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    Custom Portraits Upsell

    Custom Portraits Upsell

    Originally Published in The Village Square newsletter - April 2012

    We recently took our son in to get pictures taken at a photography studio. When we picked up the pictures, much to our surprise, they printed too many. What a great windfall! The extra prints were really cheap compared to what we already bought. So we shelled out the extra cash and now have even more pictures to share with our friends and family.

    Do we honestly believe they printed too many pictures? Of course not. This is called an up-sell. Once they have you in checkout, they offer additional goods/services at a reduced price. Its a way to make an additional sale with minimal risk of investment. I'm much more inclined to buy those extra prints as I have an vested interest in them. As scrollers, I think we can learn something from this practice by up-selling our services at checkout. How? By making additional copies with stack cutting.

    Stack Cutting is the process of making multiple copies of a cutting at once. You simply stack several pieces of plywood and secure them with tape around the edges. The tape holds the stack together and prevents the plywood from shifting. As you cut the portrait, you're cutting through several layers at once. When your finished, remove the tape along the edges to release the stack. Just like that, you have multiple copies of a project without any extra work.

    If you are doing a custom portrait, instead of cutting one copy, try stack cutting 2 or 3 extras. There's always somebody who will want one after seeing the original; mother, sibling, grandparent, etc. It doesn't take any extra time. Material cost is minimal. And quite honestly, its easier to cut a stack 1/2" thick than it is to cut something 1/8" thick.

    So lets say you were commissioned to do a custom portrait. You charge $60 for the work. When they pick up their custom cutting, mention that you made some extra copies "just in case" and show them. They can have the extras at $20 a piece if they're interested. This is a great deal compared to the initial $60 portrait! Plus, they have a vested interest because those cuttings are unique to them. They get a great deal and you walk away with an extra $40 with very little additional effort. You'd be surprised how often your extra copies will be purchased.

    But what if they don't want it? So what? It hardly cost you anything. Keep it for your portfolio and turn it into a sales tool. Print out the picture you used to make the portrait and tuck it into the corner of the frame. That way you can show people exactly what a custom portrait entails and what they can expect. You'll be able to sell your services a whole lot easier if the customer can see examples.

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    Stack Cutting is simply sensible if you are doing portraits and using Spiral Blades!

    1. Eliminates having the 'fuzzies' on your presentation piece.

    2. Spiral Blades are much easier to control with the greater thickness!

    3. That bottom 'throwaway' piece can often be cleaned up and used for an additional sale or donation or gift.

    4. You get to keep a copy of every portrait you cut IF you so desire...ALL my major portrait cuts are either hanging on my wall or in a file box for future use.

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    I do all my x-mas ornaments this way. Then you can lower the price a little because you have 3 to sell. I tried doing 4 but I had to slow down a lot because of the thickness. I do almost everything stack cutting now. I even did Elvis triplets one time.


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    That works great for cutting in Ply, I use solid wood (mostly maple for portraits), so stack cutting does not work for me on those. I do stack cut some ornaments and anything that I use ply for which isn't much. I have found that in my region that using the solid woods that I do does give me edge at shows for those looking for solid rather than ply. Not that there is anything wrong with ply for any of the works that we do. I use the solid wood as a selling point or feature that most others do not use. I also find that being able to make at least some of your own patterns will set you apart from anyone else who might be selling the same types of wares.Just some thoughts .Steve

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    Re stacking with solid wood. I've successfully stacked 2 1/4" maple.  It was a cow puzzle with frames and bottoms for each which I then built a sliding lid box to house, selling as the two-cow puzzle. One stained light, the other dark, the parts are interchangable so the user can create different looking cows each time. Quite popular. I rarely work with plywood other than the bottom of a framed puzzle.

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    I use this "upselling" technique  when I make special order inlays.  An recent example of this is: A guy ordered a special image that he liked and because I knew I could sell it to someone else if he decided not to buy it, I made two of them without prepayment.  I brought him both and asked him to choose which one he wanted and he bought them both.  I have done this many times.  Works well for me.  I do inlay so this does not involve stack cutting but I usually do make two or more of the same item at a time.

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