We’ve heard it all before: Selling in person increases your sales and client experience exponentially. There’s a lot of truth in that, and I’m thrilled to be able to talk about why.
My husband and I run a boutique-style child photography business in Atlanta and have been building and serving our clients for about 5 years now. We love the flexibility it allows, being able to work so intimately with our clients, and of course – not having a boss to report to 9-5 everyday! Unlike the wedding business, however – most of what we make comes after the photo shoot as opposed to everything upfront. The sales process is just as important, if not more, than obtaining new clients to shoot.
Up until about 3 years ago, we conducted all of our sales online through the client’s private online gallery. Sales were dim – ranging from the $800 – $1500 max mark. The pros of it were: it was easy, efficient, inexpensive and accessible to our clients. The cons, of course: we knew we were not meeting our sales potential, it was often overwhelming for our client, and they felt they were limited in their options. After running its course and having to repeatedly remind clients to place their orders (of course, they would always forget to do so…), we knew something had to change. In home sales projection and sales consultations soon followed.
As a high end child photography business, it was really important for us to create a process that truly maximized our client’s experience. If they wanted custom, we gave them endless possibilities. If they wanted us to hand hold them through every step, we were there. A happy, referring client client was the result, as well our new $2500 – $5000 sales average. This was HUGE for our business, and luckily for all of us – it wasn’t a difficult transition to make!
Here are some easy-to-follow tips & suggestions in making the transition for your business. It’s really not as hard to do!
1. Make time for a pre-session consultation. This happens after they book and before the scheduled session date. Get to know your clients, learn about their children, and ask them about what they’re looking to achieve during your time together. Spend some time going over your product offerings and talk to them about what you specialize in. For us, we specialize in albums and folio books, so it was vital for us to chat about that prior to the session so they could be more prepared.
Also use this time to talk about your pricing. If they are going to be making a large investment on you and your work, they need time to mentally prepare for that… If that requires a chat with the husband, “Hey dear, the typical investment for custom portrait art with Alice is about $3500, so I’m going to budget for that…”, then give them time for that….
2. Rock the session! And if you’re on location or, even better – at their home, take some time to walk around their home and point out wall spaces that could use some custom art! They’ll appreciate your eye and expertise, I promise.
3. Wait to show clients their gallery until RIGHT before your scheduled Sales Consultation. This is key. You want to be able to give them the opportunity to sort through the images before meeting with you, but you also want to jump in on the sales process while they are still very emotionally attached to the images, the session, and the experience. I will usually send them a slideshow link (yes, gotta send a slideshow set to music) about 3-4 days prior to meeting with them.
4. Close the sale. Take payment. Process the order.
And to add to the fun, here’s what I bring to our Sales Consultations specifically (see diagram below):
1. Projector: I use the Epson Powerlite 83c Projector
2. Laptop: Apple 15″ Macbook Pro
3. Portable Screen: Epson Duet Portable Projector Screen
4. Projection Software: Proselect by TimeExposure.com
5. Pricing Menu: printed through WHCC
6. Box of Goodies: Studio product offerings ranging from albums, custom boxes, canvas samples, etc. etc.
I love this time with my clients. What better time am I able to say: “I think this should be blown up as a 40×60..” and the client responds: “Yes, that looks great – I want it!!”?!!
Written by Alice Park
Alice Park is a documentary child photographer in Atlanta known for her storybook folio books. She effortlessly blends herself into her subject’s world of make-believe and lets their imaginations soar. Photo sessions become play dates, and the connections she makes with them transform into stunning images that depict who he or she is at that age. Alice documents the little things with the big picture in mind: their magical stories.
Alice and her dashingly handsome and brilliant husband Kyu started Alice Park Photography together in 2006. They founded the National Association of Professional Child Photographers soon after.