Thursday, September 09, 2010

Business Day Thursday: It’s Tupperware Time - Throw A Portrait Party

Good Morning Everybody,

We had another great of folks turn out for last night’s program and  everyone really enjoyed the program.  Our trip into Dallas was not so smooth though.  After turning in Phoenix at about 1:00 a.m. we were up four hours later, packing bags, and heading to the airport to drop the rental car and board the plane for Dallas.

Thumbs Down - Fotolia_19274739_Subscription_XXL Because our bags were slightly overweight (not a problem for Delta), American felt it was necessary charge us and an additional $250!!! to get the bags on board.  We do travel heavy when traveling to conventions and giving programs.  I don’t mind paying a fair price for the excess baggage, but the American charges were excessive and the agent was rude.

Delays - Fotolia_17332451_Subscription_XXL Next we boarded the plane only to find out that once everyone was buckled in, American announced that we would be facing a ground delay of almost THREE hours!  Remind me to book another airline next time around.  Yesterday' morning’s “American” was a perfect example of the LACK of customer service so prevalent these days with the airlines.

Anyway, sorry for the negative remarks to begin the day.  On a much happier note, we finally arrived at Dallas, rushed to the hotel to get set up and had a wonderful evening in between thunder storms and tornado alerts.  Today we are driving over to Houston and looking forward to visiting with the friendly Houston attendees. 

Hey gang, I’ve got a great Business Day Thursday post for you today.  Give it a read and let me know what you think – lots of possibilities here.  Let’s get right to it – here we go…

It’s Tupperware Time - Throw A Portrait Party

Party LR - Fotolia_5319677_Subscription_XL OK, I'm kind of dating myself by using the Tupperware analogy in today's post. Tupperware parties started about 60 years ago [link] and worked like a charm for many of the people that hosted them.

I've had this idea for years and have never given it a try, but I think there is quite a bit of business building potential. The basic idea works just like the Tupperware or Pampered Chef parties many of you may have experienced. Your hostess invites the attendees and the sales representative makes their best presentation to the captured audience. Here is how I would suggest you could put this idea to work for you.

Hit the “Read more…” link below to see my 7 step plan to Portrait Party success.

We all have clients that love us and love our photography. Ask around and you should easily be able to find someone willing to throw a "Portrait Party" for you. Your best prospects could come from past wedding clients who are connected with like minded friends.

Here are my 7 key points to consider for a successful Portrait Party:

1-  You will first need to offer a substantial incentive to the hostess for hosting the "Portrait Party". These incentives would be based on a point system. For instance, each point is worth $1.00. For hosting the party, I would suggest 250 points. Depending on your price points, that could be up to one complimentary portrait session and/or one 16x20 wall portrait. That's typically a value and a very nice incentive. Of course these price suggestions will vary with different parts of the country.

2-  You want the party to be a success for you, and you want it to be a success for your hostess, too. Success for you means getting many of your hostess's friends to see, learn and purchase your cool portrait products and services.

Success for your hostess would be the additional incentives she receives generating a good attendance. I would suggest an additional 10 points or $$ hostess incentive for each attending guest at the party. Just like a Tupperware party, 8-20 attendees would be just about right.

3-  Now let's take another lesson from the Pampered Chef and Tupperware parties. We want the attendees to purchase that evening! Your Portrait Party should be the center of the universe for your best deals.

You've got to consider what products and packages you want to offer? Put a little thought into your product offerings. Be sure to bundle items for better perceived value and offer plenty of choices. Offer purchasing incentives too, for instance, the higher the pre-purchase sale, the greater the discount offered.

4- List your products and services on an easy to read and understandable order form and be sure your incentives/deals/offers are clearly spelled out. Next, have your presentation well rehearsed so you don't stumble, fumble, or fall before the finish line. Also, put together a nice display before the guests arrive of want you want to feature and sell at the party.

5-  Remember, your Portrait Party is not just about getting people to show up. Its about those that show up making a purchase. You want your hostess to be inviting people that have a good chance of hearing your message and purchasing your product packages.

That means one more hostess incentive. At the end of the party, audit the packages purchased and award your hostess accordingly. You can see that this portrait party could be quite a rewarding experience for your hostess.

6-  So, you may be asking, "Are the attendees offered any purchasing incentives?" My quick answer is, "Of course". I suggest that anyone that wants to purchase any of your packages that evening receives a complimentary portrait session the value of which could range up to $200 or more.

If they order nothing that evening, I would still keep the door open by presenting them with a $100 gift card which they can use in the future with you. This becomes an extremely motivating factor for your hostess.

She is basically offering her friends who attend a complimentary portrait session from you. And if they decide to buy nothing, they still leave with a $100. Sounds like a deal to me, and I think it will sound like a great deal to your hostess' friends and attendees too.

7-  Wait, there's more. You want to continue the process don't you? Just like at a Tupperware/Pampered Chef Party there are hostess packages available ONLY to the person hosting a party.  Make these REALLY special. How about getting your hostess to work for you in setting up your next party. Yes, that means one more hostess incentive and a biggie at that. If your hostess arranges to have one of her friends host one of your portrait parties, she would receive an additional 100 points. By hosting their own Picture Party they become eligible for those special Hostess ONLY packages.

