Ken says that when he decided to start selling big prints, he first of all decided he had to upgrade his complete studio, so he had the outside re-designed had an interior decorator design the inside and went on to say that the interior decorator wanted only one print in the window. He wanted this print changed every day or at the least once a week.
I think this illustrates an extremely good point. Most studios have far too many photographs in the window and often they are far too small. What we need to do is take a leaf out of Ken Whitmire's book and have just one large print in the window. However to make it a success we will have to do what Ken does and change that print at least once a week. This means you need a back up of about six prints ready to go in the window for your busy periods, when you may not get time to make that new print every week.
The other thing that Ken Whitmire did was remove every print from the wall that was smaller than 20 x 16. He placed all the 10 x 8s and 7 x 5s into photo albums and that is where they still are today. Remember Ken did this over ten years ago at a time when he thought he'd possibly go broke.
By placing all your 10 x 8s etc. into photo albums, you achieve a very important thing. You sow the idea in your customers mind that they are indeed album prints. After all this is how you've displayed it and people begin to associate things with the way they see them displayed. This means that it is no good having a few 10 x 8s loose that you can pull out
to show somebody if they ask for it, you must have them in a extremely nice photo album. This then drives people back to the old concept of photo albums in grandmothers day, when indeed all the smaller photographs were in photo albums (I'm talking about my grandmother, not yours). By getting a family album going, who knows you may even get customers coming back again and again for regular family photographs. Of course they won't do this unless you actively promote it and keep reminding them, but after all that is what the family record cards are for and why we have established the direct mail advertising programme.
Incidentally Ken Whitmire says he now has nothing smaller than a 20 x 24 and around about August 79 he is predicting he will have nothing smaller than a 30 x 40. Sort of makes your mind boggle a fraction doesn't it.
STUDIO FLASH UNITS
Once you've had a studio flash unit for a number of years, say four or five years, and you've done a large number of exposures with it and all of a sudden one flash tube goes... .be aware that when you replace that flash tube, you may get a different colour of light from that flash head than you are getting from the others. You of course could be lucky and have no problems whatsoever, but when you replace a flash tube check it out.
THREE-PANEL BABY PROMOTION 22 April 1977
If you use this please update the words and technology
At the February seminar we talked about a three-panel baby promotion and after describing it it was decided to proceed and I would order the mounts. These mounts have finally come to hand and I've enclosed a premier proof of them so you can see what they look like.
This is an extremely good promotion if we just look at it for a moment. Your customer knows that she'll get a free picture, in fact three of them, all attractively mounted, but not until we have taken the last picture of the series. It's this built in delay that makes it so effective. Normally the mother wants the pictures right now to send to friends and relatives, so she's under tremendous pressure to buy, but you are not applying the pressure. It is the situation itself that puts the squeeze on her to order now. So what you should do is offer her a special package or something like that so she can justify her purchase to her husband, and then she'll buy nine times out of ten.
The first problem you have is to get the names and addresses. This is simple if you do the photos of day old babies at the local maternity home. If you don't do this perhaps it is time that you started to consider the feasibility of this for several purposes:
1. to get the names and address
2. to sell photographs and
3. to make the mothers aware that there is a photographer in town and that you are the photographer.
If you don't do photographs in the maternity home and for some reason or rather you are unable to consider this, your only avenue for getting names and addresses will be to watch the birth announcements in your local papers.
Perhaps another thought could be to run a small scatter in the local for sale columns offering the three-panel baby promotion giving just sufficient details to whet their appetite.
Right, some how or rather you have name and addresses of the new parents, and hopefully the date of birth. Your next thing to do is to address a envelope to the new parents. Put one of the small printed brochures that you've had printed inside the envelope. Don't forget to put their name on it and to sign it in your own hand.
On the outside of the envelope in the top corner where the stamp will go, you should pencil the birth date where it will be covered by the stamp. Stack these envelopes up with the earliest date on the top and mail them out every few days, timing them to arrive about two weeks before the three month old birth date. Now just sit back and wait for the responses to come in. The telephone should begin to ring and the mothers will make appointments to have the sittings made. Quite a few will possibly ask questions but they basically just want assurance that your proposition is as honest as it sounds. Put their minds at ease and make an appointment for the time that is best for their baby.
