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Inspiration

The Business of Photography: 5 Easy Steps To Grow Sales Now {Part 2 – Steps 3 & 4}

By David Valentine on June 10th 2014

There are many ways to generate a sale. The process is similar regardless of  what industry you are in. They follow these five simple steps just with different titles. In my previous article, I went over the first two steps on how to grow sales, and in this article, we are going to be tackling the next two steps in detail. To serve as a reminder here are the five steps to securing the sale:

  1. Meet and Greet
  2. Qualification Process
  3. Showing Portfolio/Work
  4. Presenting Sales Packages
  5. Finalizing the Sale

These five steps apply to you, while in a sales process. Following them will ensure that your sales increase and you work with the right clients that you want to work with. We have already gone over Meet and Greet and the Qualification Process. Now, it is time to take your potential client down the sales path to Showing Your Portfolio/Work you have done in the past and what your rates/sales packages are (based off their needs, of course).

Photo by Jackie Meredith

Photo by Jackie Meredith/ Flickr Creative Commons

Keys To Showing Off The Goods

You have just successfully finished qualifying your potential client and you and your potential client are happy to possibly be working together. You know that this wedding/project you will be working on together is a good match. Now, is the time to showcase your work, getting your customer from jazzed to electrified to work with you.

How you showcase and present will either take them from excited and ready to buy or from excited to flatlined. What is the chance of closing the sale if the customer is flatlined, you ask? Well, in my professional opinion, it is between zero and zilch. On the other hand, when you present correctly and the customer can hardly contain themselves, odds dramatically increase that you will be the one they sign the contract with.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Presenting Your Work

  • Don’t brag – most people dislike a narcissist, your potential clients probably won’t either. You can showcase your work without acting like you’re pompous or arrogant.
  • Be interactive – include the person in front of you in your presentation. Get their opinions, ask them questions. The more interactive you make it with the potential client, the less it will feel like they are being sold.
  • Show variety – it is crucial that all your photos in your portfolio don’t look identical. Have your brand and represent the brand, but make sure the buyer understands that you have a creative eye. This is why they are hiring YOU and not their second cousin’s friend with a camera!
  • Be relevant – as you are talking in the Qualification Process, you should be thinking of what parts of your portfolio will resonate best with this particular client. Remember those and show them off. If someone is really excited about the venue for their wedding, showcasing shots of spectacular wedding venues that show off both the couple and the beautiful site would be a good idea.
  • Limits – Don’t show every photo you have ever taken to them. Show them a handful of pieces that you feel showcase your best work and will be relevant to what they are looking for.

Now that you have shown your client a small piece of your extremely remarkable work, it is time to transition into the presentation of your services – Presenting Sales Packages. But for the love of all that which is holy, DO NOT break out a laser pointer or go into a monotone sounding robot mode at this point. That will take any excitement you have just built up and thrown out the window.

Everything Must Go- Dave Sutherland

Everything Must Go- Dave Sutherland/ Flickr Creative Commons

Motion Creates Emotion

This is the part where most of us choke up a bit and get into that monotone robot mode. Look back to a recent time you showcased your work and then tried to sell a potential client. When you showcased your remarkable work, you were probably proud and excited. How did the sale end? Your energy and excitement will rub off on potential clients, and we know that emotion sells, people buy on emotion. But that can all be destroyed if you present your services and rates poorly. It is important to keep that momentum we have already established and take that excited potential client, have them sign the contract  and turn them into a raving fan!

I have done tens (maybe hundreds) of thousands professional sales presentations in my career. Selling is what I have done for years, it is a passion of mine and I truly enjoy it. With that being said, I still get nervous time to time presenting sales! I catch myself sounding like a robot at times when I lack the excitement needed to sell. I remember this most recent WPPI, I was selling on the tradeshow floor for Undfind at a booth. I was shaking hands and metaphorically kissing babies. I tend to have a decent amount of energy on the trade show floor but that morning, something was lacking. I was showcasing our product, trying to get into sales presentations with people, but I was getting shot down left and right. You know what my problem was? I sounded like a robot! I didnt have emotion in my voice, I didn’t have excitement, so why would anyone else be excited about my product? They wouldn’t be! That is why when you present your product or services, you need to maintain that energy and excitement that you have created. It rubs off and more people will want to work with you.

How to Properly Transition and Present Your Service Packages

  • Maintain excitment- keep the energy level up. It will increase odds of finalizing the sale.
  •  Be confident- you know that you will do great work on this wedding or project – make sure the client feels your confidence.
  • Be unique- make sure that you create the ideal packages available for your customer. For example, if you feel this project will take 10-12 hours and your hourly rate is $500, give them two packages to chose from- one for $5,000 and one that is almost double that rate that will include some premium services you offer. That allows the customer a low entry point or it allows them to get all the bells and whistles they desire it. Here is a great article by Michelle Ford about pricing strategies that sell.
  • Order- remember, before you present pricing, reiterate all the services you will be providing. It reminds the potential client of all the value you bring to the table. Then transition into the pricing by saying, “Based off what you have told me, I have two packages in mind that will suit you perfectly…”

Taking It Home

  • Practice, Practice, Practice. It may feel weird at first, but ask family and friends to go through these four steps with you. Practice how you will meet, qualify, present and sell your potential clients. Role play, act it out, dozens of times or until you feel you could do it to a total stranger. The more ready you are to go through the process with a stranger, the more likely you are to sell your services to that stranger.
  • Get your portfolio together, even have different portfolios for different services. That way you have a way to be very specific to someone’s needs.
  • Understand your pricing and be ready to present two-three options to a potential client, one with a lower entry level pricing and one with premium based services.
  • Go with confidence. Believe in your work and yourself. People will sign more deals with you if you have that confidence aura about you.

Next week, we will will finish up the 5 steps with the final step: Finalizing the Sale. It will go into detail and tips on how to overcome the client’s objections and get them to sign the contract.

-David

To read more tips on the Business of Photography, check out the following articles in this series:

 

 

David is a business and sales expert who resides close to the beach in Southern California. With a knack for sales and marketing, he has consulted with many organizations ranging from car dealerships, door to door sales, and fitness gyms. When not selling or a running a business, he can be spotted on the beach with his dog, Goliath, any restaurant that will take him far from his trainer approved diet regiments, or Las Vegas.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Rafael Steffen

    There is always room to improve in all areas of photography, but what makes this article even greater, is that it provides us with a plan and what to do.

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  2. Michael Chapman

    A very practical and helpful article – thanks!

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  3. Jacob Jexmark

    I love this article series. I absolutely need to get better at the business part of this job.

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