Sales and Selling Yourself
Let's just go for it, because I've got so much now. I've got lots to say, but I've got, I want to take lots of questions, too, so, keep them rolling and Kenna's gonna fire them out. I've got good breaks, as you know, so I can stop and talk at any time. Those are the nine areas of mastery that we were talking about on day one. We're breaking them all down one by one. We're gonna work through them. Today, I'm really gonna focus on these two here, which was price and product and sales and selling, so I've done a lot of teaching in the last three years. I've seen a lot of feedback from photographers and business owners, I've seen a lot of feedback from other people who are building businesses, and it occurred to me that the number one thing people keep asking for over and over again is, I need more marketing, I need more marketing, I need more marketing and I actually don't agree anymore. This is where I'm at, I put marketing and design in the same category and the reason I did that, is be...
cause once you design your brand and what you look like, once you've established how much you cost and the product, really what you need is selling. You need to sell yourself, sell your product, sell your service, sell your business, sell your everything. It is nothing but sales. It's hustle, hustle, hustle, hustle, and that's when I threw the selling idea out to everybody, and I got met with this tidal wave that went pretty much from, what do I say? How do I say it? Write me a script. Tell me what to do. Where do I stand? What do I address? To fear, and the fear really comes down to, I'm not good enough, I can't put myself out there, I can't say this, I can't sell myself, and this tidal wave came back at me, but the beauty was, I lost my voice on day two, so for four days, I have been in my group and on Facebook reading the feedback from the first two days of this workshop, and hindsight is an incredible thing, but the most amazing thing is to be able to get that feedback while a workshop's in progress, so I'm sorry you had to wait four days, but the beauty is that I got to speak to probably about 200 people in the last four days, and the feedback I got around what you were saying was extraordinary, so, I've put all of that in the keynote, which is why I asked for another segment as you can see, I'm already talking fast! I'm so excited, all right. Now, the funny thing is for all of my, all of my struggle to become a professional photographer and all of my climbing the mountain and drama, and for all of my desperation to be seen and heard and paid, selling was never my problem. Yes, I had a problem with selling myself, because I had no value around what I was selling, but as soon as I did that, I got paid instantly, and then the second biggest hurdle for me was valuing myself enough to get paid and so that was something I'm going to hit really hard today as you know, it's a big one for me, and it's something that I really truly believe in, so, the number one question that I got over and over again, in the groups in the last four days, was when do I start doing the reveal wall? Now, if you go back to day one, and they will replay it, the reveal is how we are now doing our sales in person. I do not believe in online sales. Somebody wrote to me last night and said, you said in your workshop that if you're doing online sales and it's working for you, to stay with it, but you bet $50 that your sales are under a thousand, and she said, and my sale are consistently just under a thousand dollars. So, I challenged her to do in person sales to double her sales, and she said that she couldn't because a lot of her clients were out of town and she lives a far way out of town, and she didn't want to make people drive all the way back for the sales session, so I suggested to do the in person sales live on Skype where you share the screens, so you're still talking and interacting with your clients. You can see them, and of course she doubled her sales. Now, the reveal wall is about printing your work, and we're gonna discuss that today. The mentors that are already on In Bed With Sue, they're helping out with as much as they can with the logistics, because it's so many little questions about it, but the upshot is this. We print our work, and people come in and do the viewing with the reveal. Now, one thing I didn't get to mention when the mentors were talking and I'd lost my voice was Tatiana and Tammy both do an Animoto video of their sales sessions, so basically, what they're doing is a digital presentation and then they walk their client into the corner, or to the wall where the reveal wall is. You don't have to have a wall, okay? Don't take that so literally, it's called the reveal wall simply because it was like a reveal. They walked in and were like, (gasping) my wall of images! However, you need to stay focused on the word reveal, or even the word sales session, because it just means they're pre-printed. Now, for the last 10 years, all I've heard is, people only want digital files. People only want digital files. People only want, that is not true. That is not true, okay? We are a now generation, not a digital generation. That means people want their images now, so if they get them digitally, they get them now, and then they can put them on Facebook when they get home, right on their laptop or wherever. That is a now generation. Two years ago, I was working with Nikki. I woke up and I thought, I've got an idea, and then Nikki's fabulous husband came to my studio, built a shelf, where do you buy the shelf? What do you make the shelf out of? Anything! Piece of wood, paint it white. I don't care if you lay them on the floor. I don't care if you lay them on the couch. I don't care if you lay them on the table. I don't care if