The DOs and DON'Ts of the Sales Process
We're going to a bunch of do's and don'ts we're going to start out with a big don't don't be this photographer and what I meant by that is I'm going to show you a video that if you were my w p I talk you saw this otherwise this is still kind of fresh fish I might have showed it at one workshop so this is pretty fresh but this is basically a four minute piece I put together of a photographer who's played many who has the best of intentions loves doing the job we're digging into process now we're going to kick you off with the do's and don'ts of the process of selling photography loves photography got into for the right reasons excited to sell the work wants to do it after several sales started feeling ground out and unsure you know went out I did everything I turned around and they only bought two five by seven I did the whole shoot and I worked really hard and I post process for forty six hours and then I sent them the link and they sent back to me I'll take that one is a five by seven...
on and on and on there's nothing that they're doing wrong they're trying to get information this photographer trying to get information about how to do this right and so in little bursts trying to do the right thing as they've heard they're supposed to do it but they feel weird they feel this is what a sales person is all those things they certainly don't want to be seen as someone who's trying to sell that's awful so this person is not terribly confident about their work is looking for evaluation from their client about it but also it's so caught up in her head on how to make this right she's not really listening to our client she's very focused on how she sees the images, what technical flaws she sees that comes up to and because she's kind of nervous and uncomfortable there's a lot of talking all right, so the first we have audio for this right? We're good for the first like a few seconds of this video there's no audio so don't think that we have a problem oh wait that's right that's right I was at work forever and we had another meeting oh I'm just I'm just so glad you came I know that you're so busy of course yeah I'm here I love them you d'oh thank you thank you. Oh god I wasn't even hold on a second um just facebook oh so did you get a chance to see them all I know you say so many I did get to see him I didn't get to discuss it with my husband and why my parents what do you think I love them? Yeah yeah did you like them because I was I was little like really crazy out there and I knew that I didn't have like my back up I just felt bad I wasn't if I did I mean I like I feel good about the pictures I wasn't sure if you felt good about yeah great they're great where we're excited tohave some in our house why don't we just start at the beginning and then it all try to decide ok like the big beginning chronologically or like we felt they started getting good or what do you think I'm sorry that the very first image ok all right, I just I just learned this so I don't know it very well but um do you want to buy that one? I really like it. Yeah um you know by our way to make a list sure you can write down whatever you want or I could right now, okay? I don't think I have any paper. Oh, god, I don't think I do either. Um you know I'll do already down my iphone and then I'll email it tio okay, that works way wanted by the yeah. Ok. So cute. You know what size meant by it? And um sure, what at least want maybe a four by six or five? Yeah that's great I want I don't put anything on you for my six sounds great okay, I didn't really I don't really like that one actually don't know why I delivered it I forgot reflector on that shot you want you like this one yeah is there any way to cross in a little bit or no I mean this is exactly how it should be be delivered to you okay okay so so maybe we'll just think maybe a four by six that one ok, ok, well I definitely want to get one of the three of them together. Yeah, we didn't really get anything good like I tried but you know, he's running around the place that it too weren't really you know, cooperating and you know your oldest what she's like I think I want to do bigger than four by six um that looks like a good size though I'm not sure if it's big enough for this behind thinking I'll have tio what can you do write that image number now? Yeah, I have tio think about that. Yeah, sure, no pressure at all. So I was thinking kind of like something without a brain you don't like framing well, I do I do like the framing but you know you're like identities I just was thinking there's something a little more modern like a canvas or something hold on a second I just got a text my god oh my girlfriend you don't know her but she's hilarious she was just uh she's she's a photographer too and she's having the worst time on a shoot right now so hard to photograph kids well on the second uh all right what were you saying we're talking about possibly getting this in in the campus or some sure that's what you want ok um let's see cathy's got the jeez that was kind of fun. Yeah, I feel like that one that one was kind of fun I like that one that one yes, I thought this was a good one. Yeah oh, I really like that one. Um that one was pretty good so has really keep face like that one like that. Okay, let that one that's one thing I want um let's see? All right, well you know uh you know, now we're old and gray just put this up on a gallery I'll send you the link okay? Thanks for taking the time to come in and I really appreciate you just trusting us me my photographs and camera okay, well, thank you so much. I look for that. All right, thanks. Okay, bye. Ok. Can anyone what did you think? Do you see how she's actually kind of a sympathetic character like from my perspective, she's trying to do this but she's frustrated and caught up and doesn't want to be over powering and, uh, did you relate to her at all any parts? Microphones were good. Oh, that made me so uncomfortable. But did that make you sound cover me squirm? Just I don't know because