- Doug Box’s Guide to Posing for Portrait Photographers
- Stunning Portrait Photography- Posing and Lighting!
- Step by Step Posing for Portrait Photography
- Master Posing guide for Portrait Photographers
- Posing for Portrait Photography
- Lighting for digital photography
- Cristopher Grey’s Studio Lighting Techniques for Photography
- Master Lighting Guide for Portrait Photographers
- 2013 Photographer's Market: The Most Trusted Guide to Selling Your Photography
- Best Business Practices for Photographers
- The Fast Track Photographer Business Plan: Build a Successful Photography Venture from the Ground Up
- Group Portrait Photography Handbook
- The Best of Family Portrait Photography: Professional Techniques and Images
- 500 Poses for Photographing Group Portraits
The companion article, How to Photography: Never Sell and Market your Work According to Price (which you are strongly urged to read), reveals one of the most common selling/marketing mistakes of professional photographers. Too many of them list their prices on their Websites and/or provide prospects with pricing information at or near the beginning of the selling/marketing process. If this describes you, then you are limiting the percentage of the total universe of photography services buyers that could become paying customers, which in turn limits your revenue and income.
This article provides you with detailed information about how you should sell and market your services when responding to prospects’ inquiries.
For example, a prospect communicates with you about your services via email or a phone call having visited your Website, where you’ve been wise enough not to list your prices. In many, if not most cases, the first question the prospect may ask is “What are your prices?” That is information you still don’t want to share for the same reason you don’t want them on your Website or any other selling/marketing materials. If you provide prices to inquiring prospects, then they will take control of the qualifying process and many will end the conversation at that point. You must retain control of the qualifying process and extend your conversation with prospects as long as possible.
You respond by telling the prospect that you can’t price the service/work for which they are shopping until you have the opportunity to discuss in more detail exactly what they need and to learn more about them. Explain there are too many variables that are part of the pricing calculation. If you need to quote a price to keep him or her interested, then provide a general price range for your lower-priced packages. Most of the prospects who contact you will recognize the price range as affordable, but your goal is to prove to them why they should spend more.
Another mistake many professional photographers, and many small business owners, make is to try and close the sale during a prospects’ initial inquiry. That first phone call has only two purposes: to determine whether the prospect qualifies as a potential customer and to schedule a lengthier conversation, or even a meeting, to discuss all the particulars of what he or she wants. When you try to close the sale during the initial inquiry, you will lose many prospects because they will perceive your purpose is to fulfill your need, not theirs.
You are more likely to convince a prospect to schedule another conversation or meeting with you if you ask the questions instead of letting the prospect do so. This is one of the oldest, and most proven, sales techniques. “Force” the prospect to provide answers instead of you. You don’t want to ask all the questions because then there wouldn’t be a need for a future conversation or meeting. The questions you ask should reveal the core emotional reason the prospect is shopping for photography services. Ask about the family. Ask him or her why they want photos of their children, pet, daughter’s wedding, etc.
When most people go into the marketplace to buy any product or service, they have a problem and they are looking for a solution. By determining exactly what it is, and then stating briefly how you can provide the solution, prospects are much more likely to be willing to talk with you further. Psychologically, prospects want to feel that doing business with you will be beneficial, and not because “what” you can sell them, but “why” they should buy it. The decision to buy comes from them, so they think they aren’t being “sold” at all.
Another time-honored technique is to explain your guarantee if the prospect seems hesitant. Not only is he or she under no obligation by meeting with you, but also your guarantee will return all the money he or she spends if not 100% satisfied. This “safety net” will allay any of the prospect’s fears and make him or her much more open to agreeing to another discussion/meeting.
The one question you never want to ask when you perceive that the prospect is preliminarily convinced that it will be beneficial to him or her to consider hiring you is: “When would you like to meet?” Instead, in a confident voice, suggest a two specific, optional dates and times: “Let’s continue our discussion next Tuesday at 4 p.m. or maybe Friday at 6pm. Which of those times are good for you?” Again, this is an old sales technique because as soon as they answer either yes or no, they are agreeing to meet with you; it’s just a matter of when. Plus, you’ve given them two choices, which means one is more likely to be convenient.
By extending your contact with prospects beyond their initial inquiry, especially during a face-to-face meeting, they will be much more receptive to listening to your detailed explanation of how beneficial it is to do business with you because you can solve their problem. In somewhat cruder terms, you’re able to set the hook deeper, which maximizes the number of sales you close and the total revenue from each sale. Mentioning price first or early in the selling/marketing process makes it much easier for the fish to wriggle off the hook.
Image credit: gunnar3000 / 123RF Stock Photo
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