Booking Tips for Fall

As the summer season begins, it is never too early to prepare for Fall Sports. As photographers, we will do all we can to produce great photography. It’s what we love to do. However, one area that can often be ignored is the marketing of your photography business. Increasing your bookings is a must. Making a commitment to invest the time and capital into this area on a regular basis will promote and increase awareness about your business. This awareness will result in growth and increased revenue. Constantly being out in front of your customers and prospects will only grow your business. Here are a couple of marketing ideas that will help make this Fall a success:

The most effective way to book more business is to make face to face sales calls on promising potential customers.


Make sure your first impression is a great one. Taking the following steps will insure a great first impression:

  • Attitude is everything! Display an upbeat positive attitude. Explaining the execution of the photo shoot and your unique product line with excitement and passion is one simple step to making a great first impression. Always present a “can do” attitude. Your positive energy will have a positive influence on the entire presentation. Even when giving a 30 second sales pitch, the use of positive body language and an energetic attitude can make all the difference.
  • Dress the part. When meeting with your contact for the first time, your appearance is one of the first things your prospect will notice. If meeting with a large booster group in the evening, professional attire consisting of a dress shirt and slacks may be necessary. Casual dress is acceptable if you’re meeting a coach in the gym or out on the field. Looking sharp shows respect to the client and can only help in making a good first impression.
  • Be Prepared. Put time and effort into perfecting your sales presentation. Before every appointment, visit their website and thoroughly review all their information. With this one step, you will gain detailed information which will make you more comfortable and confident when giving your pitch. It also is an excellent way to show the customer you actually care about the project and you’re not just trying to book another shoot. Have plenty of copies of your presentation to pass out. Have your print samples organized and ready to pass out at different times of your presentation. Passing out all of your materials at the beginning of the presentation can result in the customer concentrating on the samples and losing focus on you and what you are saying. Review and know the particular products and prices of what you will offer. Testimonies are a powerful tool. Provide a list of satisfied customers. Let your prospect know who already believes in you and has benefitted from your services. Finally, have scheduling agreements with you so you can close the deal.
  • Listen. Be careful not to talk all the time about you. Listen to the specific needs and desires of the customer. Listen and take note to the problems and complaints they’ve had in the past. Ask questions to discover the expectations they have for the photo shoot and the photography company they hire. When discussing their experience with your competition, stay positive and listen to what they like and dislike about them. Gaining this information is the key to satisfying their needs. Remember two ears, one mouth.
  • Start and finish on time. Coaches are pressed for time. Having an efficient, organized, to the point presentation is what they desire. Respect their time by staying on track. A printed copy of the agenda for everyone attending is an effective way to accomplish this. Show gratitude towards everyone attending for taking the time to meet with you. Prepare your presentation allowing enough time at the end to answer any questions the customer may have.
  • Leave a lasting impression. One step in the marketing mix that many ignore is the power of a hand written thank you note. This is an excellent way to show your character to the customer. With all the quick digital ways of communicating today, a hand written note is a unique tool. It shows special effort which the client will remember. Make it a habit after every appointment to send a follow up note thanking the client for the opportunity to meet with them.

Maximize the benefits of technology – Although face time is the best way to book business, the use of the following technologies allows sales people to reach clients in several ways.

