My dream is to equip creatives with DIY SEO but also tools so they can book more clients and live out their creative destiny. I will start sharing more ways how to book more clients for your photography and creative businesses, and I am so excited to have today’s guest writer, Marla from Big Shots By Marla on the blog to kick of the book more clients series. Marla will be sharing how she rocks her Senior Rep program in her market so check out her Senior Rep Program tips.
Secrets of A Successful Senior Model Program
There are so many senior model/rep programs out there. How do you know which one is good and will work for you? Honestly, you don’t! But, you can trust that someone who’s done it before and that’s where I come in!
I was so lost years ago. I didn’t know what to do so I began researching and piecing together what I found and came up with the model program I use today. It’s been quite a journey. I truly think it can work in any market and hope it works for you.
My model program began in 2010 with just three girls. I didn’t require them to purchase anything so they weren’t paying clients. I also didn’t have any special events. They were just girls I took pictures of whom I trusted to spread the word about my business. They had nothing invested in my business or me. I had everything invested in them, as they were my entire word of mouth. That was scary!
My model program has grown a lot since then. The model experience and the relationship that we create together are what set me apart from other photographers in the area. Besides my photographic skills, I offer many things to entice them to want to be a part of my program. We have themed shoots, a picnic, ways to earn money by posting on social media and bringing me referrals, a fundraising opportunity and a partner event with a local boutique. I also have a pre-session consultation over the phone to discuss every aspect of the senior session experience. I’ve had seniors text me pics of their outfits for my opinion. I love that they trust me and I work hard to earn that trust. After the session, I have an in person ordering session. They come with at least one parent to view and choose their images. I present between 25-40 images on a large screen via projector. This larger than life presentation always gets the “oohs and ahhs”! My average senior sale is $1700 and grows each year.
Last year I had twenty girls on my model team. The key to my successful model program is offering something that appeals to the moms and seniors from the minute they walk in the door to the model meeting. A well-decorated room, raffle tickets and a box of candy greet them on each chair; all with my branded colors. During the meeting, I have an impressive power point presentation with a coordinating senior magazine, past models speak and lots of samples for them to view like albums, canvases, collages, books and prints. I don’t think it’s one thing that entices them to join. I believe it’s the overall experience and atmosphere coupled with the reputation of my business and model program. They must see value and I sell that as an experience like none other around.
My program is set up to make me money by treating my models like clients with benefits! My program is not exclusive. What that means is that I do not have an application or an interview. Anyone who wants to join can join. It actually is more fun for them if all of their friends are doing it too. The “big idea” here is that I have them put money down upfront to be a part of the program. Basically, they are paying the session fee and a part of their collection at the meeting. The money goes straight to their session and their order. They don’t lose their initial investment. In fact it turns into the best savings I offer all year because of how much more they get then my “regular” client without spending a penny more. This works so well because I have money coming in months before my season would traditional start and they have skin the game.
My program also is not a high-pressure referral program. What that means is that I do not require the models to bring me referrals. If they do, that’s great. I will pay them $25 per referral and $25 for every 50 points they earn by posting on social media. If they choose to not get referrals or earn points, that’s fine with me. When you treat your models as employees and are constantly hounding them for referrals, you lose your relationship with them. I treat my models as integral people in my business because they are.
The key and takeaway here is that to have a successful model program, you have to set it up to be a win-win. If you are doing too much work with no pay off, that won’t work. If your models feel like they’re being bothered to “work” for you, that won’t pay off either. Offering more and expecting less while having them pay upfront are my secrets to a successful model program. I hope they will be yours too!
I love how there is no one set way to run a Senior Rep program and love the golden nuggets here shared by Marla. So what was your favorite tip? Are you running a fab senior rep program as well? Can you share with us what is working for you? Make sure you follow Marla and her fabulous work on social media:
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