Month: March, 2014

The secret to sales

March 28, 2014

Boudoir Photography Tips: The Secret to Sales

 I’ve had this discussion with so many photographers. They tell me how they wish they could have someone else handle their sales so that they could just take pictures. If only it were so easy.

 Of course it isn’t. Being a Professional Photographer often has very little to do with “just taking pictures.” If it were just that, everybody could do it. That happens to be the fun part.

 Truthfully, the secret to being a successful photographer has much more to do with one thing: Sales. Once you master these few tricks of the trade, even sales can be fun too.

 Let the Sale Begin

 “Making a sale” doesn’t happen the day of the photo review when your client is sitting down to view their completed photos, it begins earlier, way earlier. It begins when you get the first phone call, e-mail, or contact inquiry from a potential client. This is where you begin to go above and beyond, this is where you start to show them why they should buy from you in the first place.

 When competition is as high is at is nowadays, the ones who make it are the ones that provide an exemplary experience, one that stands out in every regard, from the beginning.

 Answering the Phone

 I don’t know what it is about the current generation of young professionals, but they all seem to be terrified of answering the phone. It doesn’t make sense to me. If you want to excel with sales, you first and foremost need to talk to your clients so that they become comfortable with you. People buy things from those they trust, not from someone who’s too afraid to talk to them.

 Also, you need to be upbeat and encouraging. When you answer the phone, make sure you smile broadly, and they’ll hear that in your voice. It will set them at ease. As I just said, most people aren’t always comfortable talking on the phone, so it’s up to you to be the image of confidence in order to help them along.

 Furthermore, you need to available at times when most people wouldn’t be. This means nights, weekends, and early mornings. Many people work a day job and won’t be able to talk to you at length during “normal hours.” So being available in the off hours is critical. Because trust me, if you’re not available during these pivotal times, someone else will be.

Taking Control

 It’s a hard learned fact in photography sales that your client will have no idea what they want. They may think they know, but they often won’t until they see it. Therefore it’s up to initiate, to provide structure, to follow up, and to go the extra mile or seven. Sales is about making your product irresistible, and if you take the reins, and you are clever, you can make that a possibility.

 Service Not Selling

 The reason why so many people are practically allergic to the world “sales” is because people are naturally dubious of anyone who seems to be “selling” something. Salespeople are often seen as oily and untrustworthy, individuals who will take advantage of you in a vulnerable moment and leave you with a product which isn’t worth half of what you paid for it.

 So when it comes to photography sales, don’t just focus on the sales aspect, make sure you’re focusing on the service as well. If you’re providing a quality product (and if you’re a talented, thoughtful, and relatively experienced photographer you ought to be), any transaction made will be mutually beneficial, as in, both parties will end up feeling better off than they did before the transaction occurred.

 If you offer a superior experience that serves the needs of your client in every way, if you go the extra mile to provide customer service that is high quality and unique to your brand, then you will have greater sales, because your clients will be satisfied.

 Upselling

 Upselling refers to a well-known sales technique where if a customer wants to buy a horse, you want to use the opportunity to sell them the saddle, the shoes, the hay, the riding helmet, and as an added challenge to the more talented salesperson, maybe even the stable.

 In photography sales, upselling is where you can really turn a profit. It is the icing on the cupcake, the cheese on the nachos (have I exhausted my use of metaphors?) Basically what I’m saying is you want to design your packages in such a way where they can pay more to get the good stuff, which you can designate as anything: e.g. more prints, specialized print options (canvas wraps anyone), day-of services (bring out the champagne!), etc.

 Choosing Your Carrot

 Continuing with the theme of horses, you’re going to want to select the right carrot to dangle in front of their eagerly awaiting noses, you have to make them an offer just so genius that they can’t refuse. This is especially relevant to the photo review session, where the order of photos can determine how much your client will buy.

 This also goes along with the bit about “taking control.” if you suggest something both artfully and strongly, they’re going to be convinced that they need this thing. Once they are, they’ll buy it, and your job is done.

 Mirroring

 Mirroring is another popular sales technique where you subtly “mimic” the gesticulations, speech patterns, and general demeanor of your client. This inconspicuous act, if done correctly, will make your client feel more connected and familiar with you, even if he or she isn’t fully aware that it’s happening. If they sit up straight, so do you, if they speak slowly, so do you. Just make sure that it’s not too obvious what you’re doing, because then they’ll probably take it the wrong way.

 This is definitely a more advanced technique that requires practice, but will become more natural over time.

 Set the Tone

 Above all else, when it comes to photography sales, remembering that you are marketing a brand, specifically your brand, and there are boundaries. Developing a sales structure with built in upselling options and clear goals early on in your career will help shape the future success of your business. If you make things easy to understand from the outset, and are committed to the rules that you’ve laid out, things will go better for you, because people will see that they can’t get away with trying to negotiate. However, if you change your standards to meet the demands of every new client, people won’t know what to expect, and they’ll probably begin to take their business elsewhere.

