How to Use Product Samples to Increase Your Sales
By Cheryl Steinhoff and Amanda Burse
Cheryl, the Portrait Photographer
As an on-location portrait photographer, I’ve found that the best way to increase my print and product sales is to have samples of certain products available for clients to see, touch and inspect in person.
With a studio, it’s easy to have your prints framed on a wall and albums displayed throughout the sitting area, but what if you shoot on location? It’s just as important for on-location photographers to have sample products with you to show the client.
In my pre-sales consultations, usually done over the phone, I like to get an idea of what clients are looking for in a shoot. Do they have a wall they need to decorate, or is their family portrait over the mantel outdated? Do they need an album for grandma? With a bit of information, I can decide what print samples/products I want to bring with me to the shoot.
For most family portrait sessions, I will bring a 24x36 wrapped canvas or framed print. Not only can clients see the appropriate size of a wall portrait meant for over a mantel, a couch, or a bed, but they can also see the quality of the materials and the depth of the colors that can’t be full conveyed on a computer screen.
I’ll let them take the large wall product home to see where it fits best in their space. Once they see it in their home, they are excited to get one of their family, and that’s before they have even seen their proofs.
24X36 2.5” Canvas Wrap
If they have a young baby or a smaller place, I’ll bring something more suitable for their space. My favorites are a10x20 storyboard or an accordion album that holds lots of photos for all the funny little faces a baby makes!
Of course, I bring my phone everywhere I go, and my Zenfolio custom photo phone case doubles as a marketing piece. It’s adorned with a great image of my kiddos. I let clients know that they can purchase a phone case on my site or they will get one for “free” when they hit a certain dollar amount in purchases.
As part of my welcome package, I always give clients a visual of print sizes. Many clients consider a 8x10 a wall print, but it’s actually more of a desk print. Here is what I send to all my clients in their welcome package to get them thinking about what size prints they will want to buy after the shoot.
It's quick and easy to order samples of your work. Zenfolio has a helpful video that shows you how.
Amanda, the Wedding Photographer
Since I live in a very rural area of Maine, I often find myself traveling for sessions or meetings with clients. It is not atypical for me to trek more than two hours to a shoot. A studio has not been necessary for me because people rarely want to drive this far into the Maine wilderness.
About two years into my business, I really wanted to move away from selling digital images and focus my attention on selling products. Digital images are just filed away, with the exception of perhaps putting the image on a Christmas card. Other than that, most clients never print them. Having an online platform like Zenfolio is great for selling easily—and being able to show my clients exactly what my products look like, and even feel like, has became a key factor to increasing my sales.
Many potential wedding clients are insistent on obtaining a disk or being able to download their photographs. But I bring several product samples, ranging from simple prints, image boxes, mat print folios—and most importantly, albums—to every meeting. Albums are key to sharing the story of their special day; it's a time capsule of sorts that can be looked at for years to come. When a bride feels the album in her hands and flips through the pages imagining her own day, the product sells itself. The album process has become a dream since I started using Zenfolio’s Album Design and Fulfillment Service. They handle everything from start to finish, and the product is nothing short of amazing.
I found Dear Cloud Design Studio on Etsy, which sells a variety of stunning folio presentation boxes at affordable prices. I print about twenty 5 x 7 MpixPro prints for the mats. This is a perfect size to show detail and facial expressions. After clients see the presentation box, they almost always want it buy it. They go right to my Zenfolio site where I have it included in my price list as a self fulfilled item—plus it is a quick and easy checkout process!
Filled with 4 x 6 prints from Mpix Pro, this image box is a perfect product to add to your wedding package for all clients.
Another great (and inexpensive) product to present to your clients is Miller’s 12-month photo calendar. It makes is a perfect grandparent or parent gift that will be enjoyed all year long!
So get out and show clients what you are made of and what it is you can make! The product sales are sure to follow.
Cheryl is a portrait photographer in the Raleigh, North Carolina, area and a mom of two amazing kids. She is part of the Zenfolio Customer Success Team, and her website is Cheryl Steinhoff Photography.
Amanda is a devoted wife and mom to four children between the ages of 4 and 14. She is part of the Zenfolio Customer Support Team and has been a professional photographer for 10 years.
Keywords: Amanda Burse, Cheryl Steinhoff, Zenfolio, photo samples, product samples, professional photographer, professional photography, selling
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