It was my fault.
Over the life of my business, I’ve had one client–just one–who didn’t buy anything.
My client’s newborn session was a gift from her in-laws. They paid the session fees. She hadn’t made the investment herself, so she didn’t know all of the options available to her. Unfortunately, I never explained them to her.
I figured she’d book an ordering session like all of my clients do and that I’d explain what her options were at that point. The problem was, though I contacted her several times, ordering day never arrived.
I spent hours preparing a gallery that would never reach the walls it was intended for. Wasted time and effort is never good for business.
From day one, I should have presented her my package options and talked our way through them. I should have given her the options, then guided her to the best choice to fit her needs.
That’s how you pre-sell packages. That’s how you keep clients happy and coming back time and again.
Give, then guide.
Give her options, then guide her to a choice she is happy with. Give, then guide.
Hopefully, you’ve never made the same colossal mistake here that I have. Maybe you aren’t experiencing the burn of disappointment when you realize you’ve just spent hours building a beautiful gallery that will never find it’s place on your client’s wall or in an album. But just in case, here are a few tips on building and pre-selling profitable packages:
Build an over-the-top package.
You can’t give your client package options if you don’t have any, so you’ll need 3 or 4 options for your clients to choose from. Be sure to include an over-the-top everything-and-the-kitchen-sink package from the start. This package will anchor the value of your services in your client’s mind and appease those few clients who truly want the luxury treatment.
Your top-of-the-line package is meant to be crazy expensive, so don’t let your own frugal nature stand in the way when you create it.
Waive the session fee.
When you have a client on the phone ready to book a session. Offer to waive the session fee if she purchases a package up front. This is the most effective incentive for pre-selling packages I’ve found. You’ll be giving up your session fee, so be sure that you price all of your packages with this in mind.
Guide to a good fit.
Your client needs your guidance. That’s why she’s hiring you. Asking a few questions up front to help you understand her needs goes a long way toward building loyalty and trust that lasts.
I’ve created an action guide with questions that you can keep near your phone to reference the next time you’re booking a client. You can download it for free right here:
Encourage add-on sales later.
Building a value-added incentive right into your packages will help encourage further sales after your sessions. I like to add a discount on additional purchases, to keep the option open for up-selling later. Many of my clients are happy to add on additional prints and products with this discount.
The beauty of preparing now, is knowing that the next time we find ourselves on the phone with a client who is ready to book, we can rest easy. We’ll give and guide our way to happy clients and a profitable photography business.