Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tips for Selling

Today's post, which offers some insights into creating an effective sales experience, comes from the book Master's Guide to Wedding Photography by Marcus Bell. It is available from and other fine retailers.

The mere thought of selling is enough to strike fear into the hearts of many photographers, but the process need not be negative or complicated if it is approached with the right attitude.

Providing top-notch service and stunning images will make clients comfortable with their investment.

Provide Honest, Professional Advice
I am not a
fan of the hard sell, an approach that has given more than a few photographers a bad reputation among consumers.
The right approach to selling your photography is to be honest, open, and provide professional advice. Your client has come to you for a product, and they need you to advise them on the best way to get it. You will be surprised how receptive they will be to your ideas if you have established a solid relationship and excellent rapport. If the client does not trust you completely, your advice will lack believability and they will not act on your suggestions. Provide advice on what you would love, what you would purchase for your own collection, or what you would hang in your house. Explain that this is what you personally believe. Your clients will pick up on the honesty of your recommendation. Remember that they have come to you as an expert in your field, and they want your professional opinion.

Make sure your studio is always spotless and comfortable, yet warm and inviting.

Sell Your Work as Art
If you approach your work
from an artistic standpoint, you are truly producing fine art—and that’s how you should sell your work to your clients. Build in them an appreciation for the skill, emotion, and years of training and practice that have gone into producing their images. Use artistic terminology when speaking about your work and show them your range of artistic products. Defining and presenting your photography as art will add value to your product.

Use artistic terms when speaking about your work to increase its perceived value.

Showing Clients the Value of Photography
a client is hesitant to book, money is not always the issue, it also has a lot to do with the experience, the service, and the product—in this order of priority. In many cases, your clients will not have had much previous experience with professional photographers. It should, therefore, be part of your service to educate them about the art that you produce, your prices, your product range, and the value they will receive for their money.

Offer Prepurchase Options
It will work to your
advantage to offer clients the opportunity to prepurchase some of your products. You know that the album you are going to produce for them will be a classic work of art and that they will want every image you created to appear inside it. So, offer them the opportunity to purchase framed prints, art books, and other products prior to the wedding for a special price. This will ensure that they have budgeted for the products they will eventually desire. This is the only time we reduce our prices, and it is only to educate our clients. This lets them know that the album can be as large as they like, and it’s possible to package a larger album prior to the wedding. When you are showing clients your additional products, be sure to make a note of what you have shown them so that you can introduce new products next time and avoid repeating the process.

Pricing products is one of the
toughest decisions for a professional photographer to make. It sometimes requires you to step outside your comfort zone to truly appreciate all that goes into your work. Time and time again, I have had to search deep inside and remind myself of everything I have achieved, the years I have spent becoming the photographer and businessman I am, and believing that this was not a fluke. Success may come to those who have not earned it, but they rarely keep it. Only those who have earned their position retain success in the long run. You need to believe in your own talents, abilities, and possibilities. Be your own best friend in this regard. If you believe your photography is worth X amount of dollars, you could actually double it; generally photographers undervalue themselves. With photography, you can achieve any price for your product—prints in galleries, for instance, can be purchased for anywhere from $50 to well over $100,000. Never forget that you are not pricing for a piece of paper with an image on it. You’re pricing for all the things it took to get that image on the paper—years of training and practice; overhead to run your business, pay staff, and advertise your studio; camera, lighting, and computer equipment; and much more.

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