Are you a natural at selling?
Don’t worry. Very few of us are.
Selling isn’t something you have to fear, or even avoid. It’s a natural part of owning and operating your business.
While focusing on what you should do has its benefits; sometimes it’s easier to learn what to avoid, and simply incorporate those tips into your sales presentation. It can help you see what you are potentially doing wrong, and how its impacting you, your business and your potential clients. If you see yourself in any of these mistakes, use them as a strategy for improving your sales presentations.
Think your client knows more than they do
You live with photography every day. You are entrenched in the culture, and have a true love for everything camera related. While your customers may have an appreciation for great art, they probably don’t have the same passion you do for the photographic industry. Never assume anything – always tell them why you are doing everything.
For example, they probably won’t care that you are using a Canon DSLR EOS 5D Mark II, with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. But they will care that you are using professional equipment, and you have multiple bodies and lens options to capture every moment, and be available at all times, even if one of your bodies or lenses fail. That also arms them with knowledge, and they can take that to the next photographer they interview. “Do you carry multiple bodies and lenses?” You would be surprised at the number of photographers that don’t. And it also puts you in a better light with the potential client.
Avoid mentioning the competition
Your potential client will visit with other photographers – it’s a fact. Don’t hide behind the idea that they won’t. Instead, arm them with a little extra knowledge to take with them and ask them as they are out visiting.
For example, you can state that you’ve been in business for “X” years, and you still have on file the original images you captured at your very first event. Then explain most photographers are out of business in a short timeframe, and very few keep client files for extended periods of time. You’re selling yourself by telling them about your services. And you’re giving them questions to ask when they visit the next photographer. If the other photographer can’t provide an appropriate response, they’ll be back to you quickly.
Stick with your presentation, no matter what
Do you have a “canned” presentation? In other words, have you scripted out your sales presentation from beginning to end, with little room for change?
The problem with this strategy is every client is different. Some clients love the details, and would be happy looking through album after album, sample after sample. The next only wants to talk numbers. And the next loves testimonials and stories, and wants to hear all about your life as a photographer.
While it’s good to have your major points you want to cover throughout your time together, be flexible and willing to change based on what your client wants.
Not understanding what your client really wants
What does your customer ultimately want? It goes beyond a 20×30 for the wall, and an 8×10 for the desk. Clients want the experience; the memories. They are looking to record today so they’ll remember it for always. That’s what you want to sell. And when they call up asking “How much for an 8×10?”, its simply their way of starting the conversation. They don’t know what else to ask. It’s your job to sell them on the experience of working with a professional photographer.
Assuming everyone wants the same products/services
One of my first tips in 8 Keys To A Great Engagement Portrait is to never include your engagement session as a part of your wedding packages. The same holds true to all niches of photography. When people come to you for one thing, they focus in on the one thing. When it comes to wedding photography, they are planning for the “big” day. An engagement portrait is a separate session with separate wants and goals. And therefore should be sold separately. If you combine different things into different packages, you’ll often hear “I don’t need that – can you substitute something else instead?” And that’s where you lose control of the sales process. Keep it focused, and keep it simple.
Unable to show your value
What makes you different? If I can compare you to every other photographer out there, you don’t have value. Value comes from being different, and having something you simply can’t find anywhere else. Prove your difference in your packages, your photography, and the way you present yourself online. If your clients can say “wow”, you’re on the right track.
Lack of commitment
Are you unsure of your photography? Your packages? The way you present yourself, your products and your services? The more you change, the more they will ask for. And bargain for.
There is nothing wrong with making an occasional change, as long as its on your terms. Let me give you an example. We sold a high quality leather album to all of our wedding clients. And we used that company for many years, and great luck with the quality and the longevity. Until the day one client held back from booking because they were vegan, and refused to have any animal products in their home. Rather that looking dazed and confused, or not offering them an option, we told them flat out we would find a high quality option exclusively for them that met our high expectations. They paid our package price, and we found an alternative. They were happy, and became great clients. We knew we had wiggle room in our pricing structure, and could find a great alternative for them, even if our wholesale price was a bit more. We were confident and it showed throughout our presentation.
Not carrying your sales message from one-to-one conversations to web presence
Do you give off one persona in person, and another online? Are you warm and friendly in person, yet your website is cold and confusing? Your brand should always carry through, from place to place to place. If you can’t see the differences, it may be wise to hire a consultant to help you brand yourself and clean up your business presentation.
Make the sale difficult
When people are ready to give you money, the only question should be “How would you like to pay for that?” They shouldn’t have to go through hoops to book you. You should take multiple credit cards. You should be able to take the number on the phone, enter it into PayPal, or put it into a shopping cart on your site. The button on your site should be easy to find “Buy Now” and the process should be easy from start to finish. [Think like the big companies – Amazon makes it easy. The closer you can get to that level of payment, the better.]
In today’s world of technology, your customer should have the option of buying any time they choose. They can call you on the phone during normal business hours. Or you can give them a link to PayPal, which they can use 24/7. If they make a decision on Saturday night at 7pm, do you really want them thinking about it until Monday morning?