072: Steve Saporito – How to Generate Terrific Sales for Portrait Photographers

If you're a regular listener to the Photography Business Xposed podcast, you'll be familiar with Steve Saporito, AKA The Portrait Doctor and his clarity of thinking when teaching how to generate terrific sales for portrait photographers. In todays episode, Steve came to my Central Coast studio to record a Q&A podcast episode and while here, we decided to record Steve's appraisal of my photography studio and business.

The interview starts as Steve arrives at my studio and from the get-go, he has suggestions or improvement form the way I gave directions to the studio, access to the studio and the layout of the room. From here we went into systems, data bases, display prints and setting up my business to sell.

As much as this episode feels almost selfish, I have a feeling that many of the things that Steve critiques about my studio may well be relevant to you and your photography business, hence the reason for releasing this as an episode.

Here's some more of what we cover:

  • Learn how to make your studio work for you and generate more portrait photography sales
  • Why branding is important when showcasing your work and your clients will actually expect it
  • 3 ways to grow your business and avoiding the most expensive way to grow your business
  • The importance of a working and efficient database
  • What you can't be ignoring as you get busy when trying to grow your business
  • How to style your studio to inorder to emphasize your work and sell those display sized prints
  • How the appearance of a studio, including the access can greatly impact a client's overall experience
  • Different selling techniques to use when selling your canvas artworks and albums
  • How to display your artwork in order to guarantee not only bookings but also after-sales of your photography
  • How to make clients fall in love with your product
  • Why you shouldn't stop at just selling your main product
  • Stop selling products that clients can easily find somewhere else, offer something unique
  • The “Power of Language” and why you need to work on it for the benefit of your business
  • Why being price-focused on your business can hurt your business
  • Why it is important to use a projector when showing photos to your clients
  • The importance of showcasing only your best product
  • How to strategically arrange your studio's furniture to maximize space to showcase your product and catch your client's attention

Following this episode, you should be in a position to critique your studio in a way that may not have ever done before. You'll be armed with a number of ideas including what you can do to improve your branding, drive more sales and create a better experience for your clients.

One thing that Steve is continually preaching is that if we can improve our clients experience, we will have bigger and better sales, more so than anything else you do in your business including the photography. I have a list of changes to make, what about you?

What's on Offer for Premium Members

If you're a premium member, you should have received an email with links to your version of this episode where you can hear lots more implementable content from Steve. In this episode, I open my heart to Steve and ask his advice about changing the direction of my business.

Some of the topics we discuss include:

    Photography as a catalyst and a reason to help people see more in themselves and have a personal transformation in their own self worth and self value

    How to blend in your passion to shooting what you love with your business

    Why infusing something that you want to do in your business is more important than totally giving up your current business and pursuing a whole new concept in your photography business

Impact Images photography studio

Impact Images photography studio

What is your big takeaway?

Following this interview, I'd love to know what your biggest takeaway is – what is the one thing that you'd like to implement or learnt from what was shared? Let me know by leaving your thoughts in the comments below.

If you have any questions that I missed, a specific question you'd like to ask or if you just want to say thanks for coming on the show, feel free to add them below.

If you'd like an easy way to show Steve your thanks, and support for the show at the same time, click the link to create a tweet and automatically let him know you're listening: https://photobizx.com/tweet

Impact Images photography studio

 

A Special offer from Pet Photographer, Charlotte Reeves

In episode 36 of the podcast, I interviewed Australian pet photographer Charlotte Reeves where she shared a ton of great information in regard to not only having a successful pet photography business but simply managing any type of small photography business and having multiple income streams.

One of those income streams included her first ebook, Fetching Photos and just this week, Charlotte has released her new book, Dog Shots; a recipe book of 30 fresh and fun ideas to help you spice up your dog photography. It focuses on utilising locations, working with light and obtaining expression, with a special emphasis on capturing action.

As a special offer to Photo Biz Xposed podcast listeners, Charlotte has generously offered a promo/discount code that will take $20 off the purchase price of any selected product or combo. You need to enter the code TAKE20PX at the checkout to receive your saving.

Head to photobizx.com/dogshots to find out more about the book.

The Resources Page

Remember the ever expanding resources page that has a listing of products, programs, hardware, books and directories mentioned in each episode of the show. If you’re looking for something that a guest has mentioned on a previous episode but just can’t remember who or what it was – you’ll find it listed in order on the resources page.

iTunes ratings, reviews and Shout-Outs

Each week before recording the podcast I check iTunes for any reviews and each week I'm excited to see what you've had to say about the podcast. This week I was blown away to see five fantastic reviews! Thanks you so much to:

Chris Gillham from All Reasons Photography

Arthur Rosa from BRAZIL! Who says “Interview with the world's best. Enjoy it!”

Backdrifters from the UK

Globe Drifters from the United States

James Reazor from The Pace Podcast who gave the podcast another try and changed his earlier rating and review.

Sincerely, thanks so much for your ratings and reviews, I appreciate the time you've taken and it's a big help for the show. It's these iTunes reviews that make a big difference to the podcast being ranked well and found in the iTunes store. If you have the time and are happy to leave an honest rating and review, head over to iTunes.

