One of the hardest things to do related to in person sales photography is selecting the products you want to sell. While, this may sound easy, in reality, it isn’t. I can’t tell you how many times we have picked a product we thought “everyone” would love and it completely flopped. This resulted in frustration and wasted money. We knew there had to be a way to select products that made sense and that would work! If you are just getting started with In Person Sales or aren’t sure if you are ready to make the jump yet, go read our blog post here.
This may sound like an obvious step but it is CRITICAL! If you don’t know your ideal client you are going to keep failing no matter what you do. Knowing where your client shops and who they are will lead you to the types of products they want. For example, if your ideal clients shop at Walmart and don’t value heritage items; offering a fine art wedding album that is $2000 may not be your best bet.
On the other end, if your ideal client shops at Nieman Marcus and values fine art pieces, they may expect a final art album at $2000. The important thing to remember is that your clients dictate the products you should sell. Wether your clients like fine art or not is irrelevant, what do they want to buy? This is the most important question.
*IPS FACT: 53% of consumers haven’t printed a photo in more than 12 months (PPA)*
You should have a very good knowledge of your brand before you start in person sales photography. Is your brand edgy and unique or classic and timeless. This will dictate the products you sell as your clients hire you for your brand and your WHY. If you are a more edgy photographer then you might invest in more metals and acrylics. If you are timeless and classic, you may invest in more frames, folios, and canvases.
Another part of your brand is your pricing. The products you sell have to match your brand pricing. If you are just starting and offer wedding photography at $1000 you really can’t sell fine art prints at over $100 for a 8×10. Your clientele will be very confused. It’s like going into Walmart and finding a pair of jeans that are $200. It just doesn’t make sense. If you are just starting, DON’T WORRY, grow your photography and the products will follow. It just takes time.
In order to sell products in your in person sales photography sessions you have to believe in them. If you don’t have that much passion for what your sell, your clients will know you are not genuine and not purchase from you. If you are so overwhelmed and have no idea where to start, then go with the basics. No matter the client, most of them usually want an album and something to hang on their wall. Therefore, having a full line of prints and albums are a great place to start. The important thing is to not have so many options you confuse your client.
To build your product list, start with big categories you want to offer. Things like albums, prints, or metals are each a category. If you are not quite sure what is out there, go check out H&H Color Lab . Once you list the big categories you want to sell, list products that go into each category. Make sure to spend time on this one as this will serve as the foundation for your product line.
*IPS FACT: 70% of consumers don’t have photo albums (PPA)*
Your clients are the ultimate decision makers in this process. Some people ask, why don’t you just start with this step? Great question. Looking at the first steps we have to assess what we are comfortable selling, what fits with our brand, and the products we want to sell. This will give us a very streamlined and honed list of products that will be far easier for your clients to choose from.
You may still get some outliers asking for weird things but it will be far fewer. A great example of this is in our earlier days we offered jewelry, to our clients. We found the company and said, “oh this looks pretty, let’s sell it”. That was the extent of our research. With this attitude, we sold ZERO necklaces. We lost money and energy buying samples of items clients never bought so getting feedback is critical.
So how do you actually get client feedback? The best way we have found is through surveys or social media posts. Posting stories with questions on if you like it, making it interactive, is a great way to get feedback if the clients like it. When you go to a trade show, do a social media post or story on it and get feedback. In the end we picked up three new products and have sold several of them in the past month.
*IPS FACT: 42% of consumers no longer print photos at all (PPA)*
After going through these steps, it’s time to compile your final list of products. This list will best reflect your brand, what you want to sell, and what your clients want. One of the most common questions we get is, “do your clients ever want things you don’t want to sell?” The answer is “YES”.
The good part is these requests are few and far between. When you do this much research and take this much time, very few things should surprise you. We had a client, at one point, want us to offer Christmas cards. We really did our research and decided not to offer them but gave our client a place they could purchase them. Ever since then, we have not received another request. That was over four years ago.
The last thing before you put together your final list is assess for feasibility. You want to make sure you can actually get these products you want to sell. The reason I say this is that some companies require you to apply before they give you an account with their company. They do this to verify you are a professional photographer. If they don’t approve you for some reason, then you won’t be able to offer that product. After this is done, you should have an extremely well defined list that will serve you for years to come.
How many products do your offer? Let me know in the comments below.