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  Sarah:      

  Hi,   everybody   this   is   Sarah   Petty   and   welcome   to   this   Get   Fully   Booked   This  Year  event  brought  to  you  by  The  Joy  Of  Marketing  and  White  House   Custom  Colour.   I’m   excited   to   be   here   with   some   of   my   really   good   friends,   Jeff   and   Allison  Rodgers,  who  just  relocated  their  studio  to  Collierville,  Tennessee.   That’s  kind  of  a  hard  one  to  say.  

  Allison:   Yes,  it  is.     Sarah:   You’ve   got   to   get   your   tongue   just   the   right   way.   Welcome,   and   thank   you   for  being  here  with  me  today.     Allison:   Thanks  so  much,  Sarah  we’re  excited.     Sarah:   You’re  a  husband  and  wife  team.  I  know  you  have  amazing  taste.  You  are   art  directors.  In  fact  we  both  worked  at  the  same  ad  agency  in  Memphis  at   different   times,   which   was   a   cool   connection   that   we   found   with   each   other.         I   know   everything   you   do.   You   have   beautiful   taste   from   your   photography   to   your   studio   to   everything   that   you   design   –   printed   pieces,  holiday  cards  and  all  of  that.  Tell  everybody  a  little  about  what  you   specialize  in  and  your  philosophy  at  your  studio  that  really  sets  you  apart   from  everyone  else  in  the  market.     Allison:   First,  thanks  for  all  the  sweet  words.  I  would  definitely  say  what  makes  us   different  is  the  whole  design  background.  It  makes  us  view  this  business  a   little  bit  differently  than  some.  We’re  really  concentrating  on  creating  fine   art  for  our  clients.       We   never   want   our   clients   to   leave   our   studio   with   a   purchase   and   not   know  some  essential  things,  like  that  it’s  going  to  match  the  style  of  their   home,   that   they   know   exactly   where   it’s   going   to   be   placed   and   that   it’s   going  to  fit  perfectly.        

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Sarah:  

We’re   very   involved   in   the   whole   décor   process.   We   want   to   make   sure   that  every  time  they  walk  by  what  we’ve  created  for  them,  they  look  at  it   and   think   I   really   love   that.   That’s   so   us.   Not   something   that   feels   very   cookie  cutter.   Definitely  in  a  studio  our  size  there  are  some  things  that  could  be  cookie   cutter.  We’re  going  to  do  certain  products  multiple  times,  but  we  do  want   to   make   sure   that   when   clients   walk   in   the   door   they   receive   special   treatment,  and  that  we’re  taking  the  time  to  get  to  know  them  and  really   tell   the   story   of   their   family,   the   senior   that   might   be   graduating,   a   new   baby  that’s  coming  into  the  family  or  a  wedding.   I  usually  like  to  say  we  really  hold  their  hand  through  the  process.  They   enjoy  that  and  it  makes  it  more  fun  for  us.   Especially   when   you   have   someone   who   refers   you.   You   want   to   make   sure  that  their  friend  isn’t  getting  the  same  thing  that  they  got.  They  came   in  with  the  white  shirts  and  the  jeans  and  you  go  out  in  a  field,  and  then   their   friends   come   in   and   you   do   the   same   thing.   I   know   that’s   something   that’s   important   to   me   as   far   as   making   sure   that   you’re   capturing   their   family  and  what  makes  their  family  different.    

    I  assume  you  do  in-­‐person  consultations  before  your  sessions.     Allison:   We  do.  We  love  that  process.         Even   yesterday   I   was   with   somebody   and   we   were   going   over   what   we   were  going  to  do  for  her  three-­‐year-­‐old  son.  Everything  I  need  to  know  I   can   find   out   during   a   consultation   appointment   like   that,   from   making   sure   that   they’re   the   right   client   for   us   as   far   as   financial   questions,   making   sure   that   I   know   about   that   kid’s   personality   and   what   makes   a   three-­‐year-­‐old  laugh.       Jeff   and   I   have   girls,   and   what   makes   our   girls   giggle   is   totally   different   than  what’s  going  to  make  a  three-­‐year  old  little  boy  giggle.  You  definitely   have   to   channel   your   inner   pretend   to   be   a   boy   mommy   for   a   little   bit.   Its   silly  things  like  dinosaurs  that  I  don’t  necessarily  do  at  my  house.         I  love  doing  those  consultations  to  find  out  where  we’re  headed  with  the   final  product.  When  most  people  book  a  session,  they  just  think  it’s  time  

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for  me  to  have  images  made.  It’s  a  great  milestone  for  my  child.  They’re   not  thinking  about  what’s  going  to  happen  after  that.         Sarah:  

If   we   don’t   talk   about   that,   then   we   as   a   studio   are   dropping   the   ball.   We’re   actually   even   killing   the   sale   because   we   need   to   get   them   onboard   with  what  we  want  to  do  and  what  they  want  to  do.   Don’t   you   feel   when   you   get   a   new   customer   or   a   new   client   that   you   spend   so   much   time   educating   them,   and   bringing   them   onboard   with  how  you  see  this  artwork  going  into  their  home?  

  Allison:   I  do.  I  think  education  is  huge.  I  think  we  all  get  busy  sometimes,  and  it’s   the  one  thing  that  we  have  a  tendency  to  let  slide.  It’s  also  the  one  thing   that  can  get  you  in  the  most  trouble.     Sarah:   It   really   can.   Over   the   years   when   I   break   my   own   rule   –   like   someone   calls   and   they   say   we’re   just   coming   into   town   and   we   can’t   do   a   consultation   –   whenever   I   break   that   rule   of   my   own,   the   whole   system   falls  apart.     Allison:   It  does.  You’re  right.     Jeff:   You  regret  it.     Sarah:   Yes,  and  I  think  why  did  I  do  that?  I  know  some  people  have  challenges  of   living  in  huge  cities  where  people  work  two  hours  away  and  it’s  a  bigger   deal,   but   in   my   market   I   won’t   do   a   session   without   a   consultation.   I’m   figuring  you  are  probably  not  far  from  that  as  well,  unless  it’s  completely   unavoidable.     Allison:   I  totally  agree.  In  fact  there  have  been  situations  in  the  past  where  I  did   break   that   rule,   and   I   remember   walking   into   the   session   and   I   was   talking   to   my   studio   coordinator   and   I   was   like   I   don’t   know   what   I’m   studio.         She   basically   answered   me   flat   out   and   said   that’s   because   you   don’t   know   anything   about   this   family.   You   don’t   know   what   they   want.   You   don’t   know   what   they’re   going   to   show   up   wearing.   You   don’t   know   where  stuff  is  going  to  go.  I  felt  very  unprepared.     Jeff:   What  about  the  idea  that  you’re  prequalifying  them.  