you get an easel, or like Heike, if you look at Heike, one of the mentors, she hung hers from a temporary wire frame. It's really awesome. Be creative. That is not your problem. Your problem is getting them printed so that your clients can walk in and see them so they can pay for them, now, so they can take them, now. This should revolutionize portrait sales. The big questions coming up is, what size do I do? What product do I sell? How much do I charge? What if they don't buy anything? What do you do with them if they don't buy anything? Okay, I get it, and there's so many questions to work through and we're gonna do it together, but the idea is, I want to walk you through digital sales too, because I feel like when the newbies are starting out, too many people are going like, I can't do the reveal wall. I don't have the money to even print them. Yes, okay, but I'm talking to every level of photographer right up to people that are in studios. If you are a pro right now, working in a studio that's turning over consistent work, this will significantly increase your sales. If you're somewhere in between newbie and pro, and you're just starting out at home or you're just starting out at a small studio or a garage studio, this will significantly increase your sales. Every single person that I've spoken to, right now, that is doing the reveal wall sessions, is currently doubling their sales, I'm not kidding. It is absolutely crazy, this is truly working, and I'm gonna show you how. Now, I am a firm believer, when I teach photographers how to sell their work, the first thing I am going to hammer home to you is before you photograph someone, you do a consultation. A consultation is a pre-sale to them buying images. You are selling your experience, you are selling your service. If you do not do this consultation, you are running the risk of having a no sale or a low sale. Do not do this consultation on email. I'm telling you right now, you need to speak to these people. What if they don't want to speak to me? You can send them pages and pages and pages of information and they will not read it. Now, you can get creative with Animoto. You can get creative with video. You can do a video tour of your studio and your product and the experience, and break it all down because people are 83 percent chance more likely of watching a video, but I'm telling you right now, so, I've been in the industry for 26 years in August. I've known photographer, I know photographers who have been working in this industry for years and years, as long as me, if not longer, and some shorter. The other day, I was talking to a good friend of mine. She has dropped her portrait sales down to about $1800. I said, from what? And she said, $6000. I was consistently averaging $6000. I said, your portrait sales have gone from $6000 to $1800. What were you doing back then that you're not doing now? Now, she's not a newbie. She's trained and tried and true, so she's been doing it for years and years. I said, come on, something shifted, what is it? I said, you're doing something different, and it's not the economy, so tell me what it is, and she looked down at the floor and she was like, ah, I just can't work it out, and I said, think about it. 10 minutes later, she was like, oh my goodness, I used to do consultations, and now I'm not. And I was like, when did you stop doing consultations? Okay, here's the thing. Most everybody you know on your Facebook page that follows along in groups, that follows, that's a photographer, knows what an eight by 10 is, knows what an 11 14 is, knows what a raw file is, but do you think the public knows what that is? Do you think the public knows what a reveal wall is? Do you think the public knows what a folio box is? Do you think the public knows the difference between a Giclée, or an ink jet print or a print from a lab or a CD or a thumb drive? I mean, we speak a different language and we forget that because this language is very commonplace for us and we're talking photographer speak all the time. But the people buying your product, they don't get it. Then you send out a PDF and it's beautifully designed because I hammered that home to you a million times, didn't I? You send it out and you get nothing back and then you're sitting on Facebook saying it's not working, it's not working, it's not working! You're not speaking to anybody, you're not selling to anybody, you're not putting it out there! This is one of the most important things you can do, is have a conversation. It is not a sales conversation, although, is it? (audience chuckling) It is a service conversation. How do you want to be photographed, is the first question you're gonna ask. What products do you like? Did you like my wall portraits, or are you more interested in a private folio box? The beauty of the folio box is, you can slide it under the bed and keep it private, or keep it as a keepsake, or you can lift the images out, display them on an easel, and, frame them at a later stage. These are selling education points. I cannot stand in front of you enough right now and tell you this will significantly change the process of your work. Now, we're gonna talk about having the confidence to have that conversation, but right now, consultation is the first note that you're gonna write down today. It is, the most vital, thing.
So, Sue, first of all, couple of things. People love you in green. (laughing) So happy that you have your voice back. But, there are a lot of questions coming in around two things, one is the, if you don't have a studio, as a lot of people, where are you doing these pre-consultations? How are you doing them? And then, two is, you just talked a little bit about what to say, but can you go further in the, what exactly am I saying in this pre-consultation?