it's awkward just so bad her intention, however, maybe you guys have any specific points would bring up, but otherwise I'd love to walk through and talk about some of the just some of the mistakes, like first and foremost did she put a lot of effort into putting the client at ease? The client rushed in late late for the meeting, and instead of saying how you doing what's going on old things air crazy at work, tell me about that. It was immediately like, ok, let's, get on with this! I thought you weren't to show up now that you did let's go, it was very focused on how do we get through this? I didn't think you're going to show up because I didn't think you want to buy these prints. I didn't think if this opposite kind of mindset instead of collaborating, if the client is a few minutes late or if they seem frenzied when they get tea or if there's a lot going on it's not to do with lack of interest or lack of desire to be there, it's just that we all have overwhelmed lives it's the amount of not personal that is intense and by stopping and making it very personal about them you're giving them the gift of a moment to calm down she raised in and I did nothing or mean that photographer did nothing to say sit down, take a break and get you something to drink take deep breath tell me what's going on I would love to hear and I'd love to hear what you're experiencing yes and even just common courtesy is like she didn't stand up to greet her she didn't stand up to walk her to the door just three little things like that yeah not welcoming her yeah this this part we're talking about how much this sale needs to be an experience we need to welcome people ask how they're doing genuine lists and care about it and how was photographer dressed like jokey right? Yeah the hair up old you know tag out the mood old walking in the rain ready ready shirt I mean she looked good but not of a lot of focus our attention to appearance and would you want a hand that person a whole bunch of money let's go back to first impressions? The biggest thing that I always notice is that she wasn't prepared it wasn't paired with the materials that she needed she wasn't prepared with understanding the tools that she used she wasn't prepared to answer any of the questions that the the client had preparation in my mind is everything absolutely, absolutely, very much so it gives an impression and she was expecting the clients and no too much have to asking her questions without really guiding her through the process and getting her information should she took no control at any part of the process because she didn't want to feel like she wasn't taken over in charge controls a bad word to her, she thought that that would be something that we really negative, so she wanted to actually make sure the client knew that the clients in charge I want you to be comfortable and yet ironically was making her incredibly uncomfortable and making her do a lot of work, and she wasn't listening. She kept cutting her off on the client would start to say something about why like this when I like this, when I like this one and I didn't give her a chance to express anything at all, ever, it was that a conversation now it was like a hammering through there's another thing, the idea and then again, when I'm going back to the idea of the first impressions, if you appear highly disorganized, sometimes people do that on purpose if I, if I can race in in a very disorganized fashion into this meeting you're you're going to know that I was never trying to sell you I want this to appear incredibly spontaneous because I don't want to think I was ever trying to sell you but but you understand it right it's weird and you can understand it I have this great fear that you're going to think I'm trying to shove something down your throat so I want to show you that I'm just flying and busting my pants I'm an artist I'm flying by the seat of pants you like it you like it you don't but I wasn't it wasn't like I got a whole process together for you yes but then the one thing she did specifically ask for you just shut her down yes cropping yeah yes so that's another thing the amount of times and this is something that I see like crazy on forms and facebook groups and stuff like that I have seen rants about people asking them to adjust their work she wanted crop in that was a horrible crop I couldn't believe it shouldn't make this black and white it's horrible in black and white you know that that's not how I wanted it that's what that's not what I would have done that's not how I want to sell it it really annoyed me I'm just done and how much there is a met because it's so personal I'm taking it so personal with the work I created has to be presented and delivered to you exactly like I created it as opposed to how you really wanted is it fair then assuming that the client wants you to change your work tio have some sort of associated with it that's that's that's relevant you know that that makes sense because we spent a lot of time you know on the creative process so you know whatever that cost might be is it fair to say yes we can do that for you the answer should always be yes in my mind but for this much more yes exactly exactly yes I want to say yes in all situations for most of the things they want you know within the bounds of these I want to say yes and you know there this is the feed this is what we have to dio one question that I get a lot is people say I love it you should it's me in black and white I'd like that in color yes we can definitely do that there's an archival retrieval fee where have to go back find the original image said it back up match in color as you know according to our portrait contract I deliver everything at the artist's choice in combination of color black and white you know, toning this this image I did love in black and white but I can see how it would work for you in color too especially if you're carrying it with these other two images the fee is twenty five dollars fifty dollars, whatever your fee is to be able to compensate for the