IPS Photography | How to Get Started

– Are you wanting to get
started in in-person sales, and aren’t sure how to even
go through the process? Today, we have Alisha Crossley, and we are interviewing her
about her process for IPS. Let’s go. (upbeat music) Hi, my name is Meredith Ryncarz, and I’m the owner of
the Restart Specialist. If you are new to this channel, and you are interested
in growing your business in the market you’re in, or the market that you want to be in, then make sure that you
hit that subscribe button and that notification bell, so you don’t miss out on
any of our new content. So without further ado, we
are gonna welcome Alisha on. Tell me a little bit
about what you guys do. – Yeah, absolutely. So, this is our 10th year in business. We are primarily wedding photographers. I come from a background
of education, though. I was an English teacher for three years. – And so you guys have this
thing called Preview & Prosecco. Tell me how you came up with that name? – Yeah, absolutely. So overall, Meredith, we’re very much, our whole marketing is
client-based marketing, right? And by that I mean, we are
focusing on our clients consistently to decide what
we need to do to attract more of that ideal client, okay? Looking at what their pain points are, what we need to put into the
experience to make it stellar. Not just the product, but the experience. So overall, I feel like
it felt like we were doing a really good job
loving on our clients, serving them throughout their
process of coming to us, from the initial inquiry
all the way through. Until the wedding day, when it was over, and we were simply
emailing them their link to all these pictures, right?
– Yeah. – And it’s like we’ve spent
all this time with you, we’ve taken you to dinner,
gotten to know you. We’ve photographed your engagements, the most happiest day of your life, and we’ll just email
you over those pictures in four to six weeks. So, it just didn’t feel
like that was the best bow to put on the end package. So identifying that pain point
for us essentially meant, working out how we can
make that better for them. What could we do to help
them have a final experience with us that both educated them
on how to use their gallery, help them be able to understand how to order albums in person, rather than us trying
to email back and forth. We were seeing that a lot. A lot of questions from
mothers of the brides, from our brides, like “We want
an album, how do we do that?” And we were missing the
opportunity to both serve them and also create revenue
from those heirloom items. – Yeah, absolutely. So that really gets into
our first question already, which was how did you get into IPS? – Yeah, yeah. – Which, if you guys are
watching and you’re not familiar with that term, IPS
stands for In-Person Sales and we often have this
conversation with people about how it feels icky.
– Yeah. – It feels salesy. And so how did you get over
that icky, salesy feeling that a lot of other
photographers are feeling like that blocks them from getting into that? – For us, it was very different
because it wasn’t designed as a revenue builder. It was designed as a solution
to a client pain point. – Yeah.
– I think first and foremost, the concept was to serve
our clients better. And the thing that was
very impactful though, and this is how client
mixed marketing works if you do it well, once we
were meeting that pain point, we saw the revenue increase.
– Yeah. – So the ickiness was never there because it was never intended
to go after our clients and ask them to open up their pocketbooks and just pour money out
for something they either A. Didn’t want or B. Something that wasn’t
relevant to our experience. So I think first and foremost,
it’s your approach to IPS. Are you doing this to provide a better experience for your client, or just solely just to
rack up some more money? Because if it is for the
secondary reason, honestly, I don’t think IPS is
successful when you approach it just from the concept of
making, being a revenue builder. Right?
– Yeah, yeah. – So when we brought this up, and made it really a celebration, right? Preview & Prosecco. They come in, we have a
questionnaire where we provide, we get to know what were
your favorite foods, what are some, what are
your favorite drinks and how many people can we expect? What products are you interested
in learning more about? So we have a slideshow set up for some of our favorite pictures
from the wedding day. The first time in, they’re
getting to log into that gallery, see all of their images together
with friends and family, while enjoying, potentially, champagne, eating charcuterie, or whatever
we’ve brought in for them. – Yep.
– And it’s really celebratory. So it creates an environment where they’re able to enjoy this day that they’ve invested so much in for a final big concluding event and then also though, because we believe in heirloom products, we believe that generationally those tangible products are so important for them to pass down, for
them to have at their home. We then have the opportunity
to both let them see and let them be able to
touch, and feel, and discuss what albums, what materials
really resonate with them. And that for us, there’s no
ickiness because essentially, again, just like on the
wedding day, it’d be like, “How’d you get over the ickiness of being a wedding photographer?” Well, I never felt icky about it, right? Because I’m here serve and love on them, – Yeah!
– and there’s value in that. And we very much should be compensated. There should be a sense of
investment for the type of experience we provide.
