Sales Discussion with Michael Rosenberg
Tell everybody here story because you will not new in business when you started working with us and you already kind of had a system. And you heard me talk about theseventy steps to talk a little bit about where you were and how this information has helped you. Well, my god, I mean, tio started the end. Thie information has helped me enormously things. I've watched my sails through polls, I think, when so I've been in the business now, twenty two years, I started out as a wedding photographer. Uh was one a couple of awards doing that somehow smartly back then, through no responsibility of my own, I actually started out on the right foot in the with the wedding business, I went for the highest end market, and so we did relatively well. They're the rest recession hit the bottom fell out of the wedding market, there was a race to the bottom to see how little everybody could charge. And that was when I started switching over to fulltime portrait work and needed to learn all over the system...
of selling portrait pse and, um and making sales in my studio. I had a system for weddings, but I didn't have a system for for portraiture plus before the recession, it was I felt it was very easy almost just hung out a shingle said you're a photographer and the work came and since then that's not true you know we've had work more so um you know, through sarah's help wait did all the things you guys been talking about I mean, I've changed my branding uh I changed how I viewed where my market was coming from and the thing I had the most fun with actually was learning this how to sell um and in such a way that when we started I think my average sale was about six hundred dollars, seven hundred dollars I was excited when I got to twelve hundred on dh center kept talking about how, you know, every year she was experiencing these bigger sales well, guess what? So was I so for example, last year we were averaging an average sale of twenty five hundred dollars uh this year we are averaging let's see actually since with the exception of about three or four sales, I don't think I had a sale below thirty five hundred dollars we've had to ten thousand dollars sales this year we've had three or four sales over five thousand dollars and it just and and some of these also tunes that not all of these are our family portrait some of these are high school seniors and I had a four thousand dollars high school senior sale this year you know and everybody says, oh, you know, senior sales are always lower, they don't have to be there have to be where was your average when you started this process? When I started this process, my average was somewhere around five and six hundred eight hundred dollars the five, six, eight hundred to look where he is in the thousands and and what I found is that, you know, everybody's concerned, but I have to have more numbers, I have to have more numbers have to have more numbers after more bookings and that's true, if you don't raise your prices or you don't raise your sales averages, but but what I found is that, you know, I don't need a lot of bookings to do very well, you know, if I'm booking one hundred portrait, say year at thirty five hundred dollars an average sale, do the math, the merit of a million dollars, you know, it's really nice it's really nice and again in everybody's business model is different you have to take all this information through your filter, but the sales skills could go for anything they could go for anything, and I'm glad you brought up that you did work through branding and all these other steps, but even people that are still struggling with that if you can sell you can stay in business and it's not a hard sell it's like what sarah is saying is I'm not a hard sell person you know, I like connecting with people you know I do all basically I was listening to this and scream okay, I do that I do that I do that, you know? And we really do all of these steps when when uh nice my studio manager takes a phone call, you know, she's she's taught how to bond with the client, connect with the client and talk about what sets us apart answer the objections you know, like and I tell her like, you know, sometimes like, you know, the most common question for example is someone will call up and say hi, I want to book you how much is your eight by ten? And on our first response is is that really the largest image that you want to purchase because we're known for doing large wall portrait ce that have your family, your family is the subject that you're gonna love for forever and that gets him off of that and on day you can move on and start talking about them start talking about what you do differently in the sales room uh when we're doing the prints sales, you know, that's my favorite time because I can't have my work up on the walls and I get to talk about why I like it you know, and it's again, it's, sort of like what you were talking about earlier? Um, clients don't always know what they want, you know, they don't know why some things good, they barely know really know, yeah, I mean, sometimes you have to say, really, for the most part, once in a while, you'll have a client who says, my mantle's this big, and I want something to put over, but most of the time they want that destination, not they don't care how they're getting there, but they want something and it's our job to get it for them that we created for them, and particularly, I mean, a great example of a zoo. Um, we had a sale session yesterday, and I had a piece of the mother and daughter, my mother and two daughters together, and they're all kind of hugging in the field, and you don't really see the faces of the daughters, which, you know, so many a times, you're going to get the objection I love the piece, I can't see my children's faces, you know, and rated on, unfortunately, I had a picture of the father with the daughters, where you where you could see the faces of the daughters with him and the solution ended up being andi I taught us talking to mei since I love this image so much we're actually using it on our necks if it's ok and I asked him permission but we have our next marketing piece coming out I want to use this well of course I want to use it it must mean it's really good on dh so of course they're flattered and then the wife came up and said, well if we can hang the side by side and do them is to squares on the wall you know, maybe let's see sixteen by twenty twenty by twenty canvasses then we have the a picture with me and the girls but and then they charged her husband she says and we can see their faces in your picture done sold you know and it's it's really I