by Gavin Stoker Published 01/12/2016
Made in England - and on site in Hull - GF Smith is renowned throughout our industry for attention to detail, value for money, but most importantly the quality of its output. Having celebrated its 30th anniversary of trading last year (with roots as a paper merchant stretching all the way back to 1885), naturally it will have a presence at the Convention and Trade Show in January, enabling you to check out its very latest launches.
Marketing Manager Gail Mellors teases that GF Smith’s contribution will be a little different this year, however, all part of the company’s push to help pro photographers survive and thrive in what may otherwise be challenging times. “We’re finding pro photographers are still being pressured into giving clients a disk or USB stick of images, which means it’s hard for them to make any margin,” notes Gail. “While it may be difficult for the photographers to sell the benefits of having an album, at the same time they don’t want their work to go out digitally and then not know where it winds up being printed. It may not end up looking the best - and the quality may fall short.
“There are a calibre of photographers who do care, though, and are quite protective over their work - but what’s required is a process of educating that end user. We can help through our product range. We realise that while some photographers may excel creatively they’re not always the best sales people in the world; it’s difficult to wear both hats. And if you can’t sell what you create then it’s pretty pointless. You’ve got to be able to sell and have a product that gets across the benefits of why you want your work in print. Print can last a lifetime. Is there going to be a vehicle in the future that allows your clients to view the shots they otherwise only have on USB? As a manufacturer we don’t speak to the end user, so we are relying on the photographer to market themselves for us.”
Education, education, education...
GF Smith believes the answer is in the photo industry educating the end user - tell your customer about the benefits of having an album, share the possible horror stories ... and, of course, direct your client to a product that is both high quality yet really good value.
“It’s a product that the photographer can make extra money on,” Gail advises. “And it’s a means by which the photographer can value their own skills too; sell an album, get your work professionally printed and then try to sell your customers a frame.” GF Smith not only has lovely presentation products to satisfy each of these demands, it says it is always very conscious of price and giving value for money. Furthermore, great customer service is an essential part of the sales pitch.
“We have a sales team of girls in the office who give excellent customer service - and have guys on the road who go out to visit photographers and allow them to experience, touch and try the albums first hand. If you ring us up, without question someone will come out to see you, whilst those in the office can help out with the designing of albums and using our software. We’re at the end of the phone where we can answer people’s queries and we do go out there and sell people the benefits of why people should get their work in print.”
The Societies of Photographers Convention and Trade Show at The Novotel London West, Hammersmith ...
You have 46 days until The Societies of Photographers Convention starting on Wednesday 22nd January 2020