 The secret to making photography sales is essentially this, you are the one who is in charge of what happens, and if you offer superior customer service, guide your client throughout the process, and upsell whenever possible, things will go well for you.

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Skin Deep, and the Beauty that Lies Beyond It

March 26, 2014

Boudoir State of Mind: Skin Deep, and the Beauty that Lies Beyond It

boudoir state of mind

Sometimes people are beautiful.

Not in looks.

Not in what they say.

Just in what they are. – Markus Zusak

 As a photographer, I have always been a great respecter of all types of beauty. I’ve worked with so many incredible people, individuals with so many different backgrounds and their own unique style and “look.” People are living pieces of art, and like art, all of it has merit, all of it has beauty, but not everyone can see it.

 Beauty that is merely skin deep has always had a purpose in society. It’s captured for advertisements, for artistic inspiration, for the pleasure of other people. It exists in abundance, and as a result, doesn’t have any real value. Yet, people spend hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars every year trying to achieve this superficial version of beauty. And there’s really nothing wrong with that, unless maintaining this skin deep beauty becomes the all-consuming end goal of their lives. Which it never should be.

 Look Beyond What’s Skin Deep

 What it comes down to is this: beauty that’s just skin deep is fleeting. Every woman knows that as she ages her body changes. She’ll gain a few pounds here and there, or lose them. Her face will form new lines, caused by years of emotion and experience. Her hands will become weather worn and wrinkled with time. This is nature’s gift to us as women, to us as humans. We are frail and we are finite, but whether you believe it or not, this reality won’t make us any less beautiful.

 Some of the most beautiful people in the world aren’t necessarily those who rule the runways or the spreads of fashion magazines, although those people are often truly beautiful don’t get me wrong, but those people who realize that beauty has so more to do with who you are than what you look like. Truly, beauty has little to do with your external appearance, and much more to do with what you are underneath all that. That’s the part of you that has the greatest value, the part of you that really matters.

As a wise sage once said, everything does have beauty, but not everyone can see it. That’s because true beauty doesn’t lie on the surface. It doesn’t come in a bottle or a pill or in several hundred dollars worth of professional retouching. It’s something that emerges from inside the core of person, the element that shapes their personality, the spark that ignites their soul. Without that part, your body is just a shell, a vessel, the temple that is meant to hold the sacredness that is you. That is all. Nothing more.

 I recently went to go see a very interesting exhibit Beauty Culture which examines the evolution of beauty through the 20th and 21st century.  It’s a beautiful and very interesting visual representation of exploring the meaning and the cost to be beautiful.

I’m always open for discussion! Please comment if you have any thoughts you would like to share!

XX

Marisa

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How to prepare for a boudoir photoshoot

March 25, 2014

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln

 As a photographer, it’s not only your job to prepare yourself and your equipment before a shoot, but also everyone who is going to be involved in the process. Preparation is not something that begins on the day of the session, but weeks before.

Here are few tips on how to best prep your client and your team before your boudoir shoot.

1. Begin with the Client

 Once a Boudoir client has contacted you about booking a session, the period of preparation begins. Most of your energy needs to be focused on preparing your client for what the process will entail, because although you are an expert, most likely they won’t be. They probably will have no idea what the process will be like, and will have a million questions. You’ll have to talk to them about what packages you offer, what services are available (like Hair and Makeup), and any other details which are significant to the session.

 During the consultation, it’s essential to find out what their goals for the session are, and why they decided to book the session. Use this time to find out as much about them as you can, and to answer their questions clearly and succinctly. Doing a good job in this early phase will help them become more relaxed with the process, and will make the following steps easier.

 After the consultation, send them a questionnaire which asks more specific questions. These details will come in handy later. Also consider sending them a welcome kit, something about the Boudoir Experience and what they should expect in the coming weeks. You can also draft a checklist for them to know what they need to do to be ready.

 2.Communicate with Your Team

 Once the session has been booked, you need to let your team know so they can plan their schedules accordingly. If the client wants professional Hair and Makeup, make sure these specialists can be there the day of the shoot, and know well in advance the type of “look” you or the client needs. Many times they’ll need to make special arrangements or get certain materials to make it work, and the more time they have to do this, the better it will be for everyone.

 3. Get Everyone on the Same Page

 Even if you feel you are repeating yourself, keeping everybody informed of all the essential details is incredibly important. The more people know about what your goal for the session will be, the smoother the process will be. If everyone knows what they’re supposed to be doing before they get to the session, it will save you a lot of time and energy. The last thing you want to do is waste time explaining things that could’ve been taken care of sooner when the shoot is about to begin.