Photography Podcast iTunes reviews

Don't feel your comments have to be long, involved or gushy, an honest opinion is all I ask. Don't be shy about leaving your business name in the review either – that way I can add a link in the show-notes and show my appreciation with a proper thanks and a Google loving back-link to your website.

Get in Touch or Leave a Voicemail Message

If you'd like to get in touch, ask a question or make a suggestion for the show, you can email me andrew@photobizx.com, find me on Twitter https://twitter.com/andrewhellmich or on Facebook at https://photobizx.com/facebook – I'd love to hear from you!

Impact Images photography studio

Links to people, places and things mentioned in this episode:

In Tuition To Succeed – Steve and Kelly's NEW training website

The ART of Business – New webinar for July (Free)

Steve Saporito’s Website

Steve on Facebook

Steve on Twitter

Learn Pet Photography with Charlotte Reeves – Charlotte's new website for pet photographers

Dog Shots – Charlotte's new book for pet photographers

Impact Images photography studio

That's it for me this week, hope everything is going well for you in life and business!

If you've been enjoying the podcast, I'd love for you to tell another photographer about it – it could be in a Facebook Group you're a part of, a photography forum, with a photographer friend or on twitter.

If you do have a twitter account, simply click here: https://photobizx.com/tweet or use the share buttons below.

Thanks and speak soon Andrew

By | 2017-02-13T17:28:44+00:00 June 30th, 2014|Podcast|59 Comments
  • Always great to to hear Steve talk business. He certainly comes to this with a customer focused view. I particularly like his comments on choice of language, subtle changes give very different meanings. I’d love to hear Steve’s thoughts on website design and content. How does the web fit into the whole getting appointments, sales, setting client expectations and maintaining the relationship going forward via social media.

    More of a future podcast topic rather than a question on this awesome podcast.

    • Thanks for adding your comments Josh and great future topic for the podcast. Steve may even add his 2 cents worth when he gets a chance here.

      BTW – love the photos you took on the weekend. You’re a brave man to stay out in that cold wind to shoot a bunch of weekend warriors!

      • Joshua Nicholson

        Thanks Andrew. In the scheme of things that weather wasn’t too bad. I don’t share much of my landscape photos but been out in far worse. Re future podcast it’s probably a question a few people could provide advice. Steve however has such a clear and distinct opinion on the studio, pricing etc I’m curious as to how he’d tie in the website. Having listened to it a second time and looking at your studio photos I really see his point about displaying the artwork collections you want to sell. The website can and probably should have the variety that you were talking about because web is a marketing tool not a tool to sell the artwork (prints). Anyway some stuff happened at work today that is making me consider my blog and accerating some plans. And need to talk to you about some portraits for myself

        • Hey Josh – I haven’t had a chance to put your questions specifically to Steve but I just interviewed Zach Prez for an upcoming episode and we talked a lot about website design and functionality – I reckon you’ll find a ton of useful content in that one plus Zach will be able to answer any specific questions following that episode.

    • Hi Joshua thanks for listening – twice – thats awesome!!!
      Language is a power in itself. Mastering it to evoke a fusion of Emotion and Art that allows your clients to feel as though you will craft something that will chip away and reveal the true treasure that is in all of us, but has been hidden by all the rubbish of life, allows you to be an Archeologist of Emotion for your clients. Not accepting what a client will initially share with you and knowing that there is so much more, will add value to your photography and their experience with you
      As far as the web site goes, it follows on from this knowledge, and purpose. Many photography web sites are all about the photographer and their awards, and lack a communication of this core goal. The web site needs to reflect the product that you want to sell, the same as in the podcast. Grouping sets of photos that tells a story rather than a gallery of photos, communicates that this is the way that photography should be bought – the same as Andrews walls in the podcast. It plants seeds early on.
      Keep it simple – share some experiences – video adds so much to a site. Let your clients tell their story and allow them to be advocates on the web site. If you inspire them to a whole new level, you will never lack clients.
      Your Web Site is your shopfront to the world and needs to have the same values and strategies spoken about with Andrew. The mistake people make is that they never look at their physical studio and the space that we have created for our clients – make those adjustments first, have the product available and infuse that into the web site.
      The Website needs to reflect the Studio Space as virtual version of what you stand for in your business. It changes everything. The fundamentals are the same.
      Hope that this helped and thank you so much taking the time to ask this question.

      Steve

  • I agree with Joshua’s comments. A show on how the website ties in with the customer experience would be very interesting. I’d also love to hear a little more about the sales process itself, and how it is best conducted. What language should be used to guide the customer but not unreasonably push them.

    For many of us, even having a show space like Andrew has is difficult to come by. I choose to have a studio space, but don’t have room to show images in the way mentioned in the podcast. That makes the sales process far less than ideal. Given this restraint, I’d be interested to hear what Steve would suggest as the best way of working around this. Perhaps it would be to travel with a projector and screen?