Okay, so one of the most important things is connection, so if you can't meet somebody, if you're shooting on location, if you don't have a space to meet them, you have to talk to them on the phone. I've got a lot of information to give you, Nikki. It's no point me emailing it to you, you won't read it. Let me call you. When are you available to chat? I've got so many things to tell you. Let's talk about how you want to be photographed, what you're gonna wear, where we're gonna photograph you, what time, what to bring and get you all prepared for your photo shoot, let me call you. What is a good time to call you? Okay, every single time I've been in a consultation with a photographer and they've dropped the ball on a sale, I always say to them, what did you do wrong? You either didn't connect to the client, you didn't deliver the product you promised you were gonna deliver, or you didn't follow through, and they always look at the floor and say, I didn't connect. I didn't connect, I didn't follow through. You only need to talk to them on the phone. People only need to hear my voice and hear the passion and enthusiasm in my voice to get excited about being photographed by me. Up until the moment they walk into the studio, I don't know what they look like and they don't know what I look like unless they've seen me on my website, which of course they have, because I'm on my website. So ultimately, you've got to connect with them on the phone, connect with them in person, meet them at a coffee shop if you have to, but right now, this is one of the most important parts of what you have to do. The second question was, what do I say? Okay, let me go through it. I've said this a million times at so many of my workshops, and I know that language is really important, but you need to find your own language around what you're saying, but you need to, one, entice them, two, educate them, three, do it enthusiastically, four, you need to tell them your prices in a way that is non-threatening and open, and five, you need to offer the one thing most photographers aren't doing, and that is service. You are there to offer a service, you are not there for them to like you or for them to like your work, or for them to choose you or for them to say anything like, Joe Blogs down the road charges a lot less then you, why is that so expensive? You're there to get excited. Remember the marketing golden rule, the marketing should be about the service, okay? It should be about the service, not what you're selling, about the service. Now, this is how I do it. Instantly whether I'm on the phone or not, the first thing I'm gonna do is, how do you want to be photographed? I listen, and if they say, I don't know, I say, before they speak, I don't know, is not an answer. Jump on my website, and I want you to screenshot images that you love. Now, I've told people in the past to make a Pinterest board of all the images they love, and they'll go and get Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston pics and, you know, come on. Realistically, you get these fashion lit images come out. We love this, we love this, and I was like, yeah, there's gonna be a little bit of a bridge to get there between the real client and Angelina Jolie being photographed by, you know, Annie Leibovitz. So let's come back to have a look through my website and I want you to choose images that you love from my gallery. Then what they'll do is choose 10 or 12 images from my gallery that they absolutely love and it gives me an instant idea on how they want to be photographed. Often, a lot of people go in and choose all backlight, and I'm like, oh, I know how I'm going to photograph you. And then other people come in with the dark black on black, and then they bring in black dresses, so, it educates them, it excites them. That's the first question I'm gonna ask, how do you want me to service you? Okay, the second thing I'm going to ask is when are we doing this, logistics. Where do you park? Let's meet this day, your hair and makeup, we're gonna go through all of that, and I do that in an excited way, and I always remember the first thing I've gotta do is say my prices, so I'm gonna start with whatever my prices are. Now, if I'm selling a la carte, so if I'm selling per print, I'll say, okay, Nikki, when you come back after your shoot, I'm gonna book a sale session for you, and you can come in and have a look at everything I took of you, and my images start at $190 or whatever your images are, and they go up from there. Now, it's entirely up to you what you purchase, and, there's no hard sell. My job is to take beautiful photographs of you that you love so you want them all. Now, I'll be quite honest, some people spend $ and some people spend $3000. That was my sales pitch for the first 15 years that I worked in a studio, it worked on everybody. I'm saying $300, I'm saying $3000, I'm making it non-threatening. Now, if you're selling per package, at this stage of them actually having a booking, they've probably heard your packages. If they haven't, if you're doing this now, you're selling your first contact of price right now on this consultation, so you need to show them what they're getting, how much they're getting, and make them feel really safe with it. But don't hide it. Now, when I first started my business 2003, 2004, I was too scared to say my prices out loud, and remember, I pointed to the floor because all of my images were on the floor, and I was like, so that's four 20 and that's seven and that, meaning $790, and this guy was like, wow, $7.90 for a big shot like that, that's cheap! And my heart broke inside, and I realized, it's because I was not looking him in the eye. I was not telling him how much I charge. I was hiding it by just flicking my finger like this, four 20 and seven 90 and that's not got business. That's, I walked myself into, pretty much no sale after no sale, until I learned to say my prices confidently, and we're gonna talk about that. Okay, last night, Toni asked, on In Bed With Sue on Facebook, I'm doing free shoots with a free print and nobody's buying anything. Okay, let's have a look. You used the word free twice, and you gave away a print. So why would you buy anything? It's free. You said free shoot, free print, and then you get a free print. 