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Val Marlene on determining your "WHY" for selling albums

Tips & Tricks, Featured Clients
Today we're thrilled to introduce you to Align client, Valerie of Val Marlene Creative. She's a midwestern wedding photographer and business coach for creatives. We asked for her perspective on album sales and she blew us away with the wisdom she provided about the "why" behind offering albums! If you're a photographer who feels timid about selling high-end albums to your clients, Val's insight is bound to inspire you! Read on!

Hi friends! I'm Val! I'm an ambitious, deep feeler, propelled by God's grace and fueled by pumpkin spice lattes (when they're in season). I'm married to Mark, my college sweetheart and business partner, and we're not-so-secretly-obsessed puppy parents to #elliethefluffypuppy. As a wedding photographer turned business coach, I get all the heart eyes and energy from walking alongside other creative boss ladies as they dream big dreams from the heart and build intentional businesses. 
As a wedding photographer, I actually really struggled through offering fine art wedding albums earlier on in my business. It wasn't so much the cost of the product as it was the reason to buy. I didn't have a clear understanding of the mission and purpose of my business (my 'why') and that bled into my album sales (or lack thereof). Because I hadn't thought through it myself, I didn't know how to sit across that coffee shop table from a bride, look her in the eye, and tell her why it was worth the extra investment to include an album in her collection. I thought it was salesy. I thought it was just what wedding photographers did. I didn't know why she needed an album, so the conversations were short and just focused on how pretty it was. Now, don't get me wrong. It's absolutely valuable to highlight the quality and beauty of a professionally crafted fine art album, but in the end, the heart needs to buy in. 
So, you've probably heard it said and maybe you've started to believe that it all starts with your 'why.' Your business, the reason you love capturing a moment in time for your clients, the legacy you're helping your clients create...really should all start with why (Simon Sinek anybody?). 
But what does this have to do with albums and your client's experience with the process? Lemme tell ya. Everything. 
Your why doesn't just influence who your ideal client is and how you present yourself online. Your why should directly affect your decision to both offer and encourage the purchase of a wedding album. If you don't have a reason for offering wedding albums, it will be really hard to sell them.  
So, let's get to the heart of it. Are you ready for this? I need to ask... do you believe in wedding albums? But you really believe in wedding albums? 
Deep down, do you truly believe they are worth every penny that you charge? 
Do you believe it's better for your client to purchase a fine art album through you as opposed to DIY-ing a kitschy Walgreens photo book? 
If you're selling albums, the answer to these questions needs to be a resounding 'Yes!'  
And if it's not, then you might just need to do some thinking about your why and how that should influence your thoughts on the matter.  
But, I have another question for you. If you answered 'yes' to the above you know why?  
Why do you believe every couple should invest in a fine art wedding album? And how does that relate to your personal why behind your business? 
Once you've worked through those questions, you have everything you need to sell albums with confidence because you hold a deep belief for a purpose behind the product. You're not simply selling a product, you're serving your client well by sharing your heart for their story and the legacy they'll leave. 

I'll leave you with my own personal narrative that gives a peek at the reason I believe in wedding albums. 
Your album tells a story. Your story. The traditional wedding portrait you might hang on your wall is just a tiny piece of that story. But your album shows the way your nose wrinkles when you laugh. It reminds you how you felt, and who you were with throughout your wedding day. Your wedding album isn't only for you to remember the details of your wedding. It's for the day your little girl asks about how you met Daddy. It tells her what Uncle Matt looked like when he was 21. It shows her the incredible look on Daddy's face when he first saw Mommy in her wedding gown. It reminds her that Grandma and Grandpa were there that day, and shows the joy Grandpa felt when he twirled you around on the dance floor. It reminds her that she came from a place of love. That your love story is the beginning to the family you're growing and the memories you're making.  
You see, I have only ever seen a few images of my Mom and Dad on their wedding day. But, my dad's bushy mustache and my Mom's slightly puffy sleeves on her dress make me giggle. Their album, although limited, still gives me insight into what their wedding day looked like and I know more about them thanks to those thick, glossy photo sleeves. I love seeing their silly (to me) fashion and the story behind it all. Like how my grandpa thought it would be hilarious to get his hair permed for the wedding. Or how my aunt's hair was bleach-blonde and looked as bright as a ripe banana. Or the images of my Dad's parents, whom I never got to meet, but know I would have loved. And then there's the canary yellow 1972 Super Beetle Volkswagen that they drove away in that my Mom always talks about. These are the stories the album tells that the framed portrait cannot.  
And THAT, my friends, is a why worth believing. Not to sell a product, but to preserve a legacy. 

Wow, Val, thank you SO MUCH for sharing your heartfelt "why" and helping your fellow photographers think through their own purpose behind offering albums. We love the passion you have for coaching creative business owners! 
For more Val Marlene goodness, click here to see some photos Val took of her clients opening up their wedding album for the first time. I can't even handle the sweetness!

Blog post written by: Denise
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