories when we are initially meeting with leads that help communicateWHY these images matter in the first place. This helps connect them with the heart behind why you do what you... Read More

4 Key Areas to Building Wealth | Part II

Do what you love and the money will follow… “The average middle class American believes this statement to be true, but when I surveyed the most successful people in America, they overwhelmingly disagreed with that notion.”  -Lewis Schiff, Business Brilliant It is not enough to THINK that what you do (take awesome photos) is valuable and then spend all of your time trying to sell that work. If you are not making money then you MUST change direction. You have to follow the money trail in order to win in business. How do we practically follow the money? Here are 3 keys that we have used to make our work valuable in a business that is constantly devaluing art. 1. Become a powerful story-teller.  If you can engage people with stories that ring true to their heart, then you can create value that is worth paying for. When people are engaged with your brand emotionally, they will pay more for it. 2. Add value that enhances others lives.  No one cares about you and your business (sorry!). They care about themselves. So make your brand about other people and what is in it for them on a deep emotional level. Speak to their hearts and to their needs and not to yours. Your wants might be for people to value the hard work you put in to be a great photographer, or the sacrifice you made to edit for long hours on their images, or your investment into your gear. Well, the client doesn’t care. They care about how the experience of working with you makes them feel. Focus on that. 3. Don’t be... Read More

3 Words you should never say at a sales meeting

When meeting with a potential client, there are three words we should never use. When we do use these words, we might still book the client, but we can create major problems later on that we didn’t even realize would be an issue. The three words are: 1. Discount  This is a dangerous word. The word “discount” tends to come up when we get to the money part of the conversation. People ask for discounts for one reason, the price you are asking them to pay is more than the value that you created for them. (Click here to Tweet this out!) Instead of doing discounts, we need to add value. Value is added by creating a more dynamic client or meeting experience, demonstrating value by selling something MORE than just images (like a great story), or by adding something (like an engagement session) instead of taking something away (reducing your price). 2. No Unless something is asked that goes against your values, then we should never tell a client no. If a client wants a cardboard cut-out of themselves (yes we have been asked to do this!), then the answer is yes! If they want it, then we will deliver it. Now, of course we won’t do it for free and the client will have to pay for the time and resources it takes to do it, but like I (Zach) learned in my internship years back, MAKE IT HAPPEN! When we say no to something that a client thinks is important, we can lose their faith in us. We once shot a wedding and the client asked me to... Read More

Why an Intro Video can book you MORE clients …and how to create one

The fall season is upon us and there is one thing that stinks about this time of year – business can get slow for LOTS of photographers out there! But, business being slow can be a blessing in disguise, and we are going to show what you should think about doing in the off-season and start planning it NOW! Why an intro video COULD book you more clients, and better clients come Christmas. We all know that right around and right after Christmas lots of couple’s get engaged, lots of people want family photos done and people are willing to start planning out the new year in style. This is your opportunity to showcase your brand and excite your clients about the experience that you can offer them. One of the BEST ways to do that is with an Intro Video on your website, and here are the 5 keys that you need to for a successful intro video! 1. Showcase Their Emotion Just like you would tell an engaging story at the booking meeting with a client, you want to draw out the emotional side of what you do. You want to show in this video that you are real people who care deeply about your clients and the story you get to tell for them. Showcase your clients laughing, some tears, some sort of great, genuine emotion with a focus on your couples (or families or whoever you shoot). 2. Showcase YOU   As important as it is to show potential clients what it is like to have their images taken, people will begin to trust you when... Read More

Sales Strategy (part 1) – Persuasion

“90% of selling is conviction, and 10% is persuasion.” -Shiv Khera What do you want more than anything when you walk into a meeting with a potential client? You want to book them, right? Of course we want the right clients, fun clients and clients that “click” with us, but at the end of the meeting, you want ONE thing more than anything else – the retainer. The retainer fee paid at the end of the meeting signifies something. It says that your client believes in you. It says that they trust you and that they want you more than any other photographer to capture their event. That is a good feeling and we need to have those feelings often so that we can pay our bills and keep our kids fed. How do we have those feelings more often, or should I say, how do we get clients to pay us more often? How do we close deals and get booked and make it happen on a regular basis? Answer: CONVICTION  In the coming weeks we will talk about persuasion techniques like engaging in the story, controlling the conversation, building rapport, creating trust and others, but the most powerful persuasion tool of all is that of conviction. If you are convinced about how good your products and services are, then your prospects (those who you want to become clients) will be convinced. If you are unsure of yourself, then your client will be unsure of you. You MUST have complete conviction about what you can do when you walk into a client meeting (with a bride, a vendor... Read More

How to Make $400,000 in your photo business!

