Ask yourself a question. Do you dread the sales session? If so you must be doing something wrong. This is actually my favorite client point of contact. Not that I am a great salesperson because I'm really not. But think about it, this is the time you get to show the client the fabulous images you have captured for them. You get to play a slide show set to music and watch them cry! It's great! What is that you say? You are not showing the client their images in person? You don't have a slide show set to emotion-invoking music? Well then, no wonder you dread the sales. After years of experimenting and following every sales fad I have come up with a routine that works for me and my clients and makes sure that my sales are not disappointing. Obviously this won't work for everyone but there are a few things that I really believe mean the difference between average and outstanding sales. And the sales session SHOULD be fun.
1. In-Person Sales. I cannot emphasize this enough. You really need to be showing the client their images in the studio or in their home. I know it is easier to put them in a gallery online and let them peruse as they wish. But how many times have you done that and waited forever for them to order? The client will not have any urgency to order if you leave them on their own. They will quickly get overwhelmed and walk away from the computer. And you are missing out on the best part. Seeing the joy on their faces as they see their images for the first time. It's awesome! I love it. The other problem with leaving them on their own is that we cannot be of much help in guiding them to the correct print sizes for their home. We miss out on the opportunity to up sell groupings, albums, and gift prints/products. You had a consultation to find out what they wanted to use the images for. Now you need to help them in person with those needs.
2. Never underestimate the power of the musical slide show. Think about the times a commercial on TV has made you teary eyed. Admit it, it has happened to you. The music in the ad played a big role in the emotion you felt. It's been proven. By smart people. There are lots of free or low cost services online for making a slideshow. It's as simple as loading your images and arranging them in the template. The program does the rest. You can choose a song from an approved list and voila! Musical slideshow. I tell my clients to sit back and relax and enjoy the show. Don't worry, you will get to see them again and study them in more detail later. This is just a chance to relive the session and feel the emotion in the images. After they cry and get all excited and tell you how great you are, you show them the images again one at a time. This is the time to start narrowing down their favorites and suggesting sizes and groupings. They are now emotionally attached to the images and will purchase more. They will want all of them!
3. Size matters. One of the most important reasons to have the sales session in person is so that you can show the client what print sizes actually look like on the wall. A 16x20 sounds pretty big to just about everyone but we know better. A 16x20 on the wall is not so impressive. Have examples of even bigger print sizes to show the client. Let them touch a canvas gallery wrap. I cannot tell you how many times I have up sold a 16x20 client to at least a 20x24 but usually even bigger. I was lucky to have a fireplace and mantle in my studio so I could display a big beautiful 24x36 canvas in a home like setting. It was a great selling tool. At least have a screen shot of a print size comparison to show them.
4. Prepare the client for purchasing at the sales session. Make sure you mention at the consultation that the sales session is the time that they will order and pay for their prints and products at that time. They may choose to schedule closer to a payday. Give them some control over the scheduling of the session but make sure it is within two weeks. Any longer and they will start to lose interest. Keep them excited. Close the deal. Make sure you are set up to accept credit cards. I offer packages with discounts that get larger as the package price increases. And consider offering payment plans to clients who make large purchases.
You've made the sale. Now it is your responsibility to prepare their images for print and get them ordered in a timely manner. Give the client a date for picking up their items. No one wants to spend that much money and not know when they can expect to receive their product. Next time we'll discuss your delivery. This includes packaging, pick up or delivery procedures, and how to keep the client coming back.