fact that it does cost to go back and set it up in color now in clients asked me if I could take an image and put it into black and white, I know that that cost me nothing in terms of time, it's a button and maybe a little tweaks to turn it into a black white image. So somebody says they choose a color mention they want in black and white. I don't charge additionally for that simply because I know that there's no cost involved with me, and if I don't have to charge an additional fee for something, I like that, I say sure, there's actually no fee associate with that. I like being able to give when where there is room to give yes question came up online from lana robinson from memphis, who said, I just had my first in person sales and I was disappointed with the choice is the client made they didn't choose the best ones, the ones that were sharpest with the best light, etcetera, even after I pointed that out to them, should I have not shown them anything but the ones I liked and cut the number of photos show ok, so did any indication of how many photographs were shown no okay, so that that that's part of it if if the amount shown with two hundred images lonely fifty of them your best absolutely show this fifty the reason why there's a little bit of a wiggle room on that is because if you're fifty best images are you know all here and there's about five or six or ten that aren't your best, but they're amazing supporting images so if you want to put a serious together an album or canvas collage or something where you would be great if I had one or two more images that aren't the best but they complement the its other photos in a fantastic way and now I can sell us set that is when I say go ahead and have those in there you see the thing but if the person's like I showed twenty images but only three of them were good that's a whole different problem you know that's why I asked how many were in there, I always advise that you show the ones that you really love that those were the best ones and minimize the amount of images shown so you don't overwhelm your client but not to the point where you leave off the table things that will help support a bigger sale like I explain ok here's another thing did you see right away when the client came in how nervous she seemed she was harried and frenzied and nervous and there's nothing wrong with being nervous as we all know when we all came in and sat down today now you guys are like love but when you first gave in well before all the drinking at lunch you were kind of nervous and a little shy and this is a new environment and oh my gosh there's cameras on me and am I sitting in a way that my skirt is low enough all the things that you might have been thinking that's okay and it's normal it's union but there is something to making an effort to minimize the appearance of that so others are comfortable and we all know ways to do that right there's I mean that could be a whole other class looked less nervous than you are that's going to be a six day workshop but you know there's there's a lot of reasons to do that in one of which is that it just simply you give the other person opportunity to be more ease and again what do we say when the top reasons people buy from you is they feel comfortable with you so it's worth making that effort I don't believe that this photographer made the effort I think she covered up her nerves by immediately launching in which was actually more stressful to the client the client came in stressed and I wanted that as the reason I wanted her to come in like that because honestly that's how most of us operate today we are racing from thing to thing and I've got to catch this and I've got to catch this thes three days are going to be impactful impactful for you for a lot of reasons number one number one because we're hanging out and we're learning and it's very interesting but number two what are you not doing the whole time we're talking you have to have your phone's off when you're here they make you so less takes mine away like she takes it to the other room and then hides it from me like you have teo and the amount of focus that gives back to you about amount of mindfulness you have the amount of attention you're able to pay as we say through this it's brilliant, you know? And I see that too in my in my private workshops when people come in and I and I put it away and they just stay they say, you know, I learned so much was amazing, but one of the big reasons was that they gave themselves the chance to do that and every so often I have somebody come to a workshop who has another job that they're still tethered to and they're checking in there every break they run off and they're making calls and it minimizes their experience like sometimes exponentially and I'm not saying it's their fault but I'm saying that's that's part of what goes into it so what I want to dio is very actively put my client at ease and try to minimize all the distractions in front of them I can do that any number of ways by saying when you sit down be comfortable give yourself a break put the phone away pretence a movie we just turn off for a little bit you know let's just you know if you need to have it on vibrate if you need tio be worried about a call coming in or something I don't have my phone on the table I don't hold it I make a show of saying and I will do that too you know like the big the super cool thing right now to go out to dinner and do a phone stack everybody put your phone's on top of each other because some time out the phone staff the phone basket that's probably another iteration of it which is basically come to dinner and everybody commit to putting their phones in the middle of table on a stack on the preferably in the side of the table on dh then basically whoever grabs their phone during the food has to pick up the check it's a great way and there's obviously generations of it with the basket and you know whoever checks their phone first in there you know chancer first or whatever however it is but I love that idea because it means