Selling is both an art and a skill. To some, sales comes naturally because we love to enthusiastically share something we think is valuable. But for most artists, it can seem a bit scary asking people to buy something as personal as our art. Fear of rejection or seeming pushy can get in the way of blessing our clients with finished portrait art that they will treasure forever.
Whether sales seems like a dirty word or creative and fun, learning how to “sell the dream” of a future results or pleasure to a target market is essential skill be profitable as a portrait and wedding photographer.
Here is how I accidentally learn to sell and create a highly profitable photography business specializing in wall portraits and albums…
35 years ago I found myself unemployed with a strong commitment to becoming a successful photographer and making a great living. The friend I purchased my much loved Jafra Skin Care from suggested I become a consultant to supplement my income. I loved the products so I thought it could be fun (and I would get free and discounted makeup as well). Though this is a multi level marketing system I made some steady income from sales alone. My manager was an amazing one on one sales coach and the company provided a great deal of training as well.
Little did I know that I would not only bring in much needed income but I that would learn a lot of basic wisdom that I needed to sell my portraits and wedding packages to women in their and my home. You might be wondering “What does skin care have to do with photography?”
Here is what they have in common
-both are luxury items and are an intangible in terms of the ultimate value to the clients and
-the buyers are primarily women.
The following are lessons that came from the experience that I still use every day…
1-I learned that it is harder to sell to friends and family than strangers and that the sooner I found people I didn’t know to work with, the easier it would be to be profitable. As a rule, friends and family spend less, don’t respect my time, and expect more.
2-I learned to use descriptive words that women love…painting a picture with my carefully chosen vocabulary and phrases that are emotional and about how they will feel when they have the product. I learned to sell the dream.
3-I learned to have passion and enthusiasm in my voice and body language.
4-I learned to have a start to finish sales plan.
5-I learned that people don’t call and order later. The time to complete the order is now.
6-I learned not to give up when they say no or offer objections but to find creative ways to address them. “I’ll think about it” means “please give me more reasons to say yes”.
7-I learned how to talk on the phone, follow up on those leads, do reminder calls about the parties, and express my gratitude.
8- I learned to present myself well visually (not jeans and flip flops but a nice, stylish jacket and of course skilled makeup and tasteful jewelry).
9-I learned not to serve alcohol until after they ordered and paid.
10- I learned the power of intention. Before a sale now as well as then, I set a sales goal, picture it in my mind and say thank you in advance and by golly, it often is that amount or more.
11-I learned that if I truly believe in the value of my product, I owe it to them to do my best to sell them my best. I am giving them a gift when they purchase gorgeous wall art that becomes a focal point in their home, enhances the love they have for each other, and becomes lifetime treasures. Passion equals success. Also, that the more they invest the more they value the art.
12- And I learned that people are different and not to pre-judge a client. Often the ones you think will buy a lot may not and the ones you think are cheap will order everything, pay in full and be super grateful for what you have done for them.
I hope these lessons support your success as they did mine.
All the best, Luci Dumas
Insight Training for Photographers
and Luci Dumas Fine Photography
And please join the private Facebook group “Insight Training for Photographers” to continue the conversation and learn more about my one on one coaching and consulting for photographers.