Accept Mobile Payments Easier at Your Youth Sports Shoots with Square®

If you’re a youth sports photographer who collects money from parents the day of a shoot you’ve mostly got two options when it comes to collecting payments, cash or check.

Accepting cash is ideal for everyone, but not all parents are going to have enough cash on hand to purchase different packages or products. You could also take checks, but then you risk the chance of checks bouncing and you finding it very hard to collect the money you’re owed.

However, a third option is to collect credit card payments. While it’s not the most popular option, youth sports photographers have been collecting credit card payments at sports shoots for years.

But collecting credit card payments can present a challenge for many photographers.

Most don’t have a credit card reader they can take on site, so many have to write down numbers on pre-pay order forms.

Using this method, parents might feel uneasy about writing their credit card number down and letting a stranger walk off with it, as order forms can be left unsecured around the office for anyone to look at. Plus, this will present extra work for the photographer as they will need to key in each credit card entry by hand after the shoot.

But now, a company called Square has created a safe and easy to use device that plugs directly into your smart phone which allows you to accept credit card payments easier and on-site.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle “The technology is a boon for many fledgling entrepreneurs who found the traditional way of processing credit cards either cost prohibitive or unfeasible.”

With Square it’s easy to get started. The device itself is 100% free and the only cost associated with it is when you actually swipe the customer’s card and the fees are more than reasonable.

For every swipe, Square charges you 2.75% of the total purchase and if you were to input the credit card number manually it would cost you 3.5% of the total purchase plus $0.15 per transaction.

You’ll also need to download their app to your smart phone (it’s available for free for both the iPhone and any Android powered phone). Other than that you simply provide some basic financial information and you’re ready to go.

Also, the device doesn’t just collect payments. It can automatically sends out digital receipts to customers either via email or text message and it can also process refunds among a host of other capabilities.

But probably the best advantage to using Square is that there is greater potential for more sales than any other payment medium. The USA Today reports that the average purchase when using Square is $75. While results vary by business, our own research shows a much higher sales average from people paying with credit cards than with cash or check.

For the youth sports photographer, Square is a great option if you’re collecting money from parents the day of a shoot. With mobile payment transactions expected to double this year to $86.1 billion it also makes sense as more and more people are looking for easier ways to pay for products and services. Square alone has helped small business process $2 billion worth of transactions. How can they help you?

Winter Grads are Just Around the Corner- Are You Ready?!

Winter commencement ceremonies will begin taking place at colleges around the country in about a month’s time.  When well executed and properly marketed Winter grads can provide a great kick-off to 2012 with added income to start the new year, plus it’s a great way to prepare and train new photographer recruits for Spring grads.  With the time remaining before these winter commencements you still have some time to execute last minute details that can make the difference between being more profitable, or merely maintaining the same level of sales as last year. Here are some helpful hints that you can still implement in time for this month’s ceremonies.

Collect emails – Collecting “fresh” primary and secondary email addresses for each graduate is critical!  Don’t rely solely on lists provided by the school since as many as 15% of the emails provided by the college may be incorrect.  This is crucial for creating your email marketing. By sending emails you are guiding your customers to order via the Internet which cuts down on office labor and decreases print delivery time.  This process is as important as talking the photos and you must have a strategy for collecting as many as possible.  Whether you attend rehearsal and gather email addresses there, or collect them the day of the grad with employees that have been trained for such an exercise, the more you can collect the higher your sales will be.

Set up Email Campaigns prior to Grad ceremonies – Once it’s has been configured and the emails have been queued, the email campaign component in CORE software automatically transmits marketing emails periodically throughout the year. Marketing to your customers requires that you be proactive.  Our software is designed to help you reach out to your customers and doing this in a timely manner will get their attention and increase sales. It is a proven marketing method delivering a sales spike each time an email is sent to your customers.