we're all going to commit to be here together you were sitting across from me is more important than all these people here and I want you to know that like that's that's a commitment that unfortunately has become increasingly rare and we offer that to our clients and they offer it back and then suddenly you're in this new space that most people don't get tow have anymore it kind of takes you to another place where they can actually sink in and just experience the imagery versus appointment appointment appointment appointment it's a really, really compelling way to let people in and let them pay attention and let them feel so speaking of that when she called up the first image and she said to the client, don't buy it I mean obviously you guys laughed because that seems so awkward and jarring and and yet part of what happened was she was nervous about how the client was looking at her image was suddenly on this big screen and so just in case the client might have said something that would have hurt her feelings or made her feel rejected in anyway like I was talking about earlier she cut in and just said don't buy it and she didn't give the client any opportunity to experience it she didn't get to feel it really looked through it when you do in person sales and you do any sort of projection or chauhan image big in any way on a television or you know, even on a large laptop screen or whatever, what you're given the client a chance to do is really see it because if they're getting in online gallery sent to them, they often don't have that experience, so you're giving them the chance to finally see it how you saw how you wanted to deliver it in all the intricacies of that you need to let them actually see it and feel it and that's, why it's a little bit of a slower process that's how I believe in doing sales when she asked the client what size she wanted it in right away, she didn't give the client any context for what the different sizes even looked like or felt like or how they we're sect up in relation to other sizes. One the great benefits of doing in person sales is that you can physically show that you can show that this is a I think this is a seventeen by twenty eight this size image you can show them that's what that looks like and this is a four by six like it becomes a pretty dramatic difference when somebody says, I'll just take that in five my seven's you say also this size, this fight by seven size when you have the imagery to show someone looks at that says, I really like that, maybe I want that a little bit bigger, I mean, that's the idea of show it, you sell it in another effort to make sure that the client constantly new, that she wasn't trying to sell it to her, and she wasn't trying to push anything on her when the client came back and gave a response about what size she wanted instead of discussing it with her and saying, oh, do you know that that's five, whatever the case might be, she made it said, ok, great, even as she texted her dissatisfaction, what was the other thing going on with the texting? And you guys think that's a joke? People do that? Do any of you guys do that text during sales sessions? Text during shoots? Ok, I have a high caliber audience here not to say that if you do that, you're about high over, but I'm saying we get caught up sometimes, so caught up in these conversations we're having with such a wide variety of people that we almost forget we're still having them everywhere we go, and we forget that we gotta put it away in a state where we are what's going on with the text was that this was her outlet and so she could stay here and just keep running through it as long as she was expressing her dissatisfaction somewhere and said turning that into a super positive experience where she just asked for clarification tell me while you're thinking of five by seven I mean it could be a simple is that this whole thing about objections and responses it could be a simple as asking for clarification like we talked about early earlier you want that is a five by seven do you know exactly why you wanted it in that size? I am I judging anybody am I doing anything wrong in my being schmaltzy or smarmy? I'm not I'm just I'm asking for clarification and then I'm going to take the time to explain what I think of the various sizes as I think here's the other big thing when she was pulling up the images all she did was basically give a soliloquy on her interpretation of the image is after the fact right she talked about quickly excusing any year issues she saw with the images out loud and never reflect around that one that one was your kid's fault I mean some of this of course is a little over the top but it's in there because it's indicative of some of the behaviors were still practicing we're still doing things where in order to protect our kind of tender artist souls we're assigning blame out outwards we're saying it things like it was the lens, it was the day it was this, it was that sometimes it's just we didn't get the shot we wanted so let's show the shots we want to show let's, not put up a whole bunch of shots and then excuse them, all right? What was the other thing when she sat down? She said, right away, the client mentioned that her husband was going to want to have to see these two didn't get a chance to see them yet, right? Remember the clients that down said that that basically was assigned to us that the photographer hadn't talk to her ahead of time and gave her a heads up about how the decision makers do or do not need to be there. You save yourself that problem every time, if up front, before the meeting even happens, you make it clear that everybody is going to be part of this decision making should be there that I mean, suddenly you're not in a situation where someone says, you know what, let me go home and talk to my husband. He didn't get a chance to even see these yet well, he hasn't had a chance to see them, and you haven't both bought in let's, make sure that happens and then and then come in part of how that works is making sure the process