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How to Do In-Person Sales (Even When You Don’t Like Sales)

As a photographer, one of the most difficult parts of conducting business is the need to do sales. You like taking pictures. Sales, on the other hand, isn’t your strong suit.

You’re not alone!

There are many photographers who struggle with in-person sales (IPS). Those sales efforts, however, are the key to connecting with your customers and ensuring that you’re generating the business you need.



Why Choose In-Person Sales?

In-person sales are the first step in running a profitable business–and it’s a step you can’t afford to skip. Typically, clients make purchase decisions out of emotion.

Ideally, you want them to see their images for the first time in person, with you.

In-person sales have a variety of benefits that will allow you to increase your overall income as you appeal to customers’ senses and emotions to encourage them to make purchase decisions.


Build a Connection

When clients view their images for the first time, they’ll have an emotional reaction to those images.

Putting up an online gallery allows customers to visit the images several times, gradually reducing the emotional impact. The more times they look, the more the emotional impact will lessen, and the less attached to those images your customers will be.

In some cases, you may leave hundreds and even thousands of dollars on the table simply by allowing customers to view their images at their leisure.


Appeal to the Senses

An appeal to the senses is great for your sales strategy–especially when you’re working with women.

Using a beautiful, high-end album that your clients can hold in their lap is a great way to connect with them. Women, in particular, like to run their hands over the leather and feel the weight of the album.

Online galleries reduce this incredible opportunity.

Connect Personally With Clients

As you visit with your clients, you’re also getting to know them. You’re coming into their home, taking a look at their style, and giving them a firsthand look at the images that will look best on their walls.

With the right software, you can even give clients a look at exactly where their pictures will fit best, all from their own homes.

Do you find yourself stuck following these steps? Maybe communication is not your strong side. Not everyone is great at getting their message across. But, it’s never too late to begin learning. You can start now!


Getting Started

The first step in the process of conducting in-person sales is to calculate your cost of doing business.

Photographers are artists.

Chances are, you often don’t take the time to think about how much money, time, and energy you’re really expending to get your clients those perfect pictures.

First and foremost, you should decide what exactly you want to specialize in. The article 5 Steps to Making Money as a Photographer gives you more tips on what to consider when you start your photography career.

Calculating your cost of doing business, therefore, is often a wake-up call that will give you a better perspective on what you really need to be charging.

For some photographers, a quick cost of doing business calculation shows that at their shoot and burn prices, they’re really paying themselves less than minimum wage.


The Right Price for You

When you’re developing your pricing strategy, you need to choose the structure that’s right for you. These keys will make it easier to ensure that you’re making the right decision about your pricing strategy.

  1. Make sure it’s profitable! You’re in this to do business, not just as an art form–and your clients need to know what your time is worth.
  2. Take a look at the various formulas. You can do everything from A La Carte pricing or “create your own collection” strategies to all-inclusive packages. There are photographers who are successfully using all of these strategies right now, so do the research and decide which one is right for you!
  3. Stand behind your prices once you set them. You really are worth the effort!


What’s Next?

Start by choosing your product and ordering samples before your first in-person sales session. You need to know that your product will fit within your cost of goods, your percentage of cost goal (which should be around 10%), and your brand.

Remember, while you want to have choices, too many choices will just confuse your audience. Keep it simple!


When You Don’t Have a Photography Studio

You don’t need a studio to start your photography business!

In fact, many photographers find that they’re able to easily work out of their homes or another location, especially when they’re first getting started.

You can conduct shoots at your clients’ homes or choose a location that fits your needs.

If you want to start your photography business, there is always a way.

Maybe you need some consultation on how to make your photography business grow even from home? Use these resources to reach your goals.

Create Your Online Presence

The more present you are online, the easier it is for interested customers to find you (and for repeat customers to keep coming back).

Make sure you have a great website that shows samples of your work and a social media profile that regularly displays shareable images that will interest potential customers.

Moreover, research when the best time to post on your social media accounts is, in order to reach a bigger audience.

Around the holidays or time for graduation pictures, offering specials or showing examples of seasonal work is a great way to appeal to new customers.


Meeting with Customers

Since you don’t have a studio, you don’t have a place to bring customers so that they can get to know you and your business. You do, however, have several options for communicating with them, including:

  1. Phone conversations;
  2. Skype calls, which are preferable to over-the-phone discussions because they will allow you to get to know your clients better;
  3. In-person meetings and consultations that will help you build a better idea of exactly what your clients are looking for.

Make sure that you’re showing clients samples of your work. Again, doing this in person is the best way to appeal to the client’s emotions and senses.

When they’re able to handle your sample products, they’ll start imagining what their own finished products will look like.


Selling the Final Product

The time is here. You can’t avoid it any longer. Your clients come in to view their images and they fall in love with them. How do you make the big sale?


Pull Out Your Hidden Secret

Bring out a predesigned wall collage for your clients.

This will let them see their images already designed on their wall. The guess work is done. You’ve planted a seed. Now, they’re able to see exactly what it will look like.

If you know that your clients are looking for something specific–which you likely found out about during your pre-shoot sessions with them–you have the chance now to deliver it.


Ask How They Want to Pay

You aren’t being pushy when you ask clients how they want to pay for their pictures. You’re just giving them the chance to collect their pictures and move on–and that’s a step that they’re ready to take.

In-person sales aren’t about being grabby or demanding money–though you certainly deserve to be paid for your work.

Rather, they are your opportunity to connect with your customer, providing them with the service, design, and emotion they need in order to make a decision.

Do you still feel unsure about how to conduct in-person sales? Don’t worry! You’re not alone in this. Get started here with growing your own photography business.



Erin Martin PhotographyWritten by Erin Martin, founder of Erin Martin Photography. She specializes in NewbornGlamour, and Family Photography. She offers her services in in Coral Springs, Boca Raton, Palm Beach, Broward, Palm Beach and South Florida. Each and every client gets pampered and glamorous for their photo shoot.

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