Make Them Want It: 7 Steps to Selling With Emotion with Christine Yodsukar
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?
I’ve done the research. I’ve done the things that didn’t work, and then, after years of trial and error and studying, I figured out a way of doing things that works for me, for my clients and for my business. I sell with emotion. I make my clients want to invest in high-quality artwork that is profitable for my business. I am selling them what they actually want—not what I want them to want.
What do our clients actually want? First, let’s clear away what we want them to want. What do we want our clients to want? We want them to want to hire us because they saw our photos and thought, “Isn’t Christine Yodsukar just the most talented photographer I have ever seen? I didn’t want photos before, but because her work is just so out of this world, she deserves all of my money!” If you are laughing as you read this, then you already know this is not why people call us for a photoshoot, even if it’s what we are secretly hoping.
The truth is that people set out to hire a photographer because there is something that means the world to them and they have chosen photography as the way to put love into that something. Now that they have come to us for the photos, it is our job to make them want the artwork.
Selling With Emotion
I’ve broken down selling with emotion into seven simple steps that you can follow to get amazing artwork in your clients’ homes and revenue in your bank account.
Step 1: Find out what is important to them.
This requires that you ask your prospective clients questions. This is the part of dating where everyone is deciding if they actually want to go on a date. We want to woo our client by doing the things no one else is doing, asking them important questions and listening to their answers. We also need to decide if this potential “date” is something that we want as well. By asking them questions like, “What is it about your oldest child that makes you proud to be their mother?” we can gather a lot of information about the type of client they might be. Are they willing to answer your questions? Are they excited to talk about their children? Or are they too bothered by the questions and only want to know if you can give them three outfit changes and a disc for $79?
As you prime them for this amazing emotional journey you are about to take them on with your thoughtful questions, you are secretly getting your shot list of all shot lists.
Step 2: Photograph what is important to them.
Shot list, you say? This is not the 75-item shot list from everyone’s favorite wedding blog. This shot list is going to give you a huge sale and give your clients exactly what they want. As you ask them those questions we talked about before, write down what they tell you. Is the mother proud of her daughter because of the way she takes care of her younger brothers by helping them get dressed and ready for daycare each morning? You better believe we are going to photograph her daughter helping the little brothers get dressed. That is how we build the shot list of all shot lists. They will tell you exactly what means the most to them, the things that will grow and change and ultimately cease to exist in a matter of time, and that is what we must photograph to give them this amazing emotional journey.
Step 3: Get them invested early.
After you ask them questions before the photoshoot, get them thinking about where they would love to hang their artwork in their home. A lot of photographers I work with ask me: Don’t I need to sell them on the idea of artwork before I ask them where they want to put it? The answer is no. You don’t need to sell them on anything, because artwork is normal, remember? Everyone gets artwork (or at least that’s what we need to believe when we are starting out with product sales). So if getting artwork from your photographer is as normal as getting tires on your new car, why would we need to preface anything? We don’t need to ask if you want tires on your car. We only need to ask which tires you want on your new car. By asking them where they want to hang their artwork in their home, we are not only making artwork the obvious result of this photoshoot, but we are also having them sell the artwork to themselves by choosing which wall it will hang on.
Step 4: Tie it all together.
At your in-person sales session, you tie everything from the first three steps together into one powerhouse sales technique. You are taking the things that are important to them (that you got from asking them questions) and putting them into your artwork pre-designs (because you photographed the things from your special shot list that they unknowingly gave you), and you are showing it to them on their wall true to size in all its glory using artwork design software.
Remember why this client came to you? They had something in their life that is incredibly important to them and they wanted a way to celebrate it. You have now photographed that thing and created a stunning custom artwork display that they are now looking at on the wall they chose in their home. That is amazing service. You are giving them exactly what they want.
Step 5: Use emotional intelligence to calm objections.
Take your clients away from being analytical and toward being emotional to calm any objections they might have during the IPS session. A common objection is that it is a big investment, and after college and the mortgage, it isn’t fiscally responsible to make such a large purchase right now. Bring them back to the reason they came to you. What is the result of them having this artwork? It will always be more valuable to them than the result of not buying it. Not buying it saves money, but buying it means their child grows up with self-confidence and feels like an important part of the family because their photos were proudly displayed as a focal point in their home. Is your child’s lifetime of self-confidence and feeling loved worth a few thousand dollars? You betcha it is.
Step 6: Guide them to close the sale.
Control your own emotions and be confident that this is what they want and need in their life, and that is why they came to you. State your pricing confidently so that they are confident in it too. Ask for them to pay in full in a way that makes it normal and standard, not as if it’s the most money you’ve ever seen in your life. Be calm, direct and to the point. Smile, shrug your shoulders and wait for them to say something first after you’ve given the price.
Step 7: Share their emotional story.
Create a neverending cycle of artwork-loving clients. Document and share clients’ emotional stories and how the artwork they invested in has changed their life so that other people can see that and want it for themselves. When new people contact your studio, repeat this simple process. These prospective clients will know that artwork is normal and that it is changing your clients’ lives because of all the meaning it holds for their family.