    Overall this is one of my favourite interviews. I found the commentary about language (packages vs collections for example) very useful, as well as the conversation about displaying images and customer physiology. More than anything, I respect Andrew for putting his own studio through this process and allowing it to be critiqued in this way for all of us to hear. That’s a brave move and one that we can all benefit from. Thank you!

    • Hey Al, thanks for your earlier email and great to read you comments here.

      I’m not sure if you’ve heard the first interview I did with Steve in episode 41 where we did dive deeper into the actual sales process. Let me know if you have more follow up questions once you’ve heard that episode and I’ll see if I can twist Steve’s arm to answer them for you.

      If you don’t have a studio space, a projector and screen are perfectly viable. I purchased a screen for same day slideshows at weddings a couple years ago and it’s beautifully compact and basically pops up out of the base. It wouldn’t take long to set up at a clients house. Steve may have some other ideas and I’m sure will voice them below when he gets a chance.

      Glad you enjoyed the interview Al.

      Speak soon
      Andrew

    • Hi Al – thanks for your email and asking this question in this forum.
      There always seems to be a big mystery about sales. It seems to be something that most believe is a big secret that involves locking the client to the chair and extracting money from them. None of my mentoring clients sell this way to the clients.
      Selling really is all about serving. Nobody cares how much it costs until they know how much you care. Money is an exchange for something that has changed someones life or circumstance. The more you can serve and effect your clients and their perspective the more they will want to buy from you. You should never have to sell.
      The Premier – which is where the Design Consultation happens to design your clients products has lots of steps that enhance your clients experience, and is a training course in itself. We did touch on this in the previous podcast, and there is so much more to it. It all needs to sit on the foundation of the experience and how much your client knows that you see them, really hear them, and are giving them something that they truly truly value. If your clients leave the experience more connected with the people they love and more connected into how much value themselves and each other – you will never really have to sell. You just need to design something perfect for their home.
      The only reason I would ever have a studio space is to show clients the products which is the result of why they go through the photographic shoot. This should always be the primary concern when choosing a space to set up your business.
      Is it possible to have some furniture and product that can be moved and placed on the walls in a 20 min set up. So that you can transform the room onto a Design Consultation area. Usually there are many ways to achieve this.
      I have many mentoring clients that take a projector and some samples. Using ProSelect to design their artwork and show it to them to scale is the only way to go to allow your clients to have the confidence to spend their money without any concerns or confusion. It is really important that this experience is free of any guess work or confusion, so samples of the finishes in at leaf a 20×30 – preferably bigger, and projecting their Artwork to size is really important.

  • No surprise really that i LOVED this interview!

    Thanks for being so open Andrew with your business and current struggle to implement a desired change. I have no doubt with Steve’s advise and your own mad-skills you’ll be able to implement the changes you want to see. 🙂

    So much to take away. It’s great to get a kick up the butt about what we show on the walls. (I am one of those that has a few mis-prints or slightly damaged prints on display) Guilty! I’ll definitely redesign my wall displays very soon.

    Using the entry of your business to start to plant the seed for how the clients might display their artwork. (If you do build that wall – I could really up my game on the entry of my place!)

    Background music I need to use more during planning appointments. Definitely makes a place feel nicer.

    Great discussion about building a business with the potential to sell it guys. That was all really good stuff to get out there and get us all thinking. Which brings me to… signing of artwork. I’ve been scared to do this for ages but have always loved the idea. I think I’ll implement it in the new display pieces and do it moving forward. For all the reasons you mention Steve, it makes sense.

    Andrew – Training Videos for staff! What an awesome idea! Wish I did that with the last staff change over but definitely something I will work towards for next time the Zanzo family grows. You are full of surprises aren’t you!?

    I could go on ALOT but will stop there for now 😉

    BIG thanks to both of you. Keep up the great work!

    Dean.

    • Hey Dean – very cool to read your comments, hope you had a great holiday and escaped the cold Tassie weather.

      I’ve had a builder in to quote on the wall and am either going with a modified version of the full hallway entrance or a door directly into the studio which is the cheaper option by a long shot. Steve insists that one shoot will pay for the renovations and Linda wants me to prove he’s correct 😉 And yes, it’s Linda that controls the finances in this house and business.

      Reading all your takeaways Dean, it sounds like you’ll actually implement. I’m looking forward to having you back on in the future to ask about the changes and how they went.

      Speak soon
      Andrew

    • Hi Dean – its an honour to have your take on this podcast and your honesty on what you could improve. Loved your podcasts and I really related to what you were saying – awesome.
      Maybe we should set Andrew a challenge and revisit his studio in 2 months to see how he has progressed and implemented – nothing like being put on the spot and some accountability Andrew!!!
      If Linda needs any more assurances I am happy to add her to my group that have done some training with me and have posted their results. You are going to earn some big “browny points” when you follow through Andrew – never to be doubted again – LOL.
      Dean – make the training videos as you are doing the simplest of tasks and add them to your bank of videos that a new team member needs to review before they start. This will make you time efficient and will assist you to build stronger systems. We have also found that it also allows us to set the bar on a number of things. Recording a fantastic excitement call with a client and comparing them to what is currently happens, often explain why we are facing challenges in our business. It all starts from the very start. As you get better at the excitement calls, then a new standard is set, and recorded for comparison and training. Simple but very powerful.
      Would love to visit when I am in Tassie next

      • I’ve put it in my diary to hassle Andrew after two months (but he’s on holiday so we should be a bit lenient ;)). We all need a bit on accountability for sure.