Shoot Multiple Poses – By shooting several poses—handshake, flag shot, third shot, friends and family, etc.—the graduate and their family have a variety of pictures from which to choose.  This frequently leads the customer to purchase more than one pose, which can increase your average sale per graduate.

Substitute green screen for the second, or flag shot – We have seen grad sales as high as 33% more with green screen than without.  The upside is largely dependent on the availability of iconic backgrounds on campus and the quality of the photography of those backgrounds.  Any type of background, indoors or outdoors, can be substituted for the green screen.

Queue Email Campaigns – Queue email campaigns within 24 hours notifying your customers that their event is online. Getting your email proofs out within 24 hours not only impresses your customers, but sales take off on a much quicker timetable Be sure to check your email reports within 24 hours of sending out the first email to your customers.  Look for clues like unopened emails, bounce backs, or low activity from an email provider.

Upload images Quickly – Upload images and have them online within 24 hours after the graduation has been shot. If you can get them online with 6 to 8 hours, all the better.

Queue Paper Proofs – Queue paper proofs to print and mail within 48 hours after the shoot.

Deliver PR Images within 3 days – A great idea is to offer to burn a disk on site the day of the ceremony and hand it over to your contact before you leave the campus on commencement day.  But, if you can’t do that, make sure you deliver them in your contact’s hand within 3 days.

Make sure to offer Quick Retouching – Offer retouching services and advertise through your website and in the emails sent to prospective customers.  Your cost is $3.00 and you can retail this great moneymaker for $10-15.

Up-selling Options – Pearlized paper, retouching, and specialty products like plaques, statuettes, framed prints, collages, and holiday greeting cards can also add to your revenue stream. Frequently, customers will spend the extra money to have the best product possible.

Negotiate with the presenter – Negotiate with the presenter to face the audience and look at the camera with the graduate, as opposed to the old handshake shot which captures the back of the presenters head.  (CCS has a flyer that shows and explains this entire point.)

Keep the sequence cards in order – Get the card reader(s) at the ceremony to collect the cards from the graduates in the sequence they graduate, and string the cards on a fish stringer after they finish reading the names.  If the presenter is unable to help with this task, have a staff member do this. When done properly all graduates will be kept in the exact order in which they were photographed.

Shoot Party Pics®  - Before and after the commencement ceremony photograph friends and family.  Remember to distribute password cards so your customers can be directed online for further sales.

Time is short but some last minute planning can create some long-term results for months to come! To become a Candid Color customer and learn more tricks of the trade, sign up for a FREE account at candid.com or contact our Customer Development team today!

Shooting for Fall Sports

When preparing for fall sports photo shoots, there are a few things to keep in mind in addition to delivering great photography. Here are a few helpful tips that can make your event as successful as possible.

Host a morning shoot

Photographing sports teams as early as possible (especially those shot in the heat of the summer) has always been a best practice of Candid Color. Benefits for scheduling an early shoot include:

  • Less exposure to the heat – for players, coaches and everyone else involved in the shoot.
  • More cooperative participants – often times students are still fresh in the morning and more receptive which makes working with them easier. This can help bring down the stress level for photographers and coaches, which can also help speed up the shooting process.

Schedule a fall sports photo day

If you are photographing several sports at one school or college, consider shooting them all on the same day. Hosting a designated photo day enables you to:

  • Save on overhead costs - you will only need to book photographers and cover traveling expenses for one day or part of a day depending on your shoot.
  • Lessen stress on Athletic Directors/Coaches - taking sports photos is probably not one of a coach’s top priorities. Having an organized shoot and getting everything finished early or on time can ultimately lighten any photo day apprehension.

While it has its benefits, scheduling a photo day does require more pre-planning than a single sport shoot.  You need to make sure that the photo day will not conflict with any team’s practice or game time and that all coaches are on board before anything is finalized. If everyone is in agreement from the beginning, you are already one step ahead!

