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Develop a Sales Strategy

Lesson 20 from: Building Your Photography Business for under $3,000

Kathy Holcombe

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Lesson Info

20. Develop a Sales Strategy

Lesson Info

Develop a Sales Strategy

As I started thinking about The Sale this is the image that came to mind. This is my daughter Abby paddling with humpback whales in Alaska. We saw humpback whales everywhere but getting them to cooperate and actually pose in a picture was a little tricky. It's kind of like your clients. You really have to coax them and help them navigate and get to exactly where you want them to be to be able to pull off the sale that you need to pull off. So I thought this was a great representation for this particular segment and here's what we're gonna talk about. We are gonna talk about In-Person Sales, which is hands down the best way to sell to your clients. Then we're gonna talk about Online Sales and you might be a little bit surprised in this segment of what I'm asking you to do. And then lastly we're gonna take a look at that mobile Sales Kit so that you can do sales anywhere. This is what you can use instead of a retail location to still hit the target sale that you need. So before we jump i...

nto the specifics of The Sale I want you to understand how a buyer learns. This is really important. As someone is contemplating making a purchase they are in a cognitive phase and that is where they are reading and researching and trying to understand exactly what it is that they're getting into. Often times, think about how you accomplish this as a buyer. If you're purchasing something that's unfamiliar where do you go for information? Online, right? Okay. So people are researching products online. That's the go-to source. There was a day when people would go to salespeople to ask for information and recommendations. But now that all happens online. The second step is Constructivist, and that's where people take that information that they've learned and they apply it to their particular situation. And so this is probably where you start interacting with your clients, is when they are trying to apply everything that they've learned online to their particular situation. And then the last step in this process is the Experiential step of this and that's where they take that product and they try it. It's like the test drive, okay? So all buyers are gonna go through these three steps whenever they're purchasing something new to them. And so, as a salesperson, you have to think about how to take that Cold Buyer, that person that's doing their homework online, and move them to a Hot Buyer that's ready to purchase your products. And so as you think about the way that you interact with your clients, there's gonna be a series of steps that they go through. And hopefully you can hold your hand through the entire process. Hold their hand and walk them through every single step of the way. That's the best case scenario. That's when you get the whale-tail shot, okay? So, when we're moving from cold to warm the first thing is, Is the buyer aware of the problem? Odds are if they're researching photography they have a need. They know that they have a need, right? So whether it is fine art photography, they have that wall in their home that they want a picture of the mountains or wildlife or whatever. Or they have an event that's happening in their life that they want to remember. Or they have children that are growing up and they want to capture that time. Or it's a commercial client that's looking to connect with their buyers in a different way. Whatever your circumstances, they're probably aware that they have a need for photography. But knowing that you want a picture taken and knowing what you can do to solve their problem are two very different things. So. Typically, the way that it works is somebody's gonna be researching online. They're gonna google a local photographer and hopefully you have SEO that will bump your name to the top of the list and they're gonna find you. The next thing that's going to happen is they're going to reach out to you, probably via email if they found you online, right? That's what we see all the time. I always get an email. I rarely get a phone call. And so that's your opportunity to tell them how you personally can solve their problem, for whatever it is that they need: a wedding or a portrait or whatever, okay? So. In that how can you solve the problem what's the easiest thing to do to get back to a client? Shoot an email back, right? How many photographers do you think do that? Everybody, right? But. If you can pick up the phone and call them and talk to them and connect with them and get to know them and get to know their specific needs, you're already different than your competition, right? How can you solve their problem? Show them, through every step and every interaction. Compete on service. Be there, care about them, interact with them. Figure out exactly what they want and need, okay? And then, what objections do you need to overcome? When we think about buying things, just as a general consumer not a consumer of photography, what are the things that we care about? We care that we're getting a good value; nobody wants to be taken advantage of, right? We work with people that we like. We work with people that have their act together and are professional and take good care of us. We work with people that care about us. So as you're thinking about communicating with your clients, think about how you like to be treated as a buyer and what's important to you. And what you can provide to your customer. Those are the things that are gonna make your sale when you're asking for the money, that $800 at the end. Those are the things that are gonna make that sale easy or tenuous. If you can handle all the objections up front then it's easy to get that sale in the end. So. How can you make your products and services meaningful? It's photography, it's already a meaningful thing. You're capturing a moment; you're capturing a feel. So it has emotion tied to it. But how can you make your products meaningful and your services meaningful? So. When we were photographing weddings we had a wedding client, and when they called or they emailed and I called her back, and I was like, "So, how'd you guys get engaged?" And she said that her husband or her fiance proposed to her on a fortune cookie I was like, 'ah, cool,' so I went and got a fortune cookie and tried to figure out how to get the little thing inside there, which was tricky. But inside there I said, "You found the photographer of your dreams." And so when they came to meet with me I had the fortune cookie ready to go and they cracked it open it was a done deal, right? They knew that I cared. They knew that I wanted to do amazing things for them. They knew that I was the person for the job. Okay, Peter was the person for the job, we come together. And so, what can you do that's above and beyond what anybody else is willing to do to make this a meaningful experience with them? What if you said, "Oh my gosh, I would love to create something beautiful for your home. Could you go take a few pictures of the wall you're thinking about and send it to me? And then we can meet again and brainstorm about the perfect location, the perfect size, the perfect material to make this image on? I want something that rocks your living room." They're gonna be like, "Really, you'll do that?!" That's amazing, right? What if you say, "Oh, my gosh, this image would look beautiful on that wall but I think you need to have a light shining on it. Here are two places where you can order a light that would be beautiful on that. I don't get anything from that other than a really happy customer with my art looking great on their wall. These are the ways that you set yourself apart and make yourself meaningful. It's above and beyond the image. We all take beautiful images. How can you connect to your customer and gain meaning? And you know what, if I do that for that customer are they ever gonna go to another photographer in the rest of their life if I don't screw anything up? Of course not. They're gonna come to me again and again and again because it's a relationship. That's what I'm looking for with my customer. And I have to invest in my customer in order to get them to invest with me. So. Are you someone people want to do business with? When we first started our photography business the first year we did 40 weddings. When a bride called I had no idea who I was talking to. Way too many. And I was a little frantic and a little grumpy and a little crazy and that was the last time we ever did that. Because I decided that I wanted to know our clients. When somebody says, 'Hey, this is Jennifer,' "Oh, my gosh, Jennifer! How's John? I was just thinking about you guys the other day. Have you gotten your wedding dress yet?" Or whatever that is. I want to know who my clients are. And so I limited the number of clients. We ended up, our perfect number was ten weddings, 40 portrait sessions and about five commercial clients. That's all I can manage because I want to know everything about them and I want to be able to interact with them on the phone like I just saw them yesterday. Okay? I want to be able to remember everybody's name. Their kids name, their husband's name. Whatever it is, I want all of that. And if you're not a person that can remember things like that, that's something I can just do. If you're not, you need to have some kind of database so as soon as they say, 'Hey this is Jennifer' you can type in 'Jennifer' and you're like, 'oh, yeah!' So if you don't have a memory like that, give yourself a tool like that so that you can do that same kind of service. So, are you someone people want to do business with? Are you happy and engaging and warm? All of these things. Or are you sullen and quiet and shy and maybe this isn't the right interaction for you. Maybe you need to have a salesperson that can be that person that interacts with your clients. So. Make sure that you're someone people want to do business with, and if it's not you, get somebody that is, to be your salesperson. And then, the last thing is, can they envision your products and services as part of their future? When I start talking to a client, do I have the words that will trigger a way for them to envision what it is that I'm selling? Can I talk about emotion? Do I talk about finishes? What is it that I can do to have them connect with me and connect those words so that they can see us working together in the future. So these are all questions that you are going to have to develop and answer, too. Whenever I think about my business, when I talk on the phone I am asking question after question after question. Who are we photographing and why is this important and what do you want to do with the images? And a lot of time they haven't thought about all those answers. They know the who but they don't know what they want to do with those images. So from that very first meeting I'm planting seeds that I'm gonna harvest later on, of possibilities of what I want them to do later on.