 4. Encourage Encourage Encourage.

 Even if you explain everything in detail weeks before the session, there might be something that gets lost in translation. If this happens, instead of getting upset, just roll with the punches. Your client and team will take direction from your energy. If you are positive and relaxed, then they will be too. If you’re stressed out and nervous, then that will affect them too.

 Being the lead photographer in a session can be a lot of fun, but it’s also a huge responsibility, one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Preparing your team and client before the shoot is key to any successful session, and taking the time to do it properly will make the process that much smoother.

Good luck and please be sure to ask any questions you might have about having the best boudoir shoot possible!

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Women Warriors

March 24, 2014

women warriors

Women Warriors

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus

What are the things that you crave? What are you passionate about? Within all of us is a spark, and we feed the spark, we will build a fire in our souls. Our passions, our cravings, our desires exist for a reason: to fuel us, to drive us onward. As women, we are not “the weaker sex,” meant to be dominated by our peers. We are people of valor and strength.

 We are Women Warriors.

The biggest lie you have ever been told is: you can’t.

The overwhelming reality is, you can. Women throughout history have defied the odds, have stared the “impossible” in the face, and scaled it’s interminable cliffs. We have conquered, we have fought hard, and we have achieved. And we will continue to do so.

 What it Means to be a Woman Warrior

When many people think of the word “Warrior,” they think of men dressed in war paint, screaming obscenities, and charging the enemy spear in hand. But even in the most literal sense, the men didn’t fight alone. There were tribes of female warriors who fought alongside them.

In Roman times there were the Gladiatrix and the Amazons.

In medieval Scandinavia, there were the Shield Maidens

The Women of the Chinese Shang Dynasty were trained in battle.

Samurais possessed legions of Women Warriors.

In addition to these groups, there were thousands of individual women, people like Joan of Arc, who led men into battle, and were victorious. It’s only recently that society has conveniently “forgotten” these truths.

Now, in the modern era, being a “warrior” has less to do with wearing armor and charging on the battlefield, and more to do with a certain philosophy. A philosophy that stands as proof for the incredible strength of women.

The Women Warriors of today are those who aren’t willing to take “no” for an answer. They are the single mothers who work two jobs to put kids through school, and then go back to school themselves. They are the ones who grew up with unsupportive parents, only to leave home and pursue their dreams without looking back. They are the ones who end toxic relationships and take risks because they value their dignity and want to create a better life for themselves.

Women warriors persevere, take chances, and learn from their failures. They don’t let a broken heart keep them out of the game, they don’t let rejection keep them from trying again, and they don’t live their lives according to anyone’s standards but their own.

There is so much strength in you, you just have to begin to believe in your own potential. I’ll ask you again, what are you passionate about? What is causing the spark to form in you?

Find out, and set your soul on fire.

Because when everyone is saying you can’t. decide to act like a Woman Warrior, and decide

that, actually,

You Can.

 woman warriors

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Why It’s Ok to Show Off Sometimes

March 21, 2014

Boudoir State of Mind: Why It’s Ok to Show Off Sometimes

You see it everywhere, “if you’ve got it, flaunt it.” If this is an accepted fact, then why do the people who do “flaunt it,” celebrities included, speak so often of feeling ostracized? Why is it that people are so threatened by talent? What is it about a successful woman that intimidates people? Simple. A successful woman has power, and a talented woman who displays her unique abilities has the capacity to change her environment. That not only makes people jealous and uncomfortable, it terrifies them.

So many times people will say things offhandedly. “Don’t be such a show off.” Or they might not even say anything, they might just start to ignore you. You should never take this to heart. Often, it has little to do with you. People live their lives surrounded by so much fear, that when they see someone else shining brightly, instead of feeling inspired to shine themselves, they would rather snuff out that light. The light that them feel insecure.

We aren’t mice, meant to run and hide at the threat of discovery, we are meant to be lions, unabashed and proud of our ability to roar. And roar we will. True, there is a fine line between arrogance and confidence, but you shouldn’t keep your abilities to yourself for fear if what people might think. If you’re good at something, do it, and do it well. You don’t have to stand on the street corner and scream “I am the greatest!” You can show off without telling off, and by doing so you’re being true to the strength inside of you. It’s perfectly ok to show off, if you’ve worked hard for something be proud and let the world know.

It doesn’t matter what people think. If they’re jealous, let them be jealous. Your light may cause shadows to form, but it will make the world brighter. So show off, and shine brightly for all to see, don’t keep yourself hidden. The world would be at a loss for it.

If you really want to show off,  book a boudoir session with us and celebrate your sexy self! Contact us at info@boudoirlosangeles.com

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