  • Collect Emails – Collecting the email addresses of all of your accounts will create a database that is a very valuable marketing tool. Also, collecting emails from prospective accounts is another step in the right direction. Use email technology to maintain your relationships with your accounts. Constantly stay in front of them with the simple click of the mouse.
  • Emails are also a great way to keep your buying customers informed about new promotions, products and specials. One of the most powerful uses from the collection of emails is the ability to remarket old events. Remarketing through emails is a great way to raise revenue.  Sales from these past events have a high profit margin because most of the overhead cost has been covered.
  • Web Presence – In today’s marketplace almost every business has a website.  Obviously in the photography business, the graphic design of the site is extremely important. A website is a great place to showcase your work. However, sometimes so much time and effort is given to the look of the site, that the objective of the site can be ignored. One of the main objectives for a website is to introduce your products and services in a positive way. If your website is difficult to navigate through or is to complex, customers can become overwhelmed and frustrated. Having a website that is easy to understand and navigate through will maximize your opportunity of capturing a new customer. Keeping your site clean, simple and easy to use will be a pleasant experience for visitors keeping them coming back. Websites are also a great way to capture emails and other contact information of interested visitors. Make sure your site gives them plenty of opportunities to do this.
  • A good business is built on good relationships. Social media, facebook, twitter etc. are all about building and maintaining relationships. Use social media technology to keep your customers excited and informed on what your company is doing.  Use this technology to introduce new services and products. Social media is a great form of the best advertising, word of mouth. Provide exciting information that will get people talking. Be sure you get the Facebook address and the Twitter address of all the people you talk with so that you can request to become a friend or follower with them.
  • Be Reachable – Never forget the power of a personal telephone call. At times your telephone is your business life line. Nothing can frustrate a customer faster than having their calls ignored and being forced to leave several voicemails.  At some point in most selling situations a telephone conversation will take place between you and your client. Customers are calling you because they want to talk to you on the phone, not through email or through texting. Make it a common practice to answer all incoming calls.  Be sure to use this powerful tool correctly. Customers will always recognize and appreciate the fact that every time they call you, they can reach you.

Maximize your sales – Making sales is always necessary, but determine which accounts are the most profitable and the characteristics of these accounts.

  • Focus on being profitable -Filling your calendar with lots of business is exciting. Landing those accounts you have been working on for months or years is a great opportunity. Sometimes the excitement of getting the new account can distort the focus from being profitable. Good sales are profitable sales. Review and pay close attention to your offers and price points. Keep track of your overhead expenses and compare them with your sales after each event. Determine your profit from each event. Focusing on this and staying consistent with this practice will inform you which events are worth shooting and which ones need to be replaced. Discover which products are most profitable such as Attitude Panos, statuettes or Level Two products and always include these in your offers. Keep your offers simple and not over whelming. A complicated offer can frustrate your customers. This confusion can result in smaller orders with smaller sales. Another way to stay profitable when prospecting is to seek all sports opportunities in a designated area. Scheduling several appointments in the same geographic area will maximize your sales efforts and minimize your expenses. Make it a goal to execute your photo shoots with minimum overhead and maximum efficiency.  After each photo shoot, take notes of the positives and negatives of the shoot. This will help in shooting the next year. Stay organized with your equipment from start to finish. This will make your shoots more efficient, allowing you more time to book more business. Yes, we always need more sales, but keeping your focus on making them profitable will eliminate frustration and add to the bottom line.
  • Repeat business & New business - One of the most profitable parts of the photography business is repeat business. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to concentrate only on gaining new business. Repeat customers are currently satisfied with your services and spend more than new customers. They will refer business to you. Focus on this group and keep them satisfied. With new prospects, make the most of every appointment. Hopefully, you will be successful and book the event. However, even if they have already booked their photography, this meeting introduces them to you and the services of your company. Always remind them if they ever need a backup photographer, you are ready and willing. Also, this first meeting with them will make things more comfortable when approaching them again the following year. Don’t miss any opportunities, stay in touch!

Become as effective with the marketing of your photography business as you are with photography itself and the sky’s the limit!

Candid Color Systems can provide assistance in your marketing and booking efforts. We have training presentations, newsletters and custom marketing materials. If you need advice about booking and shooting school sports, Customer Development is here to help! Call 800.336.4550 and become a customer today.

 

Obscure Sports Can Make Money

 

Breaking in to a Middle School or High School that has a long and/or close relationship with a photographer can be challenging. But often the established photographer will neglect the smaller or more obscure sports teams. This opens up an opportunity for you to showcase your abilities as a sports photographer and to gain credibility in a way that no sales call to the major sports coaches can accomplish.