– Yeah. – What we are providing them
with is a lovely experience with an opportunity to
invest in tangible memories that they’ve already created. To me, as a fellow consumer,
and as a wedding photographer, there’s nothing icky about
that as a beautiful experience. What we didn’t expect, to be honest, and I think this is what
has made it so successful, we didn’t even expect this
to be a revenue builder. I mean I know that sounds crazy, like I’m in business, money’s not evil. It’s great when you’re
approaching it from again, providing the client with what they need. You should be compensated for it. But we really wanted to educate them on how to use their galleries,
especially a lot of our parents, like no offense to our moms. And we walked away from our
first party with a $6,000 check. And I was like, what is this? What, what’s happening? – I mean that’s a wedding. – This is the cool thing, yeah. This is the cool thing, and who knew, maybe the bazillion books
on client-based marketing got read who say this. When you are able to effectively solve your clients’ pain
points, you make money. They are happy. That’s how it works. We’re having even more positive reviews, even more positive feedback
on their whole experience, and we’re making more money. So it’s like, this is pretty awesome. Yeah, we like it. No one feels icky, no one’s icky at all. – But I have a question for you. How do you know what
products you want to sell? And that’s a big question
that our group asks, because some of them are just now
dipping their toes into IPS, and so they’re wondering, how do you figure that out? – Yeah, that’s a wonderful question. It’s something we evaluate,
typically annually, when we’re looking at
our pricing structure, what has been successful in the past year, what people are wanting,
what they’re ordering. Identifying who we are, what our brand is, and what kind of client
we’re hoping to attract, and you want to, you hear all the time, show what you want to shoot. I think also in regards to products, talk about what you want them to buy, talk about what couples along with the experience you’re creating. You have to know your
heart as a photographer, what is your objective
with this photography? What are you trying to give your client? Just pretty pictures? Then maybe just one huge
canvas of a pretty picture is what you should offer. For us, I rarely pitch just one canvas. We talk about collages, and maybe there’s one impactful picture we put there in the middle, but everything is photographed
and designed to work together as a coupling, rather than isolated. Knowing what to offer
though, the best thing it’s gotta be trial and error. You know, you are what
you want to accomplish with your photography
and put it out there, talk about it, show it. And then if people aren’t
going for it, reevaluate that. Is it because you’re not
educating them properly? Or is it because maybe
that’s not the ideal product for the experience you’re giving. – And so while we talked
a little about products before we jumped on here, you and I were talking
about favorite conferences and trying to figure out,
are we going to this one? Are you going to that one? What are we doing?
– Yeah, yeah. – And for one of the big things that if you’re looking to get into IPS, is to look at places like WPPI, or United, we talked about that one. Or Imaging, which is hosted through PPA. And they have massive trade show floors. – So if you’re saying,
– Oh for sure. – I’m just dipping my toe into this, and I don’t even know where to start, you can pick up things,
touch them, feel them, shake ’em, see if they’re breakable. – Reach out to your local community. If you have a local Facebook group. It’s great of course to see them online and we’re always happy to send pictures of what ours are and the process, but it can be really awesome
if you a Tuesdays together or any kind of local networking group, or just a couple photography friends. “Hey, who are you guys using? Could we meet up and look
at our albums together? I’d love to touch that one
and compare it to this one.” Don’t hesitate to just ask
local people just to see what the album looks like. And too, I think that’s
a great point, Meredith, the product itself is important. The company that you align
yourself with is important, too. – That is massively important. – And so you need to do
your research both on who they are, what kind of
experience they provide, does it go in line with what
you’re hoping to provide? If IPS is your end goal, just break it down to digestible chunks. I would say focus on
your three top products that you want to start with, get a good cohesive
concept of maybe with that, these are the three albums
I’m looking at providing, and I want to see each one
of these if at all possible. A lot of times, too, it’s
gonna cut down to pricing. A lot of the whole self-pricing differs if you’re at a very top-end price, you’re gonna want that to match
the products you’re offering If you are an entry level photographer, maybe just now starting to offer products and you know it needs to align with what your client can afford. – Absolutely.
– There are options for that. Now there’s a different
feel, a different element to a $200 album compared to a $600 album. – Oh yeah.
– Shouldn’t it be? Yeah, and so but that’s okay
if you know that your client is at that point that with what
you’re paying for an album, if you know you’re
offering a $1,000 wedding, of course you cannot offer a $3,000 album. Now I’m not one to say can’t, but I’m also a little realistic at this point in my business, you know? So yeah, so definitely
it needs to match up to your objective, your
price point, and overall, what you’re hoping to
provide for your clients. – So we touched on this idea of how often you change your products with, if you’re starting out as a
$1,500 wedding photographer, then your products are
going to align with that. If you are then increasing your pricing to the point where you’re charging now, maybe it’s 10 years later,
and you’re now charging six, seven, eight grand for a wedding, you can’t be offering
that $100 wedding album. – No.
– You shouldn’t be. – You shouldn’t be. I think it’s misleading,
because if you’re telling your client you’re offering essentially an $8,000 wedding experience product, they should expect for everything to align with that level of luxury, right? And it’s like, if I walk
into Madewell and I’m like, “Wow, these jeans are awesome,” right? And then over here I see the
same shirt that I saw at, literally at Walmart, like, wait what? You guys are carrying Doordash here? – Right.