101, nobody's gonna buy anything for you because you're giving it away. Toni, it's really simple, you're just giving it away. I never say the word free. I never give away a print. If I give a session away, I do it as a gift voucher with a monetary value to it, so I'll say, you're gonna get a $200 photo shoot with this voucher, so I'm planting that it costs something, it's worth something, and it's complimentary, never the word free, and then I will give money towards photographs, so I can say, plus a hundred dollars towards photographs, and this is how I sell that in the consultation. Nikki, you've got a complimentary shoot, and that voucher pays for all of your photo shoot, plus it gives you a hundred dollars print credit towards anything you purchase. Now, listen to my words. Nikki, you've got a complimentary voucher, and that pays for your photo shoot, and gives you a $100 print credit to anything you purchase. Think about what I'm saying to you. I'm telling you, it's covering the cost of your shoot and it's giving you a hundred dollars to spend on photographs. This covers the cost of your shoot, plus gives you a hundred dollars to spend on photographs, already, and people will go, (gasping) wow! Okay, no free, no takeaway, no free. The next question was, obviously you have to price your print credit lower than your cheapest print. Yes. Okay, we're gonna... I'm trying not to be condescending, because I find it really difficult to get around that people don't understand this. Yes, your minimum sized print or package needs to be less than the voucher you are giving away. Otherwise it does not work. Secondly, if you do not want to do gift vouchers, because the argument is so compelling, it's not. Just do what feels good to you, then charge for your shoots. It's okay, you can do either. It's whatever you feel comfortable doing, it's a business model no different than a la carte, versus package selling, all right? Now. Kenna.
I just had a thought, but, when I was, early on, in my business, I remember thinking, I feel bad about doing something like, offering a voucher that's, doesn't get them something, that means that they have to pay more.
Yes, but they didn't pay for the voucher, so how could they be paying more? They haven't paid for anything.
I don't know, but, I don't know if anybody else out there feels that way, but it was like, some, obviously that's my own money issues, but some guilt around like...
You know what it is? It's trickery.
Yeah, I felt like I was, yeah.
You're tricking people.
That's what I felt bad about.
You are a filthy, thieving, stealing trickster.
(laughing) Which sounds...
This is the energy people need to understand. You're giving away a gift voucher for them to come into your studio, so ultimately, you're giving them a big discount because if they were paying for that session, it would be $200, and you're giving them a hundred dollar print credit, so there's $300 you're not getting, so if you're looking at marketing per lead, that's a pretty expensive marketing lead, but it gets you bums on seats, and then you're up selling pretty much from there, but you're up selling in anything you do, so you either choose to sell then, or you choose to sell afterwards, or you're doing both. Both require a great amount of education, but if you don't understand that energy exchange, like for you, Kenna, would never have worked, because you feel so guilty around receiving money, you were never going to do that anyway. That was never gonna work for you.
I was just thinking, I wonder, is this any different than if you hear a window company saying you get a complimentary window, and then, with your purchase of 10 windows, or any sort of company that offers a special, or a discount, I mean, it happens, every company does it.
Everywhere, there's two for the price of one. Yeah, it's everywhere, it's everywhere, there's no trickery here, I don't get the trickery. I'm very honest about what my images cost. At the point of them getting a free voucher, or a complimentary voucher and a print credit, they still don't have to buy anything, so where's the trickery? I feel like the only people I have to shift are the people who are selling it, and again, if you can't accept it, go to a, my images start at, my packages start at, my sitting fee starts at, and go for it. That's selling, too. It's all selling, it's just how you do it and where you feel comfortable. Just because I did it for years and years in my studio means that I'm more comfortable saying it. Doesn't mean I was comfortable when I first started doing it. Not by any stretch of the imagination. This one cracked me up, too. After Toni's comment, a couple of people wrote some interesting things, here we go. So, I offer hair and makeup and a spa session, and a mani and a pedi and I'm not getting any sales. And I'm like, you're selling a spa day. You're not selling portraits. You know, but people are like, well, a thread started on In Bed With Sue two or three months ago and this woman said, what do you all offer as a gift to your clients? I want a gift bag, I'm gonna give vouchers and clothes vouchers and spa vouchers. I'm gonna go to all the local businesses and I wrote on that thread, stop it! Stop giving away stuff, and sell portraits! They're there to do a photo shoot, they're not there for a spa day. And they were like, I am a gift giver. It is my love language, that's what I just like to do. Okay, and everyone argued with me and pushed back, but I just want to push back on one thing. If you believe in your core that you need to add all those products into that gift bag to sweeten the deal, you don't value your photography. If you don't value your photography, everybody in that gift bag is gonna get paid but you. If you are trying to sell a spa day, to make your product look better, you do not believe in the value of your product, you won't sell it, bam, right there, there's the cold hard truth. I used to try to give away things when I was selling portraits all the time. I tried gift bags, I tried gift with purchase, I tried perfume, I tried makeup bags. People were there to buy my photography. I'm in business as a portrait photographer. If you are coloring that, and I get it. You can stand in front of me and tell me all you want that you're a gift giver by nature, and that you just, that's your love language, cool. But I'm telling you, if your sales are low and you're trying to sell spa days, you're selling spa days. A woman wrote in, too, at 28 Days, and she at the end of 28 Days two years ago, I'm having trouble selling my shoots. I'm having trouble selling my shoots because I'm selling the experience and the makeup and the spa day and blah blah blah. They're all coming in for the experience and they're not buying their photographs, and I was like, you're promoting somebody else standing in your studio. You're promoting somebody else standing there. You're not promoting yourself. You're finding it easier to sell them than sell you, and that's where you're selling really well, somebody else. Is everyone getting that? Are they agreeing with me or pushing back?