You should have on hand one of the three-panel cut outs that you'll use for the finished set of pictures so that when the mothers ask what it looks like, you can show them. If you have pictures of a single child at the age of three and six months and one year, put them in the cut out for a visual aid. If you don't have a full set of pictures of one child leave it blank and explain to the mothers that the pictures of their baby will go right in there, the three month picture on the left, the six month in the middle, and the one year picture on the right.
Occasionally you will get a call from a mother who says my baby is three months old but he doesn't hold his head up strongly yet. Do I have to have a three month picture taken right at three months? Since you want the baby holding its head up well for the first picture, the answer is no, its fine to wait a couple of weeks more. If the mother is concerned enough to ask you know she is thinking seriously about buying additional pictures. The same applies to other sittings, wait until the baby sits up well by himself for the six month old sitting until he stands even holding onto a chair for the one year old picture. It's rarely more than a few days before the baby catches up, so I recommend that when you get one of these calls you make an appointment on the spot, but make it for about two weeks in the future, saying if he still isn't holding his head up well then call and we'll make a new appointment, but don't delay too long because the baby will change so fast at this age!
This promotion can mean real money for you, or it can lay an egg. It depends on your attitude towards it and the way you follow it through. First you should have enthusiasm for everything you do and your promotions deserve your best. Don't think about the free print you're supplying, chalk it up to your advertising budget and you'll never miss it. Remember that it makes money for you. Don't change the promotion in any way the details have all been worked out, the wording on the brochure has been carefully composed and tested for effectiveness, even the style of it has been demonstrated to be satisfactory.
The brochures are typed two up on a sheet of foolscap paper and print one or two hundred at a time at a local instant printer. As you can see it's not fancy, it doesn't come in three colours with a decal edge. It's businesslike, it avoids misunderstandings, it pulls new mothers into the studio like magic, it does come in two colours of paper, pink and blue, the boy babies get blue, the girl babies get pink but you knew that didn't you?
Just get the thing typed out and printed off, don't go to any fancy type or anything like this, don't make it look like a glossy offer, keep it simple and it will work.
What should you do about the parents who never call for an appointment? You should call them, that's what you should do, and here's what you'll say Mrs Smith (pause for an answer) Yes Mrs Smith this is Ivan McLellan at Thorpe Studios. Several weeks ago we sent you a letter offering to photograph your new baby at no charge, and give you a set of colour photographs. We haven't heard from you and I wanted to be sure you received it. Did it come (pause).
At this point many of them will say Oh yes I'm so glad you phoned. I've been meaning to call for an appointment.
If this is the reaction, just go ahead and make an appointment for her and the baby. Young mothers some times tend to be swamped by everything, you have to help her remember an important thing.
If she raises any objection, you shift gears into your salesman stance and proceed to sell her on coming in for a free photograph. She says, we were going to wait until he's a little older, there's plenty of time, blah blah blah. You say, Yes that's true Mrs Smith, but baby changes so fast at this age, almost from day to day. Each day you see him do things he didn't do yesterday, and later on you'll regret not having pictures of him at this important time. As you remember from reading our offer, there's no charge for taking this picture and one day it will be priceless. Wouldn't you rather come in Wednesday morning or would Friday afternoon be better for baby.
It's worth the trouble to get these mothers in, you'll beat the 58c'er, and hopefully make your studio a regular visiting spot over the years to come. Don't forget during one of the visits that the mother makes with the baby, and the earlier the better, to get a photograph done of the mother by herself. Those of you who were at the March seminar will recall how John Pforr told you to do this. Once you've got the baby's photograph and the mother's photograph, you have two links in the chain and well on the way to getting a gallery of originals in the parents' house.
You'll notice we've made the size of the free photo a 5 x 4, this means you can slip one of your 5 x 4 previews in the cutout and all you're involved in is the cost of the previews. Even this you'll be able to recover if you price your previews right. Don't forget to have some ready made frames in two different styles to take these cut outs in twelve months time. The profit from the frame if it is bought from the right source, many times will pay for all of your material costs. So even if they don't order any photographs at all which is most unlikely, you have ways of recovering your costs.
