In-Person Sales: Overcoming the Top 5 Most Common Objections

In-Person Sales: Overcoming the Top 5 Most Common Objections

In-Person Sales: Overcoming the Top 5 Most Common Objections with Alissa Zimmerman

Want more information on this article? Get access to video content and additional supporting images. Launch the February issue of the magazine by logging in or signing up for a free account by clicking here. Shutter Magazine is the industry’s leading professional photography magazine.

The art of in-person sales is a terrifying beast for many photographers. I never wanted to be in the sales room because selling is very low in my skillset. Like many photographers, I didn’t have a choice. Even though I was thrust into this role, many photographers don’t have a choice because their businesses just aren’t profitable without in-person sales. If I can do it, so can you.

Here are five of the most common objections I have run into in the sales room over the past year in this new role. Role-play these scenarios with a friend, family member or coworker until you’re comfortable making the sale. Your clients can smell your fear when you’re not confident in the “why” behind your responses to these objections, and will pounce at any opportunity to take advantage of that weakness to score photography and products at a discounted price. Don’t let it happen. Remember, your answers should always be: “No,” “Why?” and “Can I offer you an alternative?” Without using this formula for any objections, your clients will eat you alive.

  1. We can’t afford it.”

This is probably the most common objection you will run into, especially with brides after their wedding. The post-wedding sale is the most difficult, but if it’s handled right, you’ll see extra income and a boost in your client averages.

It is crucial to set yourself up for success. Make sure your clients know your pricing before they come in for their sales session so they aren’t blindsided. I send out pricing the night after their photo shoot (engagement session, senior session, family session) or the day after the wedding. I attach the pricing document to the email I send to schedule their in-person sales session. This gives them a two-week window where they are able to process how much they are willing to spend. Of course, all of that goes out the window when they come in and love every single image (more on that later).

During the sales session, if your client is having a hard time pulling the trigger because of price, offer a payment plan. It’s important that they know the order will go into production once payment has been made in full. We have done payments split into two and up to six. The payment plan timeline can be worked out with your client that night, but get their credit card number before they leave so you can run it on the agreed-upon dates without having to chase them down.

  1. “Is an 8×10 big enough for my wall?”

I guarantee that at some point in the course of your career, you will run into this question. And I guarantee it will take everything in you not to crack up laughing when you hear it.

Of course, it depends on where and how your client is wanting to hang the photo, but in the case of creating artwork and the staple centerpiece of their home, the answer is no. But you can’t just tell your client no. You need the tools to support your response. This is why in-person sales are so important for photographers. A client with this mindset of needing only an 8×10 will never understand how small that is when looking at their images in an online gallery. Having them in your studio with your samples (all at least 16×24) hanging over couches, mantles and sofa tables is the only way for them to get perspective.

We showcase a variety of sizes and products in our sales room, and have smaller sizes hidden to bring out when this question comes up. When a client sees an 11×16 next to a 30×40 over a mantle, their entire mindset changes.

Something else that has helped with this objection is a tool called Room-Vu from a company called N-Vu. With Room-Vu, you can use preloaded stock images to show your clients what their images will look like on a wall. You can also ask clients to take pictures of the wall they want to decorate in their home so you can mock up their images using their actual home within Room-Vu. The value of being able to do this in person after they have just seen all of their images for the first time is priceless.

  1. “We just want the digital files.”

Ah, yes, the objection every photographer dreads hearing.

The first thing you need to determine is whether or not you offer digital files in your packages because the wording will be different. The main point you want to drive home to your clients who think they want only the digital files is that you are a full-service studio and your job is to create one-of-a-kind artwork for your clients’ homes.

If you do offer the digital files (which you should do only if your client purchases a certain package), explain that you’re a full-service studio and believe in printing artwork for their home, but that the digital files are available for purchase or included in your top package.

  1. “We don’t need that many pictures on our walls.”

This one is magic to my ears. I take clients through a narrowing-down process in Lightroom after I have shown them a slideshow of their images. We go through and sort out the images they don’t like. Through this process, the client normally ends up with an overwhelming number of images they love. That’s when I present the folio of our packages and walk them through the products listed in each.

This is your time to play trusted adviser and push them into the top package that includes an album: “You don’t want all 84 images in your home? No problem at all, that’s where an album becomes the perfect product to showcase your images without having to hang them all over your walls.”

As the trusted adviser, go through the package and show them the images that would look best as big wall art, and which images would be best to fill the album.

  1. “Can I swap out items in the packages?”

First of all, if you do not have this disclaimer written into your pricing sheets already, go do it right now. At the bottom of your pricing document, you should have a sentence with an asterisk in front saying, “*Packages cannot be altered.” This will save you when the question comes up because you can always refer back to the document you sent them in the email scheduling their sales session.

Your language here is very important. You want to point the finger at something else instead of just saying no because your margins don’t allow for it. We tell our clients that packages cannot be altered because they are tied to specials our vendors are running.

Also note that the packages should be structured in a way that shows the value of going into a package versus buying à la carte, so they are already discounted.

And we all know what Sal always preaches: You cannot discount a discount.

Want more information on this article? Get access to video content and additional supporting images. Launch the February issue of the magazine by logging in or signing up for a free account by clicking here. Shutter Magazine is the industry’s leading professional photography magazine.

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