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Allison:   That’s  right.  You’ve  got  to  prequalify  them  and  make  sure  that  they’re  the   right   client   for   your   studio.   There’s   nothing   worse   than   having   somebody   come  in  and  you  spend  all  this  time  with  them  and  create  these  wonderful   products,   and   then   they   realize   that   they’re   not   the   right   client   for   your   business.     Sarah:   Yes,   they’re   a   scrapbooker   and   they   wanted   to   spend   $100   and   get   200   images   that   they   can   print   out   and   cut   up   and   put   in   their   scrapbook,   and   that’s   really   all   they   want.   That   person   is   not   going   to   be   a   client   that   wants  the  artwork  that  we  create  for  people’s  homes.  It’s  not  a  good  fit.     Jeff:   You  need  to  know  that  before  they  get  to  the  studio.     Sarah:   Isn’t   that   a   hard   lesson   to   learn   when   you’re   starting   out,   that   it’s   okay  not  to  take  every  client  that  comes  in?     Allison:   Yes,   I   think   as   an   artist   it’s   really   hard   because   you   want   everybody   to   love  you.  Being  an  artist  and  a  successful  business  owner,  that  is  a  crazy   marriage  of  two  things  that  seem  so  opposite.       Jeff:   They  work  against  each  other.     Allison:   They  do  work  against  each  other.  The  three  of  us  are  sitting  here  laughing   because  I  can  instantly  think  of  stories  of  times  where  I’ve  totally  broken   the   rules   and   made   a   mistake   and   regretted   it.   You   just   want   to   hit   yourself,  like  why  did  I  do  that?  Okay  I’m  never  doing  that  again.  We  all   have  this  issue.       Sarah:   That’s  why  I  wanted  to  talk  about  this  for  this  event.  I  know  people  that   are   new   and   starting   out,   and   they   look   at   people   who   are   out   there   speaking   like   you.   They’re   saying   they’re   so   great   and   they’re   out   there   speaking.         What   I   think   people   don’t   realize   is   that   when   we   get   home   from   speaking,  we  don’t  have  a  line  of  people  waiting  at  our  front  door  for  us   or  30  people  who  have  $10,000  budgets  who  want  to  come  in.  We  have  to   do   the   same   things   to   make   the   phone   ring.   We   have   to   worry   about   cash   flow.  We’re  worrying  about  those  same  things.    

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Jeff:  

I   really   want   to   talk   about   what   you   do   when   you   have   that   panic   moment.   I   know   you’ve   been   in   business   long   enough,   just   like   me,   that   you’ve   had   times   where   maybe   you’re   out   speaking,   or   like   I   had   three   babies  in  three  years  and  I  went  off  and  did  that.  Then  I  came  back  and   it’s  like  where  did  my  business  go?   Sometimes  you  make  the  choice  to  let  the  business  slow  down  a  little,  and   then  you  look  up  and  you  have  that  panic  where  I  need  clients,  I  need  to   get  traffic  and  I  don’t  have  a  big  budget.   Tell  me  about  a  time  or  maybe  more  than  one  time  where  you’ve  looked   up   and   you’ve   felt   like   okay   we’ve   got   to   get   some   business   in   the   door.   It’s   winter,   we   don’t   have   a   big   budget   and   we   don’t   have   a   lot   of   cash   flow.  What  do  we  do?   What  conversations  do  you  have?   I  think  that  happened  this  year  at  the  end  of  January.  We  looked  up  and   said  okay  we’ve  been  off  for  a  couple  of  weeks,  and  we’ve  got  to  turn  the   machine   on.   We’d   only   been   in   the   studio   for   a   month   before   that,   and   all   the   extra   money   that   you   make   at   the   end   of   the   last   quarter   pretty   much   went  into  preparing  the  studio.  

  Allison:   For  a  lot  of  studios,  that  January-­‐February  time  is  when  you’re  living  on   that  cushion  of  money  that  you  made  in  the  last  quarter.  For  us  this  last   year  it  was  extra  hard  because,  like  Jeff  said,  those  extra  funds  were  going   towards   buying   new   furniture,   or   getting   a   new   projector   and   figuring   all   that  stuff  out.         It  was  definitely  a  tighter  year  for  us,  and  a  time  when  we  had  to  say  now   what  are  we  going  to  do?  Something  we  have  a  tendency  to  forget  about  a   lot  of  times  but  we  try  to  remind  ourselves  is  that  we  have  a  client  base.   You  can  keep  in  touch  with  them  and  talk  about  what’s  going  on  and  get   them  excited  about  the  move.         You   can   have   an   event,   or   have   story   time,   or   have   a   grand   opening   or   do   something  where  they  can  stay  in  communication  with  us.  Like  Jeff  said,   it’s  a  connection  economy  and  we  have  to  stay  connected  with  them.  They   have  to  know  what’s  going  on  in  our  world.    

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Sarah:  

That’s  really  important  for  us  to  keep  track  of  the  people  that  have  been   with  us  in  the  past  and  stay  in  touch  with  me.  January  and  February  is  a   great  time  to  start  planning  for  March  and  April.     I   think   you   should   look   in   your   client   base   and   you   look   at   what   somebody  did  the  last  time  they  were  in.  It  was  a  time  for  me  where  I  sent   out   a   lot   of   emails   or   contacted   clients   and   said   I   think   it   would   be   so   great   if   you   did   a   family   session   in   the   spring,   and   started   talking   about   that.   It’s   a   way   that   you   can   book   your   calendar   several   months   out,   if   you   just   take   the   initiative   to   reach   out   to   them   and   take   care   of   the   ones   that   you   already  have  in  your  system.   Isn’t   that   crazy   how   you   can   stir   up   business   just   by   paying   attention.   Have  you  read  the  book  The  Secret?  

  Allison:   No.     Sarah:   It’s   the   Law   of   Attraction.   It’s   kind   of   Ziglar   reincarnate.   Have   you   ever   talked  about  a  client  and  said  we  haven’t  seen  so  and  so  in  a  while,  and   then   two   days   later   that   person   calls,   or   family   or   friends?   It’s   like   I   haven’t   talked   to   that   friend   in   a   long   time,   and   then   all   the   sudden   you   get  a  text  10  minutes  later.       Sometimes   when   you   shift   gears   and   you’re   like   let’s   go   back   and   dig   through  those  clients,  and  let’s  look  at  who’s  out  there  and  let’s  talk  about   them.  Sometimes  we  just  talk  about  them.         We   get   on   Facebook.   We   look   them   up.   We   see   what’s   going   on   in   their   lives,  and  then  of  course  we  take  another  step  and  we  write  them  a  note   saying  we  got  a  new  chair  in  that  reminds  me  of  you.  What  if  we  take  that   out   into   a   field?   We   haven’t   done   a   session   in   a   long   time,   and   I   just   thought  of  you.  I  hope  everything  is  well.  Sarah.  They  call.     Allison:   A  great  example  for  me  recently  was  when  I  was  doing  the  same  thing.  It   was   around   January,   and   I   was   just   checking   in   on   some   of   my   clients.   I   realized   on   one   of   my   family’s   personal   blogs   that   they   were   pregnant   again.  I  had  no  idea.    