Do you want to have a business that rocks like one of the following photographers?   Luke & Cat Have grossed 1 million dollars over the past 3 years Luke and Cat were in the family business of cattle farming in Texas when they got the bug to start their own business and shoot weddings. They read blogs and worked their circle of friends and after 1 full year in business had grossed just $9,000 after shooting as many weddings. Once they took out taxes and expenses they were making around $150 per wedding! They felt defeated. They either had to change something or give up. They did something incredible and over the next 3 years they grossed 1 MILLION dollars and will hit close to $400,000 this year alone! So what changed? What was the catalyst for their success? A Business Jump-Start Luke and Cat came and spent $3,500 on a personal coaching session with us at the end of 2011 when things looked bleak. We poured our heart and soul into them and worked with them to get their business on track. They took what they learned that day and went home, did the hard work, and implemented everything with some spice of their own and blew their business up! If you want to learn the same information that we shared with Luke & Cat at a fraction of the price, and take your business forward, then don’t hesitate, don’t put it off, don’t be the one that thought “maybe next year” and miss out on getting your business working now! We have 8 seats left for our 2014 Business and Marketing workshop that is going to... Read More

How to Effortlessly Make More Money

What is the ONE thing you dread MOST when it comes to being a photographer? It certainly isn’t taking beautiful pictures. It definitely is not looking through those pictures and tweaking your favorites in post. It probably is not SHARING those pictures and having your clients LOVE them. But what about the ONE thing that makes this a business and not a hobby – selling.   Many photographers that we have spoken to over the years absolutely HATE selling. They don’t want to be the Used Car Salesman trying to convince a client to get something they really don’t want. Do you ever feel that way about sales? We have a secret. There is a solution to this problem and it is actually very simple!       Have a simple SYSTEM for sales! By using a sales tool that makes sure that you are only offering your client products and services they WANT to buy, and using a SYSTEM that you follow so you always know EXACTLY what you are doing, clients will always be happy and you will sell and make MORE.     “Effective business systems are the ONLY way to organize & structure a new business that runs smoothly & impresses customers right from the start.” -Ron Carroll, Box Theory Gold         How to do it: Learn from the Best! The number ONE  industry in the world today is the ENTERTAINMENT industry. The reason for that is simple – clients EXPECT great quality (awesome pictures) and great service (you handling the details well), so if our focus is only on that, we will always... Read More

Friday Finds | Shoot & Sell

    ! Welcome to this week’s Friday Finds..REVISITED! Introducing; Shoot and Sell. (The name says it all)   How would you feel about adding $500 to each and every session you shoot by doing a very small amount of work? How valuable would it be to you to simply offer your clients something that they might purchase and have a high chance that they will each time you do? One of the toughest things you face when starting out shooting weddings or portraits, is how to sell products to your clients AFTER you shoot their gig. If you can’t afford a studio space (which is tough for most photogs) and you don’t want to meet in your home, then selling after the shoot can be super hard. We always say that you “sell what you show” and you have to find a way to help your clients visualize what their home could look like if YOUR images were hanging on their walls. If you don’t show it, chances are they will never buy it. Well, the problem is solved with this simple app!! With this app, you can take images that you actually shot from their session, and put them to scale on THEIR walls! How cool is that? You can have them send a pic of their space, or better yet, do a consult with them at their home and snap a pic of their actual wall, then put THEIR images on the wall space at actual scaled sizes! You can also put their images on a wall that looks similar to one they have with the pre-built... Read More

Tuesday Photography Tips & Tricks | Making Money Pt. 3 – Value Creation

The last and most important step to creating income in your business is demonstration of VALUE.     Value: (Verb) Estimate the Monetary WORTH of something – (Noun) The importance or PRECIOUSNESS of something     When out “selling” or marketing our business to a prospect (someone that we want to turn into a paying client) we can many times make a mistake in how we demonstrate value to them. We often think that our “art” has innate value and therefore if we present that art to a prospect, they should be willing to pay for it.  So a client emails us an inquiry and we email back our price list, never to hear from them again. What happened? They saw our art on the site, emailed us, we told them the price and we never heard from them again. That sucks.   Sometimes we make it past the initial email, the client shows up at our door (or at Starbucks) and we show them more value by letting them see printed versions of our art in an album. Then they ask the price of the album, they say they will “think” about it, once more never hear from them again. What is going on??!!   People will ALWAYS spend money on something that they value if they have the means to do so (or think they have the means). Once the price outweighs the value, they stop spending every single time. If two products or services have the same perceived value, the customer will almost always choose the cheaper of the two.   Example:  Harvest download on business: 4 hours of content, discounts from sponsors –... Read More

Guest Post – Marketing Guru Sarah Petty

Today we have an amazing post by a good friend of ours who is not only an amazing person, but runs one of THE most profitable photography studios in the country! This is an amazing treat to have our friend and all around sales guru Sarah Petty talking about how to overcome objections when clients are hesitating to purchase. Very rarely will you sell to your photography clients without them bringing up a single objection throughout the process, so learning these techniques that Sarah describes will teach you how to sell more without being a “salesman.” Turning Objections into Opportunities Sarah Petty     Sometimes when you’re selling to your photography clients, it can feel like you’re constantly being met with objections, and the feeling can be daunting. But, if you aren’t getting objections when selling to your clients, then you are done selling.  You have either closed the sale, or your clients want to leave without placing an order.   While objections often get a bad rap, hesitation from your clients doesn’t necessarily mean ‘no.’ Rather, the objections they bring up are opportunities for you to find out the real reason they aren’t buying, and then you can work to overcome those feelings so that selling to your clients is much smoother, and everyone involved is tickled pink.   Take, for instance, one of the most popular objections we hear as professionals who understand cost of goods sold and set our prices to be profitable: ‘You’re too expensive.”   There are a few different strategies you can use here to overcome this common objection, but here’s one that... Read More

