Jumping into an in-person sales model is difficult for so many people who have built their business on handing over digital files to their clients. It takes a lot of money, perseverance, and time upfront to build a solid in-person sales business. We have spent the past four years perfecting our sales strategies to be in line with ever-changing wedding trends, and have come up with a model that serves our clients from beginning to end while still bringing in high-dollar sales.
This month in the Business Corner represents the culmination of all the work we've been doing for the past several months—selling profitable products to your client at an in-person sales appointment after the shoot. It’s time to cash in.
The first time I tried after-sales, it felt silly. The most I could bring myself to do was send an email after their wedding telling them that the free thank-you cards that came with their wedding package could be upgraded in size and style. I also threw in the idea that they could add pages to their albums. I still remember cringing as I hit send. I felt like such a sleaze.
For the past several months in The Business Corner, we’ve been building your sales system from the ground up in order to get you to your target sales average. Now it’s time to put all your hard work into action. It’s time to craft your client experience workflow to maximize your sales potential. That workflow starts the moment a potential client inquires.
In-person sales (IPS) offers the number-one way to make real money as a photographer in today’s digital world. But lots of photographers still resist this proven strategy. Most people who refuse to implement IPS are terrified of it. That’s understandable. The idea of sales has such a negative connotation, especially for artists who already suffer from the “Am I good enough?” complex. Those photographers are expected to sit in front of their clients, confidently make eye contact and ask for thousands of dollars? Forget about it.
What exactly does it take to be a good salesperson? You can’t just be an artist. You have to know how to sell too. So, the million-dollar question is: How can you become a better salesperson? After many sales sessions, I’ve identified things that can hurt or help any sales session, and have compiled five key tips to help any photographer become better at sales.
People want to buy things that make their life better. They aren’t interested in how epic your photography is or how many awards you have. Those are amazing bonuses, but the real reason they are looking for a photographer is because something or someone in their life is incredibly important to them and they want to celebrate them. So why do we focus all our efforts on taking a cooler photo than Joe Shmoe down the street when we should be focusing equal amounts of energy (if not more) on finding out what our clients want and how we can give it to them?
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Sales is a dirty word in our industry. What’s even worse is having no idea how it’s done. While there are many factors that go into providing amazing service to our clients, the actual act of photographing them with product in mind is one that is most often overlooked. You may be surprised to read that shooting for sales does not involve creating the most epic photos anyone has ever seen. In fact, it’s much less important than the things you cannot see at all.
One of the best experiences I had when I was working for another photography company was being able to observe consultation sessions. Out of all of the photography education out there, there isn’t much on how to talk with clients—or, more precisely, how to talk clients into trusting you with their money and memories.