Payment plans helped me double my portrait sales, it's as simple as that.
If you're not already offering payment plans OR if you are but you're not sure how to run them, then listen up!
Often times clients go into the shoot thinking they're only going to buy a couple photos or spend a certain amount at the viewing/ordering session. Typically this is because even though they love your work they don't yet believe that they can look like “that.” However, once you blow them away with the photos and truly show them that they ARE gorgeous they will want to buy MANY MORE then they thought. No woman would choose to leave behind absolutely GORGEOUS photos of herself. Am I right ladies?!
So let's say you present your client at the viewing/ordering session with GORGEOUS images that she HAS to have. Well what if she was only planning on buying one or two? It would be very easy for her to say “well I guess I'll just stick with one or two because I don't have more money with me.” If you didn't offer payment plans that would be the end of that sale. However by offering a monthly payment option you can let her know that it's no problem and that she can take advantage of paying monthly so she can have ALL the photos she loves.
Other FANTASTIC reasons to offer payment plans:
-You will get paid more consistently year round
-If they know they can pay monthly they might book today vs. waiting to save up
-You will increase your chances of selling larger packages
-This will allow your client to purchase what they REALLY want
But I know some of you are thinking….
DOWNFALLS of payment plans:
-What if they never finish making their payments?
-What if they take the product and I never see the money?
-Will this bring me low end clients?
-Isn't this going to take up a lot of my time?
Through many years experiences, trial and error and tears shed I have found the solution to all of these questions (thank god, phew)!!!
The key is to set rules and FOLLOW THEM.
If you put rules and guidelines into place for your payment plan offerings you will no longer run into problems. Rules belong in life because well, they work. After I came up with these payment plan “rules” and put them into play for my business I no longer had to pull my hair out 😉
KEY PAYMENT PLANS RULES:
–THE #1 RULE: Have them sign a contract with your payment plan terms inside (I use this contract template & then add in my payment plan options & terms. For example I offer payment plans up to 3 months but you can do as many as you'd like. I create the blanks where I fill in when each payment is due and the terms of that they get their products once it's paid in full within x amount of weeks, etc. Then I have them sign off on everything.)
-#2 RULE: Use a software, like ShootQ to track your payment plans, send auto reminders, & how they can make a payment online. It's so simple and you won't need to stress – let automation take care of it all!
-#3 RULE: Do not deliver the product until AFTER it is paid for in full (I tell my clients they will receive their photos 1-2 weeks after their final payment is made)
-#4 RULE: Do not post photos online until they have been paid for in full (At the end of the sale I tell them that if they pay in full today I put the images they order w/ logo on facebook. This sometimes gets clients to have an “ah hah we CAN pay in full for this large package” moment)
-#5 RULE: Set rules for the longest length of a payment plan you would allow (I allow up to 3 monthly payments, set a plan that will work for your business model)
-#6 RULE: Set rules for late fees (No matter what their payment plan is I have in my contract I will only hold their photos for 3 months. I don't have late “fees” but you certainly could.)
TIPS FOR PAYMENT PLANS TO RUN SMOOTHLY:
-Have auto reminders (I put their order into “Shootq” and then it automates when their payments are due, emails them and they just sign in and make a payment, it's SO easy.)
-After they sign the contract and you explain to them how it all works ask them if they have any other additional questions? You want to make sure you're both on the same page 🙂
-I allow them to make payments via paypal/google checkout via shootq through their online invoice or pay over the phone or mail a check or make an appointment with me to pay in person (I want to make it as easy as possible for them to pay me.)