Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a “wet behind the ears” beginner, making money with your camera can be a daunting task. Each new year, the hunt begins to find prospects, convert them to clients and shoot their gig. Finding enough clients to “make it” can be a bit overwhelming. Being able to have your paid gigs WORK for you more than just once with in-person sales, however, can be a PHENOMENAL way to add to the bottom line income that strictly comes from shooting and delivering files. Here are three quick tips to get you started down the right path.
1. Start Selling Before Your Sales Meeting
The sale starts a long time before they meet you to go through their ordering session (you are calling them “ordering” sessions with your clients, so they EXPECT to buy something, right?). Does your website show value in printed goods or artwork? Can they see examples in your social media posts of clients with their products showing how thrilled they are to have them? Do you encourage your clients to post images on THEIR social media of their new artwork when they put it up in their home? Does the language you use talk about their “story” or their “family life” or “wall art” in the communication they have with you? Do you ever take the opportunity to actually HAND THEM PRINTS to hold and fall in love with when they meet up with you for their consult/session/coffee?
The idea here is to start creating a culture with your business where these printed goods MATTER, not just that are pretty and/or “cool.” I have these little books laying on the coffee table in my office that I print off of my iPhone from a cool company called Artifact Uprising. My clients ALWAYS pick them up and thumb thru them while they are sitting on the couch. They really don’t “feature” my photography skills, but rather are filled with the memories of my kids and family through the year that I’ve snapped mostly with my phone. People LOVE them!
I think I’ve “sold” people on the app to make these books from their own photos as much as I’ve sold them the art they were there to see! Why? Because they saw the value in it and wanted it for themselves. I then became a supplier to what they wanted, not a SALESPERSON. There, again, are tons of things that influence their decisions with these products, but one big “leg up” for you will be to start introducing them to the idea of products and prints long before they come in to buy those from you.
2. Keep It SIMPLE (Stupid!)
I could write for days on this, but that seems to go against the point! In all seriousness, though, simplicity in sales can make or break a deal. Think about the things you have put some your hard earned money into: a car, your house, maybe your gear, or even a grocery bill for your growing family (and yes, I deal with this EVERY time we check out at Costco, and I hand over $300-$400). There are numerous reasons why we buy things and the science and psychology in this field of study is ENDLESSLY fascinating if you like that kind of stuff.
You have to remember, these clients work hard to earn the money they are trading you for the things they are receiving from you, so it has to be clear and simple or else they’re not going to make the trade. Here is what a lot of it boils down to: if you don’t feel comfortable and clear in what you are buying, you likely won’t buy (this rejection impulse gets stronger the more an item costs with even the smallest amount of confusion or uncertainty). If you are presenting your sale in a way that feels too pushy or too vague, science and averages say they won’t invest.
The more clearly and simply you can word your price list, the easier it is for you to explain what they get or how to pay, the easier the transaction goes. The credit and banking industry developed debit/credit cards for ease of use and separation from actual money in the customer’s mind. These little cards make it easy to spend money by providing a quick and “painless” transaction. Use the same ideology with your pricing/product list (think one small sheet, like a menu with a few pictures) and the sale by making your process streamlined and clear. Make it EASY for them to buy from you! (P.S. if you need some ideas for sales, check out these great tips!)
3. Show Them Actual Products
I know this may seem like a forgone conclusion if you are trying to sell people something, but having the stuff so they can see and feel it gets you one step closer to them having that product in their home! We have large prints (larger than what most order and then exactly the size most order) hanging on the studio walls and also down on the table where they can feel them and pick them up (it’s kind of like laying down on the bed in the furniture store or test driving the car; it’s not exactly like owning it, but it gives you an idea).
You wouldn’t believe how many people say something along these lines, “ How big is this one (referring to the print hanging over the couch)? I like this size, I think we’ll go with this because it looks great hanging over the couch!” Think about this, why would a place like IKEA spend an ENTIRE floor of their two floor store site just setting up FAKE kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms and living rooms? And why would they then label every item in that room with the tag telling you which aisle and which bin that item is in downstairs? Seeing sells the IDEA, and simplicity sells the TRANSACTION. The idea here is to develop an “I want that” mentality with your clients so you become what Zig Ziglar calls an “order taker.”
This also helps you avoid buyer’s remorse because you “convinced” them they wanted it, vs helped them decide the size and arrangement. When you help them get what they want, they formalize the decision in their minds as their choice and everyone in the arrangement is happier!
If you’re interested in learning more about in-person sales, I would highly recommend grabbing the book “The Secrets to Closing the Sale,” by Zig Ziglar and/or check out the numerous videos on YouTube by Zig or a fellow named Bryan Tracy! Selling is everything, and everything is selling, but HOW you sell makes ALL the difference! Good luck, and go forth with confidence!!