There's nothing to stop you once the twelve months old photo has been done of continuing this promotion with the same parents for say two year old, three year old and five year old. I would hesitate to go over five because it almost appears from my past experience that once the child is at school, for some reason the parents don't order extra photographs of those children, but don't take this as being true if you have had a different experience, just go to it and start selling the photographs.
It has just occurred to me to mention that you can of course use these cut outs for any other type of presentation that you may wish, for example three different children, three wedding photographs, three different industrial photographs, in fact three almost of anything so use your imagination and get in there selling.
THE THREE-PANEL BABY PROMOTION
From Thorpe Studio, 13 Hall St. Pukekohe
OUR BEST WISHES FOR YOU AND YOUR NEW BABY
We have something nice for you and we think you would like to have it. We make this offer as a gift to you, free of cost or obligation, because we want your portrait business.
We are sure, too, that when you see the quality of the work, you will tell your friends and refer them to us for their photographic needs. As this offer will not be advertised in any other way, the expense to us is included in our advertising budget.
Please read this offer carefully so there will be no misunderstanding. If you have any question, call us or stop by the studio.
Please keep this certificate and bring it with you each time.
This certificate entitles Mr and Mrs________________
to a FREE Three-Portrait Panel of their baby to be taken as follows:
1st Portrait 2nd Portrait 3rd Portrait
age 3 mos. age 6 mos. age one year
Your beautiful panel of 3 - 5 x 4's in colour will be delivered to you AT NO COST OR OBLIGATION after the one year portrait is done.
for Thorpe Studio Phone 86491 for your baby's appointment.
This mailing piece is the heart of the three-panel promotion. Read it carefully before you continue.
Telephone solicitation, along with direct mail advertising, is one of the most powerful advertising mediums that we have available to us in New Zealand today. Yes I can hear you all saying, it may work in America but it won't work here. Direct colour worked in America and you'd have to be a fool to believe that is is not working here....
Napoleon Hill, Clement Stone, Norman Vincent Peel, Earle Nightingale, to name just a few Americans whose techniques and thoughts on motivation, direct selling, have inspired thousands of people... millions of people throughout the world, their techniques work in New Zealand, so I don't want any of you to stand up and tell me that direct mail or telephone solicitation will not work in New Zealand. No let me rephrase that -I can agree with you they won't work in New Zealand.. .for some of you.. .both of these mediums have to be really worked at, they have to be approached with a scientific approach to it and record keeping for this type of selling is phenomenal. Without accurate records on this sort of selling... and quite frankly every sort of selling... is an absolute necessity. For example if you're starting towork through the Ashburton phonebook with some sort of offer and I'll explain that word offer shortly, you must know who you have managed to reach, who you have not managed to reach, who bought, who has changed their phone number and in actual fact is anybody else ringing around. All of these things are a necessity before you even start thinking up that you'll be entering this field.
If I may make a prediction, I will predict that we're going to see two people in this room.. .who I don't know yet.. .make a success this year and when I say this year I'm talking about before the next NZPPA conference, on direct mail advertising and telephone solicitation. It is going to take a lot of work, both with them and with the lab, to get it established, but established it will be.
Now let's talk about this word offer. You'll hear it used more and more frequently in the coming years. The word offer does not mean a free sitting.. it does not mean that you're giving away 10 x 8 portraits.. .it does not mean any cheapness of the photography.. .it does not mean you're lowering your standards.. .it of course could mean all of those things, but it does not have to. The word offer merely is a descriptive word for contacting your customers and prospective customers. It merely could be you're telephoning them for copy and restoration work. The special offer you are making is that you'll have it done within a month instead of six months like you normally do on copy and restorations.
Peter Clarke has made a success of his business, basically through the mystery envelope campaign, there his offer was a free sitting and proofs to the value of approximately $12 .50.
Richard Wallace ran a very good Lisle Ramsey-type promotion, there his special offer was a free 5 x 7.
Rocky Gunn is running very successful bridal promotions all the time, there his special offer is wedding photography like they've never seen before.