 

Be prepared

If you are using sequence cards, have them ready to go as soon as participants enter the photography set up. Instruct athletes to fill out cards themselves to ensure accurate and up-to-date information. Remember, the more information you can get the better.  Ideally, two or more email addresses is what you’d like to collect from each student, giving you more opportunities for email marketing. If you are worried about cards being legible, task your assistant(s) with checking each one.

 

Follow Up

The most important thing to remember is to not lose sight of the big picture. Make sure you know exactly what the school expects out of the photography process and out of your company. Be sure you’ve clearly communicated terms of the shoot and any additional details about complimentary items being offered.  Begin the follow up process no later than a few days after the shoot to address any questions or concerns school administrators may have. Follow up is a must to booking a school for seasons to come. Don’t let the small things fall through the cracks or be forgotten- you only get one chance to make a first impression!

Summer Photography Guide

The summer months can provide several photography opportunities. Here are a few things to consider this summer while booking and shooting outdoor events.

DO: Book a youth tournament

Whether you are shooting softball, baseball or soccer leagues, summer tournaments can provide a great source of additional summer income. A unique way to beat your competition is by offering cool products, such as Attitude Panos. Players and parents love the cool designs and it is a completely custom product that your competitors won’t have!

DON’T: Wait too long to book your tournaments

Competition is fierce. Some tournaments allow anyone to photograph as long as they pay a vendor fee.  In this case, make sure you set up a tent and show samples to attract parents and coaches. In this situation you must also have a strong sales effort in order to spark interest!  Taking an Attitude Pano up in the stands can help parents understand the products you offer. If possible, have the sample branded with the tournament name and logo for added impact.

DO: Update your sales matrix

Keeping a good sales matrix up to date can quickly provide you with information on sales by sport or school.  You will easily see what schools and sports did well and which ones need more attention.

DON’T: Play the guessing game

Guessing your numbers will not get you anywhere. It’s important to know your sales numbers and stay on top of them for ultimate performance.

DO: Take time to clean all your gear and equipment

It’s especially important to remove dust from your camera sensors and lenses, as well as from inside your camera cases. Thoroughly cleaning your equipment can also give you the opportunity to check each piece for wear and tear, which can help you avoid potential equipment failure. If you have periods of slower work, catch up on this sometimes forgotten task!

DON’T: Expect someone else to do it

Even if you have a reliable staff, making sure your equipment is clean is an essential task.

DO: Keep in contact with High School and Middle School coaches

It’s never too early to book or rebook fall sporting events.  Don’t be afraid to call coaches directly or give them your cell phone number. Make it as easy as possible for them to contact you!

DON’T: Think schools will call you

Some schools might call you, but it’s never a safe practice to rely on. It’s always a good idea to stay in touch with coaches over the summer just in case they change schools or sports. New coach’s directories come out in late July to early August, but check with your state’s coaches association for further details.

DO: Practice safe sun

There is nothing worse than getting a sun burn on the first day of a three day long tournament or event.  The following days will be miserable! Practicing safe sun will not only protect you physically, but it will also ensure that your performance won’t be hampered.

DON’T: Think you will just tan

Take the time to apply sunscreen, wear protective clothing and eyewear to protect yourself from the sun. Although it may seem like a small task, it should NOT be overlooked!

DO: Stay hydrated 

When you’re out in the summer sun, your body needs more water than normal, so staying hydrated is essential.  Drink lots of water and have plenty to go around!

DON’T: Rely on your photographers to bring their own water

Keeping a hydrated staff is as important as staying hydrated yourself. Provide plenty of water or other cold drinks to keep everyone in tip top shape.

DO: Attend the Summer Workshops

There will be success stories shared and several new products introduced during the Summer Workshops that you won’t want to miss! We hope to see you there.

DON’T: Miss it!

            The Sumer Workshops will be held in Oklahoma City on Sunday, Monday and

Tuesday: July 24th, 25th, and 26th.

