Tips for Getting Started with your Photography Business
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Today in PhotoProfit, my special guest is John. Now, this is a little bit different from the other podcast. This is more of a case study where we look at John’s journey in starting up a photography business. We will know what’s he’s done so far and what he has figured out leading up to starting this business and how they’re going. So, every few months I’m going to check in with John and find out what they’ve learned and their successes and their struggles up to this point. And this is a podcast for anyone looking to start their own photography businesses and start making money out of photography. You will get a lot of value out of this podcast.
In this episode:
(01:06) Choosing the right portrait photography business
(03:55) Making the Right Decision
(04:04) Things done to start
(07:20) Learning process & shortcuts
(09:21) The Client Workflow
(11:39) Doing the client Workflow backwards
(13:54) The First Successful Commercial Shoot
(21:28) Finding the Right Niche for You
PhotoProfit – business of photography
show notes – photoprofit.net
Choosing a path towards portrait photography business
- amateur shooting
- another business IT based
- no photography business experience
- jumping into the course
- learn the business
- getting confidence
Making the Right Decision
Things done to start:
- How a plan can work
- what steps to take
- branding is critically important
- have a market niche
Learning process & shortcuts:
- no shortcuts
- have a plan
- know where you’re going
The Client Workflow:
- client attraction
- client conversion
- photo shoot section
- Sales bet
- pickup prints & sales bet
The Ups and Downs during the Learning Process
Having some few issues:
- 8×10 or 8×12 and acrylic and art mount, canvas
- beat everybody’s quote
Doing the client Workflow backwards:
- you’ve got something to sell them
- price list
- presentation room
- studio or outside location to take photos
- conversion section
The First Successful Commercial Shoot
- used friends and family
- work environment
- making mistakes
- time pressure
- people hanging around
- room size
Finding the Right Niche for You
- like to specialize in portrait photography
- stay away from weddings
- company photo shoot
- got proper workflow
- confidence and perseverance
Brent: Hey guys, Brent Mail here from Photo Profit, the business of photography Podcast. And today my special guest is John. Now this is a little bit different from the other podcast. More of a case study where we look at John’s journey starting up a photography business you know what’s he’s done so far and what he has figured out leading up to starting this business and how they’re going. So every few month I’m going to check in with John find out what they’ve learnt and their successes and their struggles up to this point. And this is a podcast for anyone looking to start their own photography businesses and start making money out of photography. I think you’ll get a lot of value out of this podcast. Just remember all show notes at photoprofit.net, let’s jump right into it.
Choosing a path towards portrait photography business
Brent: John, how are you today?
John: Brent, good morning. I’m pretty well, thank you.
Brent: Awesome, so John tell me just really quickly about you know why you’ve chosen this path when it comes to creating a portrait photography business and also running another business at the same time.
John: Okay Brent, I think firstly as you said we do run another business and that is IT based. And in the IT business it’s very pressurized as it becomes a commodity business and we have to stop digging a hole where we can’t find gold. And cut down on the street and digging up a hole. I’ve been interested in photography really all my life. Roughly from a kid I got a brawny camera, my dad was very interested. And it has always been an amateur shooting around the house, families, holidays, that sort of stuff. As we used the system and we play with cameras, the technology is very fast. Stumbling upon your course I don’t know how it happened and how we saw your stuff. So being a believer in faith we jump into your course, had a look at it, start with it and yeah, it could give us a very good “Go”. And as you know I have my son with me as well. He’s a youngster, very keen, very technical savvy. So we jump into your course Brent and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Even my good wife got involved. And as you know there are 3 of us here ready to jump across into this business. And that’s where we are. We’re set up, ready to go. We did our first shoot yesterday. We still run the other business in the background. But our focus is right here.
Brent: Awesome, sounds good John. So what was about my course that actually convinced you that you could actually do this on your own?
John: Well if I had to go back when we migrated to this country Brent. We started a business, an IT business and we were strangers here and like other many migrants, the country is new, and people are new so we had to build a business. And my previous experience was IT so you know I’m a great believer in recipe. You have a recipe, you put the right ingredients and then a cake comes out. But in photography I had no really real business experience at all other than as an amateur. And as your course came along and we went through it and said “Wow, now this is going to take so much of a drudgery out of it.” We can learn the business. We can follow somebody else’s broad plan. And I think the important thing is to put that into our situation so we can make it work for us. And your course as I’ve said it is an absolutely value to us. You are God sent because mistakenly all the drudgery out of the office stuff, the learning stuff. There’s a lot of learning that we have to do and make no mistake. But it has given us the confidence to take and put one foot to the other.