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Ratings and Reviews

Amanda Beck

Kathy was a wonderful instructor. She was engaging and someone who was precise and incredibly helpful. We have a full time photography business and are always looking for new ways of running our business. Her information was insightful and forced us to have conversations about our business that we have haven't had in several years. She is fantastic and someone who has the information needed to help you start or expand your business. Thank you for a wonderful class!!


Thank you Kathy for yet again another very thought provoking class. You are such an inspiration, teaching us the right questions to ask ourselves so we too can be brilliant photographers / entrepreneurs. I was a fulltime RVer for seven years, traversing 44 states and seeing some of the most beautiful places on our planet. It gave me a great opportunity to meet some extraordinary people and to hone my photography skills. Now I have put down roots in Stapleton - Denver, CO and am soon to launch my own Family Lifestyle Photography business. Your course has definitely given me the courage to just charge ahead and go for it!

Tristanne Endrina

I am VERY impressed with this class! The structure of the class is well done. Each segment was thorough and backed up some knowledge from the previous segments. Kathy breaks everything down into understandable knowledge and also makes it very enjoyable to watch. I HIGHLY recommend this class if you're unsure about what to do to start your photography business. $3000 may sound like a lot of money, but you'll going to find yourself in a determined state to raise that money if you're REALLY passionate and serious about starting your photography business. Thank you, Kathy & Creativelive, for this class. I'm excited to get the ball rolling and build my photography business.

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