Using a Camera Simulator to Supplement Training

Over the past 12 years with the proliferation of digital cameras, a new crop of photographers have surfaced that extensively use the “P” or “Auto” setting on their high tech, ultra cool cameras. It’s quick; it’s easy and, for the most part, will deliver acceptable images.

Today’s cameras—with their sophistication and technological advantages—do a great job at these automatic settings in most situations. But you still have to rely on your brain to execute the basics of photography; namely, lighting, ISO, shutter speed and aperture.

With Grads, Bid Days, Sports, Portraiture and other special event markets, Manual settings are the preferred shooting method.  The ability to understand and react to changing lighting conditions is critical to creating images that sell.  Your customers will not purchase underexposed or over-exposed images that appear on your website for viewing and ordering.

Training the “P/Auto” photographer to understand how each camera setting affects the others can be challenging and not altogether easy. Now, a website has surfaced that allows the newbie photographer to see how all of these critical settings interact with each other to produce properly exposed and saleable images.

CameraSim, the Online SLR Simulator available at http://camerasim.com/camera-simulator.html  is a website that allows you to see in real time how today’s DSLR cameras react and change to all of the critical settings essential to a good exposure.

The hands-on DSLR simulator allows you to change and control lighting, distance, focal length, mode, ISO, aperture and shutter speed while, at the same time, being able to observe the readings in the camera viewfinder.  Once you’ve adjusted your settings, you simply click the, “Snap Photo” button to review your photo.

Keep in mind that the camera simulator is not a replacement for a training program; far from it!  But it is a great way to see in real time how camera controls can affect the appearance of an image.  Think of CameraSim as a supplement to whatever training program you use to teach your photographers.

Successful ways to increase sales for Youth Sports Photography

There are probably more than 7 reasons to take multiple shots when shooting youth sports, but here are a few that come to mind. Let’s dive in….

Reasons to shoot several poses:
1)    Offering more poses and choices may help you book more teams as parents want choices
2)    Parents may prefer one type of pose to another
3)    Parents can better find a shot with an expression that they really like
4)    More poses usually results in higher sales – We have done comparisons where we have traditionally taken 3 poses, then when we added a 4th pose our sales and profits increased.
5)    Some parents will buy all of the poses offered
6)    In a digital world there is little cost to taking more poses and showing the parents more images – it has a positive effect on profit.
7)    By taking several poses you can offer multiple image products (like collages) as another product option.

It is a very simple concept – If you take several shots of each player you are more apt to get one that the parents will want to buy.

Plus, taking more poses is good insurance. The parents can usually find at least one they like so you are going to make people happy by giving them choices, disappoint fewer people and minimize the number of retakes that might need to be taken.

Taking several poses lends itself to a marketing approach which allows the parents to order from proofs – either paper proofs, email proofs or proofs online.

When you go from a “pre-order marketing method” to one where parents can “view first” and select from proofs (which is a strong booking advantage) – it is very important to your sales that the parents be able to find several images they like of their athlete.

Each sport calls for different kinds of poses, but they will all generally fall into one of these categories:

1)    Standing
2)    Kneeling / sitting
3)    Close-up portrait
4)    Action shot (or simulated action)
5)    Buddy shots with friend or coach

6)    Team –  a traditional shot & then a “crazy” or informal shot

Consider shooting more poses and see how it positively impacts your sales.

 

Increasing Photo Sales with Green Screen

Increasing sales has several different meanings.  It can mean increasing the number of events booked, increasing the size of the average order, or increasing the percentage of customers purchasing.  Green Screen can have a positive effect on all of these ways of increasing sales.