Cross Country, Field Hockey, Golf and Tennis are examples of obscure sports. These are typically smaller teams that are not aggressively pursued, creating an opportunity to introduce your business. These teams are excited to be photographed and can be profitable undertakings. If executed correctly, they can not only improve your bottom line, but they can be the bridge to the bigger sport programs. These teams don’t require a great deal of time to shoot and rarely require extra labor.  If possible, attempt to schedule these smaller teams all on the same day. A sports photo day will lower your overhead and will make it easier on the coach. Maximizing time and labor is critical to making these smaller team photo shoots profitable.

Make a great first impression

One of the major goals of photographing these smaller teams is to gain future business. After you schedule the booking, take advantage of this opportunity to showcase the highlights of your business. Show them how your company is better than the competition by meeting all scheduled timelines and delivering products when promised. Offer a unique product line and price them fairly. Send a follow up card, thanking them for their business. When you succeed in these areas, ask for referrals from the coach you are working with.  This can be the key to future business.

Get to know your new contact

Coaches network with each other constantly and if you are successful with their teams, they can be your best advertisers for new business. Discover what tournaments or summer camps they participate in. One successful photo shoot can lead to many others. A coach of one smaller sports team may be a coach in a different season of another larger team. He will also know a number of coaches at his school and at other schools. Last, he may move from one school to another. All of this interconnectivity between coaches provides an opportunity for you to break into a school whose football coach says he is happy with the photographer he has been using. If your products, service, photography, logistics of the shoot and communication “wow” the coach, he or she will most likely tell others. This can lead to you booking all of the sports in that school.

Although the profits from these smaller teams may be less than the profits from a larger team, one benefit to consider is you have gained a new customer that can lead you to bigger profits. This new customer can be added to your portfolio and referral list. This is a great advantage when seeking new business. Marketing obscure sports can be profitable and a great way to grow your business.

Candid Color Systems can provide assistance in your marketing and booking efforts. We have training presentations, newsletters and custom marketing materials. If you need advice about booking and shooting school sports, Customer Development is here to help! Call 800.336.4550 and become a customer today.

Benefits of Creating and Using a Sales Matrix

When I was asked to write this newsletter article, I decided to approach it from the perspective of someone who loves to take pictures! That is why we all do what we do…we love photography. We capture moments in time that make memories tangible. There is no denying that we can say that we all have pretty cool jobs! Let’s look at how you can go from where you are now to taking advantage of all photography opportunities in your area.

We like to keep things pretty simple in our sports division. So, what I am going to share with you guys is very simple. We use a spreadsheet called a matrix to analyze all photography opportunities in our area and we associate a dollar amount to each of these events. This allows us to see the potential money out there waiting to be realized and it allows us to forecast the amount of revenue we expect for events already booked. Great, right?

Here are the 5 steps to making and using a Matrix.

  1. Determine your dollars per person photographed
  2. Make a list of all booked events and potential events in your area
  3. Enter the list into a spreadsheet
  4. Estimate the number of attendees per event
  5. Multiply the number of attendees by the dollars per person

Let’s look at each step in a little more detail.

1.  DETERMINE YOUR DOLLARS PER PERSON PHOTOGRAPHED

In our division, we have broken this down on a sport by sport basis. We do this because we are able to more accurately forecast the revenue for each type event. However, if you don’t photograph sports you can still group the events you photograph into categories by grouping together similar events. Once this is done, total the sales for each of the categories and divide it by the number of people photographed.

(Total Category Sales / Total Participants = $ per person photographed)

2.  MAKE A LIST OF ALL BOOKED EVENTS AND POTENTIAL EVENTS IN YOUR AREA

Create this list representing each calendar month. This way you can estimate how much money you will be grossing from your events and you can staff according to what is economically viable. Begin by listing all events you already have scheduled and then list potential events that you would like to photograph. You can find these events online, in the newspaper or around your community.

3.  ENTER THE LIST INTO A SPREADSHEET

Open a blank worksheet in Excel and list all events or organizations you are working with or would like to be photographing. Then copy this list onto a new tab for each of the calendar months.

