Episode 046: How to Foster Community in Your Industry as a Creative Entrepreneur with Courtney CannonFebruary 23, 2022
Episode 048: How to Use Pinterest to Help Your Small Business Make More Money in 2022 with Chelsea de Araujo of Chelsea Joy CreativeMarch 10, 2022
Whether you’re a wedding photographer or another kind of creative entrepreneur, there are likely countless ways you can better serve your customers AND increase profits through upselling. And, in this episode of Priority Pursuit, KISS Books Founder and CEO Shaun Austin Gordon breaks down the sales strategy he teaches photographers to help them sell a wedding album to every single client (AKA a strategy for better serving customers and increasing profits through upselling).
If you’ve listened to previous episodes of Priority Pursuit, you’ve heard about KISS Books—an heirloom album company for photographers based in Indianapolis, Indiana and the album company that I exclusively use for Victoria Rayburn Photography clients. But, what I haven’t shared about KISS Books is the fact that Shaun’s album sales system allowed me to serve all of my 2021 couples with wedding albums—which did immense things for my client experience—and allowed me to make an additional $20,000 in 2021!
Because KISS Books and Shaun’s album sales system have been such blessings to me, I’m thrilled to have Shaun on the show to explain how to improve your client experience and how to increase profits through upselling.
Side Note: This blog post shares an abbreviated version of Shaun’s album selling process—which can absolutely be adjusted for other industries, products, and services. You can hear more of Shaun’s system in the audio featured at the top of the page, and you can find step-by-step instructions for implementing this system in Shaun’s book, The Stack.
What is “upselling”?
First of all, what is “upselling”? Upselling is simply a sales strategy that encourages your already existing customers to invest in more of your products or services to upgrade their experience. As Shaun shares in this episode, your clients come to you with a budget in place to pay for the experience you offer. But, through upselling, you have the opportunity to show them what a little more money could get them and improve upon their experience and their final results.
Sometimes, the idea of upselling gets a bad rap amongst creative entrepreneurs. However, Shaun argues that when the negative connotations are removed, offering your customers more or better options (AKA upselling) is really just serving your customers with all you have to offer.
Why is upselling so valuable for creative entrepreneurs?
Okay, that definition of upselling seems simple enough, but why is upselling an important strategy for creative entrepreneurs to use in their businesses?
According to Shaun, your clients choose you because of how you make them feel and the experience you create, and because of that, they’re invested in you and what you offer. And, when presented with the option, many of your clients would be willing to invest even more in you, your products, and your services.
In other words, because you’re creating an experience that’s meaningful to your customers, when you show them how you can add to their experience, they’re likely going to be excited and willing to pay for an improved experience.
To better understand, imagine yourself in the customer position for a second, and pretend you need a haircut. First, you’re obviously going to choose a hair stylist or barber you like and who will do a great job cutting your hair. Then, during your haircut, your barber/stylist cuts your hair perfectly, shares in conversation with you, gives you an awesome experience that’s meaningful to you, and just blows you away. When your barber/stylist then shows you some cologne, the brush you talked about, or another product you can buy for an extra cost, are you willing to pay for it? Yes! Because, you’re already invested in the stylist/barber and the experience they provided.
Shaun argues that this is why upselling is so valuable. In summary, when you serve your clients well, your clients are more receptive when you show them what else you can offer (e.g. a product, upgrade, etc.). And, when you fail to offer upsell options, you’re leaving money on the table and doing a disservice to your clients.
How to Increase Profits Through Upselling
Hopefully, the stigma of upselling is now erased from your brain, and you’re ready to learn Shaun’s upselling system that will allow you to both (1) better serve your customers and (2) increase your profits.
Before we dive in, I want to give you a quick heads-up about two things.
- The following steps for how to implement Shaun’s sales process are an abbreviated version of Shaun’s sales process, and I highly recommend purchasing his book The Stack, and as well as listening to the audio of this episode to learn about these steps in detail.
- Shaun’s system is based on selling wedding albums, but these tactics and principles can be adjusted for any industry, product, or service.
