In the final chapter of this series on the photography sales funnel we look at how you can begin putting what you’ve learned into action for setting up your own sales funnel. If you haven’t read the first three parts of this series please do so now:
The Potential Is Larger With A Niche
Once you realize the potential of a sales funnel, which I hope you do by now after following along in this series, you should consider implementing one for your own business.
When you first get started, don’t look at your business as a whole. Instead, look at it in individual pieces, or in niches. Maybe you photograph weddings, events and family portraits. In this case you could look at your business in three distinct ways through all three of your niches.
Each niche will be considered unique because you will be approaching customers and referral sources in different ways using different materials and tools. While they may all require you to have a website, how you move them through the site will take on different approaches for each of the different niches. For example as mother looking to book a family sitting may love looking through wedding images, but she won’t be able to “see” herself in your work. She wants to see other families and how you pose, choose your backgrounds, create packages, etc.
Planning Your Sales Funnel
Once your niches are determined and you are confident you want to bring in a lot of clients in those niches, you can begin work on your sales funnel.
Your main focus should always be on the needs of your customer. When I begin planning out my sales tools, instead of thinking of my niche as a whole, I think of one customer in particular. Don’t think of a “generic” customer. Instead, think of the best client you’ve ever had, the one you would love to have in your studio all the time. Then ask yourself a series of questions.
- What did you do to attract her? How could you improve on that process?
- What did she buy? What more could you have sold her?
- How did you communicate with her during the entire process, including in the present? How could you communicate with her now and into the future?
- What more could you sell her?
I’m sure just by reading these questions, ideas are popping up. Don’t stop the flow of ideas. Let them come and write them all down. This is how you will build your sales funnel for the future.
Once you have your idea list in hand, its time to create your system. Remember, in today’s world, you have a lot of opportunity to connect with your clients in many ways. Don’t leave anything out in the process. And don’t just think from your studio’s perspective; how can you touch a person using different venues?
For example, if you are a wedding photographer, one of the best ways to reach out to your prospect for the first time may be at the reception venues around town. The natural progression for a bride is to book her ceremony/reception sites, then move into other services like photography. If she views a sample album at the reception site she is considering and falls in love with your photography, you’ve already connected with her in one of the best ways possible.
The purpose of each tool you create to use in your funnel is to confirm a prospects feelings for you and lead them to the next step.
- A sample album at a reception site leads to a brochure the coordinator has on hand.
- The brochure leads to a website.
- The website leads to a Facebook account to follow conversations.
- The conversations lead to filling out a form for more information.
- The form leads to a phone conversation.
- A phone conversation leads to an information packet.
And so on.
In the beginning, it will be impossible to produce high quality tools at every step you have in your system. That’s okay. If you are building up a business to be around for the next 25 years, take one step at a time.
When you look at the steps you wish to accomplish in this niche. Choose the one you feel is the most important and start there. Make that the very best it can be, put all your time and energy into it, and create a tool that will last well into the future. When that is in place, choose the next step. And so on.
In a matter of months, you will begin building a stronger system and you’ll begin to see a change in the pattern of your clientele. When you have a stronger system, you appear more pulled together; more professional.
As you move down your funnel, you will quickly see how you can create tools that will satisfy your raving fans and create an even more emotional bond with them. If they all ready love you, what can you do to make the relationship more intense? Customer service is the key. Its what makes a photography studio thrive. Its also what will separate you from the amateurs looking to make a quick buck within this industry. And from the big box stores that only care about immediate profits.
Perception Is Key
Its important to realize that although you might have assumptions of what people are willing to pay and how they perceive a product or service should be priced, you are looking at things through your own lens. Everyone is different, has different priorities and different expectations. How you develop your products and services and how you deliver them to your customer can change perceptions rapidly, giving you a higher value overall.
Its not the product/service that makes the business. It’s the value of the offer and how it solves a problem for the potential customer.
Your offer is more important than everything else in the process. In the end, its all an image on a piece of paper. Its what surrounds it that sets you apart from every other photographer out there.
Building your sales funnel can be a complex, time consuming, and in some cases an expensive process. Its not something you will have together overnight. Its not something that will be “perfect” at some point in the future. Its an ever-growing, ever-changing process that will always be there ready to add to, change, and grow with over time. Even if you never have a “tool” at every point along the funnel, its important to understand how it works and how it can help you achieve better results with your clientele. And how it helps your small business grow, look larger than it really is, and become more successful than you’ve probably dreamed about.
The funnel points you to the most important place in your business – the clients you already have in place who have used you and love you. When you put your focus on the best part of your business, its easy to see what you need next, how to develop a key tool that will help you reach out in even better ways, and ultimately give you the pleasure of doing exactly what you want to do in this life.
Here’s to your successful journey,