IPS Mastermind Rachel Boer educates photographer’s on business
Nov 19, 2020 | By: Jeremy H.
Rachel Boer has been working as a photographer for more than a decade. But it wasn’t where she started in life. After a career in music, she fell in love with photography. Rachel started her photography business not knowing what was the right or wrong way to serve clients and be profitable, but with a passion for the art of photography. As her business grew, she realized other photographers trying to start a new business were just like her and she wanted to help them.
So, Rachel began educating photographers on how to market and make their businesses profitable. Today, she and fellow photographer Dorie Howell operate IPS Mastermind, an educational site for photographers that focuses on business and sales – particularly in-person sales (IPS). It is a hivemind of creative support, resources, and best business practices with more than 30,000 members.
We recently spoke with Rachel, to learn more about her story and how IPS Mastermind is changing people’s photography businesses.
Thank you for speaking with us, Rachel. Please tell us about yourself.
Rachel: I'm a wedding and portrait photographer based in Memphis, TN. I've been in business for about 12 years, and along with running my studio I am a photography business educator and I specialize in teaching sales and marketing.
Was photography always a passion or something you gravitated to?
Rachel: I actually started out as a musician. I attended Juilliard and studied viola very intensely. After working in the music field for a while, I picked up a camera and almost immediately fell in love, not just with the art of photography but with the challenge of business as well.
Rachel, can you explain what IPS (In-person sales) is?
Rachel: In-person sales simply refers to the act of sitting down with your clients in-person to show and sell your images to them, rather than relying on online galleries. Many people think it's extremely complicated but nothing could be further from the truth! It's fun, simple, and highly profitable.
Why is the IPS model important to a photographer today?
Rachel: IPS is an incredible way to ensure a positive experience for your clients, which will result in higher sales, greater satisfaction, and more referrals. With IPS you can make sure your clients are equipped to make the purchasing decisions that are best for them, so they have a more positive experience with you as a result.
It allows for a deeper connection between photographer and client, which often translates to more repeat bookings. And it helps set you apart from the competition, since most photographers are fearful or hesitant to provide this service, so it can really help you stand out in an oversaturated market.
What was your photography business like before IPS, or was it the model you always used for your business?
Rachel: I started out knowing NOTHING about business and simply copying what I saw around me. I charged $50 for a session and a full disk of images, embarrassingly enough. I quickly realized that I was leaving so much money on the table – and not truly helping my clients – by just sending over digital images. So I switched to IPS and almost immediately saw my sales increase to $1,200 on average and then continue to go up from there.
My clients were happier, referrals were coming in like crazy, and I was finally making the money I deserved for my art. That's when I knew I had to help show other photographers how simple IPS can be and give them the tools to make this change in their own businesses as well.
How did IPS Mastermind (IPSM) come to be?
Rachel: I started a Facebook group for some local photographers and I to chat about IPS, and that group quickly grew to 30,000 members. I realized there was a huge need in the industry for quality education taught by working photographers, so my colleague Dorie Howell and I decided to start IPS Mastermind.
We have a membership with tons of resources for photographers who want to build stronger businesses in a fast, efficient way. We also have other online courses and resources available on different topics like pricing, marketing, and sales for people who want to focus on just one specific area.
What’s it like to be a mentor to thousands?
Rachel: I see it as a huge privilege and a huge responsibility. There are so many talented photographers who know how to create amazing images, but they struggle a bit more with the business side of things. That's nothing to be ashamed of, it just means they need to dive in and find the right tools and approaches that work for them and allow them to thrive.
I love it when we are that perfect fit for them and we can watch them build businesses that pay what they're really worth. It's life-changing for them and it's so gratifying for us.
What type of education are you giving people who join IPSM?
Rachel: Our membership is called Revive!, and it's designed to be a one-stop-shop for everything you need to run your business successfully. From 300+ micro-modules to work through at your own pace, to a mobile app for learning on the go, to contracts, templates, scripts, and workflows, all the information is there at your fingertips.
You can also take part in coaching calls, small accountability groups with other photographers, and our program is all laid out on a literal game board so it's fun to progress through the material and you always know exactly what to do next. We've had thousands of photographers enroll and their success stories would blow you away. It's so rewarding to watch them thrive!
How important is a website to a photography business?
Rachel: These days, a strong website is absolutely key for a photographer. You need a place to show your work, but more than that you need to walk your potential clients through a user experience that builds value and gets them excited to work with you before they've even spoken to you. Your website is something that is either working for or against you 24/7 so it has to be strong if you want a regular stream of qualified clients coming in.
Do you recommend photographers put pricing information on their website? This is something we always see a buzz around.
Rachel: I don't think it's a good idea to put all your pricing on your website, because it won't work well for your clients to see numbers before you've had a chance to connect with them and build value in their minds. But I don't recommend sharing zero pricing information either, because then you'll be getting a lot of leads that aren't qualified and it's going to be a waste of your (and their) time. A good compromise is listing some general or starting prices to give people an idea of what range you fall in, but not giving all the details until you've had a chance to speak to them.
We think that’s good advice. We’ve seen lots of people place prices on their websites because there is this notion that people won’t buy if they don’t see your prices.
It sounds cheesy, but it's watching photographers in our program come in with hesitations and fears, and then transition into confident and successful business owners before our eyes. It's not unusual for a member to excitedly post about their first $2,000 or $3,000 sale soon after starting the program, and the enthusiasm they feel is so contagious. People come in feeling frustrated or overwhelmed by their business, but within a matter of months, they become confident and highly profitable. It's such an exciting thing to watch over and over and I absolutely love it!
What’s the future for IPSM?
We always have new ideas and plans up our sleeves, but at the end of the day, we are always going to keep the main thing, the main thing: helping photographers build stronger businesses so they can earn what they deserve for their beautiful work!
Anything you want photographers to know right now?
Some photographers fear that IPS isn't possible during this season of COVID disruptions and quarantine. But clients still want this personalized service, even if the logistics look a little different and you need to rely on online tech solutions like Skype or Zoom to meet with them. Don't assume clients won't pay good money for photography right now though.
I am finding that people are seeing the value in family more than ever before, and many of my colleagues and I agree that we are seeing record sales figures these days. So don't let this unusual season slow you down; clients are out there and they are craving an exceptional experience right now, so offer it to them without hesitation and it will pay off big time!
We'd love to welcome you in our Revive! community, so take a minute to check it out here: weloveips.com
Thank you so much for speaking with us, Rachel!
Looking to boost your business profitability? IPS may be the solution for you. Check out the incredible resources available through IPS Mastermind to learn more about how it could be applied to your business.
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