Tuesday Photo Tips & Tricks | How to Have a Higher Closing Rate

  Have you ever found yourself on the phone or in person with a potential client and you have listened to their needs and wants and then you have finally told them about your services and answered any questions that they have, and then comes the awkward moment… … The chirping cricket moment … The moment where silence seems to drag on like an eternity and you’re thinking to yourself, “Do they like me? Does what I offer sound good to them? Can they afford me? Do they want to hire me?” But you have absolutely no idea and they aren’t saying anything, so you result to the most defeating and non-resolving thing you feel you can say – “Well…. let me know…” Then you hang up or they begin to gather their belongings, and you know as soon as the phone line goes dead or as soon as you watch the back of their heads retreating, you more than likely will never hear back from them. Car salesmen call this a “be back.” If someone leaves from the sale, statistics say that 80% of people are never coming back. What is needed is a CLOSE! You need to close this bad boy without sounding pushy or weird. The close is the most important part of the consultation. Whether we like it or not, all of us are in sales and we need to be able to bring the meeting to a place where it’s not left open-ended. We have for you one of the best things you can ask your clients, “Does this sound like what you’re looking... Read More

Our FREE 5 Week Photography Course is HERE!

Lesson 1: Must-have Gear Essentials You are receiving the FIRST week of this complimentary 5-week course just for being an awesome blog reader! You can SIGN UP for the entire 5 week course HERE! Welcome to the first lesson in the Five Keys to Rockin’ Your Portrait Sessions! Over the next few weeks, we are going to cover must-have gear, finding the light that any client can look great in, how to get the best moments and expressions from your client, how to get free help which allows you to focus on your clients, and how to make more money on your sessions! So, get ready because here we go with week 1! Portrait Session Goals When we are out shooting a portrait session, we have one goal in mind – To make our clients look their absolute best! In order to do that it’s important to have the right tools. Today’s lesson is about the two most important things you can bring out with you to your portrait shoots – the right lens and the right reflector. MUST-HAVE GEAR ESSENTIAL #1: A PORTRAIT LENS You have the power to make your subject look their best or their worst simply by the type of lens you choose to shoot with. This is why, unless we are trying to go for a certain look, we are usually shooting with a portrait lens. What makes a portrait lens a portrait lens? Any lens that is approximately 80mm or longer (depending on what expert you ask) is considered a “portrait lens.” Likewise, any lens that is shorter than approximately 80mm is not a... Read More

What you Need to know about Pricing & Packaging

We are PUMPED to have guest blogger, Jared Bauman share his wisdom business savvy with you all! Jared not only has run his studio for over 10 years (he is a part of the 4% of small businesses who actually last and thrive over 10 years – amazing!), but his studio shoots over 200 events annually around the world, AND he founded ShootDotEdit (anyone want to outsource your editing??), AND he also makes time in his schedule to share his knowledge freely with other photographers. Jared is the perfect example of how to not only run a successful business, but a successful life. We met Jared two years ago listening to him speak at our first ever photographer’s conference and have since grown to become good friends with this awesome guy! We have heard Jared speak multiple times at other conferences including the coveted WPPI conference in Vegas, and one of the best talks we heard from Jared was when he spoke on the science behind pricing and packaging your services. Let’s face it, pricing is a challenge! I (Jody) remember during the first two years of our business it seemed like we modified our pricing every week! Anyone else our there feeling us on that? So today, Jared has graciously agreed to share with us all some of his smarts on Pricing. Enjoy!   Pricing & Packaging Bootcamp By Jared Baumann Pricing. It’s often the last thing we think about as photographers. We focus on our website, our branding. We pour over reviews of the latest gear, and try to learn how to light for every situation. Email... Read More

Pricing From Guest Blogger

Well, Jody and I are sitting in our hotel room in The Haag, Netherlands, writing this post and thinking about all the awesome photographers that we were able to spend the day with shooting around this beautiful, historic city. We are having the most incredible time here and can’t wait to share all the stories and photos from this trip! Speaking of new photographers that we LOVE, just about a year and a half ago we were able to meet some super talented shooters that soon became dear friends, so, today Jody and I want to highlight this AMAZINGLY talented duo whom we LOVE dearly. Jeff and Erin Youngren are photographers from San Diego who we spent some time with a few months back at their lovely home while visiting and touring. These guys are absolutely brilliant at running their business and we thought we would take a Tuesday Tips and Tricks post and share with you some of the other photographers that are making a huge impact on this amazing community.This post of theirs is all about PRICING yourself and how to add value to what you do, and we have to say that Jeff and Erin are right on the money with what they have to say. So, without further ado, click on the post HERE from the Pictage... Read More