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Obstacles To Selling

Lesson 37 from: Building Your Family Portrait Business

Tamara Lackey

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Lesson Info

37. Obstacles To Selling


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I LOVE Photography and I Want to Make Money


From Photographer to Business Owner


Building Your Business To Fit The Life You Want


Business Is Business


Creating a Simple Business Plan - What To Know And What To Skip


Branding And Identity


Significance Of Constantly Marketing


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Lesson Info

Obstacles To Selling

What are some obstacles to selling? What are some things that I want you to consider? I want you to realize the obstacles are coming from both sides. So there's obstacles that are being presented to you, one of the obstacles that people hear all the time is maybe, gosh, I don't have enough wall space. There's not enough room on the walls to put anything else. I can only really get a few images. Think in advance of the objections you are commonly hearing, solve them in advance, and then smoothly transition to that solution during the sale. If that is my main issue, I'm gonna start the sales session with albums on the table. And when they say I don't have wall space, I'm like, you know it's amazing, these albums, these lush albums. Let me show you some samples of what it looks like, and it's night and day to say would you like an album, versus here, hold this, let's flip through this, let me show you the sample what they look like, we thread them together, and now imagine that in your ho...

me. Now they're imagining that in their home and they're talking about how their kids will flip through it for years to come and they can build a collection of them and at the end of the day, gosh, an album holds so much, and I remember looking through my grandmother's album, and on and on and on and suddenly they've talked themselves into an album and it's really great for you 'cause you believe in those, too. I have albums in my home that just are precious to us. That make a huge, huge difference. I love albums so I can sell albums 'cause I know how important they are to me, when I have albums of my family. We also show them actual physical products. I'm not gonna make this into a big kind of show and tell but when they come to our studio and you saw my studio yesterday, you saw all the work that was up on the walls, separately from that, we have smaller pieces that people can touch and hold and feel so they don't have to get up and touch things on the wall. Ooh, thank you, fancy. Is there another one? Oh good, there's two. So this is the image that was shot in the BTS, you guys saw me actually take this photograph. This is a simple metal print. I would have this on a wall that my clients could come look at. This, gosh, this is really pretty. I haven't seen this as a print yet. This is made in photo lab, I love the look. By the way, in terms of saving time, I would highly advise you to make sure before you print anything to reconcile with your lab that what you're sending them looks like what you get back. Sometimes it's a couple bit of a testing phase up front and then it's just everything you send them comes back exactly like you sent them, which is great. And there's the other one! I said the two recent shots, and this is just a print. So this is just (laughs) you're like why do I know? So this is just a simple print and what I can do with my clients is show the difference between the two and why one goes well in one format and one goes well in another, and I make decisions, too, so not only am I able to show them some of the prints, when I actually hold it up and they say oh my god, I would never do a 16 by 24, it's huge, I can just go like this. That's your whole wall, right? Well that's a bad example because there's a window there. But I don't wanna go off camera, but you look at a whole wall that a normal person has and you put it up against the wall and suddenly as a standalone only image that they were gonna get, it looks tiny, and this is a 16 by 24, this is not a small print. So then I would say well why don't we put a couple together, like a collection of two or three? And we actually have it up 'cause in the software we can show what it's like on the wall, and we hand it up, we hold it up like that and then you see in your house. So do you guys know what I'm talking about when I say you can see it in someone's house? So part of what ProSelect and several other gallery images, I think Bundy has one now, right, the gallery something? I think they have a program now, too. But what you can do is have people take their iPhone, do a snapshot of their living room, you can import that picture into the program, it will automatically have an idea of the specs of the room, the size of the room, and then it'll show. This is exactly what a 16 by 24 looks on their wall, and they can see exactly what it looks like over the couch, the colors in the room, the color of the print, how it all comes together, and they can see right there as they're sitting there like yeah, we probably want like two or three of them together, that actually looks amazing. But it's not until they're touching the images, they're holding the album, they're flipping through, they're seeing the examples of how it looks on the wall that it all comes together for them. You have to make it a tactile experience, you need to set the expectations, you wanna put them in the place where they can really feel the power of these images, these images that they love so much, 'cause it's the thing that means the most to them in their home. They can live with them now all the time. You also have to overcome your objection, your awkwardness with sales, how weird it feels when you're talking about money. We've dug into that a lot, talking about money and hopefully, I'd like you to watch that piece a couple more times if you didn't feel like you walked out of there ready like yes, I am good with money! But think about it this way, you are already doing all the work. You are pouring all your energy and your care and your training into these images and you know what else? They are too! You saw how much work that is. Sit down, go here, you know? They're also putting all that in so why are we gonna go 90% of the way and abandon that last 10%? Think of it as they came to me, this is what means the most to them in the world, I'm gonna put all my effort into