The Art of Selling…

“When I think about selling I get nauseous. I get the shakes, the sweats and my mouth gets dry, I just want them to order their pictures, and get the heck away from me. When it’s all said and done I’m happy…until I see that their order is a few 4×6’s and 5×7’s…then I’m disappointed again, because I really wanted to sell them a bunch of images this time.” – Untold 1000’s of PhotographersOk.  For the record, that is not me. I’m very comfortable selling, don’t get nauseous, have my game plan coming in to every sales session and everything lined up to get it done.  But it wasn’t always that way. I takes as much work to learn how to sell as it does to learn how to expose an image, if not more.
So let’s discuss WHY and HOW people buy. I’ve attended countless sales training seminars over the years.  The WHY and HOW remain consistent and  have yet to change.

WHY do customers buy?

  1. Because they trust/like you. (Be confident, make and hold eye contact. Use a firm handshake when you first meet them.)
  2. Because your studio/business has a solid reputation. (Be ready to show a strong portfolio, and explain how the process works. Everything from  pre-session and capture, to proofing and ordering all the way to delivery)
  3. Because they like the images/products you have to offer.  (Know your gear, and deliver the best you possibly can, on time every time.)

Yes, you read that right. The pictures you made are the 3rd reason you will make the sale.  If the customer likes you enough to hire you, and trusts that you have the infrastructure behind you to make sure you can deliver a quality product on time and on budget, number 3 should be easy, provided you can make some good images that your customers feel an emotional connection with.

HOW do customers buy?

  1. They buy what they think they need. (You can make them believe they need anything you have to offer. Keep reading.)
  2. They buy with their hearts/emotionally. (We all are aware of this, but very few of us can fully capitalize on it. Keep Reading.)
  3. Kids and Mom’s are the REAL holders of the purse strings. (100% take it to the bank truth. You get the kid or Mom on board with your offering, and you’ll sell it every time.)

Lets take on the points above:

Instead of asking them what they want, get to their house.  Remember proof at their home whenever possible. This is a part of your outstanding customer service that others don’t offer.  Be 100% upfront with them that you are coming over for a sales session and are there to sell them the images they need for their house and for their relatives.  Bring BIG samples of your work. And show them that they NEED that 16×24 or 30×40 over the sofa. (Bring some 8×10’s to show how small they really are.) When you’re showing them their images, and the MOM says “OH MY GOD I LOVE THAT ONE!!!”, that is the moment that you confidently say, “I can get you that in a wall size ______ (canvas, standout, metal etc) for $____” and you ASK for the sale. If you don’t ask you don’t get.

Always involve the children wherever possible, and ask them if they want a “BIG BIG PICTURE ON THE WALL?” My old boss always told me to sell to the kids, because “Kids cut cheques without even knowing how to spell.”

If you know you can deliver images with 2 weeks of the session, promise 4 weeks. If you know can get product back from the lab in 3 days, promise two weeks. Always under-promise and over-deliver and you’re golden.

What sales strategies are working for you? We’d love to hear from you!

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