This is the first post in a series on In-Person Sales. By the end of the fourth post, you'll know more about In-Person Sales than the vast majority of professional photographers out there and, more importantly, you'll have the skills and knowledge you need to start doing In-Person Sales with confidence (and without feeling all gross inside).
The most common (and worst) mistake you can make when switching to In-Person Sales is to not properly set your clients’ expectations.
Without properly set expectations, In-Person Sales is just about worthless. Worse, it feels bait-and-switch-y.
This is where most photographers feel “salesy”, because their clients are surprised by their prices or their process when it finally comes time to purchase some products.
On the other hand, properly set expectations turn what normally would feel like sales into you working together with your client to get them the perfect products for their needs.
We need to set expectations for:
- The products we want our clients to purchase
- The price at which they’ll purchase those products
- The process we’ll use to sell them those products
And we want to set these expectations in, at least, these places:
- On your website
- On your blog
- On social media
- In your communications
Set Product Expectations
The main point of setting product expectations is this:
Everywhere someone sees your work, they should see the product you want them to purchase.
If this is wall art, they should see wall art galleries all over the place. Albums? Album designs and photos of physical albums.
- On your website - Create a portfolio page (you know, like your weddings, seniors, families, etc) just for the product you want to be known for. I highly suggest picking one type of product and focusing in on only that product. So, if you’re going with wall art, you should have a portfolio page of only wall art mockups and photos of actual pieces you’ve delivered. Haven’t sold any wall art yet? No worries, go sign up for a free trial of Swift Galleries, design a few mockups, export those to your computer and put them up on your website. Better yet, use some of your most recent (or favorite) clients’ photos for those mockups and share them through Swift Galleries to make some great wall art sales while still in your free trial!
- On your blog - Go back to your 3-5 most recent blog posts and add a wall gallery mockup (or an album design spread, if your product is albums). Talk about why that gallery is the perfect representation of your work, in physical form. This is your chance to really dig into the “why” of the products you offer, to start showing off your expertise and to make it clear that you have a reason for offering the types of products you offer. Do this for every single session you blog from this point, forward.
- On social media - If your blog is the place where you get to tell potential clients why you believe in the products you offer, then social media is the place where you get to have a two way conversation about those products. For every session you shoot, post a gallery to social media. Better yet, post two and ask you readers to “help you decide which one is best”. Run a “help me decide what our next sample gallery should be” contest at the end of your busy season and have people vote. Give the client in the winning gallery something for having theirs chosen as the winner (this gets your clients to tell their friends to go vote on their favorite sample gallery).
- Teasers - The In-Person Sales community is not big on posting teasers. The issue is that you may hijack that excitement your clients have when seeing their photos for the first time. There’s a lot of validity to that concern. However, I think you can use your teasers as a way to continue to reinforce your expectation for a wall art sale. Instead of posting a slew of photos for your teaser, post one wall gallery mockup. Now you’re giving them a chance to see a photo or two or three, but they’re seeing it in the context of the product you expect them to purchase. They’re seeing the end result. I believe the benefits of reinforcing this expectation outweigh the drawbacks associated with posting teasers.
Again, the main point here is, everywhere someone sees your work, they should see your end product. This is how you become known for providing those products you want to be known for.
You become the photographer to go to in your market for that product.
“Oh, you want canvas galleries? You should go to Chris & Adrienne Scott, I always see them posting those! Go check them out over on their website!”
Set Price Expectations
One of the worst things that can happen at a sales meeting is for your client to be blindsided by the prices they’re expected to pay. Thankfully, price is a really easy expectation to set.
So let’s do that right now…
- Pricing Page - If you don’t already have one, go right now and add a “Pricing” page to your website. Don’t hide it somewhere on About Me and don’t do the “contact me for my price list”. Let them know what to expect.
- But wait! - Don’t put your entire price menu out there. That will only lead to clients comparing you to other photographers on price, which is not the main thing they should be looking at when trying to choose a photographer. Instead, just give them something to hold on to. Go with “Sessions are $xxx and custom wall galleries start at $xxxx” or “Our typical portrait client spends around $xxxx on their photo products, some more, some less.”
We don’t need to show them everything, just let them know a rough estimate of what they should expect to spend.
- And one more place… - So you’ve added a general price range to your pricing page and you didn’t bury it somewhere in the depths of your website. Good for you. Let’s add that price to one more place, as well. Head over to your Contact page and add the same little snippet over there, “Sessions are $xxx and custom wall art galleries start at $xxxx.” Now, when someone contacts you, even if they skipped your pricing page, you know they had at least one opportunity to see your general prices.
Set Process Expectations
The absolute best way to handle objections and confusion during your planning meeting (things like, “I can’t make this decision right now, not without my spouse here” or “can you just put my photos online so I can think about it and order stuff later?”) is by letting clients know your process right from the start, then reinforcing that, over and over.
You can do this on your website with a quick note (emphasis on “quick”… people are busy, they won’t read a novel) about how you walk your clients through the product picking process to help them come up with the absolute best products for their session. Mention a quick blurb about how you’ll have a pre-session planning meeting to help them decide what to get and what products will be best for them.
When you meet with the client, start talking about some of your other process points, things like, “At the sales meeting, we’ll make all your product choices and I’ll get those ordered that week, so be sure that any decision makers are present.”
Set these expectations up-front and they won’t come back to bite you during your sales meeting.
Sell your work, not your soul.
You could start selling
in the next 5 minutes!
Using Swift Galleries to Set Expectations
So, you now know which expectations you should be setting... but how do you actually do it?
Thankfully, it's really easy to export galleries you've designed to use on your website or on social media with Swift Galleries (don't have an account? Start a free trial here, we won't even ask for a credit card number).
- Sharing to Social Media - Use this to share gallery designs straight from Swift Galleries to Facebook or Pinterest.
- Exporting for Uploading to Your Site - Export to your computer to upload to your website, blog or to other Social Media channels.
To export gallery designs:
- Click on the Export icon, right next to the "Save as Suggestion" button.
- Choose whether you'd like to export to your computer or share to Pinterest or Facebook.
- That's it! Check out the gif below to see just how easy this is.
So... Now What?
Armed with this post, you know exactly what to do to start attracting the kinds of clients who want physical products - the very same clients who will love the service you provide with In-Person Sales.
So don't just sit there, knowing things. Actually do something with this knowledge.
- Grab the checklist below to make sure you've done everything you can to set proper expectations.
- Then, do it.
- That's it.
No go forth and start attracting clients to your business who want more than just digitals!
Don't miss a step, get the free checklist!give me my checklist!
Review by Erin Smagala
Check out Erin's work at erinsmagala.com.