Too many busy photographers spend hours and hours shooting, and then editing hundreds of images from their weddings and events only to turn around and send a quick email to let their clients know their images are ready on a web gallery. This is a HUGE mistake! So stop it! Imagine if you went to a restaurant and the waiter who took your dinner order never came back to check on the food, see if you needed drink refills or wanted to order a dessert! Post event sales are critical to your net profit per job and with a little discipline and a well thought out strategy, you can generate hundreds of dollars in additional profits just by spending an hour or so with your clients when you deliver their images. It’s a different kind of “golden hour” than you learned about in photography class!
For your wedding clients, insist on meeting couples face to face after their wedding to deliver proofs or image files. This is a sales and relationship building opportunity that cannot be replaced by an email. It lets them know you take pride in your work and consider it important enough to deliver it to them personally. Sure there are times when this may be impractical or even impossible, but destination weddings and out-of-town brides aside, it shouldn’t be that hard to put in face time with your customers. You could even let them know you have a gift for them and prepare an 11×14 print of one of the best shots in a sleek frame, or something commensurate with the amount of money they are spending with you.
Be sure to make your meeting personal by reliving the high points of the day with them. Talk about how beautiful the ceremony was, or what great photo subjects they were and how much you enjoyed working with their families, or any funny or surprising things that happened.
Be prepared with a short 40 or 50 image highlight slideshow of the very best images and show it on a large monitor. If you don’t have a studio and you must meet your clients in a coffee shop, have it queued up and ready on your laptop or pad and put it to the music the couple chose for their first dance. Not only will they be blown away by the images, but taking note of their song says that you really care about them.
By this time they should start singing your praises. This is no time to modestly shrug it off and say you were just doing your job! Bask in the glory and let them know that indeed your goal is not to leave them merely satisfied, but to leave them ecstatic and that the very success of your business depends on happy couples telling their friends all about you. (Note how you’ve just planted the referral seed here!!)
Move the conversation over to their albums options. While they may have already seen your sample albums at a pre-wedding consultation, have them ready to show again. Chances are it was months ago that they saw them the first time and they were likely more concerned with whether you were the right fit for their wedding rather than what your albums looked like. Now that all the wedding day details are in the rear view mirror and they know they’ve got some fantastic images to work with, they can concentrate on creating their professional photobook . Show them plenty of upgrade options and leather color options to match their wedding colors. Ask them to imagine a favorite image from their wedding on the professional photobook cover or as a full-page panorama. Emphasize what great thank you gifts your parent albums will make.
If the couple did not already commit to an album, now’s the time to ask for that sale. Let them know it’s not too late for you to make even a small album for them and that you consider your job only half done when couples settle for a cheap do-it-yourself album or no album at all–which will more likely be their fate because they will just never get around to it.
If you are using Zookbinders free Selection Service, you can introduce them to their Selection site you have already prepared for them (or a demo site you keep bookmarked in your browser). Explain how easy it will be to nail down the best images for the album because you’ve already given them a huge head start and the selection site keeps them organized. Even if your base album only includes 50 or 60 images, tell them most couples usually put between 70 and 80 images in their album to best tell the story. (You can have Zookbinders tee up the up-sell by asking us to select more than the included number of images to show in the selected images gallery. Just be sure to let your clients know they are under no obligation to keep the extra images.)
Give your clients an expected date to finalize their selection site rather than leaving it open ended. NOTHING GOOD comes from letting your clients take their sweet time choosing their albums photos and you do them a disservice by allowing it. It needlessly drags out your production schedule and your clients may be less inclined to buy extras or upgrades as time goes by. Let them know prompt album delivery is part of your service and that to that end you expect them to approve their selection site within two weeks. They’ll thank you for this later! Check your calendar and give them the date and ask them to mark their own calendar as well. (This is powerful psychological suggestion that will keep them on task rather than letting them put it off for weeks that turn into months and, believe it or not, sometimes even years!)
Don’t forget to thank your clients once again for choosing you to document their special day as you end your meeting. If possible, arrange for personal delivery of their finished album and when they are singing your praises again at that time, ask them for referrals to any of their engaged friends and relatives.
If your business is suffering from lackluster sales and low booking numbers, these in-person touch points can help turn things around through higher album sales and more referral customers.