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One of the places that we see photographers get stuck almost all the time when switching to print sales is in transitioning their past and their current clients over. There’s this huge amount of fear about making that change in their business for these clients who have been with them through shooting and burning. Read on to find out five tips on how to transition your past and your current clients over to print sales.
A Thoughtful Solution to Clients’ Problems
Now, the first thing that I want to mention before we get into those tips is that transitioning past clients and current clients is not nearly as hard as you think. Okay? Think about it this way: those clients are going to feel the pain that you’re solving through print sales the most acutely, okay? What do I mean? Imagine going to your past or current client and asking “Hey, what did you do with those files I gave you last year?” 99.9% of the time they’re going to say, “I haven’t done anything with them! I haven’t had time… Life got in the way…” All of these are reasons why they were not able to do something with those files.
So that’s what I mean when I say they feel this most acutely. They are the ones who are going to be like, “Hey, you know what? I understand why you’re making this change, why you’re starting to offer prints instead of just files.” They’re the ones who are going to say, “Yeah, that makes sense because I haven’t had the time to do anything with these.”
- Take the Blame
Tip number one is to take the blame. All right? Let me explain:
When you start talking to past and current clients about why you’re offering print sales, you find out that most of them haven’t done anything to the files you created for them.
That’s where you can step into that gap and take the blame from them and say, “You know what, that’s why I switched to offering prints instead of just files because my job is not done until you have photos on your wall that you can enjoy day after day after day. And I realized that I was not serving my clients well. I was not serving you well enough by just giving you the files. So that’s not your fault that you haven’t done anything with those files. That’s my fault. And that’s why I’m making this change.
- Be Excited about the Change!
I want you to actually be excited about this because it is actually exciting. You’re going to start creating things that they can enjoy day after day, every time they look at the wall or open their album. Prints can actually be handed down to generation after generation after generation. This is exciting. So I want you to be excited about it because the more excitement you show for it, the more they will understand why you’re excited about it and the more your clients will be excited about it as well.
- Be Loud about it!
The third tip I want to give you is to make an event of it. When you make this switch to print sales, don’t just do it quietly, do it LOUDLY! Do something where you make an offer or a contest. In fact, we have a blog post outlining the step by step procedure of how to do a studio sample contest. Be like, “ Hey, we’re now offering printed products and to celebrate that, I’ve created these galleries and we’re running a contest so that you guys can help us choose our very first studio sample.” Do not just kind of quietly and meekly and mildly do this, make it an event, and make it a big deal. That gives you an excuse to talk to your clients about it and about why you switched.
And these always come up and that is prices. That’s what most photographers are scared about. They are scared of losing their past clients because of the increased prices. That fear that’s inside of us is this idea that if I change my prices, if I start selling prints, won’t all my clients will go away? That leads us to the last two points.
- Pricing isn’t Equal to Print Sales
If you don’t have profitable pricing, even as a file selling photographer, you’re not going to stay in business. So this idea that you do print sales, you have to change your prices is just not true. You should have profitable prices no matter what.
If you want to transition over without going all in and just start to charge 65 bucks for a five by seven and all of that stuff, then by all means, just make the switch! Don’t worry about your prices right off the bat. The worst-case scenario here is that you just multiply your costs by three or four just to get some sales under your belt. Stop worrying about pricing. They are not equal to print sales. So if you do have problems with branching, if you have no idea even where to start, check out, Pick, Price, Profit. It’s our course that’s on, picking the right products and pricing them.
I talk about this in the course as well. These two things are not one in the same. When you do start changing your prices or if you do start raising your prices, then don’t be afraid.
- “Grandfather Your Past Clients!
This actually ends up being a really convenient time to maybe get rid of those clients that you didn’t exactly love. To show a little bit of love to the clients that you didn’t really enjoy working with, just be like, “Hey, you know what, I’m offering prints now. And, our prices have gone up a little bit, but you know what? Since you’ve been with me for so long, I’m going to just keep you at last year’s prices or I’m going to just give you, my bare minimum prices because we just really loved working with you.”
And again, this is all part of that conversation where you’re talking about why you do what you do. Now you can go from there and say, “These are our current prices, but you know what? I’m going to give you these prices instead.” Don’t be afraid to grandfather those grandfathers, show them what your actual pricing is versus what they’re going to get so that they see that you’re taking care of them. The idea it to transition past clients over – they’re the ones who are going to feel this pain most acutely. They’re the ones who are going to say, yeah, I haven’t done anything with those. You can talk about this idea that the most photographed generation in the history of the world has the fewest actual photos to show for it. And that’s not okay because what you and I do is important. We document, we’re in charge of professionally documenting an entire generation, a lifetime, multiple generations. Having physical prints to show for that is important.
It’s Not Always about the Money
You can show that what you’re doing now has a reason other than just I want to make more money. We’re about doing so much more than making more money. This is serving your client better. You’re helping them figure out what to do with all of that stuff that you’re creating for them, and when you can talk to them about it that way, they’re going to understand.
Will you lose some clients? Absolutely. You had clients who only wanted digital files, but I guarantee you, you will have some clients who continue with you and there you’re going to make enough money off of those clients to bridge the gap. You’re going to make more money off of those fewer clients than you did out of all of your shoot and burn clients. We’ve seen this proven time in and time out.
Over to you…
I want you to remember, they’re going to feel the pain most acutely. From there, I want you to take the blame. I want you to be excited because it actually is exciting. I want you to make an event of it. Don’t be meek and mild. Make an event of it. Remember, pricing is not equal to print sales. These are two different things, but if you do raise your prices, don’t be afraid to grandfather your current and past clients in. I hope that helps. I hope that makes you feel a little bit better about this idea of transitioning past clients over, and let me know if you have any questions at all.