Making the Right Decision
Brent: So let’s jump into what you’ve’ achieve? And what I love about you guys is you’ve taken massive action. I mean I know you had a couple of personal conversations with me and you’ve even sent me a really good red bottle of wine in the mail which I really appreciated. I didn’t expect that you know. So that was great. Let’s jump back to when you made the decision to make a business out of photography. What were the first things that you did?
Johny: Well, after enduring your course, the first thing was to make a plan. That is the very first thing. How a plan can work for us and what steps we got to take. We discover very quickly that branding is critically important. You need to design a proper logo, get a website ready, you got to try and have a market niche, decide what you want to do and of course come up with a process. And that’s what we did. We were fortunate as you now we have the upstairs area and converted it into a studio that was an office about 6 meters by probably 20 meters long. It’s only 2 meters high unfortunately but we converted that into a studio. We have a presentation room. We had a little demonstration board room. So physically we had to go and kick that out, get a light, get a couple of TV, get a couch, you know following the whole process or basically follow your plan. And that’s where we’re at, we’ve done all the setup. We’ve setup the studio. We’re just finalizing. Right now we’re just finalizing all the lights to put in the studio, in the presentation room because obviously what we hang on the wall is often going to sell. That should be alright now Brent.
Brent: Awesome, so how long this has taken you?
John: We actually started this probably April. So we’re August now, we’re only 4 months on the road and I think even when we came to Australia we learned that everything you do no matter how precise your planning invariably end up taking twice as long and sometimes cause twice as much. And I think that twice as long was really the learning curve. You can’t plan something what you don’t know too much about. So you have to learn and once I think I make sure of course that sort of frustrations and expressions that we just keep bouncing off walls and you run here, you hit a stop. You try and go left and bump there. But as you knock one over then that gives you not only the motivation but the ammunition to knock the next one over so you’ll go. And most of this is not negative. It’s just learning curves because it’s a totally new industry. For example all the paper sizes we just battled to get the grips with first, of all inches and centimeters. And then what prints. Do we need this? And some guys do these. Some other guys are specializing canvas and acrylics, others do prints and we have to learn it to our local area. And then put it around, that sorts of things that you proposed. And yeah it’s been a quite monumental learning curve for us. It’s been enjoyable because once we know it, we know it.
The Ups and Downs during the Learning Process
Brent: Yeah and I think you guys have achieve a lot in a short 3-4 months. I mean it’s crazy you’ve gone from nothing to having a plan, creating a website, figuring out what your pricing list is, figuring out what products are you going to sell, yeah putting together a studio, buying lights, figuring out how to shoot in the studio, putting together your presentation room. I mean that’s incredible in such a short amount of time. Obviously you’ve had a few issues. Let’s just say learning curves or frustrations with the fear of industry talk you know 8×10 or 8×12 and acrylic and artmount, canvas and all that. I mean what advice would you give to anyone who’s thinking about starting out? They can take photos and they want to make money out of photography. They want to go for it. What advice can you give them? What have you learnt or what shortcuts are there do you think John? You know let’s encourage people that actually want to do this.
John: Shortcuts, I don’t think there are but I think to shorten that curve, that’s why your course was so valuable because it actually sets out the process as you saw and meet the client, having the meeting, doing the shoot, the follow up, creation, getting the stuff; actually creates a very good workflow around which you could then slice it up and plan your business accordingly. That to me was the biggest time saver. If we had to go and do that ourselves and learn that all ourselves, I think we’ll probably be still in step 2. And perhaps technology wise, we’re in IT business, so the lights would’ve came second nature to us technically. We still got a lot to learn regarding shooting around lights. We learn every day. I mean yesterday we went on site, we learnt a lot. So I don’t think there’s a shortcut. I think you’ve got to have a plan. You’ve got to know the steps you’ve got to take on how to get there. We’ve designed our process very much around yours. We’re not going to go and beat every man in the street because I think that’s just a recipe to a disaster. And the video that I watched in YouTube, some of the American and other people, that seems to be their recipe for a disaster, to beat everybody’s quote.