hate to say it sometimes that's simple um it's getting them excited you know, a lot of times they'll look at something I've had I've had clients that have said has said no, I don't like that and I'll turn myself you know that's okay actually had one client I think I got this from you actually I had this one client who discarded one of my favorite images and I said, you know what I said you can put that out later but that's not going in the trash pile yet I tell people when we go through and I'm presenting the images in pro select his vessel actually best tool ever, but I will tell them when we're going through the first time I get veto power and they laugh every time that I you know, I'll say that is just unbelievable, especially the art based images because their first thought is, you know, looking at the camera don't see their face, but then when they go back and it's like, I'll look at the love and look at the beautiful shape of your daughter's faces or you point out some of these things you say I'm gonna keep that this time, they're inevitably they're buying it. The biggest thing on your right not just looking at her eyelashes in her face so perfect and so beautiful. So you start to help them see the images the way you see them and they will you can take them there gently. Yeah, it's excellent. I mean, we're the artists creating it where the ones that have the vision and we have tio to sell it, just like when the trial bins were getting their logos from beth, you wish you were just plop those down on the table. You have been a little overwhelmed, kind like I'm not sure what I like, but when she went through each one, talk to you about how she her vision for it that was the best part and imagine if you had your kids photographed in the photographer set with you and said, I think this one so soft and beautiful in your daughter's looking down in c b a with a with a chunky brown italian frame be beautiful how are you looking at that image now beautiful frame above this so far in the child you're like that's, how you see it and that's how we're serving our clients were not saying you need to pick more, you need to buy more, you need you have seven minutes go and actually what's fun is is that you get to be sometimes in the position where goes out sometimes have clients where the they'll they'll pick out twenty images and they can't make up their minds, and so you suddenly you're in the positions they won't, you know, is this these two a real similar? I think you should go with this one and and all the son, you're not selling them lots of that you're telling me how to come for order and you become the girl. Yeah, you get credibility just like when aaron and I were shopping, if she was that's, not super flattering like what are we thinking of her? Awesome like she is our friend if she tells us it's looking good now we're buying it because she told us something didn't look good and again we never show something that we don't like I mean, I'm just never going to say I don't like this let's cut this but if they agree they noted down they think they've got it near there still spending a little more than they really want to exactly they pull up to and say you know what these air similar what if we sacrifice one of them because let's pick your favorite and let's simplify and get you what you really want to make a big exactly exactly and you know the thing about it I mean really that two I mean, the thing about prices I mean, that wasn't really a joke when I said if I'm not the most expensive photographer in seattle, I'm going to raise my prices because I'm there I am very comfortable with my prices um you know, and I got that early on when I was a wedding photographer and I sold my first big album and that time is two thousand dollars, which is seems ridiculously an expensive now but you know, I went out and I put the order together and I'm sweating bullets in the back room going oh my god, I've got to tell this client that their album is two thousand dollars and I walked out, you know, and I manage to have the presence of mind it to put it out there like I was telling him what the price of a cup of coffee wass and his response was you take a check that was it it was a way you know, it's like we have these ideas in our heads that because it seems so expensive to us that that it's going to be outrageous to everybody and somebody I can remember once said he's aware not our clients yep, and jen pointed out yesterday that she's a grift shopper you know she wants to get a bargain she wants to get the the cute new thing half price and she'll wait for it or should go out of her way for it so it's hard for her to hand a full price gorgeous product to someone that you know you could do for yourself cheaper and I think his artist we forget like when we see something we think I could do that myself but our clients can they're like aaron they can't create that and they're willing to pay for someone to create something beautiful for them and the prices you know I mean prices a really funny too, because I had what I call my three bears day um I had a day where I had three clients that I was doing consultations in the studio and little kid you not this really happen the first client comes in and goes wow, that's a lot more than I thought it was going to be. I need to go talk to my husband, so we had that discussion, okay? The second one comes in and says, you know, I thought it's going to be a lot more than that and she booked me and the third one, kel, italy, comes in and says that's about what I was expecting, and this was all in one day, three different clients, three different perceptions. You know, it isn't the prices. It's, you know, it's the clients in the perceptions and how you present it and how you overcome the objections. Those are the things that are going to make the biggest difference. When I was in new york, I used to be a gallery salesman, and andi, I love telling the story because it goes against all logic. When we had a piece of fine art, we're talking back then ten thousand fifteen, twenty thousand dollars pieces of art that today would be one hundred, two hundred thousand. Whatever, um you know, if something was on the wall for thirty days we raised the price ten percent if he was on the wall for another thirty days we raised the price another ten percent we kept raising the price and told sold it's not price it's not price it's not price you have a question and maybe a question or two for michael from our home, right? Carrie I'm sorry your pricing over the phone or on lee in person you know, I like what sarah is saying in the initial phone call I want price out there you know, um I'll give you