        I’ve started recording training videos for the post production part of the process. Still can’t believe I didn’t do this earlier! It’s actually really good just for me to articulate why I do what I do. Will be making more for the other aspects of the business soon.

        Coffee machine is always on – ready and waiting for you Steve! Would love you (and Kelly) to visit when your in town next. (She’s a Tasy girl isn’t she?)

        • That is awesome – don’t tempt me – I may have to plan a visit to Tassie soon as we are opening a new studio there for one of my clients – so perhaps I might check on builders renovation progress and take you up on the coffee – well maybe a tea (have been caffeine free for 3 weeks now – was an addict).
          I don’t think we should be too lenient on Andrew. The builders are probably working as we speak. Surely all of that would be happening while he is away. It is a great use of down time. Pretty sure his team could be hanging new art work already. LOL – well thats what I would have advised anyway.

        • You’ll be happy to know I’ve since had a quote for the new doorway to the studio, the projector has been dug up and a new screen is on order – it’s all happening.

  • Andrew Szopory

    What an information overload, had to listen to this twice. I almost thought this should have been videoed as it was a little confusing trying to put it all together at times but non the less brilliant content. It’s so interesting the tiny subtle details pointed out by Steve that can really make a difference. I’ve been thinking the same about having albums with every collection but wasn’t sure if it was too bold or not (but gotta be different to stand out hey), great to hear Steve’s views on it.

    Thanks for the shout out btw and enjoy France

    Andrew

    • Having you (and other listeners) picture what Steve was talking about was my biggest concern with this episode. I’m guessing that seeing you’ve left a comment you did see all the photos of what we were talking about in regards to my studio set up?

      It was a bit of an experiment and good to get your feedback Andrew – I’ll be super conscious about describing things if we do something like this again in the future.

      Congrats again on your wedding album sales process and maybe I’ll see you in Europe 😉

      • Hi Andrew, I just wanted to say that, for me, needing to reference your website for some visuals about the conversation topic is very worth it. We are, after all, talking about a visual art. It’s difficult to paint a picture with words when one is speaking about specifics, so I personally would encourage you not to avoid this type of interview because of the visuals. Perhaps, however, it might be worth mentioning it at the begging of the episode so those who would rather come back to listen when they have access to a computer can do so. Cheers, Al

        • Thanks for your support – I really like this on the fly scenario too – makes you think on your feet and make it really real for everyone. Agree – to tell people to check out the photos or have access to them. I suppose if you are on an iPad you could get there too.

    • Hey Andrew – thanks for your comments. I usually do video this when I walk into a mentoring client space and “critique” it. There usually is so much, and so many little things that need to be implemented, no one can fathom them all in one hit.
      I do have some DVD’s on the technology and the strategy and phycology behind everything that has been professionally, if you are interested, they are on my website, or I can get Kelly to call you or PM me and I can arrange it for you.
      PS – Have you registered for the free webinar we are running the Six Secrets of Success for profitable photography
      http://intuitiontosucceed.academy/events/

  • I can’t help but echo all the comments re the psychology, language, ensuring you show what you want to sell etc. Many of the interviewers are helping to force my mindset away from the hobbyist to one who values their own work, so they can charge appropriately and ultimately live off their passion (hopefully!)

    Probably one of my fave interviews too but will be reviewing many again soon to actively add to my strategy.
    There are a few new podcasts popping up but you’re still top:)
    Have a good holiday.
    Nigel

    • Thanks Nigel – great to get feedback. I love working live and having something real to work with. Working with photographers – every day, and helping them through their own personal challenges becomes so real, and I love that I can change their lives personally and professionally.
      You should also possibly join our free webinar as the issue of self worth and the value of what you are producing will be covered
      http://intuitiontosucceed.academy/events/

    • Thanks for the vote of confidence Nigel – much appreciated!

      Wishing you every success in your pursuit of full time photography, sounds like you are well and truly on your way if you’ve been able to implement some of the stuff you’ve been hearing in the interviews.

      P.S The holiday was fantastic 🙂

  • I forgot to add that having someone talk about your personal situation makes it very real, and not just theory even though the theory is going to be based on peoples experiences. I think the format has legs be it with your situation or others.
    Cheers
    Nigel

    • Noted and thanks again Nigel. Hopefully you’ve since listened to and enjoyed the Q&A episode which is a twist on this episode in a sense.

  • I loved that this was such practical show this week.
    Having a real studio evaluated and being able to see what he was talking about in terms of display canvas etc made a lot of the points stick.
    I tend to listen to the podcasts more. I try one take away and then listen again to see what else I could implement. I think I will be listening to this one 10 times!

