McDonalds is famous for selling burgers too big to eat. It also pours soda into cups the size of buckets.
Customers might not need such large portions but by buying extra they feel that they’re getting much higher value for their purchase.
The company earns much higher profits by adding just a little more to each sale.
That’s upselling — the strategy of selling more to a customer than they intended to buy — and it’s a marketing technique that photographers can make use of too.
You don’t have to blow your images up to wall-size (although offering larger prints could certainly be one way to upsell your photos). There are plenty of other ways that you can offer your clients more and let you make more money from each of them.
Offer Additional Products
Photographers might earn income by creating images, but images can be delivered in all sorts of ways. A wedding photography package, for example, might include an album full of prints at a set price but a CD full of images might cost a little more.
And you don’t have to stop there. Maya Kovacheva, a Toronto-based wedding photographer, for example, also offers thank you cards for an addition $3-4 each depending on size. Having made the wedding sale, she gives herself an additional opportunity to generate a little extra income from the contract before saying goodbye to the client.
Portrait photographers can do something similar by offering digital images in different sizes suitable for Facebook and MySpace, as well as for email signatures, business cards and even passport photos.
Solve Storage Problems
Thank you cards and different sizes are all ways of delivering a photo product. But clients also have to store their images. That represents another opportunity for photographers who want to upsell.
Many photographers already market their prints in exclusive — and expensive — albums but you could do the same thing with online galleries (you could even offer to create a Flickr page for your client). Or identify the most attractive photos and suggest that the client buys it in a larger size and an attractive frame.
Create Joint Ventures
Those frames you could buy yourself and sell at a profit. But you could also set up a joint venture with a local framing business. That would remove the risk that you won’t make a sale, save storage space at your own business and give your client a wider choice of frames that would even include custom-made models.
You’d need to negotiate a discounted rate with the framer to make the deal attractive to the client (point out that you’ll be supplying a lot of business in the future), and you’d need to agree your own commission too, of course.
Framers aren’t the only people that make natural joint venture partners for photographers. Many of the photographer at LookBetterOnline.com, a service that provides portraits for online daters (and which is always looking out for portrait photographers), offer hair and make-up services before the shoot. That doesn’t just make their service more attractive than their competitors’, it also gives them an opportunity to earn a commission and make a little extra income.
Refer A Friend
And finally, the best way of getting more money from each sale might be to take a different approach altogether. Instead of looking for a way to get more money from your clients, you could give them money back in return for giving you completely new clients. Magic Eye Photography, for example, a UK-based photo company, offers a 10 percent rebate in return for referred bookings made within four weeks of a client placing an order. Peter Yamasaki, who works in California, has a more complicated system. He gives the referred client a discount and the referee a complementary print. Overachieving clients who bring five friends get a free session.
However you decide to do it, if you can offer your clients a little more value, you should be able to squeeze a lot more out of the contract.
Tell us how you upsell your photography services.