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Sarah:  

   

   

   

   

Time   goes   by.   We’re   parents   and   we’re   busy.   We   have   crazy   lives,   and   I   just  didn’t  even  know.  I  took  it  upon  myself  to  contact  them,  and  I  gifted   them  with  a  newborn  session.  Instantly  they  signed  back  up  for  another   baby  plan  with  us.   Who’s   going   to   turn   that   down?   It’s   about   relationships   that   you   can   create  with  them.  It’s  just  taking  that  time  to  try  to  stay  in  contact.  We  get   in   the   mentality   of   this   is   my   world   and   they   should   be   seeing   what   I’m   doing,   but   you   have   to   reach   out   and   touch   people   like   that.   It   creates   loyal  clients.   It  definitely  does.  Think  about  it.  You  have  several  kids,  you’re  busy  and   you  get  pregnant,  and  your  photographer  notices  and  reaches  out  and  is   excited.   What   a   great   feeling   to   put   them   in   that   situation,   or   put   yourself   in  that  situation.     It’s  what  you  do  with  a  friend.  You’d  reach  out  and  say  I’m  so  excited  to   photograph   your   new   baby.   Obviously   this   person   is   paying   you,   but   that’s  the  kind  of  friendship  that  we  really  like.  Still  you  know  that  you  did   their  other  babies.  You  know  they’re  going  to  want  it.  It’s  what  we  do  as   parents.  We  want  to  take  care  of  all  of  our  kids.     It’s  a  service  to  them  for  sure.  We  use  Facebook  to  listen,  and  like  you  said   my  client’s  pregnant.  We  saw  a  client  who  has  five  kids,  and  her  middle   child  jumped  off  the  second  floor  balcony  and  broke  both  of  her  legs.  We   were  able  to  reach  out  and  say  what  can  we  do  to  help?     It’s  things  like  that  so  that  you  can  be  part  of  your  clients’  lives.  What  we   see   so   many   photographers   doing   is   panicking.   I   don’t   have   any   business.   I   need   the   cash   flow.   I   jumped   into   a   studio   and   I   just   need   to   make   some   money  this  month,  so  I’m  going  to  do  a  half-­‐off  sale  on  Facebook.   Talk  to  me  about  that.  Talk  to  me  about  discounting.  What  are  your   thoughts  and  feelings  about  using  price  to  attract  new  clients?  

  Allison:   You   know   how   I   feel   about   it.   I   feel   the   same   way   that   you   do.   I   think   you’re  right.  Especially  young  photographers  in  the  industry  panic.  They   go  to  the  bottom.      

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I   remember   the   advice   that   I   received   from   a   mentor   a   long   time   ago   was   when  the  economy  gets  crazy  and  you  have  a  tendency  to  panic,  if  you  run   to  the  bottom  then  where  are  you  when  everything  becomes  good?  

  Sarah:   It’s  hard  to  get  back  up.     Allison:   You’re   killing   your   established   brand   or   name   for   yourself   when   you   do   that.  You’re  devaluing  your  service  and  the  brand  of  your  business  is  you   constantly   hit   a   panic   mode   of   discount.   You’ll   never   see   our   studio   do   that.     Jeff:   People  will  wait  for  that  to  come  back  around.     Allison:   I  had  a  dad  come  in  a  while  back,  and  he’s  in  the  financial  world.  I  was  like   how’s   the   banking   world?   His   response   was   Allison   I’m   a   commodity;   you’re  not.  If  you  raise  your  prices  every  year,  I’m  going  to  come  back  to   you  because  of  the  relationship  that  you’ve  created.       He   said   for   me   in   my   business   it’s   all   about   price.   I   was   like   that’s   a   really   good   point.   For   me,   it   shouldn’t   even   be   about   price.   Yes,   price   is   an   issue   and   you   have   to   make   that   you’ve   got   the   right   client   in   your   studio   so   that  you  can  be  a  profitable  business  while  creating  artwork,  but  it  can’t   be   on   the   deal   that   you   happen   to   get   this   week   or   next   week   or   next   month.       It   just   doesn’t   work   that   way.   I   think   for   long-­‐term   sustainable   success,   you  can’t  run  a  business  like  that.  It  has  to  be  built  on  other  things.     Sarah:   What   would   you   do   if   you   woke   up   tomorrow   and   realized,   we’ve   been   out   speaking   for   three   months,   our   phone   hasn’t   been   ringing   and   we   need  to  generate  cash  flow?  You  said  you  already  did  it  this  year.       Say  you  don’t  have  a  huge  budget.  Look  back  to  when  you  were  starting.  I   know   people   think   you   must   have   this   huge   budget,   but   we   also   have   huge  overhead  and  we  have  employees.  It  all  goes  together.       Go   back   to   the   days   when   you   were   kind   of   small   and   starting   out,   and   you  had  to  scrap,  which  I  still  feel  like  I  do  in  my  studio.  Every  dollar  that  I   put  out  there,  I  want  a  return  on  it.      

8  


What   would   you   do   if   that   was   you,   and   you   realized   I   don’t   have   much  of  a  budget  and  I’ve  got  to  get  out  there  and  get  some  clients?   Where  do  you  go?  Where  do  you  start?  

  Jeff:   Gift  certificates.     Allison:   Jeff   said   gift   certificates,   but   there   are   ways   to   have   events   or   do   promotions.  I  don’t  really  want  to  use  that  word  because  I  don’t  want  you   to   think   I’m   going   to   discount   anything.   If   you   just   let   people   know   that   you’re   going   to   offer   something,   like   let’s   take   Valentine’s   Day   for   example.       Maybe   you   want   to   offer   gift   certificates   within   your   studio,   and   it   is   a   crazy   time   of   year   for   bookings.   Maybe   you   figure   out   a   way   to   get   the   message  out.  Hey,  this  would  be  a  great  present  to  give  to  your  wife  for   Valentine’s  Day.         If   you   do   an   email   blast   and   a   blog   post   and   a   Facebook   post,   which   of   course  are  basically  all  free  or  they  don’t  cost  that  much  for  email  service.   They’re   going   to   see   that   email   and   forward   it   onto   their   husbands   and   say  I  would  love  to  have  this.       One  thing  that  I  love  to  do  around  that  time  is  if  you  know  that  you’ve  got   a  client  and  you  have  a  good  relationship  with  dad,  pick  up  the  phone  and   call  him.         Tell   him   I   know   that   you’re   wife   really   wanted   a   family   session   for   the   spring.   I   think   this   would   be   a   great   time   for   you   to   give   her   this   for   a   Valentine’s   Day   gift.   We   can   use   one   of   your   past   images   and   create   a   custom  gift  card  for  you  to  give  to  her.       We’ve  done  that.  Actually  we  do  that  a  lot.  We  make  dad  the  hero.  We’ve   done   it   for   birthdays,   anniversaries   and   Valentine’s   Day.   I   think   that   it’s   a   great  time  to  take ��the  initiative  and  do  something  for  them.     Sarah:   People   forget   that   the   phone   goes   both   ways.   You   don’t   have   to   just   sit   and  wait  for  the  phone  to  ring.  You  can  pick  up  the  phone  and  call  people.       Allison:   Exactly.    