Here, I have listed the names of schools that we are currently photographing and schools we would like to be photographing.

Below, I added additional columns that allow you to more accurately forecast sales. I have one for dollars per athlete, number of athletes, projected sales, actual sales, status (where you are in the sales/booking process) and previous year’s sales.

4.  ESTIMATE THE NUMBER OF ATTENDEES PER EVENT

It is crucial to acquire the number of event attendees to accurately forecast how much the event will make. Most of the time you can contact someone at the event and find out the total number of expected attendees and if they aren’t sure it is ok to ask them for an estimate. Sports shoots are easy to predict because they know the number of players on each team. If you do not photograph sports and are unable to gather the attendee number, just gauge the number of attendees by comparing it to a similar event that you have photographed in the past. Now, enter this number of attendees into your spreadsheet.

5.  MULTIPLY THE NUMBER OF ATTENDEES BY THE DOLLARS PER PERSON

Enter the dollars per attendee in the appropriate column next to the number of attendees. Multiply these numbers together to determine the forecasted amount that the event will generate. In our division, we have a matrix for total events (booked and potential bookings) and one for booked events. We do this so we can see the potential business available in the total events matrix and then see what we are on track to actually gross by looking at our booked events.

Using a matrix will help you have a better understanding of the potential photography money in your area and help you gauge what months might be in need of additional bookings. It has been an amazing tool that helps our division staff events by being conscious of overhead in comparison to forecasted sales. It is a simple process with excellent rewards!

Graduations Are a Lucrative Market in Every Town or City

Graduations can be one of the most lucrative photo markets.  Best of all, Candid Color Systems® has all of the know-how and systems to help you be competitive and profitable in this market.

The photography is relatively easy but requires detailed preparation and back up equipment.  Once graduations start, they rarely stop until all graduates have received their diplomas.

Booking can range from easy to very hard depending on the size of the graduation, the amount of competition, and the school itself.

Why bother with doing this if you are a portrait, school or sports photographer?  Because, minute for minute, you will probably make more money photographing a graduation than any other kind of event.  A 300 student high school graduation can yield sales of up to $6000 with a $3000 to $4000 profit when best practices are followed.  A 300 student college graduation can yield sales of $10,000 dollars with profits upward of $5000.  The actual shoot will require you to be on site two hours early to set up and will require about one to two hours of actual photography.  For the 300 graduates in our example, the post production work will require about 10 hours to identify each graduate, type in names, addresses and emails, merge images with names, send out emails and print and mail paper proofs.

If you want to start small and work your way up, start with a Middle School graduation (also called Bridging Ceremony) or a Vo-tech or Community College.  These are generally easier to book and less stressful to shoot.  The sales from these events are usually somewhere between those of a high school and College.

If you live in an area with a College or University, then the person who is usually in charge is the Registrar.  If it is not the Registrar, then the Registrar should be able to inform you as to who is in charge.  Just because one school or college within a university is being photographed, doesn’t mean that all of the ceremonies are.  You may need to check with each different school to see what the situation is.  If someone is already photographing the university, scout the graduation to see what improvements you could make when you try to book it the next year.

If you are in a town with one or more high schools, then you definitely need to make an effort to book the graduations.  Many are not being photographed at all or the photographer is only photographing those students who opt for the service in advance.

The program CCS recommends  photographs every student at least twice (two different poses), sends the graduate and /or  parents an email link to the proofs, and follows that up with a paper proof mailed to the graduate’s home.  There is no charge to the school or university for the photography.  The students/parents order only what they want in the privacy of their homes, after looking at proofs online or paper proofs sent to the home.

A wide variety of products and packages are offered which cover a broad price range.  There is something for everyone.  Pictures ordered online through CCS are mailed directly to the graduate’s home within a few days of ordering (usually within 3 or 4 days).

