Mini Session season is here, so let’s talk about how to make your minis profitable!
Now, we’re not just going to look at how to make more money, but instead, let’s talk about both sides of profitability:
- Making More Money Per Client
- Cutting Costs
Mostly dealing with time costs here. Let’s look at some ways to cut down the amount of time we spend per client so we can maximize our profits.
Virtual Planning Meetings
Forego an In-Person planning meeting and, instead, do it over Skype or FaceTime, over the phone or, as a last-resort, at the very beginning of the session.
Take this time to focus on the products they want from their session with you.
Not sure how to get clients who want products? Go back to Episode 10 for the best way we know to get clients in the door who wanted prints instead of files.
Sales Meeting Day!
You do minis back-to-back, right? Why not do your sales meetings back-to-back, as well? If you spend an entire Saturday photographing your mini sessions, block off the following Saturday for their sales meetings.
This way, you can get each client meeting done in a single day and get your orders to the lab before their holiday deadlines.
Want to really save some time and hassle for everyone? Do your sales meetings virtually, as well! Use something like Calendly.com to let clients sign up for a time slot on your calendar, then just send them a Zoom or Skype link, share your screen and rock the sales meeting with just a laptop and an internet connection.
Only Edit Purchased Images
That week between session and sales meeting?
Don’t edit every image.
Do a “light” edit where you’re just correcting exposure, color temperature and crooked photos… basically anything you can edit once then copy those settings over to a batch of images at the same time in Lightroom.
Only do your final edits on images the client actually orders. If you do heavy editing on your images, maybe fully edit ONE image from their session so you can show them what a final image will look like.
Pre-Design ALL THE THINGS
Save time during your sales meetings by having products predesigned for them. If they talked about wanting wall art during the planning meeting, mock up one or two gallery options in Swift Galleries before the sales meeting. If they love it, you don’t have to do anything else. If they want to change it, it’ll take less time during the meeting to modify what you’ve already created than it would to build something from scratch with the client.
Pre-Sell Product Bundles
Now, if you know me, you know I’m a big fan of a la carte sales. But minis are another animal. This is a great time to offer a bundle of tried-and-true favorites.
Instead of offering the session and files, why not offer:
- the session + an 11×14 mounted print and 4 files?
- Or the session + 11×14 mounted print and a pack of holiday cards and the files to any of the images they choose for their products?
Selling these up front will speed up your sales meetings significantly, but also leave room for you to upsell some products.
Which leads us to the other side of making your mini sessions more profitable…
The Magic 11×14
So why an 11×14? Because it’s a weird in-between product. It’s kinda too big for a table top print, but it’s really too small for the wall. So by offering this with your minis, it leaves the door wide open for you to say during the sales meeting:
“Here’s the 11×14 you get with your mini session… but I really think this would look much better on your wall as something like a 20×30, like this (while you show it to them in something like Swift Galleries). After applying the cost of the 11×14 you get for free to this, it’s only $xxx to get this instead.”
This is a really low pressure way to upsell your clients to larger products and put better, more appropriate products in their home.
When showing wall products, start big and make it smaller. Show the largest product that makes sense for that space and, if it’s too big, work your way down the sizes until you reach one they like. You’ll end up with a larger product on the wall than if you had started small and worked your way up.
Need a simple (and FREE) way to show clients what different size wall art looks like on the wall? This is for you.
Not only does pre-designing wall galleries and albums save you time, but it’ll dramatically increase your sales since you have the time to really build out a thoughtful wall gallery before the sales meeting. And, similar to what we just discussed, if they take things away from a multi-image gallery, you’ll still typically end up with more products sold than if they added to a single image on the wall during the sales meeting.
Offer Discounts on Next Year’s Full Sessions
They’ve already hired you and you’ve just shown them amazing images, right? Now is the best time to ask them if they’d like to book a “real” session during your next full session season. Offer them a discount for getting their spot booked now and tell them they’ll get first dibs on choosing their time slot as soon as you open them up.
Sell Holiday Decor
One of our Printmakers did this and I think it’s brilliant.
Your clients buy a bunch of holiday decorations to put out once a year, right? Why not suggest a family portrait that matches the season, as well?
When the Christmas tree goes up, so does the family portrait playing in the snow. Or when the Thanksgiving decorations come out, so does that amazing fall foliage portrait you created for them.
Use Holiday Cards As “Loss-Leaders”
Not sure what a loss-leader is?
Did you know most fast food restaurants make next to nothing on their food? In fact, if you go into a McDonalds today and order just a burger, they’ll lose money on your order because they’re charging you less than it costs to make that burger.
But that’s why they want you to get a drink and fries.
That drink they they charge you $2 to add to your order? It costs them about two cents.
And that’s how they make a profit, by getting you in the door with the food (the loss leader), and getting in the black by getting you to buy a drink with it.
Another quick example – the bargain DVD bin at the back of your local Target. They’re losing money if you only go into the store and buy a DVD from that bin. But they’re banking on the fact that you won’t walk all the way to the back of the store, grab a DVD and then all the way back to the front without also picking up at least one other product that they can turn a profit on.
So what does this have to do with holiday cards?
Holiday cards are incredibly difficult to sell at a profit. You’d have to charge far more than what they’d pay through a consumer lab if you wanted to hit your profitability goals.
So instead of trying to charge enough to be profitable, use them as a loss-leader by bundling them with your higher profit margin products.
Maybe they can get a pack of cards for free with their session, but you’ll give them 100 if they buy a piece of wall art.
Or maybe you list them at a high enough price point to be profitable, but you tell them they save 50% on the price of your cards with any album purchase.
You’ll cover your time costs with the album, then make your profit off of both the album and the cards.
If all of this sounds like voodoo to you, go check out PickPriceProfit.com, it’s our product picking and pricing course and it dives deep into all of these types of strategies.You can grab the first lesson for free over there, too.
Ok, so there you have it.
If you’ve ever felt like minis were a waste of time but you did them only because everyone expected you to, then there’s 11 different ways you can actually make great money from your mini sessions.