No, they are, and people are having light bulb moments, and people, there are people who felt the same way that I did, so, thank you for that.
You know, if I could say something to that guilt, I'm gonna hit that. I don't know whether it's coming up at the end of this segment or next, but I've put it in here. I'm gonna tell you right now, I'm gonna strip that back, because in the last four days, I've heard guilt. I've heard, I don't want to be a thief. This is being in business. I don't want to be a snob, and I don't want to be hoity-toity, and I don't want people to think I think too much of myself, getting paid. Okay, so, two words. Wake up. You're in business. It's time you woke up, and if we can confront those, that energy, that block, that guilt, that pain, you need to wake up. Do you feel guilty about getting a wage, Kenna?
I feel like I come in and I do my work and I get paid the value that I do, and... It's that same separation of being able, I was able to market other people's things. Something else, outside of marketing myself, or selling myself.
So if you don't see the money, if it just goes from your employer to your bank account and then you go and get it out of there, if you don't see it, it's like a secret how it gets there, huh? You're okay with that. (chuckling) But if you have to walk into your employer's office every Wednesday and say, this week, I need, you need to give me $856, or this week you need to give me $1246, that's suddenly a problem. But when you're making something, creating something, and out selling it, you feel guilty about that. You feel guilty about making something for somebody, said no successful person ever. All right, listen to what you're saying. This is a universal block, and it's blowing me away.
Sorry, I have a question that just came in and I want to push on a little bit. So Christine Logan says, I honestly believe that people who have problems selling their work is because they aren't ready yet. Their work isn't top notch and they know it. It comes down to working hard on the craft before attempting to be a professional, but that's just my two cents, would you agree, Sue?
I do not agree at all, do you know why? This crippled me for years. I was a better photographer than most, and I couldn't sell my own work, but for me, Christine, I couldn't receive money. So, to me, I have a severe guilt around receiving money, which is why I created Money Talks, because I needed to learn how to receive money. Now, remember, left hand for leaving, right for receiving. It's a perfect balance of giving energy and getting paid. I had a big outflow of over-giving, and a big block on receiving, so basically, I felt so much guilt around money, not around my work, but around money. Also, I hadn't connected the value to what the value of my work was and if anybody out there who was paying me told me my work wasn't good enough, that would be me crying for three days, I'm gonna give up, I'm no good, I'm crap, I can't do this. So, I had created a beautiful folio before I even got paid. I was an employed photographer, so I'd already had 12 years working on my folio before I opened my own business, and I was far more advanced than most people. I was watching photographers with a third of the folio of me pulling 20, 40 thousand dollars a week in low socioeconomic areas because they had good business practice and I didn't. And I was shocked by that. I also judged them harshly and said, I don't know how they sleep at night, which is ironic, because I started making money in my business, and the first thing somebody said to me was, I don't know how you sleep at night. And it challenged the very core belief on what you value in terms of how you receive money, and how that affects you, because that is significant. Yes, there are a lot of people out there that are struggling to get paid, because they're not good enough yet, but their evolution for pricing is generally moving at the same evolution of their packages, and I find that that adjusts accordingly, but the irony is, there's a lot of people out there with massive egos, that think their work is really brilliant and they're getting paid really well because they're servicing their client and their client's happy, and that's all that matters. It's not the photographic industry judging the quality of their work, it is the world of clients judging the quality of their work and I think that's really significant.