Candid Color has webinars available on all aspects of booking and shooting graduations.  Also, our Customer Development Staff stands ready to help answer all your questions and to mentor you through the entire process.

We have 40 years of experience in this market and process half of all the graduates’ pictures at the high school and college level in the U.S.   If you already have contacts in your local high schools or colleges, leverage those contacts to assist you in booking the graduation.  You will be happy you did.

Resources Available from CCS for Graduations

  • CCS Green Screen Best Practices Guide and CCS Graduation Best Practices Guide posted on Candidnet.candid.com under the “Best Practices” section
  • CCS Webinars (7 scheduled in the next two months)
  • Grad Events-April 10th, 3:30 P.M.  See schedule at Candidnet.candid.com (need user name and password for your account). Schedule is also posted in Developments and Snapshots.
  • Webinar schedule also listed on Candid.com
  • Past Seminar and Workshop Presentations on Graduations posted on Candidnet.candid.com.

For assistance, call your Customer Development Representative who can guide you through the materials and mentor you through your first booking and shooting of a graduation.

Sports Photography: What to Book Now?

It is important when you are planning on booking sports photography events to plan your sales calls according to the best time to book the event. We believe the most effective way to approach booking sport shoots is to approach the contact when they are focused on their preparations for the season. This is the time right before practice stars, but not before they know the schedule for the rest of the season. For most sports, this time is approximately six to eight weeks before the first game. There are some exceptions to this rule and they are football teams and booking entire youth athletic leagues. With that being said, NOW is the time to book football, youth leagues and other spring sports.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You will have far greater success in booking sport photography events when you call on a contact when they have time to devote to a conversation about their photography needs.  

 

Football

As we mentioned previously, this is the prime time to approach football coaches and booster parents. The season is over and spring practice will not begin for another 4-6 weeks. Signing day is over and students are using this time for weightlifting and additional strength training. Coaches have free time and are more receptive to hear your presentation. The new booster club has been elected and if a photography change is going to be made, now is the right time to approach them.

 

 

 

School Spring Sports

It isn’t technically Spring, but these sports are already gearing up to compete. Right now you should be calling on the following Middle School and High School sports:

  • Soccer
  • Baseball
  • Track
  • Golf

 

 

Summer Leagues/Camps/Tournaments

When it comes to summer leagues, camps and tournaments, the possibilities are endless! Here are just a few of the popular sports that have summer functions:

  • Football
  • Baseball
  • Cheer
  • Gymnastics
  • Golf
  • Swimming
  • Pom

There are numerous types of organizations and facilities that host these events, such as:

  • City Youth Athletic Programs
  • YMCA/YWCA
  • University Athletic Departments (Camps)
  • High Schools (Camps)
  • Professional Teams (Camps)
  • Country Clubs (Tournaments)
  • Ballparks
  • Soccer Fields

 

Last Minute Opportunities

These are organizations that might have already scheduled their photography, but it is still worth approaching. You will at least know who is doing their photography and when to approach them the following year. Some organizations to consider are soccer leagues, 7 on 7 football leagues and baseball leagues.

5 Booking Tips

  1. List all potential sports opportunities in a designated area. (ex. 50 mile radius)
  2. Call on potential events geographically to maximize sales time.
  3. Bring plenty of samples. (sports specific if possible)
  4. Attitude Panos and Virtual Groups are excellent booking tools
  5. Ask for the business and get the details of the event in writing and have the client sign it.

Approaching booking events with a planned strategy will make a noticeable difference in the amount of events you book. Have a clearly defined plan and execute it. Going out and calling will allow you the opportunity to network and promote your company. Just get out and go!

 

Signs of Spring are ALL Around!

Shortly after the CCS Winter Seminar I traveled to the East Coast to visit family.  While cruising around from place to place I happened to notice the first signs of Spring. Rising out of the ground at every intersection were the colorful harbingers of warmer temperatures and sun-soaked trees.  No, I’m not referring to bright yellow daffodils or purple crocuses but League registration signs. These colorful signs were everywhere inviting sports photographers to discover opportunities for booking leagues and teams.