Set clear expectations with your clients.
First, anytime you’re working with a client, you want them to know exactly what they can expect when they work with you. Shaun encourages you to educate your clients and set clear expectations (e.g. pricing) about products or services that you’ll be upselling from the get-go.
For example, Shaun stresses that communication about how much things will cost is a must, because your client needs to know what they’re already paying for and what products or services will cost extra so they can weigh their options and budget accordingly.
2.Establish your “stack.”
With clear expectations communicated to your clients, you’re ready to start talking about the packages you can offer. In other words, you’re ready to show them your “stack” of options.
Shaun explains that the stack is a good, better, and best option. In Shaun’s album sales process, this includes an 8×8, a 10×10, and a 12×12 album. (The albums “stack” on top of one another in a beautiful way, hence the name.)
3. Include your “good” option in your packages.
With your “stack” established, Shaun recommends that you build your “good” option into your packages with the option of upgrading. For example, if your “good” option is an 8×8 linen album, include an 8×8 album in your packages. No matter what, your clients will walk away with a “good” option, but they then also have the ability to upgrade to a “better” (10×10 album) or “best” (12×12 album) option, which is a stronger album for them and more revenue for you. To get a better idea of this model, check out my album page!
Building your “good” option into your package makes it easier for clients to want to upgrade. For example, all of my wedding photography packages include a $600 album credit, which covers the cost of an 8×8 album. Because couples already have a credit, when they decide they want to upgrade, the “better” or “best” options don’t feel like such a stretch, because clients feel as if they’re getting $600 off.
Now, this is obviously a great strategy for photographers selling albums, but what if you work in another industry? Rest assured, this strategy can still work for you so you can increase profits through upselling.
For example, if you own a nail salon, you can create a good, better, and best option. For example, if your “good” option is a standard pedicure with basic services, your clients can upgrade to receive more or better services, which results in an enhanced experience for them and more revenue for you.
Basically, regardless of what industry you work in, if you create a “stack” of options, this gives your clients the chance to upgrade, which strengthens their experience and increases your sales.
4. Respond to the emotion of the experience for your clients.
While clear expectations, defining your “stack” of options, and building your “good” option into your packages are all important pieces to using Shaun’s album selling process, we can’t forget upselling involves recognizing how our clients feel and then responding to their emotions.
For example, when it comes to selling albums, Shaun argues that the first preview wedding photographers should share with their couples is the mockup of their wedding album. More specifically, he recommends designing the album as a “better” or “best” option (AKA designing the album as a 10×10 or 12×12 with “extra” spreads), putting their album to their first dance song, and then emailing couples the link to their mockup a few days after their wedding—likely while they’re on their honeymoon—with a sweet note.This initial digital preview of their wedding album gives couples a beautiful sneak peek into their amazing day, and the mockup gives couples another memory and special experience—seeing their wedding photos for the first time.
The emotions they have while seeing their album for the first time are heightened, because you’ve made their seeing their sneak peek from their wedding an emotional experience. This will likely result in the couple wanting to upgrade their album to the “better” or “best” version that you share with them, rather than the “good” option already in their package, because they’re now emotionally invested in the preview of what their album could look like.
Although the example above is about wedding photography, you can still respond to how your clients feel about the experience you gave them by serving them with the best option possible.
Long story short, upselling allows you to better serve your customers.
So, has the idea of upselling lost its negative vibe? I hope so, because increasing your sales through upselling is an opportunity to serve your clients well and grow your business.
Regardless of what industry you’re in as a creative entrepreneur, you have a one-of-a-kind experience to offer your clients. Your clients are invested in you, and you can serve them well by giving them options that enhance their experience with you.
Friend, upselling isn’t taking advantage of your customers; upselling gives you the chance to pull out all the stops for your clients and serve them in the best way possible. Don’t be afraid to practice the steps Shaun shared in this episode, because your clients deserve an amazing experience, and considering all the hard work you do, youu deserve to be more profitable.
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Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode
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