003 Stacey Lievens: Witness The Proof

In this episode, Luci and Stacey discuss:

  • The importance of giving back to your community and building a strong reputation.
  • Why sourcing the right talent and encouraging creativity and independent work, sustained a high-quality work product and employee loyalty.
  • How offering video as part of your services will increase the level of your business and enter the growing market demand with entrepreneurs and online influencers.

Key Takeaways:

  • Entrepreneurs need to be the face of their brand, and they’re hiring photographers for professional headshots and photographs in a natural state for use in social media, websites, online marketing, and blogs.
  • “Proof” gives entrepreneurs and thought leaders the opportunity to perform on a live and virtual stage to talk about what they are passionate about and why they do what they do.
  • It’s essential to build your photography business by finding a way to align your core values with some kind give back component to the community.  It’s the best way to give back to your community in a way that’s also beneficial to you and your business.

“The more we can lift each other as we climb, the better we are, give in the spirit of generosity and your heart will be free to reach and build the life you want to live.” — Stacey Lievens

Connect with Stacey Lievens:
Facebook: facebook.com/witnesstheproof
Website: http://www.witnesstheproof.com
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/witness-the-proof

002 Luci Dumas: The Profitable Photography To-Do-List

In this episode, Luci discusses:

  • The top to-do-list items necessary for growing a professional photography business.
  • The importance of hiring a coach experienced in photography and business, who will provide inspiration and guidance to avoid costly mistakes.
  • The advantages of building a reputation through volunteering, assisting other photographers, and generosity.

Key Takeaways:

  • A photography business requires money to invest in education, equipment, marketing, coaching, and travel.
  • Finding your niche will make it easier to grow your business in that specific area, build your reputation, and know the market you’re serving.
  • Attend a week-long class with professional photographers who have had a successful journey to network, learn new skills, and be inspired.

“Never stop learning and don’t give up; success is inevitable if you’re willing to do what it takes and trust yourself.” — Luci Dumas

001 Welcome to The Profitable Photographer with Luci Dumas

Your host for The Profitable Photographer is Luci Dumas, an award-winning photographer at local and national competitions including the People’s Choice Award at the Del Mar Fair’s International Competition.  She served as President of PPSDC and WICP and has been a professional photographer for over 36 years. Early in her career, she was a high-end wedding photographer and has transitioned to a high dollar child and family portrait specialty. Luci’s business coaching program empowers her students to grow their business, increase income, gain confidence, and knowledge as they share their experiences with the world.  Join her weekly as shares her wisdom for building a successful photography career through her journey and interviews with industry experts.

“It takes nurturing and planning. It takes heart and commitment, education and imagination.  It takes everything you have, your talents and your experience.  It takes support and people to guide and believe in you.  It takes grit and you can do it.” — Luci Dumas

SELLING WALL PORTRAITS with CONFIDENCE

Does just the title of this create anxiety? Or do you already have a proven system that results in just exactly what you want your clients to purchase? Does the idea of having a roadmap for selling your portraits as gorgeous pieces of art give you a sense of peace, or are you a bit lost in how to structure a successful sale?

Never fear…I have a plan.

It isn’t rocket science learning to help decorate each of your clients homes with gorgeous wall portraits you create for them…and having them write you checks in the thousands, rather than hundreds. It takes a system, a plan to build a deep relationship with potential clients which leads to great sales that clients will be thrilled to purchase. This system, which I have learned and perfected for over 30 years, has led to thousands of large portraits becoming treasured art for my clients and helped me earn a great living. It is not a secret and I love to share with others.

Where does it start? How does this happen?

It starts with how your find potential clients, the initial introduction to people that, if they know who you are, the experience they will have, and what you will create for them, will be delighted to invest in your art. And it helps you become a highly profitable photographer.

The next step in the process is a consultation, preferably in person. At the consultation you continue developing the relationship, inspire them with your work printed beautifully and large, and the ideas you have for their session. Also, I have a set of details about the session, studio policies and pricing that I review with them in detail.Next is how they have the first direct contact with you. The key is the telephone. I know, many people don’t want to to use the phone and might even be a little afraid of it. If this is you, I want you to see the phone as your new best friend. Why? Because the key to success selling wall portraits is …

1- Developing a relationship…getting them to like you and feel that you like them.

2- Becoming a TRUSTED ADVISER. The most important concept I teach my coaching clients is their role as a trusted advisor. I didn’t invent the idea but if no other idea gets deep into your mind about how to sell wall portraits (or albums or shoelaces for that matter) it is this concept…becoming the trusted advisor. And it starts with the telephone.

3- Planting seeds every step of the way about the value of wall portraits and printed products.

4- Having a system to use in the sales room to lead them to the purchase

5- Knowing how to respond to objections that can dismantle a great order if not handled correctly.

6- And…selling with emotion, keeping them in their heart about the purchase. (I love it especially when they cry during the slide show.)

