by Tom Lee Published 01/11/2006
We look at presentation in all its forms and kick off with some wise words from Tom Lee FSWPP which set the scene for the following pages
When it comes to closing out those all-important sales, how you present yourself to the customer can be significant. To quote Bambi Cantrell, 'You never get a second chance to make a first impression'. From the clothes you wear, the car you drive, the sample albums you show and the literature you send out to follow up an enquiry, they can all say a lot about your business and professionalism, even before the prospective client asks, 'How much do you charge?'.
Bridal fayres are a staple diet for promoting your wedding business; they put you in direct contact with people who need your services. Most of them are what we might class 'leaflet pickers', but in amongst them are the two per cent that you're looking for, but cannot necessarily identify immediately. It's a competitive business we're in and we can't afford tolose them - so we end up talking to everybody. Let's take a sample of 150 browsers, we need to score at least three times to make it a successful day.Is your presentation up to the mark?
Have you dressed the part? It's usually held on our day off so the last thing we want to do is get dressed up. However, the British public usually expecta degree of formality on the wedding day. If they can get dressed up for the occasion, then so can you. Putting on a suit (at the very least a shirt and tie) reassures the customer that you are unlikely to turn up in jeans and T-shirt.You are also starting to justify some of your price tag.
What does your studio literature look like? Producing pricelists and options on paper from a desktop printer may be flexible but doesn't really cut the mustard. You may not be the only photographer at the bridal fayre and whilst the other studio may be a friend or acquaintance, you are in competition with them, and they are also after your client! Your literatureshould aim to be better than theirs or at least on a par.
Small print runs of glossy brochures are available at a reasonable cost these days and with a little time spent on the layout in Photoshop, RCS Ltd (www.rcsplc.uk) can print 500-off, 8-page, A5 booklets for as little as £300. The more you order the cheaper the unit cost. Order enough to last you12 months and change the layouts/prices after that time. This cost should be factored into your expected return from an average wedding season and your presentation has already stepped up a couple of notches.
You don't always have a choice where you are put in the fayre venue, so how will your client find you? It's no good working off a six-foot table when you're at the far end of a packed room. You need to get yourself noticed. The simplest solution is to order a banner stand. Birkmye in Runcorn (www.birkmyre.co.uk) can supply you with a seven-foot banner stand from £70 upwards. All you need to do is supply them with the artwork and they will print the banner onto light-resistant, vinyl material and supply the stand also. This will last several seasons and is modest in cost.
My own studio has invested in a larger pop-up display (3.0m x 3.0m). I figured that my banner stand had had its day and that I needed to step up my own presentation another notch. The entire display comes complete with collapsible frame, five light-resistant panels that secure with magnets tothe frame, two 200w halogen display lights and a carry case that everything fits into. The case doubles as a table and has another vinyl wrap on the front, fixed with Velcro. The entire display was less than £1,000 (including VAT). Whilst this may be hard for some studios to justify, it makes me stand out from the crowd and I can be seen from anywhere in the room.
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