You just finished a great portrait and are excited to share your images with the world.

You created around 100 images during the portrait session. When you look through and edit them all, you have around 25 that are extraordinary – they really are your best work to date.

Two days after the portrait, you place 25 images on Facebook to showcase your newest work. Your client is super excited – she LOVES them. She starts tagging them, sharing them and talking about them with all of her friends.

Then comes ordering day – the day she is supposed to come in to order her prints. She calls in the night before and cancels – something has come up.

You finally get her on the phone three weeks later and set up a new date. That too comes and goes with no client orders.

And so on. And so on.

What happened?

They were your best work yet? You really thought this client would be different and want the images you created. They were your best work to date. And you’ve booked several other new clients just by showing off these images. They were great! So why no orders?

Let’s step back and analyze the situation.

When is a client most excited for their images?

At the time you take the images.

She’s worked hard to get the portrait sitting on the books. She’s shopped for the perfect clothes. She’s motivated her family (if it’s a family portrait) to be looking and feeling great. Everyone is at the top of his or her game that day.

If they walk away from the sitting without seeing their images, life settles in. Things happen and they move onto new thoughts and ideas. The water heater breaks. The car needs new tires. Registration opens up for the kids for school – books and uniforms and signups for sports. The money flows to different areas.

And when they log onto Facebook two days later and see 25 of the best images. Wow! They get to see the best of the best … for free! What could be better than that? And what they really wanted was wallpaper for their computer, a few images for their iPhone and iPad, and a way to blast the latest portrait around to family members around the world. You accomplished that for them – they simply shoot a message to their family and friends to check out Facebook.

Now you’ve eliminated the two things that motivated them to buy – excitement for seeing the images, and timing to spend their allotted budget on images.

How do you get around this? Put the two motivation items back into your selling routine.

First, learn to sell ten minutes after you shoot. If you’re out on location, sell through your laptop in a coffee shop or back at the clients home. If you’re in your studio, have them wait in your sales room while you do a quick edit and put a presentation together. Either way, this is when they are most excited about their images. This is when they will buy the most. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by.

Second, never, never put images on Facebook before the order takes place. Use Facebook to entice them to buy – never to release the excitement ahead of time. If you really want to entice them, one image with a “wait till you see the rest…” is more than enough. Make your Facebook (or blog, or SmugMug, or whatever you use) a part of your package – you get the online images after your order has been placed. To do it before hand is sales-suicide.

Social media hasn’t killed the photographer; not knowing how to sell has killed today’s photographer.

Take back the way you sell and you’ll quickly find your business thriving.

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