creating that for them, I'm gonna create a sales process that's simple, and we're gonna let them leave with what means the most to them. I have spent money on things that I value highly, that were way expensive, that normally I would not spend that much on something, but to this day, I'm still so glad I did. And you know what else? If you have that feeling and I've had this come up before, I've had people say something about like I feel guilty. I feel guilty asking for money and I feel guilty when they're buying a lot. Has anybody had that experience? You have, interesting. One of the things I think about, 'cause I don't feel guilty, but it's because of the fact that I think it's none of my business where they put their money! It's none of my business how you spend your money. How rude of me to think I can tell you how to spend your money. You know what you value. I'm being amazingly transparent, there's nothing I'm trying to get over on you, in fact, this is not a transactional experience for me. I want a long-term relationship with you because it benefits all of us, and I'd be shooting myself in the foot trying to pull anything over on you. It's not worth my time, it's not worth your time. From just a business perspective, I do better when I have a long-term relationship with you. You feel like I'm about to ask you to marry me, don't you? (laughs) I have, right in your soul. But I wanna speak right to your souls because we hold ourselves back so much, and if you're sitting there thinking about the fact that memories demand an image, that it's significant that you're capturing this time right now 'cause it move so fast, and I wouldn't tell you how to spend your money so if you decide this is worth it to you, yay, 'cause it's worth it to me. It's like if you were walking into a shoe store and you picked up a really expensive pair of boots, 'cause everybody likes boots, you picked up a really expensive pair of boots and I was standing right next to you and you're like oh my god, I love these. I have so many outfits that I'll wear this with, these will go great with my closet, I've been looking for these forever, I'm totally gonna buy them. And then I leaned over and flipped the price tag over and said, no, you shouldn't. It's not my business what you pay for your shoes. That's exactly what's happening in a sales session. I'm getting your business and telling you where to spend things. I'm supposed to consult you on the sale, tell you where it's all going, and let you decide. Where do you wanna meet for your sales session? If you do not have a studio set up, where should you do this? Two schools of thought: one, you wanna be in person. Wherever you can be in person that works for them, and works for you, that is the best thing. If you can make a better best thing, it's in a distraction-free environment where we can really hone in on what we're looking at and I can have you lose yourself in the images and really just think about the images, so where's that gonna be? Can you create like we looked through all those great studio examples yesterday, can you create a small nook where you can sit down in a quiet space with a client? Can every one of you do something like that and can you find a small nook that is just the space where you meet with clients? We all can do something or find something or reserve something. Reserve a small meeting space once a week, once every two weeks, hold all your meetings in that small meeting space. 20 bucks an hour? Pays off in dividends. So try the coffee shop, I have always advocated for the wine bar. The wine bar, actually if you could do anything, start with the wine bar, then the nook, then the coffee shop, but try to manage distractions, and try to get them to be just focused on the images 'cause you're never going to move more images and have them feel more fulfilled with the images you got than when you can get them to just think only about that. 'Cause what's happening is they're not thinking, they're just feeling. When you have them thinking about this dollar amount and that dollar amount and this product and where's it gonna go, you kinda lose them. If they're having these feelings, you can do the thinking over here. Do you have any apprehension to meeting at their house? One of my biggest sales Nope! Was at a client's house No problems whatsoever. So I was able to say oh, that would look great there and that would look great there. Nope, I think it can be very successful for people. I personally don't wanna schlep all my stuff around. I'm picking up all these prints and albums, stuff like that, I don't wanna carry it all around. I would rather have this, this, or that, but I know a lot of photographers who swear by take every effort possible to go to the home 'cause it makes a big difference. That's on you, kind of who you are and how you wanna do it. This comes up tons of times, the digital files, the digital files, the digital files. We sell the rights to reproduce, as we talked about yesterday for a price that is befitting what I want my average sale to be. So early on, I started realizing that when I was selling the rights to reproduce, and people could buy that, every time I sold that, I was super bummed out. I'd be like oh, you bought the rights to reproduce? Okay. And I'm like why am I selling anything I don't wanna sell? Everything I sell should be something I wanna be selling and I'm happy that I sold. So I said okay, I want my average sale to be this. If I take away all the costs of that average sale, what amount is left? That will be the price of my rights to reproduce. They buy it or they don't. But I do sell the rights to reproduce, I don't say no, I never move those, I sell those. But it has to be a price that's commensurate with the effort of the average sale that I want to move for my business and the decisions I've made about how I want to move my products. So I'll sell the rights to reproduce but it's gonna be something like that. One of the things we do is set a trigger point, so it's, whether it's $5,000, or $2, or whatever the amount is for you that after you buy that much product, we will give to you the right to reproduce and it's an incentive to get there. That's another helpful way to go about it as well. Here's the other thing: the idea of all the work you're putting in to date, this is again, this is overcoming your objections. Write down, this whole business class, just write down the agenda from it. I'm doing this, I'm doing this, I'm doing this. I actually, so one of the