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Sarah:  

   

   

Think  about  it  for  Valentine’s  Day  too,  since  you  picked  that  to  talk  about.   Look   at   all   the   people   that   you   photograph   in   September,   October   and   November   who   have   kids   from   kindergarten   to   third   grade.   They   do   valentines.     Pick   up   the   phone   and   call   all   those   moms.   You   pre-­‐design   a   few   templates.  We  have  valentines  for  your  kids.  We’re  only  allowing  one  of   these  ideas  per  school,  so  your  kid  will  get  the  only  one.  You  go  to  White   House  Custom  Colour  and  do  some  5  x  7  cards.  They  come  in  sets  of  25   for  the  classroom.  Then  those  go  home,  the  kids  show  their  parents,  and   one  thing  leads  to  another.   Maybe  you  don’t  make  a  huge  margin  but  if  you  get  10  people  to  do  that,   that’s  250  images  that  you’re  getting  out  there  to  your  target  market.    

  Allison:   Exactly.  I  agree  wholeheartedly  about  doing  that  for  kids  for  Valentine’s   Day.  In  fact  even  though  we  don’t  really  announce  that  every  year,  we  do   it  for  clients  all  the  time         White   House   does   smaller   cards   too,   so   you   can   even   do   a   3   x   3   with   a   cute   little   envelope.   You   can   do   a   4   x   5   ½.   If   you   already   have   the   images,   it’s  not  like  you  have  to  create  an  event  to  reshoot  them.  You  could  do  a   Valentine’s   Day   card   if   you   wanted   to.   It   would   be   really   cute,   and   it   would  create  a  buzz.       You’re  kind  of  prepping  for  your  springtime  group  of  clients.  They  haven’t   seen   you   since   October   and   it’s   another   time   for   them   to   come   in.   It’s   another  chance  for  you  to  build  a  relationship  and  rapport  with  them  and   talk   about   what’s   going   to   happen   in   the   spring.   I   cannot   believe   how   much  you’ve  changed.  I’m  so  glad  that  you  came  in.       If  they’ve  got  five  kids,  you’ve  got  to  do  five  different  valentines  because   they’re  all  in  different  classes.     Sarah:   For  sure.     Allison:   There  you  go  with  that.  Then  you  have  a  chance  to  talk  about  what’s  going   to  happen  in  the  next  few  months.  I  think  it  would  be  so  great  if  you  did   family  in  the  spring  since  we  just  did  the  kids  in  the  fall.  It  just  gives  you   another  way  to  talk  to  them  and  have  a  conversation  about  what’s  going   to  happen  next.  

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Sarah:  

       

   

Exactly.   First   of   all,   I   love   educating   and   always   talking.   Oh,   your   oldest   is   going  to  college.  We  should  do  a  portrait  before  they  leave.  You’re  looking   for   opportunities,   but   think   if   you   get   that   client   with   their   first   kid   in   kindergarten  and  they  do  this  card.     Then   you   say   we   have   this   cute   line   of   frames.   You   can   frame   it   and   put   it   in  their  room.  Then  each  year  they  have  a  little  gallery  wall  of  their  cute   valentine  cards.  How  adorable  would  that  be  for  every  kid  every  year?   I   love   doing   things   like   that.   We   do   that   with   holiday   cards   too.   I   don’t   know   if   you   do   this,   but   we   put   first   in   a   series   when   we   got   married.   Every   year   people   collect   them   and   they’re   looking   for   that   next   in   a   series.   When  you  start  that  with  your  clients,  they  do  it  once  and  we  know  how   people   freak   out   the   first   year.   You   call   them   and   they’re   like   oh   it’s   the   best  card  I’ve  ever  received.  They’re  so  excited,  so  of  course  they  have  to   come  back  the  next  year  and  the  next  year.  

  Allison:   Yes,  that’s  one  reason  why  we  love  the  holiday  season.  We  love  Christmas   cards.  It’s  definitely  a  time  of  the  year  that  feels  like  a  family  reunion  for   our  family  of  clients.         It   is   a   tradition   for   them,   and   that’s   what   you   want   to   be   able   to   create.   That’s   what   you’re   basically   saying   with   Valentine’s   Day.   Let’s   create   times   of   the   year   where   they’re   going   to   come   see   you,   and   have   relationships  with  you  and  have  traditions  with  you  and  your  studio.       They’re  going  to  want  to  do  it  again.  Honestly  that  concept  has  nothing  to   do   with   cost.   It   may   cost   you   a   little   bit   of   money   to   print   these   cards,   but   for   what   you’re   building   it’s   not   really   expensive   to   do   something   like   that.   What   you’re   building   with   them   is   so   much   more   profitable   over   the   long  haul  than  just  having  a  quick  sale.     Sarah:   Exactly.   We   both   have   that   same   philosophy   on   building   that   database,   making  friends  and  being  a  tie  in  the  community.  Having  that  database  is   everyone’s   biggest   asset.   When   times   are   slow,   you   go   back   to   that   database  and  you  stir  it  up.    

11  


When  we  have  a  new  product  from  one  of  our  vendors  –  like  White  House   is  coming  out  with  all  the  metals  and  all  these  different  things  –  we  can  go   back   out   to   10   clients   and   write   them   a   note   saying   we’ve   got   this   unbelievable   product.   It’s   very   contemporary   and   would   be   awesome   in   your  house.  We  want  you  to  come  and  see  it.  Give  us  a  call.   Five  of  them  might  call.  Usually  on  a  cold  list,  you’re  looking  a  lot  of  times   at  a  1%  response.  If  you  mail  out  100,  you  might  get  one  call.  When  you   have  a  relationship  with  people  and  you  mail  out  10,  you  might  get  eight   calls.  It’s  crazy.  

