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NEWSLETTER FOR MARCH - APRIL 1983.

VOLUME No 62 THE ECONOMY

Whenever the going gets tough, the tough get going.
However turn back to page 3 of my last newsletter and half way down the page I start telling you the things you should be doing.

These are things I've been talking about for the past 12 months, these are the things you should be doing.

You should be selling    
You should be looking after your customers   
You should be looking at all your costs    
You should be looking at sound promotional ideas which result in you getting group 3 or group 4 people (see article later) into your studio.
You should be looking at family groups, getting them in and photographing them fully and then selling Love clusters (see article later in newsletter). 
You should be treating each customer that steps through the door like a king the way every customer should be treated.

Yes 19XX will be a bad year......    for some     

...   but it will also be the best year that some photographers have ever had if they do something constructive.

I still maintain that the majority of studios are only utilizing approximately

There are quite a few substantial studio1s who are 50% UP so far this year Why don't you join them ?

BALLOONS

Several studios that I visited in the States have a helium gas bottle with which they blow up balloons and they give this to every child that comes into the studio.

They give this to every child whether they are having a sitting or not, and of course, if they have a child at home they will give the mother a balloon to take home to that child. It would, of course, be advantageous for you to have balloons with your studio's name on, but even without the name its something you could get started for very little money which would be a draw card to your studio and make it just that little bit different.

PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHERS OF INDIANA
We attended the Professional Photographers of Indiana Convention in Indianapolis where we visited with Joyce & Tom Holt.

Joyce (Wilson-Holt) of course will be in New Zealand for a seminar in June and she showed us through their home where they have built their studio on the side and its a beautiful big studio with a fantastic high stud, must be all of 15 to 20 feet high and has a ski slope type roof and its a fantastic studio for working in with a beautiful window for daylight photography.  It really has ideal conditions for working in.

LINDA LAPP
Linda Lapp from the State of Oregon (one of the States on the Pacific Coast) gave an extremely good program with the theme "Love is".

One of the comments that she had which I found extremely interesting was her theory on the various classes of people.

FOUR CLASSES OF PEOPLE
Linda has a theory that you can divide everybody up into four classes of people, and these people, most times, shop in predetermined areas, eat out in restaurants in predetermined areas, drive predetermined types of cars, mix with predetermined people.

I think it can be best explained by describing the type of restaurant that these sort of people would normally eat at as a norm.  
Group 1 would eat at a restaurant we will call Albert's Cafe and Eatery.

Group 2 would eat at Cobb & Co.,or a "family-type" restaurant.

Group 3 would eat at Bonaparte's or Rossini's.

Group 4 would eat at some trendy little restaurant with expensive decor and be the restaurant that was in at the moment.

Linda says that most of her clients come from the Group 3 category and really you can tell this by the quality of her work and from her prices, if one was to examine her price list.

She says occasionally a Group 4 person walks through her door because there is no where else for them to shop for photography and quite often they are uncomfortable participating in her sort of photography and she does recommend that most times you would be better off with this sort of person if you sent them to somebody else.

In reflection, she is probably right, because they will probably refer to you to their friends as that grubby little photographer and it is a title that you may not really deserve.

Once one accepts these 4 classes of people and realizes that it is a fact one can then design one's business to cater for these people and build your studios décor and services to suit these people, however don't expect to find enough people in Tirau or Tikawheti to set up and run a class 4 studio.

Do remember often people will shop up, in other words buy from a more expensive place than they normally buy and occasionally people will shop down, but normally they shop from a business that they feel comfortable with and from a business they know they will get value for their money.

It was interesting to note at Linda's talk that the majority of people in the room felt they were dealing with class 3 people, where as in actual fact looking at their photographic quality and they themselves, they were closer to a 2.

QUALITY FOR MONEY
People will pay top dollar for top quality any where in the world in any sort of economy.

Likewise people will pay bottom dollar for bottom quality in any country anywhere in the world.    However people will not pay top dollar for bottom quality and be happy.

So do study your quality and do look for ways of increasing the quality & for ways of enhancing your product.

We do later hope to be opening an Art department which will help you in this area.

We do have a very good series of instructors visiting this country this year and this in its self can help you enhance your product and learn how to sell more.

