Two years ago I was ready to quit photography. After 4 years in the business, 4 years of highs and lows, I was at an all-time low. Overworked, burnt out and underappreciated, I was ready to throw away years of hard work. A string of needy, wheeling and dealing clients had left me in a depression that I just couldn’t seem to pull myself out of.
Ever feel this way?
After deciding (in my head) to quit, I started watching 28 Days with Sue Bryce. Every day. In my pajamas.
Around day 14 something clicked and my self-pity and depression was replaced with anger. Anger at myself for letting it get this bad.
Because the truth was, it was my fault. I was not educating my client, I did not believe in my worth and money blocks abounded.
This anger got me out of my funk and back in the game and my business has never been the same.
I immediately booked 12 shoots in 6 days and was booked out at least 2 months in advance. My average sale jumped from $400 to $2200! I was attracting clients I had only dreamed of working with!
People that hear my story always ask “What did you do to book all of those shoots?” Truthfully, I merely followed Sue’s model, step by step. However, there is one thing I did that stands out. I added an in-person pre-shoot consultation to my workflow, which 95% of my ladies took me up on. But the REAL change in my business and sales happened when I stumbled upon the best little secret ever:
This may sound odd. A group pre-consultation? Isn’t a beauty shoot a personal experience? Yes, it sure is, but think about how women experience things: TOGETHER. Going to the restroom, shopping, yoga class, etc. We love to do things together!
The group pre-consult came about when I was getting so busy that doing individual consults began eating into my personal and family time. I decided to send out two dates a month ONLY that I was available for a pre-consultation. With 8 clients a month being photographed, this obviously meant I’d have multiple women on any given day.
I decided to call it a Pre-Session Soiree and advertise it as a girl’s night in. I created a flyer for my studio manager to send out letting my clients know it would be a fun evening with champagne and snacks and we could all ooh and aah over each other’s outfits and ask questions.
After doing a few of these Soirees, I noticed that the more women there at one time, the better. It was so fun to watch these women get each other excited about their shoot.
I barely had to do a thing! They would pass around my product, look at each other’s outfits, laugh, ask questions and it really was like a party. They got so excited for their shoots and felt reassured that doing a shoot for themselves was not conceited, but necessary.
One of my soirees was so amazing that all three of the women there ended up buying my largest packages ($2200-2900) at their Private Viewing Sessions. I know this was due in large part to the fact that they had gotten each other so pumped up at the Pre-Consult!
Here are some tips on how to have a successful Pre-session Soiree:
- Give your clients two dates to choose from. One weeknight and one weekend afternoon.
- If anyone absolutely cannot make it, I will do a private phone or in-person consult. But most people will be able to make one of your Soiree dates.
- Put out snacks and champagne and have music on. This is a party!
- Get a clothes rack where they can hang everything when they come in.
- Once everyone is there, I have them introduce themselves and say why they’re doing a shoot. This gets the other ladies thinking about their reasoning and helps them to see that a beauty shoot is not conceited or selfish!
- Next go over how the day of their shoot will go and give them a timeline. Pull out your products and pass them around so they can touch and feel them. This will cause them to start talking about how nice the products are and get them thinking about what they will buy.
- Ask everyone to show you their outfits. Again, women just love to see other women’s clothes and it helps them think about other things they may want to wear or bring to their shoot. Having the other women compliment their outfits also gives them a confidence boost!
- Lastly, ask if there are any questions. By being in a group, your clients will ask questions that the other women may not have even thought of, so this is a great way to eliminate a lot of post-consult, pre-session e-mails going back and forth.
I’ve held these pre-consults in my home studio, but you could easily do it in your living room. It’s meant to be a relaxed fun atmosphere- no need to get super fancy!
Have questions or suggestions about how to do a pre-session soiree? Let me know in the comments below!
P.S. Want to learn more great tips on creating massive sales for your business? Don't forget to check out my course, The $5,000 Weekend, where I share how I planned, marketed and booked my latest Marathon, and made over $5,000 in one day! Click on the video below for all of the details.