Brent: Yes, so be the cheapest you mean? You don’t want to be the cheapest.
John: You can’t. We want to be and yeah we produced our brochures, we produced our business cards, our pamphlets with a gift voucher. We did our first print with a gift voucher yesterday with a print. And we decided to actually print 8×11 or 8×5 photographs and 8×4 photographs for the first of the 20 gift cards. And it went well Brent. So in the actual, have a plan, persevere, and know where you’re going.
Brent: Okay, so what I would suggest anyone listening to this and wants to do something like this is it works backwards I say. So let’s have a look at where the clients come in. The client flow, so a client calls you, client attraction section to this business. So that’s a client conversion where once they call you, you actually convince them to take the shoot. To take the photo for them and be the or service them. The service provider I guess, photographer. Then there’s a photo shoot section where you actually got to photograph them. And then there’s the sales bet where they actually give you money for the prints and then there’s production where you actually produce the images and you give it to them. And then there’s obviously another bet which is you know when they come and pick up the prints and you give them vouchers so they can recommend you to their friends. So what I say is you turn that upside down. You make sure you’ve got something to sell them. So you need some kind of prints to show them. Something on the wall that they know that they can buy and have a pricelist so they can actually buy it. So I’m going from the sales process or the actually action where they pick up their prints. So you actually need products to show them. Then you need to have a presentation room, a place where it’s easy for them to purchase what they want in a nice environment. Then you will be able to take the photos so then you need a studio or cameras or you know systems for actually taking photos or you might do it outside like I used to do it on the beach. Then you need a conversion section where you actually meet the client for the first time; the planning meeting where you convert them or encourage them to use you as the photographer. And then you need a client attraction system. That’s where all the gift vouchers come in and promotion and brochures and website and all that good stuff. So I think that’s kind of the way you’ve been doing it John. You’ve been taking it from reversing the whole client flow around and making sure you got everything in place before you start really attracting the clients. Is that kind of what you’ve been doing?
John: Brent, yes and that’s what I like about you. Exactly right Brent, you’ve got to start at the back to get to the front. Because when the client walks in or walk downstairs, they can’t walk into a dull office. It’s got to be welcoming. You’ve got to create the right ambiance. Got to look like a studio, and you’ve got to have proper wall light. But to get to that point you’ve got to do all these other things beforehand. So yes, you’re totally right. You’ve got to work backwards. And as you say, you put it so simply. And yeah we work backwards and right now as I’ve said in the process of choosing our wall light and deciding what to put with because we’re sort of ready to go with the voucher system. Probably we want to launch it next week. So it’s been a very exciting journey and yeah we thought we’re enjoying it. Overall it’s enjoyable.
Brent: And that’s what I said to you when I met with you John. I said you know just so people know John and me, we’re both from South Africa, and our Motherland is South Africa. And we’re both in Australia now. We’re all immigrants. And we tend to work really hard. We’re kind of go getters. We get stuff done. Just from the culture that we originally came from. And I mentioned to John the tip. I said “Man don’t burn yourself out. Enjoy the process.” Building a business is fun. It’s actually creating that’s a value one day. Then you might be able to sell it just like I just did. I sold my studio. So enjoy the creation process. Creating something out of nothing and it’s valuable. It’s something that’s yours you know. You’ve created it. You put all your personality into it. So don’t burn yourself out. Don’t try to get it too quickly. Don’t focus too much on the end goal. Actually enjoy the process.
The First Successful Commercial Shoot
Brent: But anyway, so John let’s jump into what you just said. You’ve done your first paid shoot. So up until now you’ve been using friends, right? You’ve got a couple of friends into your studio. You’ve photographed them just to test out all your systems to make sure that you can actually take the photos. They look good that you can impress your friends. And use them on your marketing so you can use them on your brochures, on your website. And you can get testimonials from friends. People that are actually want to help you. Is that how you’ve done it up to now?