Close up and waist up Green Screen shots

Our retail division has been photographing graduations with Green Screen now for about a year a half and the sales have consistently been higher with Green Screen than without.  Comparing a series of graduations that occurred in Spring and late Summer of 2009 which were not shot with Green Screen, with those same graduations shot with Green Screen in Spring and late Summer of 2010, the sales are up over 30%.  The main factor that we believe caused the sales to go up so dramatically was the effective use of Green Screen.  We are currently utilizing Green Screen for a waist up Second Shot and the Close Up shot and sometimes using a ¾ length Green Screen shot for both the 2nd shot and a Close-up Shot.  Contact your Customer Development Representative for details on how to do this.

Why is Green Screen so Important?  Green Screen allows us to provide multiple background choices that are customized for a given university, high school, iconic scene, etc., increasing the chances that our customers will be drawn to one or more of these background choices.  In the past, numerous backgrounds would have to be purchased or created in order to provide multiple choices and to do so would be quite expensive, usually about $200 per background.  Worse still, a unique photographer and unique photographic equipment had to be provided for every background, further increasing the expense.  Last, using several different backgrounds increased the floor space necessary to photograph, sometimes exceeding the available space and therefore, cutting down on the number of backgrounds that could be used.

Backgrounds utilized for Green Screen

 

Gluing the entire selling process together is CCS’ dedicated software which allows photographers to have CCS cut out the image quickly and cost effectively.  The photographer can then choose one of two methods or both methods to apply the backgrounds and show the customer the image on one of the selected backgrounds.  The first method is called pre-rendered.  In this method the photographer photographs a number of thematically suitable and attractive backgrounds and chooses six to eight of these to be pre-rendered by CCS.  This means CCS superimposes the subject onto each of the chosen backgrounds to be displayed online and, if desired, on paper proofs which are mailed to the end customer’s home.  The cost for pre-rendering images with Green Screen backgrounds is 20 cents per image for the first background and then 5 cents per additional background.

 

The second method is referred to as dynamic and this method is strictly used for online viewing and ordering.  In this method a small number of event specific backgrounds are selected by the photographer/customer as the default backgrounds for that event.  A large selection of seasonal and themed backgrounds is also available online from CCS.  The end customer selects a pose and then chooses a background.  Both are instantly merged together and displayed online for the customer to view and order.   The customer can try out any background offered.  When the customer finds one which he or she wishes to order, they simply place the order in the usual way online and CCS fulfills the order exactly as ordered, including zooming and cropping preferences indicated by the customer.  The cost for dynamic Green Screen is 1 cent per image to process the originals and then 1% of any online sales for prints and products from that dynamic image.  (Standard online commissions are in addition to this 1%)

Pre-rendering Green Screen can also be used for sports in situations where you do not have an attractive shooting location or if the weather prevents you from shooting in your preferred location.   Dynamic Green Screen can be utilized for sports, family and individual portraits as well as parties and events.  We believe parties and events provide a huge opportunity for increasing sales with Green Screen because of the unique product that can be offered.  Green Screen before and after displays are important to excite event guests with the Green Screen process of being photographed and then choosing their own backgrounds online.

 

Offering Green Screen is a great booking tool.  The fact that is relatively new and not offered by many photographers gives you a competitive advantage that can enable you to book more events. 

We have multiple articles posted at http://candidnet.candid.com in the software section and the developments blog on shooting Green Screen and posting/marketing those images using CCS’ free CORE and Quicpost software.

Please contact CCS Customer Development at 1-800-336-4550 for more information on Green Screen.

Marketing Proms: Making the Most of a Challenging Market!

Proms, which used to be the golden goose of the Spring photo season, have now become a financial challenge for photographers in the digital age.  Proms are still being held all over the country, and expensive tuxedoes and fancy dresses are still all the rage at these events; but pre-paid posed photographs have taken a serious hit.

The cultural shift that we have seen in the college market in the sale of Party Pics, has worked its way down to the high school market, and the printed photograph is not the prized commodity it once was among the 14 -18 age group.  Combine that with the proliferation of digital cameras, camera phones, and other recording devices and you have a very steep mountain to climb.

