Business + Marketing

How to Construct a Process That Will Help You Upsell to Clients

June 27, 2018

By Marc Anthony + Tony Ryan

Photo © Marc & Tony

Keep images like this more desirable by not overexposing them to your client.

When we first started working together 15 years ago, we wanted to be so accommodating to our clients that we allowed them to take the lead. We found ourselves having trouble following up with them and always getting excuses, which kept us from getting things done. We also noticed our sales were struggling, due to the length of time it would take for a client to place an order. Needless to say, we were really getting frustrated and falling behind in our work. It didn’t take too long for us to learn that things needed to change, and they did, drastically, once we took charge of the sales process and let our clients know that we would be doing most of the work for them. We started to promise quick turnaround times and finished products in-hand well before most other photographers, and our sales soared as a result.

Full Disclosure

One of the keys to increasing our sales is educating our clients. Starting with the initial meeting or phone call, we let our clients know what they can expect from us. We also explain the workflow process that will go into effect after their wedding or photo session. Taking the time to do this guarantees that we will make a good impression and instill confidence with our client. This just may be the deciding factor in getting hired when we are being compared to other photographers.

It’s A Date

Getting clients to come in and view their images and make decisions as soon as they can is another key to increased sales.

Our wedding clients can’t wait to see the photos and relive their big day. Prior to the wedding, we book their screening appointment for a date shortly after they return from their honeymoon. To stay on schedule and keep jobs from running into each other, we will spend the week following the wedding editing the images and designing their album layouts.

When working with a portrait client after their session, we’ll book their screening appointment as soon as possible. Our goal is to meet with them one to two weeks after the session, while the excitement is still high, for bigger sales.

Champagne Screenings

All of our clients are treated to a proof viewing experience we refer to as a Champagne screening. We like to make it a very special occasion by offering Champagne or a beverage of their choice with an hors d’oeuvre. If the client is coming in for a morning appointment, we’ll serve coffee, juice or Mimosas with breakfast pastries. This sets the atmosphere for viewing our custom slideshow set to music, showcasing edited images, custom-designed album or book layouts and wall art options.

Decisions, Decisions

Our clients know that when they come in for their Champagne screening, they will be making all of their decisions that day before they leave. A wedding client will select all of the layouts that will be included in their album, allowing them to make picture swaps at that time if need be. Although our clients receive a certain number of pre-paid layouts in their album, we will always design a number of additional layouts. From the beginning, we let them know that we are telling a complete story without limitations to the number of pictures and layouts in an album and that it will be their job to select what they want or don’t want. We find it beneficial to the sale to give the option of creating additional layouts but not to allow layouts to be redesigned or combined. We find that most of our clients will add layouts to their order, resulting in a larger purchase.

We design books for portrait clients as well, even when one is not purchased. Oftentimes, clients will order a book (in addition to prints and wall art) simply because we are showing page layouts using their photos.

The Power of Print

The best way to promote printed materials such as books, albums and wall art is to present them in printed proof form. We create contact prints of our layouts and wall pieces. This helps to get a client’s mindset away from the digital format and onto printed photographs. We record image selections and make notes of any changes right on these sheets. We never make album design changes or edit with Photoshop in front of a client because we really don’t want them to know how easy the process is with today’s editing tools. We want the wizard to stay behind the curtain.

Special Incentives

To encourage larger sales, we offer discounts for purchasing additional layouts or an even greater discount when purchasing the complete set. For portrait clients, we create a special package including a photo book. The additional savings helps to increase sales and lets our clients know that we are working along with them in an effort to get them everything they want.

We offer a discount of 20 percent on additional album layouts. To encourage the client to purchase the entire album that we created for them, which is usually 20 to 30 layouts more than they have credit for, an additional discount of 10 percent is offered. By doing this, we would save them 30 percent on the complete album while making thousands of dollars more
on the sale.

We put together a custom print collection including wall art for wedding and portrait clients, with a special price available that day only. This encourages larger sales and shows a client that you are willing to work with them.

Limited Exposure

We have found that the best way to create excitement and desire is to limit what our client sees and has access to. We do not post on social media, provide access to an online gallery or provide them with any digital file access until they have picked up their final products. This keeps them focused on finishing the process in a timely matter and allows us to exhaust all of our sales opportunities.

Streamlined Workflow

For the first few years of our business, we let our clients take charge when it came to selecting album images, wall art, print orders, etc. We learned that it is best to take control and do the work for your client. Many photographers let their clients select the images for an album. This can result in having to wait months, if not years, for them to decide and get back to you.

Now, if we photograph a wedding on Saturday, we begin editing images, building album layouts and producing a slideshow that following week. This regimen keeps us on track and eliminates a backlog of editing and album design. Our clients receive their album, wall art and prints within 60 to 90 days after their wedding. This turnaround is very impressive to clients and it will make you stand out.

We will also block off time in our schedule to work on post-production for portrait sessions. Within 48 hours of the session, we set aside time for editing, book design, wall art grouping and the slideshow. This block of time is designated to completing a client’s project and allows for them to come
in for a screening within one week of
the session.

Go the extra mile by visiting your client’s home to suggest placement, size and material for printed wall art.

Measure, Deliver & Install

People love when you go the extra mile with service. The best way we found to increase wall art sales is offering to go to a client’s home, look at their space and take measurements. We offer our expert advice on what pieces would look best where and the best size photograph for a particular space. We offer to personally deliver the artwork to our client’s home and install it for them. Our clients love this service, and it separates us from other photographers. It allows them a completely hassle-free experience and instant enjoyment of their artwork.

Bottom Line

If your client knows what to expect, they will appreciate how the process benefits them and understand exactly how things are going to go, with no surprises. This system has worked very well for us over the years and has allowed our sales to greatly increase, while keeping control of our business.

Marc & Tony are internationally recognized as one of the top wedding and portrait photography teams. Marc, an award-winning photographer, and Tony, a creative director, have had their work featured in many publications around the world, including People, US Weekly and Hello magazines. They fuse classic elements and modern style with inspirations of vintage fashion and a contemporary edge of glamour to create artistic, timeless images.

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