You can see that the hostess points can add up quickly. She's thrilled, you're thrilled, and the attendees are thrilled. What a great way to throw a party, spread the word about you and your business, meet new perspective clients and have a little fun too!

What I've tried to do today is give you a framework upon which you can build your own portrait party ideas. You may chose to tweak the points and the amounts but at least you have a road map in which to give your portrait party a try.


Hey gang, that's it for me today. We head out to Houston shortly. We have another great crowd coming by tonight. How about I see you there. Be sure come up and say HI too.

See ya' soon,



  1. Excellent tip. I've often thought of combining a party like this with a Mary Kay representative. It would work by creating a relationship with a Mary Kay rep attend one of their make over events and then do a quick session with the attendees when they are done making themselves up. Then follow the advice you presented above. Great ideas!

  2. My sister is in Party Lite. I think I will bounce this idea off her. Another good idea, David. See you in Chicago next Tuesday!

  3. Hello David, This is Roberto. It was a pleasure meeting you last night. I stopped and talked to you after the presentation. The tip today is good and I know you had mentioned it yesterday. I am planning on combining this with a friend of mine doing an Amway Global Presentation to a bunch of friends. I hope more people attend your presentation in the cities to come. It was excellent. Keep up the awesome work, and thanks for all the good information.

  4. I've been toying with this idea for a few months, as well. It would work for "playdates," too, if you specialize in children's photography.

  5. Rick in Montgomery, AL1:03 PM, September 09, 2010

    My wife use to be a Mary Kay Senior Dir. The idea Michael mentions works very well.

  6. How did you know I was wondering how to pull off a portrait party? (I'm old enough to remember being dragged to Tupperware parties with mom.) I first saw the portrait party concept mentioned in a LinkedIn group posting, but without details/ideas for organizing it. Your suggestions make a lot of sense. Many thanks.

  7. Hmm. Never mind Mary Kay and Tupperware. In the UK we have Ann Summers. Now that would be an interesting combo:-)

  8. On the comment about your flying adventure...After flying Northwest and American for years-I love Southwest airlines--fast efficient and two bags per person under 50 pounds fly free, pay the extra $10 and they check you in. I would go Southwest any day over all the other carriers! Give them a try

  9. Enjoyed Tues. night's event in Phx. Lots of info. packed into one evening. Thanks for coming, and for the great price!
    Also love the idea of a Photog Party! YEAH!

  10. David, I attended your Houston event & had a great time! Learned a lot, as well.
    You had mentioned this at your training, but didn't really flesh it out; thank you for doing so here on your blog.
    Thanks for sharing your expertise!

  11. I love your party suggestion; what an awesome idea. I am also happy about your willingness to express dissatisfaction over a “vendor.” I’m talking about something entirely different than whining over a not-so-happy client. If we receive poor service or rudeness from others then by gosh I believe we should share it with others. I did a portrait session last week on a one-lane, rural, public road at a bridge. It turns out that a mean, nasty lady lives on this 2 mile long road and as my timing would have it, she drove past as I was doing the session. The first words were “if you touch that fence I will prosecute you for trespassing.” I was yards away from her property and had no such intentions of disrespecting another’s property. She then returned moments later and video recorded me and maneuvered herself—continuously—to block my view of my subject. I have learned this week that she has a long, ugly history of causing trouble but this was my first encounter with her. Suffice it to say, I would never, ever consider signing a portrait session contract from a known mean-spirited individual such as this. It is sad to come to this, but if one has a seriously negative feeling about a prospective client then we do have access to public records that could possibly help confirm our uneasiness. Brian F.

  12. As an airline pilot myself, I'm not sure why you'd pick AA over Southwest when going into DFW, unless you needed to make a connection to another airline at the DFW airport. Southwest flies into LUV (Love Field) which is almost in downtown Dallas, has a much better reputation for customer service and on-time departures/arrivals and is my choice when I have to "commute" to Phoenix for training events.

    AA pilots have a lot of legitimate issues with their management, which sadly get taken out on their passengers (sitting just short of the gate to burn fuel, thus messing up the bean counters numbers and lower management's HUGE bonuses) among other things.

    I've had ATC holds where we were told we were going to sit a long time, and usually if we can get a gate to go back to, we'll return to the gate after getting approval from dispatch (returning to the gate is a HUGE deal in the airline industry) because leaving pax sitting for more time than the flight will take is unacceptable.

  13. Thanks David, good tips! When I first started out I did portrait parties, and it deffinatly helps with obtaining new clients. I like your ideas of the point system and may run a special for portrait parties in the near future! :)

  14. This is a fantastic idea I've played with before. I haven't been active, but I actually AM a Mary Kay consultant and have vaguely wondered if there was some way to put them together

  15. I would highly recommend contacting American Airlines Customer Service and providing details about the lack of customer service and rude behavior. I might even mention the blog entry and the number of people who read the blog entry as well as the total number of blog visitors. American is like any other business. American does not want any negative publicity.

    Regardless of any labor disputes, there is absolutely no call for rudeness to passengers who are generating the revenue to pay one's salary. I have flown American during labor disputes and encountered pleasant, customer focused ticket agents, gate agents and flight attendants.

    I really enjoyed the Phoenix class! The "Make Your Lighting Exciting" and "Creating the Dramatic Image" portions simulated my creative side. A lot of great information with plenty of examples.