Ah, but all is not lost.  If you are serious about cracking into the prom market or trying to make some lemonade from these lemon-scented events, then you will have to change the way you think about proms.  Though it’s true that the students may not be interested in photographs, their parents are!

A few years ago a CCS customer decided that he was going to change his marketing direction for proms, and instead of directing his efforts towards the students, he would now target the parents of the students.  Working with the administration of the schools, he enlisted their help in providing a mailing list with all of the parents’ names and addresses. He then sent out a nostalgic letter reminding the parents how important, fun, and prized their prom photos were when they were in high school; and wouldn’t they like the same valuable experience for their sons and daughters?

His success rate was instant and his stable of prom events quickly doubled their gross sales over the previous year. Marketing in advance of the event proved successful and it can work for you also, but it will require some work on your part. In the communication sent to the parents you will need to let them know in advance what the packages contain and their cost. In addition, you’ll need to include an order form, or provide a link to one they can print out to bring with them—with payment—the night of the prom. You may want to include a pre-order discount code that they can bring with them the night of the prom to receive a percent off discount.

Remember to display the background to be offered at the prom prominently on any flyers or order forms distributed. Create posters with samples to display around the school for a few weeks prior to prom.  Provide each school with website/password cards to be used as invitation/ticket stuffers.  Each card should include information about your portraits and candid service.

In Oklahoma City at our retail division we are still shooting many proms but how we execute the event has changed dramatically.  In order to photograph as many couples as possible we shoot everyone with no money collected upfront.  When our pre-paid sales dived to next to nothing we decide that, in order to get couples in front of the camera, we would have to offer a free sitting with many poses which would encourage them to view those poses online to pick the best one for their prints.

Depending on the school and the number of couples attending we will also include the Jump Studio as an alternative photo location at the prom where they can do whatever they want to do—photographically—within reason!

Now, if you’re looking for something completely different to offer consider green screen for your proms. Green screen will enable you to offer more background options—online—without the added investment of props. If you choose to go the green screen route it is imperative that you test, test, and test again for the correct lighting setups.  Green screen is not very forgiving when improperly lit so if you go this route you will have to TRAIN your photographers to execute perfectly.

At the prom make sure your shooting location is highly visible.  Your portrait location should be easily accessible and within sight of the dance floor to increase participation. If possible provide a short script to the DJ for regular announcements over the sound system on your behalf encouraging the attendees to have their photos made.

After the prom is imperative that you utilize an email campaign for at least three months.  Just because they didn’t buy shortly after the event doesn’t mean they won’t do so several weeks or months afterward.

For more information about executing proms, marketing or pricing prom packages call Brian at 800-336-4550 ext. 251.

Spring Sports: It’s Never Too Early to Be Looking for Business

Though the calendar on my wall puts me squarely in the month of November, in my head I’m thinking Spring sports. Consumed with the upcoming winter sports and December grads right now? Who isn’t? But don’t lose sight of the fact that a lot of photography decisions on Spring sports are being made over the next few months.   


