How to sell a wedding album to every one of your brides

Author
Bryan Caporicci, Professional wedding photographer and CEO/Founder of Sprout Studio About Bryan

Do you love having your images printed in beautiful albums for your clients? Do you care about quality, presentation and professionalism in your craft? Do every one of your clients get an album, though?

If you are like 80% of professional photographers, then your answer is most likely “yes” to the first two questions, and “no” to the last.

I want to show you how to be in the 20% of professional photographers who consistently deliver beautifully finished albums to every one of their clients. I’d like to show you how you can discuss, present and sell albums effectively, and also how to make a great income from doing so.

In case you still need a bit convincing on the importance of albums, there are three foundational benefits in having your clients walk away from their photographic experience with an album:

  1. Your client gets a beautiful finished product that will stand the test of time.
  2. Your artistry is properly presented and preserved.
  3. Album sales can significantly contribute to your bottom line.

Fundamentals to Selling Albums

Getting back to basics

The title to this article is admittedly slightly misleading. Let's be honest … no one wants to be sold to, and so you have to approach the idea of “selling” albums with the right intent. When you do, and when you pay attention to all of the details we’ll discuss in this article, then every one of your clients will happily choose to purchase an album. That’s how you create clients for life – allowing them to purchase what they want versus manipulating them through a stingy sales process.

There are four key fundamentals in offering albums to your clients that will set you in the right direction.

Album Sales Fundamental #1 – Every bride wants an album

Let’s face it – whether your bride purchases an album from you or not, she wants an album. Period. Albums are so engrained in the tradition of wedding photography, that it is almost assumed to always be the end product. As a professional photographer, it’s your job to show the value, build excitement and educate your clients through the process so that they choose to purchase an album through you vs doing it themselves.

Every bride wants an album, we just have to show them why they should want ours.

Which brings us nicely to the second fundamental in offering albums to your clients …

Album Sales Fundamental #2 – Give brides something they can’t get themselves

There are many great options on the consumer market for brides looking to put together their own albums, and there’s even decent free design software that makes it relatively easy to actually lay out the album themselves. We know these are sub-quality offerings, but the many brides will likely be considering this as an option. As a professional photographer, you need to be offering albums (and a process) that is radically different (and better) than what your clients can get (and do) on their own.

Fundamental #3 – Make it easy to buy

One of the main reasons your clients don't purchase albums from you is because you don't make it easy for them to do so. There’s an idea called the “paradox of choice”, that says when we’re overwhelmed with options, we’ll often choose none. The same can be true for the process you offer as a means to make those decisions. You must make it easy for your clients to buy. Here are the four ways you might be making it not easy to buy, and you need to look at the reverse of each in order to optimize the process:

  • You have too many options.
  • You don’t have a clear way of communicating the options.
  • Your process is complicated.
  • You put too many barriers in the way.

Simplify and systematize the process and you’ll make it much easier to successfully sell albums.

Fundamental #4 – Believe in albums yourself

This might be one of the biggest shifts you can make in successfully selling albums – you must believe in them yourself! When you don’t believe in the value and importance of an album yourself, it'll come across (perhaps subconsciously) to your clients, and you’ll appear unsure, disingenuous and pushy. Get yourself “on board” with the concept of albums and believe in their value. If you don’t fundamentally believe in them, then don’t offer them, simple as that.

Client flow for successful album sales

Being mindful to the client lifecycle

I’ve talked a lot about educating your clients, building value first and setting expectations in the past. These principles also equally apply in selling wedding albums – education, setting expectations and repetition is key!

There are five different stages during the client “lifecycle” that you can be injecting a conversation about the album in: the pre-inquiry, the inquiry, the consultation, on the wedding day and after the wedding. I’d suggest that you define “points” along the way where you can intentionally discuss, show and mention the wedding album. It gives you “excuses” to talk about the album, set the client expectations, educate and build value.

Here are 11 sample steps and moments throughout a typical process where you can have an “excuse” to talk about the album:

  1. Give albums to vendors to show off your work.
  2. Show photos of albums on your website.
  3. Talk about your albums on your website.
  4. Mention albums in your first response to a client’s inquiry.
  5. Show albums in your studio during the meet-and-greet.
  6. Talk about the importance of albums during the consultation.
  7. Build albums into your wedding collections.
  8. Mention the album again at the wedding.
  9. Re-iterate that you “can’t wait to design the album” when you say your goodbyes at the end of the wedding.
  10. Mention the album after the wedding when you send proofs. Send a pre-design when (or before) you send the proofs.
  11. If you mail digital proofs, include a card that says “enjoy these while you wait for your album to come”.

I promise that when you’re this intentional and purposeful in making the wedding album such a big part of your business, there’s no way your clients’ wouldn’t want one.

Communication: Verbiage and language

Language, verbiage and effective communication skills are crucial to success in selling. It’s the difference between coming across as a sleazy manipulative salesperson and being a genuinely persuasive communicator. Note: the difference between manipulation and persuasion is this: in manipulation, one person wins and the other loses, whereas with persuasion, both people win.

Four steps to selling albums – believe, simplify, make it easy to buy and educate.

I never teach about the “tactics” of sales because I simply don’t believe in sales tactics. You should never come across as sales-y, scripted or rehearsed and you certainly don’t want to be manipulative.

I believe that success sales is about adopting the right mindset, choosing the right words and communicating in an effective manner. Below are 4 tools you can adopt for your voice and in your tone. Note that these are not “hard tactics” or sales techniques, but instead ideas that you can take into consideration and concepts that may give you inspiration in framing the “album conversation” with your clients.