  Allison:   What’s   so   great   about   that   is   that   what   you’re   trying   to   do   is   ultimately   just  give  them  a  reason  to  come  in.  They  want  to  come.  You  just  have  to   give  them  a  reason  to  do  it.       That’s   so   important.   When   you’re   in   a   baby   plan   with   somebody   and   they’re  walking  out  the  door,  it’s  like  when  do  we  come  back?  You  better   have  an  answer  ready.  Our  studio  coordinator  is  Margie,  and  we  say  I’m   going   to   make   a   note   with   Margie   that   she’ll   put   on   her   calendar.   In   a   few   months,  we’ll  call  you  and  start  booking  appointments  for  the  fall.       They   shouldn’t   walk   out   the   door   and   it’s   a   done   deal.   That   continuous   building   and   talking   and   all   of   that,   it’s   just   so   crucial   and   so   important.   Sarah,  I  don’t  know  what  your  thoughts  are  on  this.         People   become   afraid   and   want   to   run   contests   on   their   blogs   to   create   likes  and  they  want  to  build  up  all  this  traffic  on  Facebook,  which  is  great,   but   if   I   look   at   a   photographer   and   they’ve   got   5,000   likes   and   I   have   3,000,  at  first  it  kind  of  hurts  my  feelings  a  little  bit,  but  if  you  think  about   it  deeper,  how  did  she  get  those  likes?       Are  they  valuable  clients  or  are  they  just  people  going  on  a  whim  to  try  to   get  something  for  free?  Are  they  qualified  likes,  or  are  they  just  random   people   that   happen   to   like   your   Facebook   page?   One   is   definitely   more   important  than  the  other.         I  want  people  to  like  my  page  that  actually  want  to  listen  to  what  I  have  to   say,   and   people   that   I’m   going   to   listen   to   what   they’re   saying   and   it’s   a   good   match   up.   I   think   it’s   good   not   to   run   to   the   bottom   and   discount   because  then  you’re  not  getting  the  right  kinds  of  clients  for  you.    

12  


Sarah:  

   

   

   

I   agree   completely.   It’s   building   that   database   one   person   at   a   time   and   taking   great   care   of   them.   They   refer   you   and   then   you   take   care   of   them.   When   you   build   your   business   organically   by   talking   to   people   and   educating   them,   and   seeding   future   sessions   so   that   they   keep   coming   back,  it’s  such  a  powerful  way  to  build  a  business.   I  was  seeding  a  lady  with  her  four-­‐year-­‐old  by  saying  my  favorite  time  to   photograph  is  when  they  lose  those  front  teeth.  It’s  such  a  cute  time,  and   you  have  such  a  small  window  to  capture  that  with  them  giggling.  It’s  just   an  adorable  time.   I  literally  had  this  client  calling  me  two  years  later  saying  my  son  just  lost   his   tooth.   Can   I   come   in?   She   wanted   to   get   that   perfect   time.   It   was   awesome,  and  she  ordered  a  huge  painting  of  it  because  we  talked  about   it  and  she  remembered  it.   It  wasn’t  a  hard  sell.  I  wasn’t  pushy.  It’s  just  that  I  talked  about  it.  I  gave   her  the  idea.  You  have  to  spend  time  with  people  to  give  them  ideas.  We   have  ideas  and  we  don’t  even  realize  it.  Our  clients  don’t  have  ideas.  

  Allison:   I   love   to   find   out   when   the   parents’   anniversary   is.   I   think   that’s   a   wonderful   thing.   If   you   find   out   when   their   anniversary   is   and   you   can   make   the   dad   the   hero,   or   gift   them   a   session   to   come   in   for   an   anniversary  session,  it’s  just  a  wonderful  time  to  create  relationships  with   them.       I’ve  done  that  for  a  couple  of  clients.  I  always  try  to  make  sure  when  I’m   shooting   a   family   session   that   I   pull   them   aside   and   photograph   them   alone  a  little  bit  just  to  introduce  the  idea  of  a  session  just  for  them  at  a   later  time.       You’re   planting   those   seeds   in   conversation   about   stuff   like   that.   I   think   that’s  really  fun,  especially  when  you  can  get  the  dad  onboard,  and  he  can   believe  in  what  you  do  as  a  studio.  That’s  huge  for  me.     Sarah:   Yes,   it   opens   up   the   purse   strings.   There’s   value   in   it   and   he’s   fine   with   it.   Then  it  becomes  this  magical  relationship.  I  love  it.        

13  


Jeff:  

      Sarah:         Jeff:  

When   we   were   talking   about   Facebook,   I   think   it’s   important   to   be   consistent  and  post  something  once  or  twice  a  day  so  that  you’re  on  top  of   mind.   When   they   get   to   thinking   about   photography,   they’re   going   to   think  about  you  because  you’re  always  talking.     The   things   you   say   aren’t   just   about   your   deals.   You’re   talking   about   personal   things.   You’re   talking   about   your   studio.   You’re   building   a   relationship  with  them  by  them  reading  your  stuff.   How   much   time   do   you   spend   on   Facebook?   I   see   some   photographers   out  there  who  are  on  all  day  long.  Maybe  they’re  not.  Maybe  they’re  pre-­‐ scheduling  it.     How  do  you  balance  that?  How  do  you  find  balance?  It  is  important,   but   it’s   a   long-­‐term   investment.   It’s   not   like   put   something   up   and   the  phone  rings  today.   I   try   to   post   something   every   day.   Put   up   something   worthwhile.   You   can   have   a   personal   or   a   Facebook   fan   page.   There’s   really   no   difference   because   a   fan   page   is   specifically   for   the   studio,   but   then   Allison’s   page   has  long  since  been  –  along  with  her  personal  page  –  there  are  clients  that   connect  with  her  there.      

  Allison:   It’s  a  constant  PR  feed.  For  me,  one  of  the  things  that  I  do  –  I  do  think  that   Jeff   has   more   time   to   be   able   to   manage   the   social   media   side   of   this   business,   which   I’m   so   grateful   for,   but   I   can’t   be   a   silent   partner   in   that.   I   have  to  participate  as  well.         The  way  that  I  make  it  easy  for  me  is  I  love  Instagram.  I  have  Instagram   set   up   on   my   phone   where   I   can   post   an   image,   and   it’s   going   to   go   straight   to   my   Twitter   –   Allison   Rodgers   Twitter   –   and   I   can   change   the   Facebook  page  that  it’s  going  to  land  on.       If  it’s  the  weekend,  I  might  make  sure  that  whatever  I  put  on  Instagram  is   going   to   go   to   my   personal   Twitter,   and   it’s   going   to   go   to   my   Allison   Rodgers  personal  page.       During   the   week,   during   the   day   if   I’m   going   to   put   something   on   Instagram,  I’ll  switch  it  and  let  it  go  to  the  Allison  Rodgers  photography   page.   I   might   switch   it   a   couple   of   times   within   the   day,   depending   on   what  I’m  talking  about.  

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That  way  I  have  one  little  means  of  transportation  for  that  image  and  that   message,  and  it  makes  it  easier  for  me  to  do,  so  I  just  go  in  hit  on  it  and   change  it.  