John: Quite correct Brent. We’ve used friends and family. Mostly we send email out to our closest friends that “We’re starting the business and we’re offering you a free shoot.” “Come in and we’ll give you some gift prints and etc. an hour of your time.” And they jump into it. So we shot quite a few friends. And that’s how we learnt the studio and setup the lights. You know it’s quite a process and yeah, so that’s exactly what we’ve done.
Brent: Perfect, and now you’ve just done your first paid shoot; a non-friend, right?
Brent: Okay, tell me how that went?
John: It went well. It was a shoot in a work environment. It has to do with training on site with electricians, carpentry, and the trades where people go into apprenticeship. So we went to shoot people working at their workplaces. Full body shots, figuring cut outs, and to make banners, etc. So yeah we got the contract thru a contact of course. We did that yesterday afternoon. We were there for 2 hours. We also thought we’d better go and get a trolley. We better get some bands to toss things to the trolley, and pack the lights and make sure it got stands. And so it went well Brent. The shoot went well. We learnt a lot. We learn to check our cameras more because moving from one location to the other location our camera speed drop from 125 to 80. And we discover that half an hour later. But you know these are the things that you learn. So we used a light mute and I think we got some nice shots. The one thing we did learn was trying to shoot portraits in a boardroom that’s often too small. You don’t have the length of the rim to create a good depth the field. And we didn’t want to keep them waiting so we did say “Listen, when we’re ready we’ll call you.” And that took us about 10 to 15 minutes to set that up because of the conditions, the tightness of the room that they want to get a shot. We did it successfully in the end. But we got a little stewed and get tired to do the portrait shots. We’re shooting sort of slightly down into the face and not straight in. We went in a lot. It was a good shape. We both came back to the office and sat down for about 10-15 minutes and went thru all the process. All the negatives on what we can do better next time. So yeah we were much pumped.
Brent: Awesome, any chance you can share that with us? What are other things you learn from this first commercial shoot? Because this is what I love about, talking to someone like you, John. It’s just getting into it and testing something for the first time. You’ll notice things that I never notice because I just kind of going to like a work mode. I setup the lights. I’m looking at things. I’m just kind of running thru things in my head, checklist and whatever that a lot of people wouldn’t even think about because of the experience that I’ve had you know. The things that I have gone wrong in the past you know, where do you place someone, how far in front of the wall do you place them, where do you put the light or how far do you put away the light? Where do you shoot from? How do you show them in the way that they want to be shown? You know so things like that. So can you share other few tips that you learnt on the shoot? Maybe some things that went wrong.
John: Certainly Brent. I think the first mistake we made is we allowed ourselves to be pressured into time. We quote the job; we quoted it the like 2 – 3 and half hours and then squeezed us down to one and a half. We just come to take photographs. We learnt quickly the very moment we got on site that it wasn’t the case because they actually don’t know what they wanted. We’ve asked them, we’ve gone there to meet them before and said “What do you want to send us?” “What do you want?” It is more talk than action. So we got there, where do we stand? And there was a tight pressure. So I sat there and if this runs over time, it’s going to run over time. That’s the way it goes. But they’re very budget conscious as usual. So that’s the first mistake we made. So again moving forward, one of the decisions we made was we never ever going to go inside and shoot for 60 minutes minimum. Never, say at least one and a half hour or maybe 2 because of the set up and the viewing of the site.
Brent: Would you suggest people when they quote a full day or a half day or a quarter day for a commercial shoot like this?
John: Brent I think you have to put that into your local client. Half a day would’ve been too much. I think probably 2 and half hours would’ve been perfect rather than one a half. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to do much like the wedding people. We’re going to have in our pricelist 3 event shoots for sort of a corporate or commercial stuff on site. We’re going to have a 2 hour shoot, 3 hour or half a day. And you’ll going to say what shoots that includes. Other thing that we learned was I don’t think it’s good to have people hanging around. So in this case they want 3 apprenticeships get shot at the workplace. But there are 4 or 5 people hanging around. So I think that’ll embarrassed some of the people get shot at because they weren’t totally camera ofay. They were a bit shy but hesitant and especially in front of their peers. So I think we learnt next time we’ll talk very politely to the organizers and say “Okay in the shoot we want us here, the people we’re shooting and yourself. And in this case it had to be the health and safety person, that person and nobody else.” And I think they would’ve made that and we tried to make that to the next, I think we did. But that was one thing we had to overcome. And as you mention lastly was the setup, where you put the lights. You use one light or2 lights because in front of the people you don’t want to appear you’re doing things as trial and error. Definitely, so we learn things. So those were the 3. And the size of the boardroom was also what we’ve learned. We wanted to shoot somewhere else but it was more convenient for them there because of the execs. But overall it was more positive than negative.