questions I get so many times from people is can you just tell me everything I need to know for a portrait shoot? And I'm like the amount of information that I would have to transmit to you is so dense, I could write a book. I did write a book and I'll tell you about that later, I just wrote a book, but it is so much. It's insane. So if you're doing all that work just remind yourself what you're doing to have earned this. That's your objection? You've earned it. This, we already talked about the guilt thing. Here's another thing I want you to think about. This is a sweet image that I should like a week ago in my studio, photographing this image and then showing the child the image of herself and the silliness and the fun and the joy they have, I talk to my clients all about the fact that when my kids see their images on the wall, I feel like it helps from not just a bonding perspective but also from a self-esteem perspective, you know? And I've never seen that more than the Beautiful Together project we did where we created a gallery in an orphanage of all the children who lived in that orphanage. This was in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and we took pictures of all the kids, hung them, mounted them, and I thought, if you ever wanna see the whole story on this, this was a ton of images, you can just Google Tamara Lackey orphanage gallery, but I thought when I did this that we'd show up on a day, we were gonna fly out that night, I'm just gonna show and hang all this up, I'm just gonna get this up there. I was thinking of it like I love the idea of creating a gallery for them but I thought it was gonna be just like a hang and go, and I was amazed that every kid in the orphanage came to watch everything that was happening. Every time we pulled out an image it was just like gasp and this delight and laughing, if they saw somebody who was in the picture, they ran out to get everybody, I was like (yells), and they'd run in and show them. And I had this thought like oh, yeah, 'cause they'll see their picture on a mobile device because people come and visit the orphanage, they'll see that. Maybe there's a small print here and there? None of them, I talked to Sister Ludgarda, the woman who runs the place, none of them have seen portraits, they've never seen something like this of themselves. Like that's a whole different world. A lot of us actually have never seen something like this of ourselves, so to be able to do that, like the way they looked at the images of themselves, it's kind of the moment you have where you're like I'm so glad I can do this. What an amazing thing that I can provide, so I've never seen that more than in that kind of space, where you're realizing how much of an impact it has to show children that they are worth all this, that they're beautiful, that they're amazing, they're worth the effort and every day they can walk by and see themselves reflected back. I think it's a massive gift to our children and that is how I think of it when I have my home, if you walk into my home right now, I should've done a tour of my home, I have so many images of them all the places, all the places, and images I shot five or six years ago I'll print today and put it up, 'cause I think it matters to walk around and see yourself reflected in your home, and to see how much it mattered to your parents that you were everywhere. I think it matters a lot. You're the expert on capturing these images, right? You're the expert on printing these images. Why are you as the expert downgrading your expertise? Why do you sit there and apologize for your prices? Why do you feel like just because you ask somebody to buy them and they haven't bought them yet that they hated them, and why when you put your images up in a web gallery and you don't hear from people, ever again, you give up? I hear so many times from photographers, I'm like how'd it go? Like I took the shoot, I really liked them, and they hated them. Why, well I put them in a gallery, I never heard from them again. Did you call them? I called one time. Did they call back, no. And so you're done with that, you're gonna move onto the next one, and the next one, and the next one. That's kind of how we work because we consider our expertise as something that's part of us, it's a statement about us, and not something we can do for others. I wanna share with you a study that I read once that I thought was brilliant, like the number one thing I want you to keep in mind when you are doing sales. This study, Notre Dame University, I love this, that basically what they found with this study was that 44% of people quit after the first time they try to sell. 24% quit after the second time, 14% will quit after the third time they've reached out. 12 after the fourth try, and yet 60% of all sales are made after that fourth try, and we are missing it. We leave one message and just kind of go away. We don't think, god, they must be slammed or busy, maybe they didn't even get the voicemail, maybe they heard it really quick when they're in an airport and forgot to go back to it, maybe they're so busy in their lives, they forgot that this even happened. I have done that. I want you to practice patience and stop quitting on yourself so soon. That will change your entire sales game.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Tamara Lackey Posing Book Discount
Nations Photo Lab Discount

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

This course was fantastic. I learned more on what I need to improve and change in my business. I especially liked learning how she balances all the things in her life. She is a fantastic teacher who keeps you engaged throughout the course. Thank you creativelive and Tamara for producing such a great course!


I thoroughly enjoyed this class, Tamara Lackey is an amazing individual and trainer! I loved what she said about not letting ourselves be diminished by someone else's narrow view... This class touches on many business related topics, I had many "aha" moments and feel excited and committed to tackle various aspects of my business in small steps!! Thanks for sharing so much of you!!!

a Creativelive Student

This was a fantastic class. Tamara is a fantastic teacher and really cares about conveying all the information that she is so passionate about. I found myself hanging off her every word and being so inspired to put her lessons into action. Buy this course - it will pay dividends in your business.

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