                                                                                                                                                           This is the time of year when high school athletic directors and coaches start choosing their photographers for the 2011 Spring season.  Not ready yet? First, you should be making a list of what sports to shoot. While Baseball and Softball are the most obvious choices, don’t forget other Spring sports such as Track & Field, Lacrosse, Tennis, Golf and, perhaps, Rugby and Spring Soccer.  Many of the lesser sports, such as Tennis and Golf, are sometimes not even photographed.  Using that strategy to break into a high school or middle school has proven to spin off a lot of new business.
                                                                                                                                                           If your concentration is in the school sports market—whether it’s middle schools or high schools—a key resource for you is the Clell Wade Coaches Directory http://www.coachesdirectory.com  which contains a wealth of contact information.  The directory is printed by state, so order one directory for each state where you pursue business.
                                                                                                                                      Remember, you can find new youth sports business by searching the Internet on sites such as www.eteamz.com and www.bluesombrero.com .  You need to decide what leagues or schools you will be going after, and identify the main contact or the “decision maker.”  Next, you will need to decide which system you will be using to market your services.  Try to find out what your competition is doing and then do something different.  Using Candid Color Systems’ View First marketing system in high schools is a great way of getting the school on your side.  Everyone gets photographed and parents get to see proofs online before they order!  It’s a great selling point, but what’s even better is that it’s a hassle-free system for coaches.
                                                                                                                                                    Once you have your presentation materials and samples ready the next step is to book appointments. Do not mail materials or leave them with anyone other than the decision maker as they will only end up in the trash, and then your efforts will have been wasted. Try to get an “in person” meeting with the athletic director or coach. Be persistent! Get to the decision maker to make your case. Candid Color Systems is here to help you with your presentations and samples.
                                                                                                                                                           If you would like samples with your own images, or have any questions regarding presentations, please contact the Customer Development department at 1-800-336-4550.

Making a Big Success From a Small Event!

Success stories in sports photography happen every week.  In fact, anytime you can generate a great turnout of athletes, produce creative images you can print, manage to stay on schedule, and walk away with a pocketful of money—it’s a success!  But occasionally we hear of stories that are just so encouraging you just have to share the results.

Recently Candid Color Sports, the sports arm of Candid Color Photography, photographed a tournament that generated nearly $7,000 in sales—in about 12 hours—by offering Attitude Panos only!  The event was the 2010 ASA 12 and Under B Southern National Softball Championship and it was held at “ground zero” for women’s softball, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) headquarters.

For several years CCP has enjoyed a great relationship with the ASA administration ever since CCP bailed them out of a situation a few years ago. At that time their photographer had backed out of a tournament and they asked CCP to step in—with one day’s notice!  It turned out to be an incredibly successful tournament with over $10K in photos sales. Since that time CCP has nurtured the relationship with the ASA administration and this latest tournament was no exception.

Previously, an 18 and under tournament, which CCP had photographed for the past couple of years, changed locations. Under their new format the tournament will only make an appearance—locally—every three years.  In return the ASA offered the 12 U tournament to CCP—less than five days before the tournament began and they accepted; a small tournament in comparison to the one they lost, 20 teams versus 80 teams.

Robert Miller, the Candid Color Sports manager, quickly had to scramble to get order forms and flyers printed and prepare for the tournament which was just days away. One of the keys to the financial success of this tournament was Robert being allowed to meet with all the coaches, as a group, the day of the tournament before play began. He was able to pass out packets to each coach, deliver a two-minute “commercial” describing their service, and was able to show off the cool products they would be offering at the tournament, namely the Attitude Panos and vinyl banners made from the same image. 

                                                                                                                                                     Those sample packets included images of the USA women’s softball team pano taken at an earlier tournament a few years ago, which helped build their credibility with the coaches and players.  Prices for the products were $45 for the 10×30 pano and $225 for a 30×90 vinyl banner, which included shipping and handling.

“Location was critical to the success of this project,” said Robert, “and we were setup in the best location possible.  All of the teams HAD to pass in front of our tent on their way to the ball fields”!  Each team was guaranteed to play four games but it was important to photograph each team before their first pool game, which would be the third game played.

Each team had a mom who was their contact person and since there were no photo schedules for each team it was up to the two onsite photographers to make contact and get each team scheduled.  Of the 20 teams that attended the tournament only 14 teams were photographed.  But those 14 teams spent an average of $496 per team!

So, the key elements in this success story were:
• Nurturing a relationship with the decision makers
• Meeting with coaches to explain your products and services
• Choosing a great location to setup and photograph
• Selling the sizzle by showing your best work

In this particular case, all of these elements came together to make a great and profitable story. However, all of these elements are within everyone’s grasp as you cultivate new business and create your own success stories. Give it a try; you may be surprised at the results.

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