  Sarah:   Great.  I  love  that.     Allison:   One  of  the  reasons  I  love  Instagram  is  because  I  think  people  respond  to   the   photographs.   A   couple   of   days   ago   I   posted   a   picture   of   Fable,   our   11-­‐ year-­‐old,  with  her  new  glasses.       Whether  I  put  it  on  the  ARP  page  or  personal  page,  I  try  to  balance  them   out   a   little   bit.   In   your   business   world,   they   want   to   know   about   your   personal  life  too.  In  your  personal  world,  they  want  to  know  about  your   business  life.  You  have  to  cross  the  two  over  in  a  way  that’s  balanced  out.     Sarah:   Yes,  I  love  it.  Those  are  great  tips.  Let’s  talk  about  obstacles.  I  know  a  lot   of   new   photographers   feel   like   they’re   overwhelmed,   or   even   if   they’re   not  new.  We  have  a  lot  of  people  who  listen  who  have  been  doing  it  for   years  and  they’re  just  frustrated.       Maybe   you   could   name   one   obstacle   that   you’ve   been   challenged   with   lately   or   in   the   last   couple   of   years   that   you   found   a   solution   to.   I   know   we   all   have   them.   It’s   not   like   we   figure   it   out   and   then   everything  is  perfect  forever.     Allison:   There’s   always   something,   but   I   think   a   big   tip   is   something   that   we   learned  several  years  ago.  Be  aware  of  when  your  slow  times  are  going  to   hit.   This   is   a   seasonal   business.   It   is   a   flow   of   up   and   down,   and   up   and   down,  and  up  and  down.       For  a  long  time  we  were  oblivious  to  the  fact  that  the  beginning  of  August   looks  awful.  People  are  getting  ready  to  start  school.  We’re  definitely  not   on  their  radar  at  that  time  of  year,  in  our  area  anyway.       If  I  were  to  look  at  the  calendar  at  the  end  of  July  or  beginning  of  August,   it   would   stress   me   out.   Why   aren’t   booked   up?   Why   is   the   calendar   not   full?        

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Jeff:     Sarah:              

Then  two  or  three  weeks  into  August,  the  phone  starts  to  ring.  We  start   contacting   our   clients.   We   start   getting   ready   for   the   holiday   season.   If   you   don’t   know   when   that’s   going   to   hit,   it   can   really   make   you   have   a   heart  attack.     In  August  it’s  like  oh  my  gosh  Jeff,  we  don’t  have  any  appointments  on  the   calendar.  What  are  we  going  to  do?  Then  I  realized  that  it’s  August.  Things   are  going  to  be  fine  and  we’re  going  to  start  picking  back  up  again.   We  hope.   We’re   in   the   Midwest   and   you’re   a   little   south   of   me,   but   sometimes   it’s   just   so   hot   and   disgusting   in   August   that   you   don’t   even   want   to   be   shooting.  It’s  nice  if  you  learn  how  to  budget  and  plan.     Then  you  just  say  we  don’t  need  to  worry  about  making  a  ton  in  August.   Let’s   just   go   with   the   minimum   that   we   need   to   cover   bills,   and   that’s   X   number  of  sessions.  We  know  that  will  come  in  anyway.     That   takes   the   pressure   off   of   you.   You   can   work   on   your   holiday   marketing   piece.   You   can   work   on   pre-­‐designing   holiday   cards.   You   can   work  on  a  lot  of  different  things,  and  not  have  to  be  panicking.     There’s   a   lot   of   emotional   stress   that   happens   in   a   business   like   ours   that’s   not   level.   You   don’t   make   the   same   amount   each   month.   It’s   very   much  dependent  on  the  season,  the  weather  and  things  like  that.  

  Allison:   This  hits  home  with  us  right  now.  Something  that  we  have  going  on  is  a   big  change  that  we’re  trying  to  make  within  our  studio.  It  just  kind  of  hit   me   over   the   head   this   past   couple   of   days.   I   never   thought   that   I   would   make  this  change.         You  know  when  you  get  mad  about  something  or  you  get  frustrated  about   something,   I   think   that’s   when   you   become   brave   enough   or   you   have   enough  courage  to  make  a  complete  shift  in  your  business.  I  don’t  know  if   you’ve   ever   had   that   happen.   I   think   we   all   have   had   that   happen   at   some   point,  so  hopefully  you  all  can  relate  to  this.       A   lot   of   studios   right   now,   us   included,   do   online   galleries.   I’ve   always   been  a  big  proponent  of  and  I  truly  believe  in  in-­‐person  sales.  You  do  the  

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consultation,   you   come   in   for   an   ordering   appointment   and   you   place   your  order,  but  there  is  a  very  slippery  slope  there  called  online  galleries.      

   

   

       

   

         

What  we’ve  done  in  the  past  is  we’ve  let  people  come  in  for  an  ordering   appointment  and  figured  out  what  they  want  to  do.  Maybe  things  weren’t   100%  decided,  but  they  put  down  a  deposit  of  $500  or  $1,000.  Then  we   give  them  an  online  gallery  and  they  walk  out  of  our  studio.   What  happens  with  that  is  it’s  a  stalling  tactic.  They  go  home  and  they  feel   no  pressure  to  place  an  order.  They’ve  put  money  down  and  honestly  we   feel  no  pressure  to  close  the  deal.  They’ve  made  a  deposit  and  we’ve  put   the  ball  back  in  their  court.   That’s  the  dumbest  thing  that  we’ve  done  frankly.  We’ve  done  it  for  years.   You  can  hear  the  frustration  in  my  voice  as  I  talk  about  it.  This  is  not  even   on  our  website  yet  but  it  will  be  by  the  end  of  the  day,  but  we’re  going  to   stop  doing.     We’ve   had   a   little   problem   with   image   theft   and   people   going   into   our   galleries.   They’re   not   really   meaning   anything   by   it,   but   technically   it   is   theft.  They  want  Facebook  images  before  they  place  their  order.     We’re   about   to   put   some   hardcore   rules   in   there   that   make   our   system   run  better.  That  is  ultimately  the  goal  here.  We  want  to  keep  things  on  a   schedule.   We   want   to   keep   things   in   the   system   and   running   correctly.   When   somebody   comes   in   to   place   an   order   and   the   dad   didn’t   come,   they’ve  started  to  work  our  system  that  we’ve  had  in  place  for  years.   They   know   if   they   come   in   and   put   money   down,   they’re   going   to   get   a   gallery.   What’s   the   point?   They’re   just   wasting   our   time,   and   honestly   we’re  wasting  their  time.  We’re  lacking  in  the  service  end  of  it  when  we   let  them  do  that.   We   need   to   come   in,   be   prepared,   be   ready   to   present   to   this   client,   know   what’s   going   on   with   their   house,   know   what   they’ve   purchased   before,   know  where  something’s  going  to  go  and  have  the  decision-­‐makers  there.     Let   all   the   decisions   be   made.   Let   them   put   half   of   their   money   down.   When   they   pick   it   up,   then   you   can   launch   the   Facebook   gallery   images.   We’re  changing  the  order.  

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Sarah:  

I   think   we’re   not   serving   the   clients   when   we   do   it   thinking   we’re   making   their  life  easier.    