These signs provide a map—via email addresses, websites, and telephone numbers—expanding your reach and exposing more sports teams to the ever-increasing arsenal of sports products at your disposal via Candid Color Systems.  League registration signs are a call to action whether you’re new to sports photography, or are interested in escalating your business to the next level.

To ignore such signs would be a mistake.  Of course, you won’t know until you make contact whether or not these organizations are contracted with a photographer, or are looking for your assistance.  Either way it will give you the opportunity to initiate relationships, build your business credibility, and get the word out about the sports products and services you want to offer.  Don’t ignore the signs of Spring.  Any one of these signs might lead you to your own pot of gold.

 

Brian Speers

Customer Development Specialist

The Importance of Presentation for Youth Sports Photography Businesses

Regardless of what business you’re in, first impressions are everything. A great first impression and a professional look can help a youth sports photography business book more business, and increase its sales on every job.

Presentation when booking the shoot

You will need to adapt your dress and presentation for different situations.

If you’re approaching a coach before a practice, you’ll want to dress more casually (khaki pants or shorts and polo shirts) than you would if you were meeting with league or school officials.

It’s also a necessity that you have professional looking business cards on hand to leave with the person/people that you’re meeting.

Business cards should look professional, not printed at home on card stock, and have a simple layout with all your relevant information clearly visible (address, phone number, email address).

Also, try putting your picture, preferably a nice business portrait, on your business cards. It’s much harder for someone to throw away a business card with a picture on it and it also reminds that person of you.

One mistake that youth sports photographers make when trying to book new business is that they put down their competition. Never be negative about a competitor. This makes you look unprofessional and can cost you the shoot in the end.

Don’t assume that the coach/organization is unhappy with their current photographer. You want to expand upon what your competition is doing and present yourself as a better solution to their needs.

Some other important things to consider:

- Continuity is important. Everything should be branded with your company name and logo.

- No tobacco use in or around school property or the meeting area. Also, no visible tattoos or unacceptable piercings should be showing.

- Smile! Be a cheerleader for your business.

- Have a professional way to show samples. Presenting your samples electronically, on an iPad or Laptop, perhaps even with projector, will help you save money on physical samples. However, you will want to have physical samples of any specialty products that you offer.

- When making your presentation to a group of people, be sure to have copies of your presentation to pass out. For a one on one meeting, having a single page flyer that outlines your services will suffice.

- Know your products and offers thoroughly. Have pricing available that will fit people and areas from all walks of life.

- Have a calendar and scheduling agreements with you, in case they want to book with you on the spot.

- Everything is about expectations. Make sure that your expectations regarding a shoot line up with theirs. Do what you say you’re going to do when you’re going to do it.

Your professional image says a lot about you and your business and it can mean the difference between booking a shoot or watching your competition collect the sales.

Tips for a Successful 2012

As the New Year begins, now is the time to create new resolutions to improve your business. Here are a couple of ideas that will help you achieve this goal.

Market to the customers that are currently satisfied with your services

While a growing business needs to constantly gain new customers, the focus and priority should be on satisfying your existing customer base. Businesses spend 80% of their marketing dollars going after new customers and clients rather than maintaining the customer relationships they already have. Before you spend your time and money searching for new clients you do not have a relationship with, consider the following statistics:

-   Repeat customers spend 33% more than new customers.

-   Referrals among repeat customers are 107% greater than non-customers.

-   It costs six times more to sell something to a prospect than to sell that same thing to a customer.

As you can see, increasing sales to this group of customers is easier because they already believe in you. It is crucial that this group is constantly aware of how much you appreciate them. Customers can detect indifference and insincerity and they simply will not tolerate it. Build long term relationships by treating your customers as if they truly are your business lifeline and show them that you truly care about them. Keep this group of customers informed and stay in front of them as much as possible. Update them on special offers, product improvements, and policy changes. Stay consistent with tracking phone calls and emails, making sure this group of customers is never ignored. Ask these customers if they know anyone that needs your service. These customers can be an excellent advertising tool for you. Word of mouth is one of, if not the best, form of advertising. Remember them so they remember you.

