The Emotion of Sales and Marketing

The Emotion of Sales and Marketing

The Emotion of Sales and Marketing with Melanie Anderson

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.

This month, I share several vital areas of my business that enable me to communicate clearly with my clients, ensuring that I am maximizing my time, shooting with intention, and creating products and a workflow that put the focus on the client experience. Efficiency is key. You must have a system in place that puts you in front of clients and creates an emotional experience. Below are four ideas that can help you connect with clients, from the initial contact to in-person sales.

Connecting With Clients: Responding to Emails and Social Media Requests

When a prospective client contacts me, I always respond this way: “Thank you so much for your interest. What is your phone number? We will contact you with details.” I do not respond with pricing or have a conversation via email. I need to make a personal connection with my clients. I need to sell them on the experience. I cannot stress this enough. We are a high-end elite studio, and we must preserve this reputation through the experience, conversation and how we educate our clients to “see the difference.”

I always ask, “How did you hear about our studio?” I want a personal connection—did they hear of us from word of mouth or social media? Did they see our display at the mall, their doctor’s office or the hospital, or maybe the extreme team or senior banners hanging on the fields and in the gyms at high schools? This is vital because it tells me if my marketing efforts are working.

I want to find out the purpose of the shoot and any important details. I express excitement over their session and lead them toward booking by suggesting available dates and times. You should be able to secure most everyone who contacts you for a session. You have engaged them to a point that they want to have you capture this moment in time because they understand the importance of preserving it with a pro. They feel comfortable, like they are in good hands, and will sacrifice in other areas to be able to afford your services.

A client preparing for a session is stressed out. It requires a lot of prep work. Our job is to ease any anxiety they may have and create the best experience for the entire family. Make it easy to order, and provide beautiful products. I can do all of this over the phone. I do not need to schedule preconsultations, which means I can spend that time growing my business via networking or taking on more sessions.

I pride myself on being personable and easy to engage. This personality strength comes out when I photograph. I am better able to capture emotion and expression. I get the “real” smile, which is accompanied by the smile in the eyes. I do not overshoot. You must be intentional with your time and your client’s time—before the client knows it, I’m finished with the shot and we’re moving on to the next location, outfit or pose. This keeps the client from feeling defeated.

You have to be able to work fast. Clients are already self-conscious about what they are wearing, how they look and every flaw they see; if you take too long to grab a shot or take too many shots, they see the lack of confidence in you, and that emotion rubs off on them. They no longer feel so good about their appearance, and this shows in the photos. Lift your clients up. Make them feel beautiful so that beauty comes out in their photos, thus creating an emotional connection and driving sales.

Clients want photos that make them feel good about themselves. You must understand posing, lighting and lens selection so you can move swiftly through a session. If you find that a certain pose and location are not working, move on, don’t force it. Perfect a system that lets you engage with your clients while you’re shooting. Your camera and vision are an extension of you, not a barrier. Allow the equipment to do the work. Know ISO, aperture and shutter speed so that you are not using up valuable time on technique. You must be able to do this in any environment at any time.

Intentional Conversation

Prior to the session, I ask a few questions. I want to understand the purpose of the session. Do they have specific needs for their home or family members? I need to know if my client understands the value of wall portraits—if not, I educate them and ensure that this investment is worth every penny.

Family dynamics change, and photography has a way of stopping time and allowing us to relive moments in time. We must convey the emotion of this from the beginning. I want to understand the family as well: Will I have a challenge with one of the children? Are all who are present willing participants? I discuss a few collection options while I’m photographing. I mention how beautiful a certain image just captured would look on a canvas. I discuss collage options, and explain these are part of one of our portrait collections that I will show them in the sales room after our session. I want my clients to be visualizing the final product in their home during the session. This creates an emotional attachment to images and ensures that even my favorites are purchased and created in sizes that are intended to showcase my work—not only in their homes, but on the social media pages of friends and family.

After the portrait session, I tell clients that we are going to schedule a sales session and to plan to be here for about an hour. I remind them that I do all of my sales in person, that anyone involved in purchasing decisions needs to be here and that they will be making their purchasing decisions the day of the sales session. I tell them their photos will not be pre-edited. I will crop the images and switch a few to black and white if appropriate, but the images will not be edited.

You should not need to pre-edit. You should be able to upload quickly to your sales software and provide a sales session within minutes. I can have a sales session ready within 10 minutes for clients who are coming in from out of town or grandparents who are visiting. It is not always convenient for them to come back to the studio. I must be able to adjust and schedule these as needed. You should be either behind your camera or out networking, not behind your computer pre-editing images that your clients are not buying. You must create an efficient workflow in order to maximize profit.

In-Person Sales

Sales should always be done in person. I can control the environment. I can educate clients on layout and sizes while adding emotion to the sale. We are the experts. We need to project the vision of what will look best in their home. I have product samples laid out on a table, including announcements and mounted prints. On the wall are the framed and canvas collection options.

I always have an idea about the client’s budget going into the sales session, which I gathered from previous conversations. So I know whether to pitch them wall art, creative pieces or gift prints.

Emotion leads photography sales. In order to meet and exceed your sales goals, you must engage your clients on an emotional level. The products that trigger an emotional response include canvas wall art, signature albums, brag books and our extreme metal pieces.

Since my studio is high-end, I am not the photographer for everyone. There is a price that comes with exclusivity. I have to involve the client emotionally, shoot with intention and provide quality products and a personal experience. When I project the slide presentation of the family, senior or newborn on the wall with music, the emotional connection is made. When clients see their portraits larger than life, they know the investment is a good one.

Action Plans

* Head to for a list of products and companies I love, plus discount codes. These items can help your efficiency, client workflow and sales.

* Add the following verbiage to your communication:

“How did you hear about our studio?”

“What is the purpose of the session?”

“What do you plan to do with the images? Where will you hang them?”

* Switch to in-person sales if you are not already providing that service.

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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