another story how that worked in a really nice way we had a client I think was an auction client call up and my studio manager calls me about an hour later since I'm really sorry I think I just lost the sale for you I said, well, tell me what happened so he starts to go on this is well first she didn't want to come in for the consultation. I don't do portrait sessions unless I haven't institute consultation of client lester out of state we do we find another find another way to do that then it turns out that she wanted to have me drive all the way out to sea mannish to photograph her attack and then it turns out she only wanted one five by seven and when my suitor manager finally got around and told her what the cost of the five by seven when she's off that's too expensive, I can't do it and, you know, she went away and paul calls me up and he's like, you know, really upset about is involved. You just saved me from going and spending two and a half hours to drive out. This managed to photograph somebody's cat for eighty nine dollars that's so awesome because that's, why, I said seven bees to a successful first phone call, a successful first phone call that was a successful first phone call to not book the client actually have that conversation with some of our are folks that is that that we've had this this thing going on facebook and on and the urge is to try and book everybody that gets on the phone with you and that if you don't somehow you failed and really that for me, that first phone call is the opportunity to find out who is my right client, because I don't want to go out to sea, ma'am ish for three hours for for a five by seven I do want to have the client that is so excited by the time they come in. That when I'm doing the sale session, we're not worried about money we're excited about, you know, what different kind of combinations can we come up with for? For the campus collections on the wall and and those kind of things? And so if I tell them it's going to be five or six thousand dollars, they're down with it because we been over see the difference. So you're giving so much in that first phone call there's no switch rebating, switch hard, sell your given him all the info in that first phone call he's the living example of how amazing and look how it's affected his sales granted you, for you've worked out things in your system, but it starts with that first phone call may be a question for michael, and then I want to cover five more than other the rest of the steps of this system, but I just I'm so proud of him and how far he's come and he was already amazing he was already amazing anyway, you know, some people starting from scratch and they're like everything is a quantum leap, but for michael he's been doing it all these years, they were little things I remember one day you called me and you said something you said on the phone just changed my life, it was what I saw say if you remember this thing the end of a session when I show them the images from pro selecting and they're done and we let it go quiet then I go yea, he was like, you know, sometimes it's those little bitty things anyway, something fun from our audience of it? Well, sam cox from the loveline colorado is wondering if customers come to a photographer with a certain budget and a definite can't pay more than amount in mind I'm coming with a budget right there, you handle that and I'll answer how I handle it too if they come in and they you know, do you ask the budget question? Because I don't I actually don't either because sometimes people will come in with a budget in mind and they think that that's what they're going to spend and if they end up loving the work a lot of times I find that people will go away over their budget and so the discussion may become after the fact like let's say they come in with a budget in their mind on this does happen me quite often so well, we weren't planning on spending more than fifteen hundred dollars, but they have four thousand dollars of work that they want and we might cut back a little bit and then we start to talk about okay that's when I roll out my my payment plan you know, I think I used the same one you don't know six months to credit cards on dh we've we figured out because they want the images thie idea is not to allow people to limit themselves yeah, I think if you ask everyone what their budget is it's going to be a fraction of what they actually are willing to or want to invest they don't know yet what they want so like had the gallant this store said what's your budget to aaron and I how do we know we just know we need outfits so if we said we had a three hundred dollars budget you know then in our mind we're telling ourselves we want to stay at three hundred dollars when really if if she can put us in six awesome outfits we don't really care you know what we like to be a three hundred or whatever our budget is sure, but I think sometimes it puts us in a box that puts our clients in a box that comes back to get us later. So so go ahead is going to say follow questions from quite a few people were wondering so when people come to you and say, well, where do you start your prices at where you know you have to throw out a number to box them in or can you just kind of have you sure delicately and around that some people give a range and then you can answer what you do. Some people give a range like we started thiss or sometimes people say, you know, you can average people invest this to this mission of high school seniors. They kind of want to know where most people are for me, my least expensive wall portrait is mike pre qualifier because it's archival e frames so that's the hurdle. If that number doesn't freak them out, then they're good the rest of the process. And if they were just looking for a bunch of little eight by ten's, then it pretty quickly. Yeah, I pretty much do the same thing. I will start with my and actually purposely didn't. I don't mention eight by ten certified by sevens. I will start out with my least expensive double matted, ready for framing artist signed wall portrait that starts that probable and then the sizes go up incrementally. A few hundred dollars each many. And then yes, we also have we also have smaller prince in five or seven. Yes. See, I called him gift prince state by tens and smaller. We have gift prints so he's positioning it as we're not the place you come for a bunch of grandma pictures. We're the place you come for artwork. So thank you for coming home. I'm going to scoot you back over there, because I want to cover a couple more. Things are times going by so fast, but isn't it fun to see someone who I mean, he uses these seven b's.