Focus on the parts of your business that bring you the most profits

To get ahead and to continue to grow your business, focus on the parts of your business that bring you the most profit. Of course making sales is always necessary, but determine which accounts are the most profitable and what the characteristics of these accounts are. Review the demographics of these accounts. What steps have been taken to have such great participation for their events? What marketing tools such as advertising, product samples or email campaigns have been used? Determine how the high dollar amount spent per participant was achieved. Was it because of posting the pictures quickly after the event? Fair pricing representing a good value? A user friendly website with a well designed offer? Were there up-sells attached to certain products that contributed to the success? These are the areas to concentrate on to duplicate success. Make it a goal to increase this part of your business. Try to service and maintain every profitable customer again this year. Discover your cash cow and feed it.

Review your business plan and make adjustments

As they say, failing to plan is planning to fail. Reviewing your business plan will allow you to see what is working and what is not. This can be the single most important contribution to your company’s survival and success. There are several areas to concentrate on when reviewing your plan. Here are a few ideas of where to start.

Evaluate your staff

Communicate with your staff and let them know the company goals for the year. Examine your photographers and their work. Determine which ones are performing and which ones need improvement. How is their personality when dealing with customers? Are they shooting good quality pictures? Are they taking enough pictures? Upgrading and coordinating your staff is crucial. You are only as strong as your weakest link. Having your entire staff moving in the same direction with a clear vision of the company’s goals is necessary for success.

Out with old; in with new

With this being a slower time of year for most, take inventory of your equipment. Retire old equipment, repair broken equipment and purchase what needs to be replaced.

Read your reports

Analyze your data and reports through CCS software. Which products are the most popular? Which products are the most profitable? Which events are worth booking and which ones are robbing time, money and energy? What steps can be taken to improve these events and make them profitable to shoot?

This review will reveal great opportunities and ideas for improving your business. Adjustments to your business plan will also allow for better decision making and goal setting.

Create a contact quota

Establish a realistic number of new prospects to contact per week. Prepare a list of the top prospects and develop a sales strategy to reach them. Build stronger relationships with the use of an effective CRM (Customer Relationship Management) program. Keep track of your efforts and record the information you discuss with each prospect. Review this information each time before contacting the prospect again, so you are up to date on your last conversation. Get your marketing materials updated and organized. Feature unique or creative client solutions on your website and newsletter to showcase your company’s talent to the marketplace. You only get one chance to make a first impression; make it as positive as possible. Discover ways to differentiate yourself from your competition with over the top service, unique products and competitive pricing. Organize a referral list and testimonials of satisfied customers. Stay in touch with your prospects and of course follow up, follow up, follow up. Here are some interesting facts about the power of follow up:

48% of sales people never follow up with a prospect

25% of sales people make a second contact and stop

12% of sales people make more than three contacts

-  2% of sales are made on the first contact

-  3% of sales are made on the second contact

-  5% of sales are made on the third contact

-  10% of sales are made on the fourth contact

80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact

Creating and using a follow up system is a guaranteed way to grow your business.  In fact less than 52% of all sales people follow up with their prospects. Following up will not only grow your business but will make your company stand out amongst your competitors.  Remember 80% of sales are made in the fifth to twelfth contact. If you are in a market with heavy competition, you can eliminate your competitors by simply following up.

Provide excellent customer service

Make sure doing business with your business is easy. Respond to questions, take orders, and fill orders according to specifications. Maintain the capacity to serve customers. Make sure your capacity fits the lead times and requirements of your customers so that you can deliver when promised, as promised. In some cases, you may need to expand facilities, hire more staff, get more equipment, or outsource production. Quality should be embedded in all of your processes. Poor quality will obviously lead to returns and claims but, more importantly, will result in losing customers forever. Train your staff to interact effectively with customers and to keep up with trends of the industry leaders.

