As photographers we love to play with the latest gadget. We think that if we just buy a better lens then we’ll be able to take better photos and earn more money.
Sadly, the best camera and all the lenses and lights in the world aren’t going to make much difference, even if you know how to use them. Actually, maybe it’s not so sad. It means you don’t have to rush out and spend a fortune because there’s another piece of kit that’s far more important and you’ve already got one that works just fine.
Your telephone books more clients than your camera
There are thousands of excellent photographers so it’s very difficult (although not impossible) to stand out from the crowd through your photography alone. A little effort improving your sales skills on the telephone will have a far bigger impact on your photography success than a lot of effort on your photography. We all obsess about improving our photography but I’ve learned the hard way that you have to be as good at talking to clients as you are at photography.
We’ve all had the same bad experiences, right?
You get the stalling clients who say they’ll call you back, but you just know they never will.
Then there are the clients who use that old negotiating trick of flinching when you tell them the price. The weak amongst us (myself included) have been known to crumble during the uncomfortable silence that often follows their shock (real, or feigned) at the price.
Ah, what about the clients who say they need to check with their other half? How on earth do you overcome that expertly played stall by the client?
So, how does a photographer book more clients on the phone?
This is a huge subject covered in my book ‘Proven photography sales techniques that won’t make you feel dirty inside’, but I’ll give you some things to think about. A good sales person asks lots of questions because questions help build rapport. The wonderful thing about this fact is that it means you don’t have to be that clichéd pressure salesperson we all know and hate.
The questions you ask need to keep the client thinking emotionally. This is because family portrait and wedding photography is purchased for emotional reasons. Questions build trust and show that you care.
You also need to take away the risk factor for the client by offering them your money-back guarantee.
Be ready for the awkward questions
If you’re charging a decent amount for your photography (and you should be), then you’ll need to be ready for clients objecting and stalling when they hear your prices. You can’t let this scare you into reducing your prices. You just need to know how to keep the conversation going and continue building trust and emotion in your client.
I really care about our craft and truly believe in the value of family portraits and wedding photography. 10 years ago my father passed away and since this was just before I had a love of photography I only have some small and rather poor photos to remember him by. I’ll often mention this to my clients to help them understand why having beautiful photos of your family is so important. Yes, this is a raw and personal subject, but family portraits are all about capturing relationships, emotions, personalities, love and tenderness. If you’re not able to talk in an emotional way then you’ll need to start.
It can be done
There are many photographers all over the world earning over 100k from wedding and portrait photography and very often their photography won’t be any better than yours or mine. They achieve this success through an understanding of sales and marketing. So, get it out of your head that it’s all about the price or even your photography for that matter. Yes, your photography needs to be excellent, emotionally charged and consistent. But never forget that your sales and marketing skills are far more important than your photography once your photography meets these standards.
‘Proven photography sales techniques that won’t make you feel dirty inside’ lays out all the questions and answers to all the awkward situations we struggle with on the phone as photographers. Once you know what to say your confidence will grow and you’ll feel more comfortable volunteering your higher prices.
Selling on the phone is not a battle
Don’t worry, you don’t have to see selling your photography service on the telephone as being a battle of wits. It’s not and it shouldn’t be. In fact, it shouldn’t even feel like you’re selling at all. All you’re doing is finding out what your prospect wants and then helping them understand how you can help them get it. Yes, you’re likely to cost more than they were expecting, but they’ll start to understand the value of photography once you start speaking more emotionally. After all, a photo of their family that makes them cry tears of joy when they see it has enormous value. Why? Because it touches their heart. It beautifully captures the most important thing in their life in the most beautiful way possible. You’re creating a family heirloom that can be passed down through generations. Once you can convey this kind of sentiment over the phone and in person then you’ll start to book more and more clients at greater prices than you ever thought possible.
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Do you find clients never call you back, or never turn up to an appointment? Frustrating isn’t is? ‘Proven Photography Sales Techniques That Won’t Make You Feel Dirty Inside’ reveals the secrets to making the sales process stress free, completely ethical and thoroughly effective. I used to worry about the best things to say to get the sale without being pushy. When I discovered these helpful techniques I no longer got nervous, I actually enjoyed the calls and I got more clients.