Brent: Okay perfect. And one tip I’d give anyone listening to this. If you’ve never done something before and someone’s paying you to do it, fake before you make it. So meaning you act confidently like you know what you’re doing even though you’re figuring stuff out. And it worked for me for years now. You just do it. You kind of go into mode and you’re figuring things out. Nothing’s ever like in photography if you’re doing these types of things, commercial gigs, it’s never the same. It’s always different. The lightings’ different, the situation, the environment is different. So you have to test things out. I mean you might know a few things but there are a lot of variables you don’t know. It needs to actually move stuff around. Do a couple of test shots. “No it’s not working let’s try over here.” You just gotta act like you know what you’re doing. And eventually you actually get a shot and everyone feel that energy that you’re putting out. If you’re like you don’t know what you’re doing, then you’re stressing out because you’re under or you got a time limit. And you want to get these shots and you’re putting out this stress and the clients going to feel it too. So anyway, that’s something I would say.
John: You’re totally correct Brent. We had one instance where we had one issue. So I took the light meter and we did a light meter reading. I’ve tapped it and we walked away and pretend that we’re talking about the light meter but we’re talking totally about something else. So the client wouldn’t know that we had an issue. We solved it very quickly. You know we took our own extension cords because they didn’t have one. And the other thing was we’ve gone there for a totally black look trousers and shirt with our logo on the shirt. And complemented on how smart it looked. So we not only fake it, we look smart.
Brent: So presentation is quite important when you’re doing a commercial photo shoot.
John: You know we only rock up there in faded jeans and brand t-shirts and that sort of stuff. We wanted to be professional.
Brent: So wear shoes.
John: Absolutely and socks.
Brent: Okay good. Well John that’s really interesting, the whole you know what you’ve learnt from this first commercial shoot.
Finding the Right Niche for You
Brent: Now when it comes to your portrait business and your studio and everything, we’ll jump back to that business. So obviously you’re trying a few things to see you know where you can make money and what you like to do and where you’re niche is going to be. Because when you first started you can decide “Okay this is what I’m going to focus on.” But sometimes things happen and you find a different niche. So for instance in my photography journey, I tried everything else. Doing weddings, I was doing real estate photography, I was doing portraits, and I was doing commercial photo shoots. I was doing anything anyone would give me money for. I was trying. And you know maybe that wasn’t the best way to go. Maybe I should’ve focus on one or 2 things. I probably could’ve got that quicker. But what happen were the customers and the environment I was in actually dictated the niche that we fell into. So we eventually ended up the last few years of my studio was family portraits on the beach because that’s what people love the most. And we’re closed to the beach. We could walk to the beach in 5 minutes from our studio. And you know where we live we got beautiful beaches so that’s kind of one that we noticed at. And I noticed that, that what people are enjoying the most. That’s what people were paying the most for. And that’s where we made our most profit. And that’s the most enjoyable and easiest part of photography that I could figure out. Because our system’s been doing that for a while. Then I started that marketing only and then my business really started becoming even more profitable. Once we did that niche down to just family portraits on the beach. Because I was doing also glamour make overs in the studio and models all sorts of things. So I know you’re testing sorts of things. Which direction you think you’re going to go?
John: Brent as you rightly said I think the market would determine that. We’d like to specialize in portrait photography because we enjoy it and we just love that look. And I think it’s such a fantastic way to put that out on the wall. But as you say you’ve got to go where it’s kind of strive you at times. Tomorrow night we actually have and awards evening with another company. And that’s about 4 or 5 hour thing. So I’m going to get there at 5 until about 10. So we’re going to try that at the moment. We’re just going to stay away from weddings because that market is very heavily out of populated here. And also I want the confidence you know. Commercial shoots like what we did yesterday, we can read you this afternoon if you want to. If we stop wedding, you can’t redo that. We do have a degree on ethics, we want to work in the market so we’re not confident to do weddings yet. So we’ll just hang in there and let the other people do it while we find our niche and prepare to try things. Events and as you know we try to do something in the real estate just a back pocket to took over things. We had limited success there. So we’re trying things and we are conscious of not having too many sticks in the fire.
