Many newer photographers, it seems, struggle with sales and pricing of their photography. Dealing with after the session is a big struggle because they are adverse to coming across as a pushy salesman or someone who is manipulative or worse. Changing how you define your goals in sales is critical to making post session sales something that is good for you and good for your client. Here is more about how you can make the experience better for both you and your client.
Afraid of sales?
Many photographers have two things that hold them back. First, they are adverse to the “used car salesman” manipulative and pushy sales meme. Because they don’t want to be like that, they label all efforts at sales to be negative.
Defining your sales goal
Rather than throwing the baby out with the bath water, lets define what we mean when we talk about sales. If you definition is “to get as much money from this client as possible no matter what”, then you would fit into that negative sales meme expressed above. This is the form of sales that everyone hates, even other sales people.
However, if we change the definition of our personal goal in sales, the entire picture and motive changes. “I want to meet the needs and desires of my client so that they appreciate what they were able to purchase from me and want to tell their friends about their experience.” This is what we call a “Win – Win” picture of the sales experience.
Sales is about story telling
Everyone enjoys a good story. If you have a story to tell about your photography, then it becomes more interesting and inspiring to your potential clients. It should not just be about the price because there will ALWAYS be someone offering a lower price. If you don’t tell any stories, then your prospect will make the discussion about the lowest common denominator… PRICE. By telling stories about your own photography and the experiences of your happy clients, you can move off of price to more important issues. For example, in some cases quality of service and experience are more important than price…
The Story about a poor choice can be important
The classic story about price is the bride who needed the cut her budget for her wedding and chose the cheapest photographer they could find. They got over a thousand images on a CD, but later as they looked through found after hours of looking through the images that 700 of the 1000 were not exposed correctly or were out of focus.
Then, when they went to have prints made of the 75 they wanted, the ones that took them hours and hours to select from the 1000 images on the CD, they found out that all the images were saved in low resolution because the photographer only had two cards and was afraid they would run out of space before the wedding was over. The largest image that the couple could get from the files was a 4×6. Everyone has heard a story like that.
You just hope that it does not happen to the bride calling you about your prices. You want them to choose to spend their money with you and have a happy experience with products that they cherish for many years. Even if it is not you, you want them to make a good choice with this very important decision.
The other stories are about your own clients
When you are talking to your prospect or as you are photographing your client or their horse, you can mention another similar client who purchased a large wall art canvas from a recent session and talk about how much they love the image that now almost looks like a painting in a beautiful frame in their entry. Telling stories like this helps your client to visualize how they can appreciate your services and benefit from them over time.
More good choices
What good is a disk with 80 images that nobody every sees because they end up in a drawer someplace or on the computer that was not backed up and had a hard drive failure. Helping your client see the importance of purchasing real prints and real wall art is not twisting anyone’s arm or manipulating them. It is helping them to have a better experience with you and your photography. It actually more work, it means that you will have to engage with your client to understand fully how they can best benefit from your work for them.
Many times clients don’t know what to buy
If you are doing a good job of learning from your client how they hope to use your services, then you will be able to make recommendations that will help them get the most benefit. For example, you can explain that if you will be using these images for a promotional ad about your horse, then you will need high resolution files that the ad designer can use and you will need a license to use the images for promotion. This is how that works…..
Or…. if their house is full of pictures and they don’t have room for any more wall art, you might mention that you have had clients that love their Heirloom quality keep-sake leather bound album of pictures from their session. We can select 25 of the best images and custom design an album that will will love.
If they don’t know what would be best for them to consider, then they will be as uncomfortable as you going into the after session time. If you can direct them in the direction of their needs and wants and offer choices for them to consider along the way, then everyone is more comfortable going into the selection process.
Show, Touch and Feel
Being able to SHOW actual samples of what you are recommending is critical. People want to touch and feel and experience your products before making a choice. By showing them examples, you are not manipulating them, you are helping them to make a good choice.
As you present various options, you can mention prices, for example you could say something like, ” Clients who choose this product usually spend between $400-$600 depending on the size, quantity, type of surface, framing, size of album etc.” It is much better to be up front about pricing than to have a client say, I would like this or that and then have you drop a price bomb on them and create an embarrassing situation where they have to change their minds about what they want.
Sales, the good kind, is about helping your client
So read about sales, watch Creative Live about selling, learn all you can about sales and telling stories for your clients. Don’t be afraid of in-person sales. Nobody likes high pressure sales and there is no reason for it in this day and age, but, everyone loves a great story.
Practice a few good stories on your friends and you will be more comfortable talking with your customers. Have a rate card or menu that you can use with your clients to review their options and help them to make good choices for their needs and wants. That what good sales is all about.