We all know the feeling: you’re hearing a sales pitch and it just feels… slimy! You can tell that the seller isn’t being authentic. Maybe they’re being pushy, and it’s obvious that they’re after one thing – your money!
Well, the same can be said when you’re the one DOING the selling. On one hand, you’re building real relationships with your clients, watching their children grow, getting to know them on a personal level. On the other hand, you’re running a small business, and as we all know… money is a pretty important thing for businesses to have!
So how do we meet in the middle? How can you make money without being a sales bully?
By selling with integrity.
And here’s what I mean by that –
Understand Client Needs
Before clients ever step foot in my studio, I send them a questionnaire to fill out with questions like, what is your family’s style? If your family were a brand, what brand would you be? Where do you want to hang artwork? What products interest you? Though I firmly believe that artwork sales are what will take your photography business to new heights, not everyone wants or needs that gallery wall.
That’s why I take the time to understand what makes my clients unique, which gives me the ability to make professional recommendations. A lot of times, it’s hard for them to even envision artwork – but it’s my job as the pro to show them options that genuinely fit their style and budget. If they’re looking for great gift, I can recommend small albums or prints for grandparents. If they love artwork but might be moving soon? I show them a smaller, simpler wall that can fit in any home, with room to grow. Artwork sales isn’t one-size-fits-all, and your clients will appreciate the personalized recommendations and time spent putting together something just for them.
Sell What you Love
There’s a lot of products out there – and I mean A LOT. When it comes to photography, the possibilities are endless. You can get your photos printed on just about everything (wood, acrylic, metal). And don’t even get me started on frame options! Something I had to learn very early on was the importance of curation.
Even though my printing lab offers about 50 styles for tabletop frames, I offer 5. There’s dozens of colors for albums in 10 materials, but I offer two colors of one material. The reason being, the other styles just don’t vibe with my style of photography. If you’ve seen my work, you know it’s bright, airy, and natural – a hot-pink album, therefore, will not be on the menu!
Finding your unique style for what you’re trying to sell really shows clients that you are being intentional and authentic with your sales, not just offering 200 products and hoping sales land. I’ve taken the time to research the best of the best, and that’s what I offer. Everything I sell is something I myself would be proud to own!
Be Content with the Ups & Downs
Fall is a BOOM for portrait photographers! I’m talking thousands of holiday cards, a dozen sessions a week, and twelve hours a day in the studio. And though that busy-season stress never fails to set in, it’s always exactly what I need to get me through the slow season that follows, where sessions are fewer and farther between. Just like I’ve learned to be grateful for both the busy AND the slow times, after all these years, I’ve learned to be grateful for the big AND the small sales.
If you’ve been following along with my blogs and educational tips, you’ll know that I’m all about artwork, and turning every session into a sales opportunity. But as much as we’d love every client to spend $3,000 on custom artwork, life doesn’t always work out like that – and we can’t let it get us down!
A huge part of maintaining your integrity as a photographer is knowing that not every client you get will be your dream client and spend thousands of dollars with you. And that’s ok. Not everyone wants, needs, or can even afford a huge package, but they might be getting JUST as much joy out of their 10 digital files as someone does out of 5 frames. Being thankful for even the smallest sales is how you can sell without feeling salesy. Focus on your clients needs and wants instead and serve them the best you can.
Becoming a sales-pro won’t happen overnight, but it is SO important for the health of your photography business. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without investing a lot of time and attention into high-quality artwork that clients can enjoy forever, but I’ve also made real connections with my clients by selling with INTEGRITY.
When you sell to meet the clients’ needs, give them nothing but the best, and accept lower sales with grace… that’s when they’ll keep coming back for more!
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