Does the Simples Sales System work? Heck yeah it does. I'm living proof. This review of the Simple Sales Blueprint contains affiliate links (coupon discount code below) because I'm passing on the best thing that has ever happened to my photography business, tripling my income and lessening my workload.
Exhilarated... and exhausted
In my thirties I discovered a newfound passion of photography. There were few other things that made me feel as alive as I was behind a camera. I was hustling hard--fitting in session after session, juggling the needs of my family of six, and generally burning the candle at both ends to get dinner, homework, and galleries delivered on time. Sound familiar?
By the time Christmas rolled around I was exhilarated... and exhausted. My family was feeling it too. It was clear that something had to change. I had heard the stories of photographers older and wiser than me who worked themselves into burn out and I knew that I was lining myself up to do just that.
During slow season I sat down to look at my numbers and what I discovered wasn't pretty. When I took into account not only the time associated with photographing sessions--travel, the session itself, editing, and gallery delivery--but the time spent on all the OTHER stuff--education, marketing on social media, accounting, communication with clients, blogging, and teaching myself how to XYZ--I was shocked.
I wasn't making much more than a McDonald's employee.
And I wasn't even thinking about a retirement plan.
THIS CAREER THAT I LOVED SO MUCH was NOT LOVing ME BACK.
I EITHER HAD TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO MAKE IT WORK OR SWITCH PATHS.
In order to earn a salary that would support my family, I would have to take on an enormous amount of clients, and I knew that I wasn't prepared to do that either. I was already at my breaking point and I didn't want to compromise on my level of service or quality of images.
You might as well just walk away, said a voice in my head.
You might as well look for a solution, said the other.
I knew that a lot of photographers turn to In Person Sales (IPS) business models to help boost their sales. They have their session then schedule a time for the family to come back where they sell them a set of prints or very nice products for their home--framed prints, canvas art, metal prints, etc.
You're spending twice the amount of time on each client, but average sales for IPS photographers can run into the thousands if you know what you're doing.
Here's the thing... I had already taken a run at in-person sales when I worked for a cutlery company one summer during my college years and I could unequivocally say that I did NOT want to turn myself into a greedy salesperson. It's just not who I am.
And I ESPECIALLY did not want to be sitting there when the couple got into a fight right in front me about how much they could spend, or be asked to go sit in my car while one spouse attempts to convince the other (awkward experiences that I will never be able to erase from my psyche).
And yet... there was something about leaving a family with a physical product for their home that appealed to me.
AS A BUSY MOM, I KNEW THAT DELIVERING A BUNCH OF DIGITAL IMAGES MEANT THAT I WAS BASICALLY HANDING MY FAMILIES ONE MORE THING TO PUT ON THEIR "TO-DO" LIST.
AND THERE WAS A GOOD CHANCE THAT IT WOULD NEVER GET DONE.
Most of the time, those digitals never got turned into prints. They remained on their hard drive waiting to re-surface every few years always with the hope of "someday" turning them into a book or wall art. Or they might get deleted by accident (another unfortunate experience of mine).
Is that good service for my clients? No. No it is not. I want to get them all the way to the finish line.. to have something for their wall or their coffee table that they and their children's children can remember for the rest of their lives.
It was at this point that I stumbled upon Annemie Tonken and The Simple Sales System.
The Simple Sales System was created by veteran photographer and photography business guru Annemie Tonken when she was looking for a way to meld the high class experience of IPS with the ease and automation of all-inclusive digital photography.
She wanted to get away from the time consuming aspects of in person sales without compromising on selling fine prints and products to her clients as part of her service and she created a system that automated the entire thing while incorporating personal touches that made the overall experience more meaningful.
Since she was still selling prints and products as part of her business model, her pricing could reflect that.
As I listened to her introductory masterclass on the Simple Sales System, I became more intrigued by her approach to photography. It's not only about the photos themselves but also about the experience she leads them through.
Her masterclass left me with a good framework of how my business could change for the better, but her Simple Sales Blueprint would review all the nitty gritty details.
In short, The Simple Sales System was offering everything I was looking for--A way to make more money, create a better client experience, and leave my clients with a tangible product to enjoy in their home
I was sold. I purchased the Simple Sales Blueprint and began changing my business model from all-inclusive digitals to the Simple Sales System. I'm not gonna lie, it took a bit of work, but the promise of an automated system with a better experience for my clients was going to be worth it.
After running my numbers through her photography pricing calculator, I soon learned that I would need to triple my prices in order to make a living wage. I knew I needed to raise prices but I was shocked by how much. I sat with it for at least a week before making any changes.
I had all the fears. ALL. OF. THEM. Will this work for me? Will anyone hire me with these prices? Am I good enough? Will my area support this?
If I've learned one thing about being an entrepreneur, it's that freaking out about change is part of the process.
I felt all of the feelings and then pressed on.
(Joining the ultra-supportive Facebook group was super helpful)
It took a lot of work chipping away at it for a few hours a day for about 6 weeks, but once I had completed the Blueprint, I had a clear system to lead my clients through:
- A booking strategy for the first contact I made when a client inquired
- A beautiful session prep guide to send to my clients once they had booked
- An automated gallery delivery system with emails that went with it
- A slideshow to create a meaningful moment for every family to have together
- Gorgeous products that were priced appropriately and strategies for how to introduce them
There were things that the Simple Sales System did for my business that I didn't even know I was missing.
I now had a more professional photography experience for my clients.
The only thing left to do was start booking clients. And that I did.
I soon learned that all my fears were unfounded, and in fact, it turned out to be just the opposite. People who are budget shopping typically do not make great clients. The kinds of people I wanted to work with were happy to pay my prices and trusted me as the photographer because my premium price indicated that I was an experienced, professional photographer. They were not likely to make demands or try to direct the shoot. In short, I found myself working with delightful families 90% of the time.
Since I was making around triple the income that I used to make, that meant that I could decide to take on fewer clients if I wanted to, leading to a better work/home balance.
Not only that, but my clients were contacting me saying HOW PLEASED they were with their session, how they were reaching for the tissues during their slideshow, and how much they appreciated having prints for their home.
Better pay? Check.
Less hours? Check.
Happier clients? Check.
This is no exaggeration: The Simple Sales System is the number one way that my business has changed for the better, bar none.
If you are considering how to make a change to your photography business, look no further. I would highly recommend that you check out Annemie's free masterclass on the Simple Sales System.
If nothing else, listen to her podcast This Can't Be That Hard for the best business advice around.
I love a good coupon code, and I have one right here for you.
Use the code NBP to get $100 off the Simple Sales Blueprint.
Wanna chat about it? I'd LOVE to! Shoot me an email