– Not that that’s wrong! But if you are providing a
Walmart level price point, it all needs to match. If you are more on the
level of Target, awesome. You’re getting on up to
Madewell and then finally Saks. And so I always say it’s such
a good comparison I think when thinking about the
retail industry like that. – We personally say we reassess every six months to 12 months just
because there’s new products that come out, as well, as
that increase in your pricing. So, let’s see here. What is your most common client objection and how do you address it? – Absolutely. So I think for us, the
main thing that we’ve seen, and I think, too, you have
to say objection to what? What are they objecting to? So primarily the first thing
we’re doing is offering them the option to even
come to our Preview party, to come to the reveal. It’s not a requirement. With that objection of, “Oh,
well I can’t make this happen. We can’t do a Preview party.” We say, “no problem. Here’s a PDF of the full
explanation of our album, how we design it. This is the product that
is creme de la creme that we want you guys to consider. And here is a $200 gift
certificate towards your album should you decide to order
in the next seven days.” Now we go ahead and email over that link, but then we’ve still
provided a much nicer touch to explaining the process
of heirloom items. And we still get great
orders that way, because the brides don’t want to miss out. They even say,
– No. – In the invitation we send, it’s just little digital
invitation with a graphic. We even say, “We provide a
complimentary gift, a photo gift, and a little certificate
towards your album.” And someone messaged back like, “Gosh Alisha, we can’t. I’m in medical school in Dallas. I can’t come and I want to, but can we still get that
gift and certificate? Can we still make that happen? No one wants to miss out on gifts, right? – No!
– We’re like, absolutely, no problem. Here’s the PDF that goes
through some of the steps that we explain at the party and if you order within seven days, here’s the certificate. We’ll go ahead and put that all together and there we’re good to go. I would say the parties themselves, we don’t always have people order. That’s one thing that,
again, our main goal is to give a client experience.
– Exactly. – So I don’t leave a party disappointed if my client is weeping and happy, even if that night, they don’t
hand you over a $6,000 check. I’m not disappointed. I did what I set out to do. For me, the revenue from
Preview parties is a bonus. It’s an icing on the cake. Then if no one does order, we do have a system in place of follow-up. We’ll follow up six
months after the wedding, “Hey, we noticed you
never ordered that album, and I know that things get crazy. If you’ve been thinking about it still, we would love to have you design it. Here’s a quick little video of a couple of spreads we did design for you, just to let you see
what that wedding album could look like if it came to life. And so we have a touch point there and then a touch point at one year. We do send out a few little
discounts here and there, “.com discounts” we usually call them. Something that just sounds more elevated. 20% off loose prints if they go into their gallery and order. Maybe just Client Appreciation Day, like around the anniversary
of our business. So I find that the
objections then themselves no longer are problematic,
but we’re helping very much to work along
their comfort level. – We have one more question for you that we’ve been hearing beforehand. Biggest tips for a successful IPS session. Now I feel like you’ve
given us some of them, – Yeah!
– What are the – I’ve got some more.
– The last one. – Yeah, I’ve got some more. So I would say one thing that I know we talked about this, Meredith. You don’t want to blindside your client with pricing when they
sit down at a session. I fully, fully believe
it’s important to go ahead and be as transparent as possible. We even say whenever
they book with us, again, they’re consulting a magazine we have. It talks about the average
client invests X amount with us. And that’s not the same
amount as what they’re putting into the wedding,
the actual day-of pricing. So we’re gonna go ahead and
start letting that information simmer early on that yes, 95% of our brides do a
wedding album, right? So there’s expectations set
there within their own mind that this is probably something
I’m gonna look at, right? So you want to talk about
throughout your whole experience, so that way by the time of the reveal, it’s not like they’re like, “Whoa, you have wedding albums? Oh, you offer prints? Wow, we didn’t know that, that’s cool. Like, what?”
– Yeah. – And then also with the pricing, we send that out to them
whenever we send the invitation, and that’s usually about
three weeks before the party. So they can start asking us questions about the logistics of the investment. “Oh okay, if we do an album,
do we pay it all that night, or how do we do that?” And I think, too, again, one
of my big tips for success, we don’t ask them to
pay everything upfront. We break it down into digestible chunks that could look different
depending on your pricing structure and where your ideal client is in investment, but we typically ask for half
once the order is implemented, and we start the design process, and half when we get the album approval to go ahead and submit for print. So breaking it down for
your client, making it easy, making sure that for the ordering session, the reveal party, there’s
not pressure placed on them. That’s the ickiness that we’ve, I think, traditionally has been
acquainted with IPS. We didn’t design it that way. We designed it as an experience and as an education opportunity to help them utilize what
they’ve already invested in. Your clients aren’t
investing in a product, they’re investing in a promise. If you are delivering on that promise, then they are going to
invest in the product, okay? But the promise has to come
first and you have to show throughout that whole experience of doing their initial wedding
coverage that you were delivering throughout consistently. – All right guys, so Alisha and
I just scratched the surface of in-person sales and Preview sessions. If you want more information like this, then come join us in our
private Facebook group. You can find that link
in the show notes below. We can’t wait to see you guys there. All right guys, now that
we have talked all about the process of previewing the images, whether it’s in your
home or in your studio. You’re probably wondering,
how do I even host that? We’ve gotcha covered. I want you to check out our
video all about in-view, and then make sure that you
hit the subscribe button or and the notification bell,
so you don’t miss out on any of our new content. Thank you so much for watching, and we’ll see you guys next time.

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