starts very early and it's reiterated consistently that's on the schedule we know this is what's happening, we know this is what's happening that we know this is what's happening, so if she would've just breeze in and see my husband had to have any chance to look at these, yet it would mean make sense in the context was we'd already confirmed it four times kind of like the beach house I confirm several times and then showed up to him wasn't there? I mean, I can go on and on and on that there's so much to this, but you guys get the point, right? Were there any other questions about that? Anything that seems additionally strange on top of the strange and here's the thing when I look at that, I don't think what a joke that photographer I actually a lot of sympathy for her because I know that she's just trying your best to make all this work. The last point I'll say is how did she start out the meeting? What was her mindset? What did she text out that she was thinking it wasn't going to go anywhere it wasn't going to go anywhere I know that mind set really well that's what I did when I first want to say I was I was trying to be the person who was supposed to be and read the things they're supposed to read and say the things they're supposed to say I would start every phone call saying I already know this isn't gonna work why am I doing this a lot of people if you start something out that way it's really likely that you're going to be right and you don't win anything by at the end of it saying see what did you win the photographer I mentioned to you earlier who knew all along that this was just a fluke and she couldn't sustain these sales and felt terribly comfortable and very happy afterwards part of that it was returning to her comfort zone part of it was that she got to be right what does she win by being right on that exactly all right, I have a question from sam cox in loveland, colorado he asked have you found that the order of presentation matters at all for instance to images presented at the beginning of a sale sessions sell better? Is there any sort of interesting okay wonderful question I actually find that I deliver my images mostly in order of how they're shot the chronological order of the shoot but that being said those first several images I do pay attention to and they vary per the client one of things there's two reasons I'll put some images first than how they may have been chronologically normally, without these considerations, I just start with the first grade image I like at the beginning, the chute simply that after that, what I'll do is if I know there was an image that we struggled to get like it was a really tough, like, this child was just out of sorts, and I can't wait to show you that I got that image, and it makes sense because it's somewhere near the front of the shoot, I will start with that image because I think that impact is significant. So so that's, one of the things I do, the other reason I might put an image more near the front is if there's a series in a row that kicks off that's very emotive, like these three images in a row just looks so beautiful together, and you're gonna get a sense how the rest of this is going to go when you see these three, then I'll start out that way. I do think about impact. How are we starting? What's the impact I'm gonna show you a slide show when we come back from break that is a serious of images that is very true to how I would normally send a slide show to a client on guy put them there all in kind of random order. About much images, but I'm actually starting that slide show with an image that was very hard for me to secure, which is a boy and girl together who did not want to be, like posed together. And I knew how much work I put in, and I would start an image. I would start a session out with that he's the one one more question that keeps coming up from and this is from c cpt snappy. How do you provide the experience for people that you can't meet with in person? What do you recommend? S o a couple things I would ask why you can't meet with him in person. Is it distance, or is it a destination thing or something like that? We're not having a studio space. Yeah, so certainly not having a studio space. You can always do that at the client's home as much as possible. I've gone to a client office before, and she said that she would never let me in your home was a disaster zone. You do something like that or meeting coffee shop. Of course I would rather always be together first as much as possible then I would not if that's not an issue, and I do ah, like I mentioned just doing a syriza big shoots. Those chutes or destination portrait's where you're shooting in another market that's different from where you are. In that case, I would do as much as possible on a shared screen skype session, so that's basically I can still walk him through my presentation, I can walk them through pro select, we can talk and they looking at the same images, but we can still be somewhat together. I do all my image critiques and one on one mentoring sessions via skype or most of them via skype and it's great until of course, skype crashes and then you're like, well, cnn phone, but yeah, for that I mean, we're living in a wonderful age to be able tio find some work arounds for that that's for sure, and especially when their clients that air don't live in the same vicinity is yes, but don't say, well, you're there and I'm here, so we have another option. You just give me your order still look for a way to virtually walk them through it and what I did this was ash six, seven years ago is doing this before I even knew about skype or go to meeting or any options it is, I would basically put pds of layouts up on my website, and so I'd send them to tamara lackey dot com ford slashed the mckinney family college campus collage, and I'd say you could do me a favor to this web site. You see that image? I love this. This is why I love the flow of this. I think it would be a great piece for you, etcetera, etcetera were still walking through it together.