    • Too funny Te. We have a training membership with training videos that we have created over the past couple of years, and the participants never believed me that they had to listen to each video at least 5 times.
      Great way to approach the podcasts – so flattered that you will need to listen to this one 10 times. Make sure that you let us know what is working for you.

      Steve

    • Fantastic to read your comments Te, thanks!

  • I loved being a fly on the wall on this episode. It felt so candid. I felt like I was eavesdropping. I loved it.
    My question for Steve would be, were you saying you wanted that other business to “infuse” their family photo business with their new “nude” photography business rather than a complete brand change over to nudes? Because that’s what it sounded like to us. Surely I just misunderstood. Right?
    But let me be very clear. I love this Steve Saporito! His voice itself just makes me want to buy albums and empty my wallet on his floor. I was so thrilled that Andrew invited him back!
    So yeah, Andrew. More candid episodes like this would be great!
    Joey Joiner

    • Wow – thanks Joey – nothing like a good eavesdrop!!

      There is no reason why you could not infuse nudes into a family photo business if it is done properly. In saying that – my client did a rebrand and totally changed the focus and drive of the business.

      When I owned my studios, we incorporated it into what we did, and the clients loved it. I suppose I always saw that no one is just a mum or a dad. There are so many more facets to a persons personality and life, and sometimes they really need to be reminded of that fact.

      Depending on each situation – it sometimes gave the couple a reason to come back on their own, sometimes when the children are young, it can be done during the same session, and granny comes later to pick up the children so we could focus on the couple. Anything is possible – if you believe in it enough.

      No need for your wallet just now Joey. Come and participate in the free Webinar we are running on July 14th http://intuitiontosucceed.academy/events/

      Thanks again for listening – really appreciate you taking the time to send some love back.

      Steve

    • Thanks again Joey for adding your comments and good to hear you enjoyed me having Steve back on the show.

      I’m guessing Steve has answered your question by now but I don’t think you were mistaken – I think if I was transitioning into another genre of photography, Steve’s advice would be to make it a progression to keep cash-flow going rather than flicking a switch and expecting the new work to be there.

  • Ok, third listen through – this stuff is gold!

    Massive thank~you Andrew & Steve. I felt some of the same responses in my head as Andrew to Steve’s comments re: signing my portraiture work and also going ‘too deep’ with clients both pre & post sessions.

    Some of Steve’s comments regarding the displaying of collections (& what we want to sell) really hit home – so not having a bricks & mortar location – this could easily be applied to our websites.

    Andrew, regarding feedback of this type of interview – it’s a real world example & would like to ‘see’ more interviews like this!

    If you could ‘interview’ another photographer in their studio – who would it be?

    Cheers,

    Mike

    PS. Andrew, enjoy France & the ride!

    • Thanks for adding your comments Mike and glad you enjoyed the format of this one. I haven’t given any thought to who I could or would interview in this format again or how it would work – happy to hear any suggestions if you have them.

      And thanks, the holiday was fantastic! Too short 😉 but fantastic nine the less.

      P.S I asked Matt Ebenezer for his take on your recent question about workflow – hope you get a chance to hear his reply.

  • Hey Mike – thanks for your feedback and sharing your thoughts with us.

    Yes yes – you can totally translate this to your website – but it is important to guide your clients through the design consultation – so perhaps creating an opportunity to meet with them for their Premier of their Photographic Experience in their own home may enhance their experience. Nothing will replace that human interaction at that point of their journey.
    I love the live event, and really prefer to be spontaneous rather than a planned workshop – it means we need to be present.

    So if you could implement 2 things from this podcast tomorrow – what would they be??

    Love the way you asked your question Mike!!

    • well, it would be a combination of both this podcast and Dean’s (ep:069). I have started inviting clients to meet with me either out at a location of their choice or home (as 99% of the time I work with families with little children) – so firstly they can meet me – as they can read 100 websites that all kind of sound the same but there is only one me! Then I can show them my collections (takeaway one)- so they can touch and feel (& if the meet is in their home, I can show them what a collection will look like on their wall – compared to just the 11×14 that looks over ‘exaggerated’ when shown on a computer screen (takeaway two)).

      I actually am uploading a client portrait gift right now, that not only has my personal signature but my business logo (ever so discretely) (takeaway three) – which was also an adaptation of another awesome podcast here regarding ‘gift’ albums.

      My collections and art pieces are now being updated on my invoicing and client application (however I may need to go back to light blue photo as my client database has grown, my new application can not handle how I want to mine the data & plan for my retirement 😉

      So Steve, forget tomorrow – need to work on it today!

      Tomorrow’s gig is to start pulling out all my portraits from my clients files & instead of presenting them on-line as they are, present the finished artworks displayed framed as they intend to be on my clients walls.

      • Love it Mike – Deans podcast was awesome. Well done on implementing and getting it done now. Now is always the right time to start. Make sure you set an end date for that retirement from your business.
        Happy days – hope to see you at APPA

  • Steve, I can’t help myself but ask a couple more questions, if you don’t mind. I realise that the answer to these can be quote long an involved, and I will certainly be participating in your online offerings, but I’d love to hear your thoughts (and I’m sure others would as well) on a few more points.