  Allison:   But  we’re  not.     Sarah:   We’re   not   because   we’re   adding   an   extra   decision   that   they   have   to   go   home   and   think   about.   You   don’t   need   to   think   about   it.   You’re   never   going   to   have   more   information   than   you   have   right   there   sitting   there   with  you.         They’re   looking   at   them   big   on   the   screen.   They   can   compare.   How   are   they  possibly  going  to  be  helped  by  going  home  to  think  about  it?     Allison:   They’re  not.  Sarah,  on  your  video  that  we  had  our  staff  watch,  you  were   talking   about   the   obstacles   and   the   things   that   you   have   to   figure   out   and   get  past.  This  is  a  big  one  for  studios.  It’s  huge.       What  happens  when  the  mom  says  I’ve  got  friends  and  family  out  of  town   that  want  to  see  these  images?  When  they  pick  it  up,  you’re  going  to  give   them   social   media   files   to   share,   and   they’re   going   to   get   to   see   them   that   way.       You  never  want  to  say  no.  You  just  want  to  say  yes  on  your  own  terms.  I   think  that’s  a  key  element.  You  don’t  want  to  say  no  I  don’t  do  that,  or  no  I   don’t  do  this.  Yes,  I  do  that  but  this  is  how  we  do  it.  Yes,  we  do  that  but   this  is  when  it’s  going  to  happen.  It’s  so  much  better.       We’re  taking  the  reins  back  over  here  at  ARP  because  we  can’t  get  behind   during  the  holiday  season.  I’m  not  going  to  let  that  happen.  We  have  two   new  staff  members.  This  will  be  their  first  Christmas  with  us,  and  we’ve   got  to  get  the  ship  running  in  the  right  direction.     Jeff:   It  affects  everybody.     Sarah:   For  sure.  One  of  my  really  good  friends  is  a  graphic  designer,  and  a  couple   of  us  as  a  gift  to  her  for  her  wedding  did  her  photos.  We  thought  we  were   doing  a  favor  by  giving  her  the  files.  She’s  a  designer.  We  retouched  a  lot   of  them,  but  she  knows  how  to  do  that  and  she’ll  make  this  great  album,   and  she  has  nothing  from  her  wedding.    

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We  think  we’re  doing  things  to  help  people,  but  what  we  can  do  to  help   them  is  to  help  them  make  a  decision  and  help  them  frame  it.  If  we  have   to  go  hang  it  in  their  house,  that  is  helpful.     I   look   at   what   I   can   do   for   my   friends   to   get   great   art.   Take   the   whole   money  component  out  of  it.  Say  you  were  doing  it  for  your  clients  for  free.   You’re   still   not   helping   them.   I   did   it   for   my   friend   for   free,   and   she   has   nothing.  That  stinks.  That  wasn’t  what  I  intended.  

  Allison:   It’s   not   the   plan.   I   think   you   said   it   in   one   of   your   videos.   They   ask   the   8  x  10   question   because   they   don’t   know   what   else   to   ask.   It’s   the   same   thing   with   digital   files.   They   ask   that   question   because   they   don’t   know   what  else  to  ask.  They  think  that’s  what  they’re  supposed  to  ask.       Honestly   they   don’t   want   to   do   anything   with   them.   They   just   think   that’s   what   they’re   supposed   to   do.   Another   thing   with   photographers   and   Christmas  right  now,  it’s  the  whole  quickest  way  I’m  going  to  get  business   is   if   I   do   a   session   and   then   come   up   with   a   theme   for   the   session,   and   then  I’m  going  to  actually  sell  digital  files.           That’s   really   the   wrong   mentality   about   building   a   sustainable   business   that   has   a   high-­‐level   brand.   If   I   were   to   do   that   right   now,   what   would   happen   is   I   would   do   a   session   and   I   would   touch   up   the   files   and   the   client   would   take   the   CD,   choose   a   template   from   somewhere,   and   they   would  design  their  own  card.       Say   they   send   out   200   cards.   What’s   going   to   happen?   They’re   going   to   send   out   200   cards,   people   are   not   going   to   know   that   I   shot   it.   It’s   not   going  to  have  my  name  on  it.  It’s  not  going  to  say  AllisonRodgers.com.  It’s   not  going  to  do  anything  for  me  in  the  marketing  of  my  business.       That’s   just   not   what   I   want.   Worst   case,   what   if   they   have   it   printed   somewhere   that   looked   awful?   This   is   the   danger.   What   if   they   accidentally  do  something  to  the  file  and  make  it  low  res?     Jeff:   What  if  they  distort  it  and  people  think  that  we  sent  it  out  like  that?     Allison:   Right,   is   Ralph   Lauren   going   to   do   that?   Is   Tiffany’s   going   to   do   that?   Is   Gap  going  to  do  that,  or  these  upper  level  brands  that  you  look  to?  That’s   not  how  it  works.      

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Sarah:   It’s  so  true.     Allison:   I  want  somebody  to  fall  in  love  with  the  cards  that  one  of  our  clients  has   sent   out.   They   pick   it   up   and   they’re   like   this   is   the   best   Christmas   card   I’ve  ever  seen,  and  they  do  what  you  do  with  any  greeting  card.  You  flip  it   over.     Sarah:   Exactly.     Allison:   You  flip  it  over  because  you  want  to  know  who  did  it.  If  it’s  a  4  x  6  or  a   5  x  7  or  an  attached  photograph  to  a  card,  you’re  going  to  peel  that  card   back  and  you’re  going  to  look  and  see  whose  name  is  on  the  back  of  it.       It’s  a  branding  piece.  It’s  a  marketing  piece  for  your  studio.  Because  of  the   fear   of   not   having   enough   business   or   needing   to   hurry   up   and   get   clients   in   the   door,   I   think   it’s   better   if   you   continue   the   full   service   with   that   client.         Shoot  the  session.  Have  a  mini  session  if  you  want  to  do  that,  but  design   your  own  cards.  Even  if  you’re  not  a  designer,  you  can  get  templates  from   somewhere  like  how  we  sell  them.  Actually  manage  the  quality  control  all   the   way   through   to   the   final   product   because   that   final   product   is   what   represents  you.       It’s  easy  to  do  the  math.  If  you  do  50  sessions  and  each  one  sends  out  100   cards,  come  on  now.  Your  name  is  on  the  back  of  every  card.     Jeff:   That’s  the  best  marketing.     Allison:   That’s  the  best  marketing  you  can  do.     Jeff:   How  many  did  we  send  out  last  year?     Allison:   I  think  we  sent  out  6000.     Jeff:   Your   clients   are   marketing   and   sending   out   your   images   with   your   logo   on   them   to   all   their   friends   and   family,   and   they’re   paying   you   to   do   it.   What’s  better  than  that?     Allison:   It’s  such  an  easy  marketing  tool.      