Brent: And John I know you’ve got a lot of business experience so I mean that’s definitely helping you know how you actually deal with other businesses and customers you know business to consumer. What are the action steps you can come up with? So let’s just say someone’s ready to give it a go. And they want to kind of follow what you’re doing. So what would be the one thing you’d say that they should start on now? What’s probably the biggest bang for their back, the biggest pivot thing you’ve done that’s really helped you?
John: Brent the biggest pivot thing was your course. Undeniably that was the biggest pivot thing because that’s been the whole foundation to everything else. Without that we’d be like jumping into a swimming pool and splashing around not knowing quite where we’re going and how to get there. So your course was the best building block. And once we had that we could lay out what we want to do because we had the passion to do it. And my advice to somebody’s starting and everybody’s circumstances are different. We probably in a way that lucky we’ve got a second business to keep. So we’re not pressurized to make money here ASAP. But we actually want to. We’re putting pressure on ourselves. We want to make money out of this business because that’s what we enjoy more. So I think your course is very good. Just have that plan, make sure it’s step by step, relate it to your personal circumstance because you can’t do something Alien to your own stuff. You can’t do something that doesn’t work in your life. So you’ve got to have like a ducktail to your course or your procedures into your personal life and your business life and how you’re going to make it work. And you’ve got to have a proper back end office stuff and that’s where I’m very fortunate because on my experience is doing the backend stuffs, the workflow, because no one’s taking pictures. That’s just quarter of the job. The hard part is the production stuff. And you’ve got a proper workflow for that. And that part we’re still going to come across. We’re still going to bump into it now as we do yesterday’s shoot. So yeah it’s a long journey Brent and confidence and perseverance.
Brent: Perfect John I like it. So thank you so much for being on the show. I just want to summarize what we’ve spoken about. So we’ve gone into you know what you guys were doing and why you’ve taken the path of following a photography business. And you’ve also got another business on the side which is keeping the cash flow happening while you’re testing out the orders for this new business which I would highly recommend. I wouldn’t say kill everything else and start fresh and try setup a new business because it does take a little while. You’ve been going on for 3-4 months. You’ve come up with a plan after following my portrait photography for profit course. You mapped it all out; you’ve taken massive action which is what really you know I’m so enthusiastic about. People take action. You know and don’t just talk and talk, actually walk the talk. I like that. So you’ve branded, you’ve got a website, you’ve got a price list, you’ve setup your studio, the lights. You’ve got a presentation room; you’ve got the TV’s and couches. You started to work on your wall, stuffs that you put on the wall that you can actually show so that people can buy it. I mean if you don’t have it on the wall no one’s going to buy it. You’ve used your friends to test everything out in your business which is a really good way. It’s what I would suggest to anyone, friends or family. Photograph them for free and give them prints. Get feedback from them. Test all your systems and your photography out and how you present them and all that stuff. And now you just had your first paid commercial photo shoot which is amazing. You’ve actually got paid and you’ve learnt on the job which is great. And you’ve shared all the stuffs that you’ve learned. The mistakes that you think you might’ve made and what you learned from it. And then you’ve given everyone great action steps of how to kind of follow on what you’re doing. So take a course similar to mine or take mine if you like. Come up with a really solid plan; don’t forget about the cash flow. Make sure you can keep funding yourself and your family while you are setting up a business. And then also you know make the business around yourself, personality. Do things that are congruent to what you believe in and what you actually enjoy doing. And then don’t forget the systems in the background; all the things that have to happen so awesome John. Did I miss anything in that summary?
John: Brent you summarized it like it hit the nail on the head.
Brent: Awesome, so John what’s your next step? Where are you guys going to go in the next couple of months before we talk again?