    In order to gain some perspective when compared with the more common short meetings with clients, I’m curious to know more about the in-depth and personal approach.

    For example, how much time would you leave to get to know a family during a meeting? Would one contact be enough, or do you follow up the in-person meeting with a number of other contacts? I know you do an excitement call to “confirm” the appointment, but do you also recommend contacting that family on more occasions before the shoot?

    In terms of the website and when booking the consultation, what do you explain to the client to prepare them for the conversation? I’ve always wondered where the balance is between having too much on a website and too little. I’m also very curious about the questions you ask to bring about those good answers which in form your photography, but I’m sure that answer is far more involved than you have time for here.

    Also, when photographing a family, do you put a limit on the number of locations and time spent on the shoot, or does the added investment in making it perfect for the client tend to lead to customers that are much happier to spend more, and thus even if a couple extra hours are spent on the shoot, it’s worth it for everyone?

    • Hi Al thanks for your questions – this is a no brainer – cause we do it all the time.

      We don’t usually have an in person meeting before the shoot. Most of my clients are doing them before I start, but with the phone training and the excitement calls being done correctly the clients are qualified, converted into quality clients, truly desire wall art, and know the price – usually they will be quoted an average of $1,500 on the phone.

      The booking enquiry is an excitement call. Every time we contact a client it is an excitement call. I normally recommend 3 calls before the shoot if they are booked with 2 weeks lead time or more (for portraits). If your team are really mastering the Excitement Calls the average time from enquiry to shooting tends to be 2 weeks – because they are excited. For weddings I would say 4 calls that are spread throughout the experience. A couple of those would be early on, and then another 3 -4 months after they made their booking and then again about a month in. Don’t forget that these couples will also be coming in for a portrait shoot a few months after they made their wedding booking with you. You do not want this to be too close to the wedding day – as it is too frantic and you will never serve them well at this time.

      Never ever use the word confirm – that is not at all what we are doing – we are discovering who the client is and what moves them.

      In terms of prepping a client for the conversation – I don’t think that a client can ever be prepared for the conversation that we have with them. Most people are used to shallow disinterested conversation that really is quite polite and is never about them. You just need to let them experience, take them by surprise and allow them to unfold and discover – because you are interested.

      It sounds like you are running all sorts of thoughts in your own head Al – as do many other people I am sure – about how they may react. It is not about you – and it is not your experience. Every client is different and you will have an authentic and honest conversation with each one. When was the last time you had to pre- calculate a conversation when you met a mate at a bar – it just happens. If you are really interested and really want to discover what their hidden jewel is inside of them, listen to their answers – they will give you clues of the next question to ask.

      Photographing families is not about locations – it is about their relationships and what they value in each other. Photographers confuse clients with their “special locations” and wonder why they don’t value them enough to buy a significant amount of photos from them (significant = more than $3,000 value). If you find out that there is a significant tree that they sat under growing up as a child and that it reminds them of where they went for comfort, and where they built a tree house with dad, and how hey hung a swing from it and played for hours, sometimes by themselves and sometimes with their friends – that is your location. There will be enough in that to explore for an entire shoot. Let them explore that childhood with you and relive it, feel it, there is no other location. The locations should always be a result of your conversation, not a pre-planned sequence.

      Don’t forget most clients don’t know what to ask for – so they just ask for what their friend had, or was advised by their photographer. Stand out and make a difference to their lives.

      Hope that this answers your question – sorry it took a while – I need some notification service to let me know there are questions posed – normally that is Andrew.

    • Forgot to mention – clients don’t know they want an excitement call – just do it. Did the world know they wanted an iPod before they saw it and experienced it. The just have never experienced it before and don’t know that they don’t know – cause no one does it.

  • I too really enjoyed this podcast. In listening, there are so many similarities with my process and Andrew’s, and my question has specifically to do with Steve’s opinions on using two monitors for Proselect during the design consultation. I use two monitors and the clients sit right next to me. I tell them that I am looking at the same thing, and show them too, but I feel that when they are looking at just the images without all of the controls and sidebars they can focus more on the images without distraction. It seems to me that this outweighs their wondering what they’re not seeing on the other monitor. Am I missing something or is there validity here?

    • We have tried both and the clients are much more engaged when you are both looking at the screen. They are more trusting as there are no barriers. You can tell them what you like – but physiology constitutes 55% of all communication – words only constitute 7%.
      A client connects to what you are looking at more deeply if you are both looking at the same thing at the same time. They are with you and feel guided.
      Try it yourself. Sit there where the client sits and get a friend to sit where you sit. Do it with 2 screens, and then close the lid and put the laptop aside. Focus on the same photos together and describe the photos together and compare that to when you did it when you put up a physical barrier of another computer and a screen and looking in a different direction and a different screen. I am sure that you cannot connect at the same level.
      I had to laugh as I was writing this – it reminded me of my parents. Mum sits in front of a 60 inch screen watching her favourite channels, and dad sits on his computer. They are not connected at all at this time. Yes they are watching different things – but so are you.
      The other thing that this does other than reduces the connection and adds unnecessary barriers with your clients, it also narrows your vision. By that your peripheral vision and your ability to notice all those little movements of when a client moves forward – and that compelling feeling you get to move with them. But you cannot – because you have a screen in front of you – and you did not feel it, or notice it.
      Defiantly, definitely – one screen. Always had much better client interaction and results when we switched to one screen and got rid on the second one – every time. I never recommend anything that has not been tried and proven.
      Hope that this helps

