Selling a Visually Product…..VISUALLY!

There are so many ways to effectively sell photography.  One speakers will tell you his system is best,  while another professes huge sales using his theories and those theories usually involve products and services…..products and services sold by the same companies that sponsor the speaker!  Is it coincidence?  No it is BUSINESS!  We don`t have programs, conventions or seminars to go see at an affordable price without companies sponsoring those events.  While some speakers truly believe in the products and services they talk about, some speakers give infomercials about whatever or whoever is paying the bills.

While there is no one way to sell photography, there are some basic rules of selling and human nature that you must consider to get the best possible sales.  The most important consideration in selling is understanding how strong the first impression is to a client.  The first impression to the your studio and more importantly the first impression in the sales room.  In your studio, show what you intend to sell.  In my studio there are only wall portraits of a substantial size on display.  I don`t have anything smaller than a 20×24 on the walls and there are no folios or gift sized portraits on the tables.  My primary focus is to sell each person a wall portrait, that is what they will enjoy the most (yes I know this because I have wall portraits in my home and I enjoy them each day) and what will profit my business the most, with the least work involved.  We sell gift size portraits and all the other products as well, but those are items to be considered and shown after the primary decision has been made.

The first impression in the sales room, when your client first sees their images, is the most important and memorable moment in the sales process to the client.  Whether you show them an 11×14 on a screen or a 30×40 projected into a frame, the first size they see their images displayed with be the size,  that if money isn`t an issue, will be the size they want.  The same is true for the way you show them their portraits.  Show an image in a frame (hopefully what you think is the best image) and they will want to buy a portrait in a frame!  Show them a slide-show set to moving music, they will want to buy the slide-show.  I listened to the speakers `way back when` and started putting each clients images to a slide-show with moving, emotion filled music and then listened as each sales person was asked repeatedly how the client could get that slide-show.  It was the first thing they saw and it made a lasting impression….so much so that buying a portrait was of secondary importance.  Lesson, if you want to sell slide-shows, show them first, if you want to sell portraits, show them first!

In the sales room, it is important to remember that you, or your sales person is the client`s guide.  Where you take them, they will follow.  This is good if you know what you are doing and terrible if you don`t.  A person can make one decision at a time without feeling over whelmed.  Process……select the favorite pose, shown in the size you want them to buy…once they have made the first decision of the best pose, then sell the proper size.  Once the proper size is agreed on….write it down, this signifies the decision has been made.  After the wall portrait is sold then sell every gift portrait, folio, wall collage and do`dad you can, but one at a time.  Use samples of all products to show the client, because they don’t buy what they can’t see!

You have to teach you sales people how to view a session.  You count the total number of images in your largest add-on item and that is how many poses should be available when the final selection process is done, with only the favorite image up on the screen until the wall portrait decision has been made.  All of our products are centered around the number 8, it is the number in a folio and we have made all of our products have no more than 8 images in them.  Our sessions are even based on the number 8, with 8 different posing ideas in each session.  What this means is when the images are selected, there are 8 images available to fill any of the products we have.  This saves time and having to go back to all the images to make more selections, which adds to the clients confusion and makes it more likely they will change their minds about the choices they have made.

The sales process is just as involved and require as much or more planning than the session.  Larger orders rarely just happen.  The psychology of sales has you making decisions even down to the height of the chairs you have clients on.  We are a higher volume studio and we can’t have clients taking all afternoon to select images.  As a result we have higher viewing tables and chairs.  People make decisions more quickly when they are not reclining.  If I were a lower volume studio, trying to get as large of orders as possible, I would have over stuffed sofa`s or recliners, because the longer the client stays comfortable, the longer they stay and the longer they stay the more I can sell them.


~ by jeffsmithbooks on May 25, 2011.

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