The offer is only limited by your own imagination
BATTERIES AUGUST 1979
Batteries today are now being used in almost every piece of portable photographic apparatus. Batteries, as we all know, only last a certain length of time and then they have had it. My question to you is - do you know how to check all of your pieces of equipment that use batteries to know when the battery is near exhaustion. Or do you wait until the piece of apparatus will no longer work? Let me give you some examples of what would be and have been disastrous results. One photographer did not know how to check the battery on his flash meter and relied on it a reasonable amount. The battery was near failure, the flash meter consequently gave him a reading that was three stops too high, with the net result a lot of film wasted, a photographer with a red face and a lot of retakes. It couldn't happen to you!
The XXXX, a wonderful camera, until the battery fails, then you are left with a speed of 500ths of a second, which is not much good on a dull day or with available light photographs, when you are expecting to get a 60th of a second. Net result -one ruined wedding and a photographer with a very red face and a lot of useless film. It couldn't happen to you!
A photographer with a normal exposure meter that used a battery. He thought the readings were a fraction high but the meter had always been accurate before, so he trusted it. The battery was near exhaustion, net result - photographer with a very red face, but this time with some printable negatives... .if you consider printable 1½ to 2 stops under exposed. It couldn't happen to you!
A photographer who has an expensive 21/4 square camera, chartered a plane to do some aerials. The leaf of one of his shutter blades had fallen out and consequently he had a type of blurred double exposure right throughout his whole assignment. Net result -a photographer with a very red face, aircraft hire to pay for, and a lot of useless film.
A photographer with a cheap brand 21/4 square twin lens reflex (cheaper when compared to the most expensive) the camera was taken out on a wedding with, unbeknown to the photographer, one of the springs that controlled the speeds up to 100th of a second broken. This resulted in all of the slower speeds working at 125th. This photographer did a lot of his exposures at a 30th of a second. Net result - half of the wedding underexposed by two stops, the photographer with a very red face and because of his reputation, a lot of expense in putting the wedding party together again and re-staging a certain amount of the wedding.
I think these points illustrate that all equipment is very subject to battery or mechanical failure and should be checked before every assignment. You should check them not only for battery performance, but also for shutter performance at the speeds you'll be using. You should allocate a portion of Friday every week to check all of the equipment that is going to be used on the wedding the following day, to make sure it is performing the way you expect it to. I know what a hassle this is and that most people when they get busy, will probably either forget to do it, or put it off until it is too late and not do it and take the risk. This of course is extremely dangerous as you've seen by the above illustrations.
However there is no reason why it has to be you that does all the testing. In a lab they test all of their equipment every day, several times a day. They call the manager in if the equipment does not perform the way they expect it to. This means there's no reason why you can't train up your receptionist to run specific checks on your gear and only notify you if it doesn't perform the way she's been told that it should. Think about it, it's probably worth while.
1999 20 years later Batteries are still a problem, most gear now warns you if a battery in near shot, but do you have a spare with you and do you check the rest of your gear?
WRITING A LETTER THAT IS CONVINCING;
Ten key points:
1 Sort out your proposition before you write anything;
2 Organize your material into an order that's set out from the viewpoint of the recipient-not yours;
3 Remember to whom you are writing. It's a person not a company. You are writing a letter, not a speech.
4 Keep it simple, but don’t write down. Avoid high-fluting' phrases;
5 Use words that stir the emotions, make the mouth water-meaningful words and phrases:
6 Leave out the comedy-few people can write humorous copy. Few products lend themselves to it.
7 Be specific-names, places, what happens, when and how.
8 Inspire confidence prove your points;
9 State all that's necessary to make your point no more. Just long enough to hold your reader's interest.
10 Give your reader something to do tell him how to do it but don't make the task hard. State what, where, how, and what it will cost and tell him he should do it now.
The best Printing Instructions I ever had at the Lab….
Print to Rembrandt color What the heck is this I'm sure the writer of these instructions on the order knew what he wanted we assumed it was warm ….
Later I looked at a book illustrating paintings of Rembrandt and the tone of them was every tone you could image