  • Thanks for another great episode Steve and Andrew. I think the reason this episode was so good is because it was self serving. You dug deeper with follow up questions because the question had a real purpose. Great job Andrew and kudos to you for putting your own business up for criticism (constructive as it was Steve). I would be interested to get both of your thoughts on how and where you would conduct interviews with wedding clients if you don’t have a studio. I am just starting out and don’t have a space at home and would like to keep my family life and photography life separate. Thanks again.

    • Hey Nicholas – many people ask this question. I am assuming you mean the initial interview where they book you.
      I would pick somewhere that would represent what you want your brand to be or become.
      I have many Photographers that I train that meet their clients in hotel lobbies. There are great cafes there, and great service, great ambiance and usually a no rush feel to it. As long as you are buying drinks and offering something as a snack – it is perfect. You should always be looking after your guests anyway.
      Many photographers are also looking to share spaces, so you split the cost of running the meeting area – usually there are 2 – 4 photographers that work from an area.
      I have a couple of photographers that are booking Meeting Rooms in some funky cafes and bars or even corporate offices. Choose something that represents you and your clients. Many places have function areas or rooms that are very private and can cater for your meetings. You just need to make sure that there is not too much distraction from your surroundings. Think about parking and parking limits too – you may have to have change on you to give to your prospective clients.
      I think the goal would be to have a space, as you ideally want somewhere to premier their wedding. Rents these days are cheap, as retail has been suffering in the on line world and there are some really great opportunities that will not cost you much. The real cost is not having it – and this is the opportunity cost of having your product on display and the perfect environment. many photographers just do not consider that in the right environment – every client could spend a couple of thousand dollars more than they would if not given that opportunity.
      How much has it cost you already Nicholas??
      Steve

      • Thanks for the insightful comments Steve. You now have me thinking about how much money I have missed out on 🙂

        Thanks for the great suggestion of nice hotel lobbies and share spaces. I will look into this over the coming weeks. At the moment I am meeting clients in cafés, but as you mentioned, I think they are too noisy, busy and distracting.

        I appreciate you taking the time to reply. It has really got me thinking.

        Kind Regards,
        Nick

        • Action is the key to success Nick – check out another podcast that I did where we interviewed one of the photographers that started putting what we teach into play, and how that is impacting his clients. The environment does contribute to get this to happen. http://www.bmnet.us/qam019/

          He really is engaging his clients which takes his photography to a whole new level

          • Hi Steve,
            Thanks for the link. I listened to episodes 19 and 20. I spend a lot of time trying to understand what clients want in meetings and think I am pretty good at getting them to open up. But … they are still very money driven. They are always asking about cost. When I get a direct question about money I find it hard to talk about value without sounding like an arty twit that doesn’t want to answer their direct question. I really struggle with this aspect of the meeting. After listening to these interviews I have realised it may be because I don’t value my own work enough. Is this a common problem and how can I change my mindset? Thanks Steve

          • Hey Nick – so glad that you liked the podcast and that it added to you and your clients – it seems.

            Yes it is a constant battle out there and it seems to be a mandatory trait to become a photographer almost. I think that the education is so much about you as a photographer, being true to your art, its all about you, that the fact that you are commissioned by a client and need to get the brief from them does not seem to be part of the education provided.

            It is a problem and seems to be one of the biggest hurdles that I have to continually work on and help people through. There really does not seem to be anything on communication skills and client phycology. I suppose that the industry expects you to seek that out for yourself – but no one else teaches HOW to do it.

            It is what we will be focused on in our Six Week Course.

          • Self worth seems to be tied with wether you believe your clients value what you do – and that is difficult if you do not know what they want.

            It is all deeply integrated.

    • Hey Nicholas, thanks for adding your comments and great to hear you enjoyed me going under the microscope for this episode 🙂

      If I didn’t have a meeting place, I’d consider a couple of options. My first thought was to have meetings in a local wedding gown designers studio who I have a great relationship with. She has a space, it’s street frontage and has a great vibe.

      After listening to Anie Zanazanian, I think I’d now use the local hotel which is a Crowne Plaza, up market, classy, spacious and has a cocktail lounge/bar that would be perfect for meetings. I think this location would suit my brand and target client too.

      Coffee shops or cafes could also work but it would depend on your photography style, target market and branding.

      Another very successful photographer, Ben Newnam, who I interviewed in episode 7 goes to his prospective clients homes for meetings and it’s always worked well for him.

      I guess it’s a matter of trying a few things and seeing what works best for you but definitely have a listen o both Anie and Ben for some more ideas.