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Sarah:  

       

   

   

It   is   a   great   marketing   tool.   I’m   a   big   fan   of   templates.   I   know   we’re   actually  offering  some  awesome  templates  from  you  in  this  event.  What  I   like   to   do   with   my   clients   –   and   it’s   such   an   easy   sell   –   is   I   wait   until   after   the   sale,   when   we’re   done   with   the   portrait   order   and   we’re   done   with   everything,  I  turn  the  projector  off  and  I’m  wrapping  up,  and  I  say  by  the   way  we  laid  out  a  holiday  card  for  you.   You  have  the  templates.  You  pull  their  image  in.  You  print  it  out  and  you   say   oh   I   left   it   on   my   desk.   Let   me   grab   it.   I   almost   forgot.   If   you   want   holiday  cards,  here’s  the  price.     So   many   people   say   yes.   You   guys   probably   have   a   ton   of   envelopes   anyway,  like  we  do  because  we  do  so  many  notecards.  We  say  we’ll  send   you  home  with  the  envelopes  today,  and  you  can  be  the  first  one  out  with   your  holiday  cards.     It   makes   it   so   much   easier.   I’m   such   a   template   fan.   There   are   a   lot   of   really   ugly   templates,   and   I’m   a   big   fan   of   getting   the   really   great   ones,   which   is   why   I   always   love   yours.   We   have   a   designer   on   staff,   but   we   can’t  keep  up.     It’s   hard   to   get   as   many   cool   templates   as   we   have   clients   and   as   many   cards   as   we   want   out   there.   I   love   that   you’re   always   re-­‐designing   and   getting  cool  stuff  each  year.  

  Allison:   In   our   studio,   because   we   are   designers,   we   always   say   there   are   never   two   cards   alike.   There’s   always   something   that’s   a   little   bit   different.   Every   season   we’re   coming   up   with   a   new   round   of   designs.   It’s   just   a   really  fun  time  for  us.         We’ll  decide  okay  this  season’s  cards  are  going  to  look  like  this.  Then  the   next  year’s  cards  are  going  to  look  like  this.  It  helps  us  create  a  card  line   within  our  studio.       Another  thing  that  I  think  is  great  is  that  you  can  totally  add  to  your  sales.   Even  if  you  don’t  want  to  add  to  your  sale  but  you  want  to  reward  certain   clients   for   buying   cards,   you   can   create   return   address   labels   for   them.   You  can  create  gift  tags  for  Christmas  presents.         Talk   about   tradition.   Every   year   when   they   come   in,   they   want   to   do   Christmas   cards.   They’re   also   going   to   want   return   address   labels.  

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They’re  going  to  want  gift  tags  for  presents.  They  can  do  gift  tags  for  the   family  and  one  from  each  child.  That’s  something  that  is  so  fun  for  us  to   create  for  them  every  year.     Sarah:  

       

That’s   a   great   idea.   What’s   really   cool   about   the   holiday   cards   is   that   they’re   marketing   your   business,   but   they’re   not   a   marketing   cost.   They’re  a  cost  of  that  sale.  If  you  don’t  sell  them,  you  don’t  pay  for  them.   You  still  have  more  money  that  you’re  generating  from  that  sale  that  goes   into  a  marketing  budget  to  do  other  things  later  in  the  year.  Maybe  to  pay   something   for   Valentine’s   Day   or   something   around   the   corner   like   a   spring  event  invite  or  something  like  that.   The   more   of   these   holiday   cards   that   you’re   sending   out   to   the   right   clients,   and   the   right   clients   are   sending   them   out,   it   builds   your   business   like  crazy.   I  don’t  know  if  you’ve  ever  done  this.  We  haven’t  really  done  this  where   you   have   a   holiday   in   July,   August   or   September   early   on,   and   you   say   prices   go   up   on   October   1st,   or   get   a   bonus   number   of   cards   in   September   or   if   you   book   by   October   15th.   If   people   know   they   want   to   do   it,   let’s   get   them  in  and  out  of  the  way.  

  Allison:   I  totally  think  that’s  a  great  idea,  especially  the  bonus.  A  bonus  is  such  a   good  way  to  phrase  it,  instead  of  a  discount,  if  you  want  to  do  that  and  fill   your  calendar  and  reward  them ��in  some  way.         Even   if   it   is   just   with   return   address   labels   or   the   gift   cards,   or   something   that’s  not  going  to  cost  you  a  lot  of  money,  it’s  definitely  a  selling  point  for   them  for  booking.  I  think  that’s  a  great  idea  to  do  that.     Jeff:   I  wanted  to  say  something  about  templates.  What  I  look  for  when  getting   any   template   of   any   kind   is   I   always   look   for   being   able   to   customize   it.   That’s  what  I  want.  I  want  the  person  if  they’re  buying  it  to  be  able  to  take   that  one  template  and  change  it  and  have  three  or  four  designs  from  that   one  template.     Sarah:   Yes,  so  if  a  family  comes  in  wearing  lime  green  and  hot  pink,  like  a  funky   Christmas,   you   can   pick   those   colors   and   totally   change   the   template.   Then  if  someone  comes  in  wearing  earth  tones,  you  can  make  that  same   template  in  browns  and  grays  and  it  looks  completely  different.      

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Allison:   Yes,  it’s  an  important  thing  for  us  as  far  as  templates  go.  We  want  to  make   sure  that  other  photographers  can  do  that,  so  that  they  can  get  multiple   uses  out  of  one  design.     Sarah:   Everyone,   I’m   just   telling   you   that   Jeff   and   Allison   offer   the   coolest   templates.   Go   to   the   event   site   and   order   them   right   now.   You   can   use   them  year  after  year,  and  you  can  customize  them.         Use   this   holiday   season   to   build   your   business.   It’s   how   we   get   through   first  quarter.  It  generates  money  and  it  gets  our  images  out  there.  Make   sure   you’re   doing   great   photography   that   really   lets   what   makes   you   different  shine,  and  get  those  cards  out  there.       Do  you  guys  agree?     Allison:   Sarah,  what  I’d  like  to  do  that  might  be  kind  of  fun  is  everybody  that  does   the  Christmas  card  templates  for  us,  why  don’t  we  throw  in  a  Valentine’s   card  template?     Sarah:   You’re   awesome!   Everyone,   even   if   you   don’t   want   to   do   a   big   promotion,   pick  your  three  top  clients,  the  ones  that  brag  on  you  and  do  everything   for  you,  and  just  order  for  them  as  a  gift.  Watch  what  it  does  for  you.           Okay,  a  free  Valentine’s  template.  You  heard  it  here.  Thank  you  so  much.       Allison:   You’re  welcome.     Sarah:   You’re  amazing  and  you’re  an  inspiration.  I  know  that  you  have  the  same   challenges   as   I   do   and   everyone   else   out   there.   We   know   that   you   can   build   this   business   without   a   $10   million   budget.   It’s   about   taking   these   designs,   working   them,   getting   them   out   there   and   using   them   to   build   your  business.  Thank  you  so  much  for  your  time.  It’s  been  awesome.     Allison:   You’re  welcome.  Thanks,  Sarah.     Jeff:   Thanks  for  inviting  us.     Sarah:   Thanks   to   all   of   you   for   joining   us,   for   the   Get   Fully   Booked   This   Year   event  brought  to  you  by  The  Joy  Of  Marketing  and  White  House  Custom   Colour.  Have  an  awesome  day.  

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TJOM Jeff Allison Rodgers Interview