The level of photography in this country compared to a lot of countries is extremely high.  This is in spite of us not having the correct sprays, the correct canvas for canvas mounting, good negative retouching and all of the other goodies that help to make a fine photograph.

LOVE CLUSTERS
LORN ROSTOTSKI was the feature speaker at the Atlanta Convention of the Southeastern states.

He gave the same talk that he gave at the PP of A convention in Atlanta two and a half years ago, but it received every bit as good a reception as it did the first time.

He talks of love clusters as being clusters of photographs of those that you love.   He talks of people with " problem walls " and how he helps solve their problem by selling them clusters of photographs.

Through his selling of wall clusters and aggressive marketing he says his average is $3,000 per family appointment.

Now this guy is not an American but comes from St John in New Foundland which is a province of Canada.

St John has a population of 150,000 people. The closest big city, Toronto is 14 hours flying time away and he says that everything has to be brought into the island. This includes milk, manufactured goods, everything.

He sends his colour printing to Winnipeg which is further away still.

He showed photographs of the street that he operates out of with his studio and he certainly does not live or operate out of a high class situation like one would imagine looking at what he says is his average.

He makes a comment that it is you that is a success and not your building   

However, I do note that the interior of his building is very tastefully designed.  The way that he and his wife dress would certainly place them in the group 3 and that while he does not have a flashy exterior it appears that it is the norm for the area.

SIMON HART TALKS IN MANAGING TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE

He Says computer technology is embarking on a period of exceptional growth.  And social and economic changes will probably occur in its wake at the same concept conceptually unmanageable pace

The first person to spell this out was Alvin Tofler who book "Future Shock"

His book showed an astute awareness of impending technological developments, but it did not contain one single reference to the most sensational instrument of change of all.The Micro processor for the very reason that when he wrote it the micro processor did not exist.  

The micro processor revolution has already moved beyond the factory floor and is invading the office and home.

Invariably the computerization of society will trigger an explosion of new news, of exchanges, of communications, of knowledge which will open up other careers.  

In the United States alone there are 145 million traditional jobs are predicted to be displaced as a result of technology by the end of this century. (hey that is now, I wonder if it happened!)

 

 

Seven million are expected to go from the factory environment, but a massive thirty-eight million are forecast to be lost from the office, mainly managers and professional staff.

Although new jobs are hoped to offset the 145 million displacements it is by no means clear how, or if, the unemployed can more into the newly created work activities.  

Australian journalist Bill Goff writes that the economy in Australia is expected to show zero or negative growth while well into 1983.

He says that the wage freeze whether successful or not provides a further damper to consumer demand within Australia.

He says from Australia's point of view the number of small business bankruptcies has been at an unsatisfactory high level for about 14 years and with the recession biting harder towards the end of 82 the size of businesses being forced to close down is beginning to increase with the number of insolvencies.

He says it must be emphasized that Australia's economic difficulties are serious and on going.

All these facts tied together with the facts I outlined in my last newsletter suggest to the writer that traditional approach to portrait & wedding photography may have to change.

Whilst in the seventies photographers could rely on doing a small amount of advertising and survive on the numbers of people walking through their door, I think a more aggressive approach is going to be necessary to prosper in the eighties.

We ourselves intend to continue to grow and we have faith in the future and we have shown this by moving into a new laboratory and ordering new equipment to expand our services.

We have shown this by the massive educational program we have organized over the next 3 years, so I do have confidence in the future of photography.

This confidence however does not say that one can ignore the economic trends and bury ones head in the sand, hoping that things will improve.

Planning is a must for growth and photographers along with all other small businesses will have to plan and actively go out looking for new business.

This will have to be done with much more finesse than merely advertising free sittings.

I also believe that the free sitting and free 5x4 may have in some circumstances may have reached its end of its useful life particularly when one considers that there will be more and more people at the lower end of the economic level of our society and whilst these people should not be completely ignored, I do not believe that photographers who are aiming for high averages can plan to successfully deal with this economic group.

I do believe that your existing client file is one of your most valuable tools that you have and to ignore that is like ignoring a winning ticket in a lottery.    It will get you exactly nowhere and will earn you no money.

I attended one sales conference at a photographers studio.         This studio had 2 full time photographers and they certainly were not in the volume trade.

They had part-time sales people and full time sales people and they had a conference for these people (12 in all) and these sales people where from throughout this large city in different areas.