  • The information provided by Steve was simply amazing ! I had to listen to the podcast twice and actually took notes so that I can implement some of his ideas/suggestions in my own operation. I don’t own a studio anymore but I still find the the info provided benefits most photographers. Andrew, Steve had great suggestions for your studio and I trust they will benefit you a great deal. You mentioned that you were afraid that this podcast would be too geared towards you and your personal business but I can’t see how the awesome information would not benefit everyone.

    Steve, you are a man of great talent and I thank you for sharing that talent with us.

    • Thanks Noel – I really appreciate you taking the time to reach out.

      I must say that when I approached Andrew about this concept it did not click to him that I intended using his studio as the example.

      But he was super excited and said that nothing was taboo – so all credit to you Andrew. Now he just needs to make sure he does not suffer from FTI (Failure to Implement). A disease that has been detrimental to many businesses – but particularly for photographers.

      I really appreciate you seeing what I share as a talent – I really love what I do, and only share what I know I have been able to implement in a variety of environments with a number of studios successfully.

      If you want more information head over to our new website – we are about to release the recording of a 90min webinar that we did – Six Secrets of Success for Profitable Photographers. It should be up within a couple of days and it is free. http://intuitiontosucceed.academy

    • Thanks Noel, good to hear that the info was well received and beneficial to more photographers than just me – that was my biggest worry about doing this style of show.

      I’ll definitely be applying most of Steve’s suggestions and have since had quotes for the new doorway into the studio.

  • Hey Andrew,

    To answer to your last email honestly as far as I m concerned I don’t mind either way to access to get to the premium content. I just hope that you find the best way and stop changing and worrying about it 😉
    I didn’t find the last episode selfish at all but actually very generous. Thank you to share your example with us. It’s been a great peu dis and it’s good to experiment with you. I took note on some details such as signage, branding and music. I must admit that I understand Steve point of view on your presentation (the photos on the wall) but it’s hard to visual it from my headphones. (!!!)
    There is probably smarter ways to present than others. Though wouldn’t it be boring? (or should I ask : is it actually right to follow a A+B shema? Wouldn’t it take off your personality/difference/signature?).
    Also Steve is mentioning that talking about pricing makes client being price focus. But even if clients don’t always talk about price they do take it into an account and I have lost clients for being to expensive whereas I m actually not really expensive.

    Yep, thank you to share this appointment with us, listeners. I like that you diversify your interview and that I don’t feel like listening at a machine (have you heard “full time time photographer with josh Rossi”? It’s good but almost like listening at a robot!). I also enjoyed that you have left Steve talk and don’t talked about you that much at the end.
    I hope you have great holidays

    • Thanks for your contribution Anais. With price you must always tell them how much they would be spending with you – but you need to build the value first. They need the time to understand how valuable what you will be creating TOGETHER – will be for them – it is important that it is focused on them not us. Focusing on a price list and every option just makes everything expensive. We need to absolutely get the brief and understand what is meaningful to our clients – allow them to rediscover themselves and the people they love – through the discussions that they have with you about their photographic EXPERIENCE. Once they have discovered that meaning and you tell them how much they will be spending – the concept of expensive seems to evaporate. Sell the experience and the journey not a 20×30, and you also could get a 30×60 – and we also have albums. it just confuses them and makes them totally focus on price (Not that I am saying you do this)

    • Hi Anais – really good to read your comments, thank you for the feedback!

      Pricing will always be an interesting topic and there will never be the perfect answer regarding what you should charge. And, you will ALWAYS be too expensive for some people… but that’s perfect, that’s what you want. That’s what makes you more appealing to your right clients.

      The difficult part is targeting that market and attracting enough bookings to maintain a profitable business. Hopefully the podcast and interviews goes a long way to helping you solve this issues.

      In regard to being original with the podcast, I totally agree with you about Josh’s interview technique – I’m guessing his model of 5 episodes per week means becoming robotic and streamlining his interview process. Not something I’m planning on doing 🙂

      The holidays were awesome, thanks!

  • Thank you Steve, these are great advice, which I’m indeed following.

  • Daniel Waters

    Excellent stuff – Steve is my favourite coach at the moment because it’s not always about more clients, but better clients. With a little education and psychology Steve is excellent at creating great clients out of people other photographers might have thought of as a ‘bad’ one. Anyway, enough pandering! My quick question is I have a space that’s 227cm high and 190cm wide that I want to put family ARTWORK on. What do you recommend I put up there? Sorry this question is 3 years after the interview but I’m working my way through the back catalogue! Many thanks as always.

    • Greta to read you enjoyed Steve’s interview Dan – you’ll find a few more with him and Kelly in the back catalogue.

      I’ll let Steve know about your question but I’ll take a guess at what his answer will be. I think Steve will suggest you don’t show a whole family in your display but a singe child with the idea of planting the seed of a family purchasing a collection of each child when it comes to ordering.

      The psychology being you will always sell the family photos, that’s a given, and the plan is to sell collections of each child. By collection, I mean a series of 3, 4 or 5 individual images.

      Let’s see what Steve suggests…

      • Daniel Waters

        Thanks Andrew. That’s a shame as I only ever get one decent photograph per session! ha ha ha!!