No matter how you bring in your prospects, it all ends up at the sales process. If you are good at selling, you’ll convert more prospects to clients. And if you aren’t, you won’t.
That’s simple enough. Yet a lot of photographers don’t think twice about their sales process. They spend all kinds of time producing a great website or having an awesome brochure. Then the client leaves without booking, or worse, never contacts you at all after viewing your marketing materials, and you’re left sitting there wondering why.
Do you use any of these tactics in your sales process?
Leave the next step to the prospect
Pull out your brochure. Pull up the emails or letters you send out when someone first contacts you. How do you close out all of your communications? If you use phrases like “if you’re interested, please contact us” or “I’d be happy to meet with you if you want more information”, you are losing the majority of your sales due to lack of enthusiasm.
If a client is immediately interested in what you do and asks for a brochure or more information, they are inviting the sales process. By you throwing the ball back in their court with vague messages, you aren’t living up to your true potential. Instead, keep the ball in your court. When you have a name, never tell them to call you. Try substituting closing statements like this: “I will call you next week to find out more about your plans.”
Selling features rather than results
Photographers get caught up in the package and pricing of their business instead of focusing in on what the customer truly wants. If you sell them on the 8 hours of time, 36 page album, or CD with the digital files, you’ve turned your business into a Chinese restaurant where people simply pick and choose based on cost.
While customers may say “how much for an 8×10”, it’s because they don’t know what else to ask for. Photographers in the mainstream have turned this industry into a product only business, when what many customers truly want is a great experience. Focus in on the results, and how you can provide 110 percent customer service that goes way beyond your competition.
Using negative talk throughout the process
Your client wants to hear what you can do for them, not what you can’t. They want to know why you’re the best, not your faults. They want to be presented with reasons why they should choose you, not why they shouldn’t use others.
Think about your sales messages. Are they positive? Do they present you in the best light? Just by changing some of your words, your phrasing, you can improve your overall appearance almost immediately.
Wasting time on dead end opportunities
Occasionally, you’ll have the client that comes in and wants to use you, yet never commits. They want you to save dates and meet them more than once. They think about things and compare things. All the while eating up your valuable time.
When you discover you have someone that can’t make up their mind and probably won’t convert, let them go. It’s okay to let those calls go to the voice mail. It’s okay to cut the conversations short. Turn the process back on them, asking for a drop-dead date for them to convert … or not. Chances are they won’t be back once the ball is back in their court. And you’ll have more time to spend on those that will.
A great business is built on an effective follow through process, from beginning to end.
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With your customers, the sale isn’t complete when they sign on the dotted line. Once a customer, always a customer. If they love you, they will refer you and use you again and again. It’s important to develop your plan that aims for long-term relationships rather than short term revenues.
Your “sale” isn’t the end; it’s only the beginning.