They in actual fact planned an incentive plan for these sales people and the time top line was that if they managed to procure for the studio 80 sitting a month with an average order of $500 this would give a yearly total of $1400,00O.00 and that sales person would get either a Jaguar motor car or a Cadillac or walk away with the equivalent money.

If they only managed to get 40 sittings a month they would only end up with a Mink coat or Diamonds.

This studio was thinking big during a downturn in the economy.

Now these figures could not be matched in most country towns in New Zealand, however we do have 14 major cities and certainly Auckland with some 800,000 people (Now over 1,000,000) is larger than the majority of cities throughout the States.

Remember nothing happens until somebody sells something, so sitting on your backsides waiting for customers to come in will do exactly nothing.

I was also at the Phil Charis studio on my visit and even they admit that $1000.00 orders do not easy.

Their price list runs into the thousands of dollars, so do not think you can achieve major orders without having to work for them.

Please this year set yourself a goal to plan and improve your sales technique, to plan and improve your marketing technique, to plan and improve your photography.

NEW SALES AID FOR STUDIOS
To help you to increase your sales and to sell bigger prints we had to New Zealand Jack Peterson who spoke on "Projecting Profits".

He says would you like to increase your sales average without changing your current pricing structure, and at the same time present your product in a more professional manner?   If so then you can do just that with a dynamic new sales tool called Transproofs.

Monty Zucker writes of this technique;
It can't be done!
It is too radical a change!
We don't have the time!
We've never done anything like it before!
Why change everything is working okay!
Its too far ahead of our time!
If it worked we would already be doing it!
We are doing alright without it!
It certainly won't work in our area!

Okay, he says, there you have it, all sorts of reasons why you should never change and take Jack's teaching to heart.

On the other hand you might just consider Jack Petersons daring new concept for selling wedding candids, portraits and photo decor, just like I did and laugh all the way to the bank.

"ON SMILES"                        Ian Hawthorne.  Australia.

We are all, form the moment of birth, concerned with images.  Our earliest memories are of people, of movement, of sound, and of smell; but recall is mostly imagery.

Our earliest realizations are of faces.  Even as young babies we learn and sense the power of expression, its reward and its realities.

As young babies we learn how to manipulate through facial image response.  We understand and use this new found power to communicate.  It can be no accident that most parents prefer to see their children portrayed as smiling, for a smile is an event to which the parent can bring a pleasurable response.

Someone has said "That only a very young baby smiles in innocence, totally unaware that its smile can be a message, that it is a message is one of the very first things that it learns, later still it learns to read the smiles of others

We who strive to make people smile should make a greater effort to understand both the motivations and the meanings of smiles.   It is undeniable that as the older portrait photographers have always said "Expressions sell pictures", but there are other expressions.   The trick is to set the subject so that the setting is in some way responsible for and in sympathy with the expression; smiles, of course, do not make this demand, the viewer projects the smile as response to his or her presence, it is an old artifice, and end in itself.

Indeed the smile is simply for the camera, it is a conditioned response.

Whenever I see an exhibition of portraits of children made by professional photographers I am confronted by the enigma of- what are they smiling about ?

The answer is very seldom included in the picture.   Children will often smile for the simple but profound joy of being, but this expression of pure unselfconscious joy will seldom happen within the artificial confines of a photographic studio and when you, as the photographer, crack it for an exuberant laughter of pure delight, the response as shown on the proof will usually make most kids look like cretins.

Yet still, we go on looking for smiles when smiles are just one of the varied and many expressions of a child.

Perhaps we look for smiles because a smile being an end in itself it saves us from the fag of having to make pictures.

Every day people bring into our studios old photos for copying; the old photographers showed children as pensive, concentrated, thoughtful, preoccupied, interested, absorbed, slightly amused or serious.

In many of the better pictures the reason for the child1s expression is shown or is alluded to.

In the better pictures the objects and artifacts were as important but subjective to the child.   They were not pictures in which the total reality was anonymous painted background.

Smiles are important - expression sells pictures - so too does atmosphere.

The photographer who has both the taste and the discretion to achieve both will break new ground for today's craft.

In that growth of his abilities to include today's realities may be the resurgence of tomorrows portrait market.

IMPORTANT WORDS
How may I help you?
What do you think?
You did a good job
Would you mind?
Thank you.
We.