Some photographers will simply email a price/policy list on request and maybe a magazine with some pretty words and pictures. They cross their fingers and hope for the best. This puts them in the position as a “commodity” rather than an artist that will create custom portraits and product. Then there are surprised when people say they are too expensive, misunderstand policies,  or don’t book them at all. Before hearing about pricing, it is critical for potential customer understand the value of the experience and the finished art.

Does it surprise you to learn that the portrait session is an important part of the wall portrait sale? Or have you assumed that it is the only important step…to take pretty pictures and hope they will buy them. A portrait session is a special time to develop your positioning as a trusted advisor. Guiding them with posing, location, expressions and such puts people at ease and helps them trust you even more. Dropping “seeds” along the way about eventual purchase ideas during a session helps with the final decisions. During the portrait session, getting super excited when everything comes together (location, lighting, expression and posing) and hinting that this set up will make a great wall portrait is one of my tools for sales success.

Of course,  the sales room is where the magic happens. How you structure your presentation is most important to making amazing multiple wall portrait and album sales for thousands of dollars, and a big hug at the end because they are so happy. Just don’t underestimate the value of building their purchase one step at a time. I will share more about this process in another blog post….or you can contact me directly for more on this.

I recommend using an excellent quality projector and screen, even if you are selling in their home.  And after over 30 years, I have created my system to lead clients easily to towards an order that frequently includes several wall portraits and a high quality album. This is where the trusted advisor role is most important. When you create a wonderful experience for your clients from the first contact, they will relax and trust you to help them design the art that they will love for lifetimes.

This system is the core of my Insight Training Program. When photographers work with me directly I give them the roadmap and guidance along the way to build and maintain a profitable photography business that is super fun and blesses their clients.

I would love to connect with you about my private and group coaching programs, or anything else you would like to share.

Happy Summer! Luci

Twelve Invaluable Lessons I Learned From Selling Make Up

Selling is both an art and a skill. To some, sales comes naturally because we love to enthusiastically share something we think is valuable. But for most artists, it can seem a bit scary asking people to buy something as personal as our art. Fear of rejection or seeming pushy can get in the way of blessing our clients with finished portrait art that they will treasure forever.

Whether sales seems like a dirty word or creative and fun, learning how to “sell the dream” of a future results or pleasure to a target market is essential skill be profitable as a portrait and wedding photographer.

Here is how I accidentally learn to sell and create a highly profitable photography business specializing in wall portraits and albums…

35 years ago I found myself unemployed with a strong commitment to becoming a successful photographer and making a great living. The friend I purchased my much loved Jafra Skin Care from suggested I become a consultant to supplement my income. I loved the products so I thought it could be fun (and I would get free and discounted makeup as well). Though this is a multi level marketing system I made some steady income from sales alone. My manager was an amazing one on one sales coach and the company provided a great deal of training as well.

Little did I know that I would not only bring in much needed income but I that would learn a lot of basic wisdom that I needed to sell my portraits and wedding packages to women in their and my home.  You might be wondering “What does skin care have to do with photography?”

 Here is what they have in common

    -both are luxury items and are an intangible in terms of the ultimate value to the clients and

    -the buyers are primarily women.

The following are lessons that came from the experience that I still use every day…

1-I learned that it is harder to sell to friends and family than strangers and that the sooner I found people I didn’t know to work with, the easier it would be to be profitable. As a rule, friends and family spend less, don’t respect my time, and expect more.

2-I learned to use descriptive words that women love…painting a picture with my carefully chosen vocabulary and phrases that are emotional and about how they will feel when they have the product. I learned to sell the dream.

3-I learned to have passion and enthusiasm in my voice and body language.

4-I learned to have a start to finish sales plan.

 5-I learned that people don’t call and order later. The time to complete the order is now.

6-I learned not to give up when they say no or offer objections but to find creative ways to address them.  “I’ll think about it” means “please give me more reasons to say yes”.

7-I learned how to talk on the phone, follow up on those leads, do reminder calls about the parties, and express my gratitude.

 8- I learned to present myself well visually (not jeans and flip flops but a nice, stylish jacket and of course skilled makeup and tasteful jewelry).

 9-I learned not to serve alcohol until after they ordered and paid.

 10- I learned the power of intention. Before a sale now as well as then, I set a sales goal, picture it in my mind and say thank you in advance and by golly, it often is that amount or more.

11-I learned that if I truly believe in the value of my product, I owe it to them to do my best to sell them my best. I am giving them a gift when they purchase gorgeous wall art that becomes a focal point in their home, enhances the love they have for each other, and becomes lifetime treasures. Passion equals success. Also, that the more they invest the more they value the art.

12- And I learned that people are different and not to pre-judge a client. Often the ones you think will buy a lot may not and the ones you think are cheap will order everything, pay in full and be super grateful for what you have done for them.

I hope these lessons support your success as they did mine.

All the best, Luci Dumas Insight Training for Photographers and Luci Dumas Fine Photography

And please join the private Facebook group “Insight Training for Photographers” to continue the conversation and learn more about my one on one coaching and consulting for photographers.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1066521683398486/