Candid Color Systems can provide you assistance in your marketing and booking efforts. We have training presentations, newsletters and custom marketing materials. If you need advice about booking and shooting any kind of event, Customer Development is here to help! Call 800.336.4550 to receive even more valuable information that will lead you to a successful 2012.  It’s a brand new year, make it a great one!

 

 

 

 

Bo Krogstad – Customer Development Specialist


 

 

 

Booking School Sports: Gear Up & Get to Practice

There are several factors that can determine the success of selling and booking sports photography in the school market. Here are some keys to maximizing your time and increasing your sales.

Get organized and create a plan of action

Middle schools and high schools are a very lucrative market for shooting sports photography. There are several sports to choose from and they can keep your schedule full throughout the year. If you are successful photographing one sports team, this can lead to photographing other sport teams.

 

Visiting school websites is a fantastic source of information when planning your sales strategy. The Clell Wade coaches’ directory website www.coachesdirectory.com is an excellent source for athletic program information. Research this website and order a copy of your state’s current directory.  This is an incredible time- saving tool that has detailed information of almost every school in your state and all the sports they participate in. It lists physical addresses and websites for the school, and contact information for the coaches as well. With this directory you can discover which schools are located near each other, so you can visit all the schools in one area to maximize your time.

Utilize your time and find the decision maker

Finding the decision maker in the sports school market is critical to your sales success.

A good first step is visiting the school and meeting with the Athletic Director. Although this meeting is important, it is not mandatory. This appointment allows you to introduce yourself, your company and lays the groundwork for future visits. It also provides you with the main contact name of sports in the school, making you more credible and comfortable when meeting the head coach. The Athletic Director will have current coaching rosters, practice schedules and other resourceful information. Gather as much information about their past experiences with sports photography. This information will allow you to prepare a strategy to solve the problems they have experienced in the past.

Discover if a Booster Club is involved in the decision making process of the sports you want to shoot. If so, get the officer contact list and calendar of events for the club. Most of this information will also be available on the school website. Remember the main goal is to get in front of the head coach or the decision maker.

Go directly to the Gyms and Practice Fields

Most of the coaches in schools are also teachers, which can make it challenging to reach them. Leaving marketing materials with the secretary at the front office or with assistant coaches can lead to frustration and wasted time.

Today’s incredible technology allows sales people to reach coaches in several ways such as email and voice mail, but face time with the coach is your best opportunity to get information and book an event.

The key to accomplish this is to go directly to the gyms, practice fields and field houses. This direct approach is the best use of time and the most effective way to make contact. Once you have the coach’s name and practice times confirmed, arrive early. This will allow for uninterrupted time with the head coach. Many times you will be confronted by assistant coaches, but wait to speak to the head coach.

Of course all clients want great photography, but coaches are pressed for time and desire an efficient sales presentation and photo shoot.  Be prepared with a 30 second sales pitch as well as a longer one if time is allowed.  Make sure and have your marketing materials ready to deliver and your calendar available as well.

In one school visit, you can get in front of several different coaches and book multiple events. Network with the coaches and get insight about other sports programs. This can allow for you to schedule several different sport team photo shoots in the same day. If they don’t have time for you on your first visit, set an appointment to meet with them later that week. The earlier you prospect, the better.   You should optimally try to see coaches 3 to 6 months before the upcoming season.

If they have already booked with someone else, there may be a service that your competitor can’t offer such as our digital Faux Groups, Attitude Panos and Level TwoTM products. These products can set you apart from your competition.  You may be able to set up a second shoot just for one of these products.  Let them know about unique services like the View First system which relieves them from handing out order forms and collecting money. Finally, make sure and confirm a date when to contact them for the following season and follow up.

Candid Color Systems can provide you assistance in your marketing and booking efforts. We have training presentations, newsletters and custom marketing materials. If you need advice about booking and shooting school sports, Customer Development is here to help! Call 800.336.4550 and become a customer today.

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.

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