You've had the consultation, taken the portraits, and made the sale. Yay for you! But don't relax quite yet. You have one more crucial point of contact with your client. It's time to schedule the delivery.
Yes, I said schedule the delivery. This should be an appointment just like every other step. It will be a short appointment. I typically schedule about 15 minutes for pick-ups. I want to have the client open their package in front of me. I want to see how impressed they are with the professional prints and talk with them about the difference a professional print makes over a drug store print. I want them to become an advocate for professional prints and tell everyone they know how amazing they are. To do this I need to be there when they first see them to fuel the fire.
Packaging is a subject that I have mixed feelings on. I do believe strongly that professional packaging is a must. I don't believe that you should break the bank and damage your budget in order to purchase extravagant packaging. I think the most important thing about packaging is that it represent your brand. If you have a boutique newborn studio your packaging should be made to match. Same goes for your edgy and modern senior studio. It's also important to protect the client's products and prints. This may seem obvious but I have seen very pretty packaging that did not look very sturdy. What I have observed with my own clients is that my packaging usually invokes an "Oh, that's so cute!" and then gets ripped into in 5 seconds flat. I usually end up with ribbon on the floor after they leave. I have learned that cute packaging is appreciated, but great portraits are adored. So, just keep those priorities straight.
Though the delivery is the last step in the client experience for each session, its purpose is to make sure it is not the last time you see that client. Your work should speak for itself, but let's face it, your work doesn't actually speak. You must take advantage of this final opportunity to sell yourself to the client. Send them off with a great feeling about you and your studio. Make sure you include business cards as a part of your packaging. Preferably the part that will go home with them. Have your logo stamped on the boxes and bags. That makes your information harder to misplace. Include referral cards and bonuses for your client when the friends they refer come in for a session. Ask the client about their experience. Find out what they liked and what you could have done to better serve them. The 15 minutes you schedule for a pick-up/delivery can be the best time you ever spend on market research. Thank them for coming to your studio. This may seem like a no brainer but never forget to say thank you. Invite them back. Make sure they know you would love to work with them again.
There you go! The four steps to a successful session. A good goal to start with is to have one of each of these four steps scheduled for each day that you work. Go be amazing!