This a question that I get asked about regularly. Do you do in person sales? Should you have your prices on your website or not? Should you offer packages? So, naturally, I thought I’d turn my answer into a blog post.
When I started out, I had a whole range of packages and options for people to choose from. Photoshoot plus canvas, photoshoot plus prints, photoshoot plus images on a disc… I tried to work out what people might want, what would be most popular, etc. etc.
And what happened was, for all my efforts, people rarely bought them. They talked about them with me, they ummed and ahhed over it and then, nine times out of ten, they went for the basic shoot. Because, people want to see their images before they decide what they want to buy. And to be honest, I prefer them to do it that way, too.
I think people see their images and become inspired by them. They might see a particular image, when they first look through their gallery and think ‘That image would look perfect on a canvas in my living room/daughters bedroom/hallway.’
So, I had all of these fancy packages, trying desperately to cater for every kind of client, and they kind of just got ignored. So, in the end, I scrapped them.
If somebody wants to buy a gift voucher and really wants to include a product, then I’m more than happy to tailor something to suit their requirements. But for the most part, I just charge a standard call out fee. And because I want my clients to get something tangible for their money, every shoot includes a free print.
Somebody once said that they thought that by only charging for the shoot and then ‘surprising’ people with the product price list after their shoot, I was tricking them into spending money.
Well, firstly, there’s no surprises here. You can find my product price list, with everything available to purchase after a shoot (including packages) on my website, for all to see, before you even book your shoot. And then every client gets access to my Client Area, when they book, which again, encourages them to take a look at the price list, so they know what is available to them.
Secondly, my prices are incredibly competitive, (some might even say cheap) and I always try to keep the costs as low as possible so that my clients are getting the best possible deals. I choose to publish all of my prices online because I think that this transparency and honesty tells my clients that they can trust me.
Thirdly, I am absolutely useless at selling. No, really, I am! I’m a photographer, not a sales woman. Any one of my clients will tell you, there is absolutely no hard sale, whatsoever, following the shoot. I’d like to think that the images sell themselves to the people who want them and I’m happy to give as much or little advice and input as is wanted.
So, I actually think that, by doing it this way around, it’s the opposite of a sales job. My clients book their shoot and at the time of booking, they only need to worry about the cost of the shoot and the travel expenses. They don’t have to make any big purchasing decisions or worry about choosing what they want before they know what their images will look like.
I have a range of products in my car, on the day of the shoot, so that if the client wants to see what’s available, they can. This also helps them get an idea of sizes, too.
Then, after the shoot, they get to see all of their images in their gallery and they have as long as they need to mull over their choices, with all of the information they need, in front of them. If they don’t like the images or they aren’t in a financial position to purchase more at that particular moment in time, then they take their free print and don’t part with another penny (thankfully that’s doesn’t happen very often). But hopefully, when they’re ready, or when they have the money, they place their order without feeling rushed or pressured.
This isn’t a method that will work for everybody, but personally I just found that this way of doing things is less of a headache for both me and my clients. And it works for us.