Welcome! This is the blog from Kevin Kubota (me) and Kubota Image Tools (our company). Our mission is to empower photographers, share knowledge, and find ways to make the world a better place. Thanks for joining in!
Photographers, like many other artistic professionals, generally dislike the selling process. We love creating the art, and it becomes very personal to us. To then put a value on it, and convince someone else to pay for it, can be uncomfortable – and often difficult to quantify because each photographers work can be so unique.
This article is not necessarily about overcoming your selling fears, (that's another article) but about a simple way to boost your sales total when you've already agreed on a base product with your client. First and foremost, any selling you do should be coming from an attitude of win-win for you and the client. I don't advocate trying to sell the client something that they don't need or want. Period. There are enough people out there trying to do that and I don't need to drop another turd in that pool. The only way to get repeat clients is to satisfy your current client – now, and even when they get home and come to their senses.
Buyers remorse is not always an indication that they bought the wrong thing, so don't look at it that way. Usually, a large and important purchase will be a bit stressful – no matter how much we believe we want or need it. It takes a little time to overcome the sticker shock and start to just enjoy our investment. Then, we realize it really was worth it. It just takes a little time, that's all. Keep that in mind.
The technique I'm suggesting is add-on, or suggestive selling. This is the simple process of offering your client a smaller, additional item that complements their main purchase after the main purchase has been committed to. Once they are already comfortable with a purchase, it is easier for them to add a complementary item. It is helpful if you suggest a complementary item that is about 10-20% of the price of the main item. It should also be relative and useful, not just some random thing you want to sell, or get rid of.
We've all been to a coffee shop where they ask, "Our muffins are fresh out of the oven, would you like to try one with your drink?" Many people who came in with zero intention to buy a muffin, actually accept the offer. It adds up to serious extra sales for the retailer at the end of the year. Here again, the muffin does go great with your coffee and you already have your money on the table, and it's not that much extra. It's a good fit and you're sold – but only because the clerk asked you if you wanted it.
As an example of how not to do add-on sales, I once bought a fancy non-stick fry pan at one of those Bed & Bath shops. At checkout, the girl asked me with a stone face, "Would you like to also buy a Shot Balm. It's lip balm in a shot gun shell." I instinctively laughed out loud, then realized she was completely serious and was asking everyone in line the same question. I politely declined. Had she offered a spatula that was designed to protect my non-stick surface or a special brush that made clean-up as fun as rollercoaster, I would have probably bought it. They just weren't trained at all to do proper suggestive, add-on sales. They were simply trying to get rid of junk that nobody wanted to buy.
How often do you ask your clients if they'd like a great little pocket album to go along with their main album they've already purchased? How about a Photo Mount, which is a single image or collage of their favorite images from the album? There are many items in the Asukabook line that are perfect compliments to the customer's main album. As photographers, we just need to think about our customer, how they display their images, where they like to display them, and which images bring them the most joy. Then, we offer a great add-on product to fill those needs. Here are some great Asukabook items you could offer:
- Photo Mounts (these are available at a promotional 40% off until 6/15/16)
- Folios (these are available at a promotional 40% off until 6/15/16)
- USB & DVD Presentation Boxes (these are available at a promotional 40% off until 6/15/16)
- Gallery Boxes (these are available at a promotional 40% off until 6/15/16)
- A miniature version of their album, to stash in a bag and take everywhere
Generally, you've already retouched and prepared the images, so your time to create these add-on products is minimal. Asukabook also has tools in our design software to help you re-purpose a design you've already created.
Add-on selling is a proven, effective, client-satisfying way to enhance your photography presentation and keep your sales healthy. Remember the keys:
- Listen to your client needs and resprect their style
- Offer items after they've committed to a main item
- Offer items that are relevant and appropriate for them
- Generally suggest items that are 10-20% of the main item (although don't be afraid to suggest a larger item if you feel it's appropriate!)
- Do it every time, with every customer. Consistency is key to success!
Good luck and please share your experiences or other selling tips and ideas.
If you’re an active photographer, traveling via 4 wheels, 4 legs, 2 wheels, or 2 legs, you’re probably in a constant search for the perfect camera carrying system. I’m always trying to find a more convenient way to: A) have quick access to my camera so I’ll use it more often, and B) carry it comfortably and securely so It doesn’t get in the way of my activity or experience.
I’ve been a long-time fan of the MindShift Gear backpacks, with their Rotation 180 technology. MindShift is a division of ThinkTank, which makes some of the finest camera bags on the planet. I’ve taken my Rotation 180 Pro backpack all around the world with me and wouldn’t use anything else for my extended adventures. Sometimes, however, you need something simpler. Maybe you just need to carry a camera, lens, and some accessories. Maybe you are engaged in a highly physical activity, like motorcycle or water buffalo riding, and need to keep your camera super secure and out of your way–yet with instant easy access. This is especially important during water buffalo mating season.
The Multi-Mount carrier can work solo or in tandem with your normal backpack. It could also be added to your MindShift Rotation 180 pack for super easy access to even more gear. In fact, this is the setup I’ll be using when I lead our MotoPhotoTour of Italy this fall. When used solo, it can be slung over your shoulder, neck, or as a hip pack. The clever part is that is has multiple connection straps for securing the carrier from swinging around and getting in your way–which can actually be quite dangerous if you are engaged in high-risk activities.
When attached to your normal backpack, it can be worn in front, threaded on the backpack waist belt; or it can hang from your backpack straps, and is secured with the stabilizer straps. This method keeps the carrier up higher than your waist, which is essential for mobility during riding activities like motorcycling, biking, horseback, or water buffaloing.
There are so many clever ways to attach and secure the Multi-Mount carrier, that you’d be hard-pressed to find a reason not to bring it with you.
I took my Multi-Mount 20 on an off-road motorcycle ride to see if it really functioned as well as it looked. We rode hard for almost 80 miles through forests, single-track, and fast fire roads. The amazing part is that I never even noticed the bag was there. It rides so securely and out of the way that it never interferes with your activity. Even through (uh-hmm) dismounts and pushing my bike through knee-deep snow patches, it never got in the way. Usually, I didn’t even remember I had it on. It just seems to disappear–at least until a perfect vista appeared and I could simply stop and whip out the camera without even getting off the bike.
As with all ThinkTank and MindShift products, the quality construction is second-to-none: Beefy, smooth zippers. Thick, rip-proof fabrics. Bomber stitching on all seams. Everything seems to be really well thought out and tested. There are just enough pockets for your accessories and, as with most of their camera bags, MindShift includes a rain cover.
The Multi-Mount carriers come in a variety of sizes: 10, 20, 30, 50. I chose the 20 size as it carries a smaller DSLR or mirrorless camera with zoom lens attached. This is generally what I want immediate access to while riding or hiking. There is an outside pocket with plenty of room for filters, cards, batteries, wallet, keys, and your water buffalo mating call device.
Niggles? The connection straps provided to attach to your backpack strap is designed for attaching to vertical accessory straps, although many backpacks (my bike pack included) have horizontal accessory straps. It still works fine, not a big deal, you just have slightly twisted straps that may throw the OCD person in to disarray. Using another swivel clip, like the one used on the other end of the strap, would have been a more universal solution. Granted, the MindShift backpacks have vertical accessory straps, so it works perfect with those.
Lastly, I’m not super excited about the single color option: green. It’s a nice color and all, but what if it clashes with my wing suit? Fortunately, I’d happily trade a little fashion for a lot of function.
After riding with my Multi-Mount for a day, I can’t imagine going anywhere without it. I have quick access to a real camera and it doesn’t have to get in the way of my fun…and fun is job #1.