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.
When we talk about the world of professional photography, it’s pretty sad to think that some of the most creative people make less than a Starbucks barista. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Starbucks, but we are artists. We are documenting the memories of our clients. Don’t we deserve more?
It was our moment of truth. We felt like we were stepping off a ledge, with only the smallest hope that the fall might wake us from our nightmare.
If you want to start making the cash register ring, in-person sales is the way to get that started (if you’re not already doing it). For those of you who are doing in-person sales, how do you take on out-of-town clients who can’t come into your studio after their session for their preview?