Successful studio owners recognize that many new photographers are losing…
By Sarah Petty
The boutique business model is not a gift shop. It’s a way to create more value for your offerings so that price is no longer a sticking point with your clients. And it all starts with these five ingredients.
Ingredient 1 – Brand
It’s nearly impossible to charge what you’re worth without a strong brand. But what is a brand? Your brand is how your ideal client feels about you. It’s the feelings that ideal client conjures up when someone mentions your business name and you want them to be strong (and positive). YOU are an integral part of your brand thanks to the enthusiasm, personal flair and individual attention you present to each of your clients.
Ingredient 2 – Understanding your numbers
Copying what your competitors are offering or a high performing business in another market isn’t a smart practice. Start by understanding the cost of each sale you make: this includes any packaging, merchandise or labor. Once you understand these numbers, you have your bare minimum price (with no profit built in). Then you can look at setting a price based on demand – what customers will pay because what you’re offering is so desirable.
Ingredient 3 – Marketing
To charge what you’re worth you must have offerings that are not easily imitated. Your products and services must make people go gaga over you if you want them to pay more for you. They need to be extra special, unmatched, interesting or even shocking. Instead of searching for ways to raise prices, slash costs or become faster, find the empty place for your ideal client where you can add a thrill for them. The more customized your offerings are, the more difficult it will be for anyone to copy you and your perceived value will continue to rise.
Ingredient 4 – Promotion
Promotion is what you do to tell people about your offerings – and it goes beyond paid advertising. Boutique ideas for promotion include giving a presentation or educational session that highlights your expert status, providing content to the media on newsworthy topics, blogging on your own or other’s blogs with tips and advice to cement your expert status, working with other businesses who also reach your target audience to co-market together, working with charities to help elevate their cause and developing a promotional piece that makes your ideal client talk about you (no we’re not talking about a postcard here). Your promotional efforts need to scream to your ideal client that THEY are the most important part of your day. Our promotional pieces at Sarah Petty Photography give people a reason to talk about us. They twist, pop, jump and flip and they set the tone for the fun experience our clients will have when they choose to have us photograph their children. We use Marathon Press to help us develop high impact promotional pieces that people pay attention to. You can see a few of them at http://www.marathonpress.com/bellagrafica/products/#sarah-petty.
Ingredient 5 – Selling
In boutique selling there is high engagement between you and your client. You need to build rapport, get to know your customer and spend time educating them. Your first thought should be ‘What problem do they have?’ ‘How can I help them?’ The sales process should be relationship based and the service and experience should continue after the transaction. Instead of giving them a smooth talking sales pitch, you’re searching for solutions that will absolutely, positively satisfy their needs and bring them joy. You have to be active and aggressive about adding value to the purchase and joy to their lives – not about closing the sale.
Sarah Petty is a small business owner, internationally sought-after speaker, marketing and branding strategist, MBA and co-author of Worth Every Penny: Build a Business that Thrills Your Customers and Still Charge What You’re Worth.
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