Portrait Sales: Increasing the Revenue, Decreasing the Awkwardness
Posted on October 28th, 2012
By Sari Goodfriend, guest blogger:
Ok, wow what a different mindset from the art world panel on portfolio reviews that I just went to.
Tamara starts off by talking about Push vs. pull marketing.
Use a combination:
PUSH – reaching out very directly. Hand out cards, be a presence at a a charity where you do on-site portraits, and then have people to sign up for sessions.
A good market is to get photos of couples together. They never usually have photos done together. But if you get them at events.
Session fee is $500. same for portrait and on location.
PULL – keep up and consistent – website and promo materials over a period of time to draw people in. Update all web presence. It is the front door to your business. Be diligent about it.
Use doses of push marketing in between… Ex: direct marketing
How to do it at that moment?
She doesn’t do print packages because she wants to make it custom to each person
Tell the client “Bring your spouse to viewing session”
Get it all done there.
Tell client “Why I want to sit down with you” – address it directly
Tamara’s company sells the DVD and rights to reproduce. $2950. The whole shoot. With all hi- res files. It’s her highest price point item.
When helping people realize the value of her custom prints, rather than they just buying the CD and getting everything printed at their local drugstore, she shows the images printed from various labs compared to custom prints.
In building up trust with her client she said “The first phone call is about how the shoot session will go. You, as the photographer, need to create a dialogue about what they are looking for. Ask them “what do you like about my work, what don’t you want in your photos…” Include them in the creation of the work – like you would do with a wedding client. Offer them all the options – color, b&w, artistic toning, etc…
After she does a shoot, she has a 3 week turnaround time and then sends them all the edited images via a slide show. With music. Not just a gallery. She leaves it online for 2-3 days and then the slide show comes down before their sales session. She shoots about 300 images, but only shows 60-80.
Uses PRO SELECT for the sales consultation.
After sale, she takes half the total up front.
The $500 Session fee is not refundable.
Need to have the conversation upfront about them coming in for the sales session. You have to sell it as part of the whole experience.
So many people’s thoughts of sales are based on an old method of sales
Middleman is out. Consultative sales now. It’s more of “Let me help you out, let me give you info.”
It will also help your client to come in and see the images on your calibrated monitor or projector where they can see the possibilities of each image, for example, black and white, or retouching spots, cropping, etc…
With each client who comes in, think about how you build the relationship with them as individuals, couples, families, and then how many more people they will refer you to.
I should add here that the whole time Tamara is talking, people’s hands are going up and there is a constant dialogue with the audience. She really handles it well and you can see the proof of how accustomed she is to constant communication with her clients. It really helped to drive home all that she was saying.
Next topic she covered:
How to Stop the Awkward Part
Before assuming the sale, assume rapport. Make them comfortable, otherwise they won’t buy. If you feel nervous they will sense it and not buy
Commonality- connect and make them feel that you are one of them.
The Eyes have it- make eye contact. Don’t just be looking around or shuffling papers.
Talk! Then STOP talking.
Play music – slow, spa, relaxing. For shooting, its faster and upbeat
With families or couples, Make sure you build rapport with both of them, not just the wife or not just the husband.
If they ask to go home and think about it, say something like “I don’t want to waste your time. Honestly, if you go home now you will be busy and forget. We have just spent this time now figuring it out and it’s fun but if you think about it you’ll need to come in again and it will then be work and it will suck all the fun out of it. Let’s just make a decision now and then you can go home knowing you’re going to be enjoying some beautiful prints.”
THE DO’s and DONT’s of SALES
Tamara had made a video in which she plays the role of a good hearted but nervous photographer. It got a lot of laughs from the audience, but the kind of laughter that said “oh my god, I recognize myself and now all my mistakes are being exposed! I need to change my ways!”
She then broke down all the factors that go into a good versus bad sales method.
Clear out distractions
Allow them to chill out and be with you in a relaxed space
Be organized! Help them make decisions
Dress the part – look like someone who a client would give thousands of dollars to.
Do not have your phone with you!! Ask them to put their phone on vibrate so only bothered if someone really needs them
Learn your software to best show the images.
Have options ready and easy to pop photos into in your computer: Album designs, different layouts in triptych, quads, vertical frames with numerous images,
Ask them to bring all the decision makers to the sales session or ask them to bring a list of the persons favorites if they really really can’t be there plus their permission/agreement to place the order at whatever sizes feels right for them.
TRACKING THE ORDER PROCESS:
PRO SELECT software tracks the order as you go and puts it into a cart
But Tamara finds it’s better to do it physically by hand in a journal so they can focus on the image and how can the images be packaged and put together. She doesn’t want it to be about the prices continually racking up on the side.
She hands them a simple and small price list- fits on a 4×8 card
Make it clear and comfortable – no hidden stuff.
Not too many options – i.e. don’t do a 6 page price list.
Questions about her prices….she replies with
40×60 canvas – over $1000
MOOD is the top priority for shooting!!!!
Client’s FOCUS and ATTENTION is top priority for sales.
If you meet at their house, you lose some control.
Their space can be too distracting. Try to meet in a neutral place. Wine bars can work too. If at your studio use a projector screen.
She uses a company called Animoto to make the slide shows and a template called simplicity. You can create on animoto and then download it and rename with their name and then it’s on your FTP, so they are always led back to your site.
When you send it to them, it’s important to tell them how to view their slide show so they’re not just looking at it on their iPhone walking through the mall.
Tell them to sit down, dim the lights, turn up the volume, and enjoy as The Work You Have Created Together.