John: Well, Brent our next step right now as I’ve said we just had some gift vouchers printed yesterday. We’ve got to get the wall light on our walls. I’m giving us a 2 week window to do that. Because we basically decided what packages to go with when we get these stuff printed on that thing. And while that’s being printed we’re going to start marketing our gift vouchers either to the motor trade or the real estate trade or even to some corporate people. Now we’re going to start and walk in the street and try to choose some clientele if we can and then go from there.
Brent: Perfect, there are 2 things that I remember when I spoke to you last time. And you’re asking all the questions. If anyone is listening to this and you’re looking at the client attraction part of this business. How do you get people to actually call you? And how do you get the right people or attract the right people into your business? I mentioned that to go for the easy I guess. I call it low hanging fruit first like anyone that you’ve or any business people and anyone that owned business in your area that you’ve already got a pre-existing relationship with. Go talk to them because they already know you. They know you’re not a wheel and deal or whatever. And they will be more likely to hand out your vouchers if you’re doing the third party marketing or voucher marketing system which I highly recommend it’s the one that works best for us. That was the first thing. And then the second thing, do you remember what I noticed in your presentation room?
John: The positioning of our furniture wasn’t conducive to a friendly sort of client interface.
Brent: Awesome, can you tell people what you’ll going to change?
John: Okay, so as you walk into the presentation room, it’s rectangular in shape so the way we got the TV has to be on the short side of the room. So we put the TV in the couch in the back corner and I put a desk at 90 degrees to that couch. So the intention was I or Jonathan would sit at that desk and looks sideways or to the people or they look at the TV. And Brent pointed out 2 things; break the room in half, which was sort of new. And “B” I’m sitting at the desk. The desk was much higher than the couch so I’m now looking down at my client and third part I’ve got to swing 90 degrees every time they talk to me. So we’ve actually changed that Brent. We now got the TV in front of the grey intermeeting doors. We put the little table against the wall at the back. So now It’s much more sort of 45 degree on.
Brent: The thing I notice too that is basically the desk was separating you from the clients. So that’s more of you telling the client what to do where the best way to sell or the best way to get people to buy prints from you is you there to help them. You’re their friend. You’re not the enemy. You’re sitting with them at the same level as them or lower. So you’re not looking down at your customers. And you’re just there to help them. You’re driving the software; you’re driving the ProSelect or whatever software you used to present the images to your customer. And you’re their friend. You’re there to help them find what’s right for them. And they’re going to love you for it. They’re going to feel like they’re pressured or anything. So that was really important. You know probably you may not have noticed that if I didn’t actually come up and say “Oh I don’t think this is going to work.” And that’s just one thing. You know it could’ve caused you thousands of dollars in lost sales and frustrations of not knowing what’s going on.
John: Brent you’re totally right because I think we watched some of the ProSelect or other videos online about setting up projectors and TV’s and layouts. And I think the way that we did was always formal and desks are very formal and I think what you’ve instructed us or suggested I think it’s much more friendly and I think that’s the way we want to go.
Brent: Yeah and you know depends on the culture you’re in. So maybe another culture it works whether they need a formal business type meeting situation. But here in Australia it’s more on people are very kind of casual and I’ve tried it all Guys just so you know. I’ve tested everything. I’ve tested wearing a nice collared shirt, and dress pants and you know wedding type shoes; polished shoes and everything when I was presenting my images to my clients. I’ve played different types of music in the viewing room. I’ve tried it all. I’ve been very corporate and business like. But you know what’s worked best for me is wearing fit flops, shorts and a t-shirt. And just dressing kind of like my clients are because they’ve just come to the beach you know. I’ve photographed them on the beach where I was very casual. And then I’ve been casual when I’ve presented the images to them. And I’m more of their buddy you know. I’ll get them a coffee. You know sometimes you can get them some wines if you like it or whatever. And you’re there too you know just kind of guide them through the experience. And it should be a good feeling for them to choose their images and pay you a couple of thousand dollars for them. Awesome, well thank you John for being on this. Let’s catch up in a few months to see on how you are doing on your journey and the things you learn from now until then.
John: Well, Brent, thank you very much for the opportunity. I thank you. And I welcome everybody out there listening and we’re all here to help and I think even we’re in different industries. We collaborate together. So let’s share everything and a good journey here. Thank you so much Brent because you’ve actually help in many ways so thank you.
Brent: No worries John, awesome. Catch you later, bye.
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