  1. Remember that every bride ultimately does want an album, so assume that they’ll be getting an album in your conversations with them. Talk as if the album is a given.
  2. Talk down or deemphasize other options such as digital files. Explain the benefits of having a beautiful finished album vs files that will be left on a hard drive to die.
  3. Paint the picture of your client having an album. Describe a situation or ask question as if they already have the album, and get them to visualize what that may look like.
  4. Talk about how others always get the album. Success breeds success and when it’s understood that the album is what “most people get”, it’s something that is inherently more attractive.

Next week, I’ll be releasing two articles related to this one. One of them will be about how to effectively use sample albums as a sales tool, and the other will be the mechanics of pricing your albums. Leave your email address above to be notified once these articles are published.

Action item

What to do next?

Four steps to selling albums to every client, every time:

1. Believe in albums yourself.
2. Simplify your album offering.
3. Make it easy to buy.
4. Set expectations and educate about the album often.

The “Business of Wedding Albums” Series

How to sell a wedding album to every bride
6 Principles to turn sample albums into a sales tool
How to price your wedding albums as a photographer 
Wedding album pricing strategies for photographers

#Sales

12 Comments

    • Bryan Caporicci
      Thanks for the comment, Kevin. Are you happy with your brides just having digital files from their wedding?
  • Great article Brian wish that all of us photographers and industry vendors could embrace the importance of a tangible product (Print, Album Etc.) and the importance of "the legacy of print" as a friend once shared!! Cheers :)
    • Bryan Caporicci
      It's so important - not only for our clients to have beautiful finished pieces, but also for us to have our work represented properly. Thanks for the comment, Chris!
  • Bryan, Thank you for getting a bit more in depth with your sales techniques here. I like that you are setting the expectation out front for the album and continuing the expectation throughout the process with the client. This is what "sales-y" people do, and this allows for a reciprocative process to occur between the client and the photographer. By stating from the beginning that you don't just take photos, but deliver a tangible product that is cherished by your brides and grooms has the "Jones" effect. Everyone wants to buy but no one wants to be sold is a true saying. And as business people, we all need to stop thinking that selling is slimy or cunning. It's not, and that's my only issue with your article. People want choice and by giving them a choice you enable them to make a purchase even though you don't tell them that there is always an unvoiced choice of not buying. By giving people an A or B, you will usually make a sale because they believe they had the power in the conversation. Sales tactics aren't slimy, but they do work by providing the option to the client while appealing to the emotion of the moment. Sales aren't logical, they are 100% emotionally driven and you only provide a service to enable the client to honestly appeal to their internal emotional monologue. Again, thanks for the article. I look forward to these every week.
  • Couples DO want albums, it's just some photographers are very good at talking themselves out of making the sale. There also comes a decision paralysis from being overwhelmed with too much choice and too many options. As a professional I believe I've fallen short in my approach and have been guilty of talking myself out of sales and even after making a sale I've left the couple to make too many decisions regarding the album. That's why I have couples that have paid for albums and have yet to choose their favourites (I used to leave it up to them), there are too many images and selecting 50 or 60 as their "faves" for an album has proved to be overwhelming. Currently I have 5 albums outstanding that were paid for 3 to 4 years ago. It's only recently I've realised it's not the couples fault for not choosing the images they want, It's my fault for not providing a more thought out process. I know which images work better together, I know which images "tell the story", so why am I not the one picking the images? I've taken the choice away from my couples and it's proved to be really successful and I'm clearing the backlog. Couples love being told what works... And why shouldn't they? They are paying for a professional service. I've even had couples that have not wanted to see a preview of the design, they've trusted me to choose the images and design the layout and the first time they see this is as a final printed product... Nerve wracking but it's been brilliant! Album design and options... If you have a clear 'style' and a way you want to present your images then maybe there are NOT lots of album designs and looks (leather,acrylic etc) that suit your images. Again, take the choice away from the couple. One album, one size, no options, this is what I do and this is what will make your images look there absolute best... Taa dah!
    • Bryan Caporicci
      Great comments, Derek - thanks for sharing your experience. You're absolutely right ... most of the time we end up talking ourselves out of the sale by telling ourselves all kinds of funny stories. Hope the article helped you in some way!
  • This is just what I was looking for thank you!
    • Bryan Caporicci
      My pleasure!
  • Thanks for the article! I'm 3 weddings in this new adventure and am seeing 2 more in the near future and yes my photographs on paper/books look and breath so much better! I'm really wet behind the ear as to selling these albums though, pricing, vendor, and selling them are all new to me, I'm a fish out of water. As of now I'm experimenting with ArtisanState as part of my Full PACKAGES, but am wondering if I should go with a vendor that not every client can go to like you suggested, but you didn't list any in this article, could you help a brother out and add some suggestions?
  • Love the thoughts and strategy behind this! How would you suggest making it easy to order an album if they are overseas / unavailable to come IN to the studio? Cheers Ryan Breitkreutz Tailored Fit Photography
  • Bill Hover
    I sold my 9th couple a 1 Standard 40 page spread wedding album and 2 mini parent copies. 700, 350 350 netting me about $900 before taxes. I think you have to test the waters with each client and see how much they are willing to pay for Prints and have that language of conviction for them to be educated about getting a hard copy album. Photographers not pushing the importance of this with each client are really losing 33% of their total sale down the gutter. It also pays to buy these two books i recommend. Book 1: Pre-Suasion: Channeling Attention for Change and Book 2: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. You have no clue how many times these two books helped me closed 100% of all my consultations and up selling them on additional packages.

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