There are ten mistakes that Sarah Petty shared in this post from Marathon's blog archives from last year. I'm betting every photographer who reads this has hit at least 3-4 of these mistakes in the past and many of you are guilty of all ten!
In the same way you've worked hard to establish you skill set as a photographer, you've got to give the same attention to your selling skills. Sarah's first sentence says it all!
"Do you pour your soul into photography sessions, only to see little money come in for your time and effort?"
Take the time to read this guest post and then, even better, take the time to analyze your selling skills and behavior through the process. What good is working so hard to capture and create stunning images if you can't close the sale? For more help follow Sarah Petty's blog - it's always loaded with great content.
Marathon offers a long list of services and products to help elevate your business. Check out the new Bella Art Prints and Bella Albums for stunning prints and a stronger revenue stream. Get involved in the Marketing Advantage Program so you have a marketing team to help you follow-through on your promotional plans. Check out their website support if you're just not happy with your present cyberspace storefront. Most important of all, check out their ability to support your marketing needs with a phone call or email!
Great customer service is at the top of Marathon's list of ways to help you build a stronger business!
Do you pour your soul into photography sessions, only to see little money come in for your time and effort? Do you routinely hear customers say your work is beautiful, yet they fail to follow up their praise by placing a sizable order? When they do place orders, are their purchases much smaller than you’d like? Are you wondering … what the heck gives?
If you are in this position, don’t worry: You’re not alone.
Many photographers have trouble encouraging customers to place large orders … or any order at all. While it can be extremely frustrating to watch clients walk away satisfied from their sessions without buying physical products, fixing these 10 photography selling mistakes may be as simple as making a few tweaks to your business model.
Below, we’ll identify 10 photography selling mistakes you should stop making right away if you want to increase your orders. By replacing these mistakes with sales techniques, you can raise your average order price considerably. In fact, by teaching photographers how to avoid these mistakes, I routinely help them raise their sales average to $1,500 an order. The same can be true for you, so follow along.
1. Apologizing For Your Prices If you want to sell big photography orders, you should never, ever apologize for your prices.First and foremost, if you want to land big orders after your photography session, you should never, ever apologize for your prices. Saying “I’m sorry our prices are high, but it’s because we provide such quality” might seem like an effective tactic, but really, it isn’t. You hear yourself saying how great your product is, but all they hear is they can get it for less somewhere else.
2. Assuming All Clients Are Shopping Based on Price Not all clients shop based on price alone. Competing on price turns you into a commodity photographer.Don’t make a big deal about how low your prices are either. Not all clients shop based on price alone, and sometimes shouting about “what a bargain” you are is a turnoff. Instead, focus on what clients will get from working with you, and treat pricing as a reasonable afterthought.
3. Offering Prices Before Discussing Services Before you talk photography prices, you must first explain to your clients what makes you different as a portrait photographer.Portrait photography pricing is a tricky subject, and a number on a page does not reflect to your future client what you really offer. Before you talk prices, first explain to your clients what makes you different and second find out what their needs are. After you’ve built rapport, you can then share pricing.
4. Forgetting a Pre-Session Consultation Make a pre-session consultation a non-negotiable part of your photography selling process.Forgetting to consult before planning a session is a major mistake. Instead, make a pre-session consultation a non-negotiable part of your process. Once clients feel taken care of (by having a conversation with you), they’ll be more likely to go along with what you suggest, and more likely to invest in wall portraits for their home.
5. Failing to Set Expectations For How Artwork Should Be Displayed Before Session By setting expectations for the right type of artwork for a particular wall, you can encourage your clients to place higher-priced photography orders.Helping clients understand what they’re getting from a session and where they should plan on displaying it can go a long way toward increasing your orders. If you don’t talk to clients about above-the-fireplace images, family room gallery walls or canvas wall portraits in kids’ rooms, how can you expect them to buy them? Set their expectations for the type of artwork you will be creating during their session BEFORE the ordering appointment. Otherwise, you make the mistake of failing to encourage them to place orders at all.
6. Winging Your Sessions Without a Sales Plan Base every photograph you take on how likely you are to sell a product using that photograph later.It’s a common problem for photographers to have lots of portrait photography ideas regarding the session itself, and too few regarding sales. But the two are intertwined. Don’t head into your session without a plan for how you will sell each photograph you take. If you end up with a bunch of proofs no one will order, you’ve wasted your precious time, so instead, shoot to sell. Base every photograph you take on how likely you are to sell a product using that photograph later.
7. Assuming Clients Will Automatically Place a Large Order Selling large portrait orders requires you to hold your clients’ hand throughout the process.Most clients will take the CD or jump drive home, tuck it away in a drawer, and never pull it back out. Unless you hold their hand, they likely won’t print those photos out ever. Help make your shoot and sales process effective by holding your clients’ hands through the ordering process and helping them understand why they need beautiful images to pass down through the generations.
8. Putting Images Online or Offering Proofs Rather Than Conducting Order Appointments Your photography clients will invest more if they appreciate your expertise.You are doing your clients a disservice if you merely print out a bunch of proofs or point them toward an online gallery of images without helping guide them through choosing what they love. We invest more for expertise, and it’s no different for photography. You are helping them invest in the beauty of their home, and you can’t do that by printing proofs and relying on your clients to fumble through the right size, frame, style and so on. Use a 1-hour ordering appointment in which you project their images on the wall so they can see the scale of the art you have created for them and help them pick the right artwork for their home.
9. Selling Digital Files Without Physical Products Your beautiful photography is meant to be displayed and seen! By not selling a physical product to your portrait clients, you’re cutting your client and yourself short.Sure, people will buy digital files. For a slight premium, however, you can do all the work for them. That way they’ll end up with a beautiful physical product. If you fail to offer physical products, you cut yourself out of a hefty sales opportunity. Plus, your clients will most likely never print and display your artwork. Since that’s how it was meant to be seen, it is a shame for them as well.
10. Overwhelming Clients with Too Many Choices When it comes to selling your photography, less portrait order options is better.Offering too many options has been scientifically shown to paralyze people and make them unable to choose. Instead of offering a pie-in-the-sky range of portrait order options, pick the fewest number of choices that still fit what most of your clients need, and just offer that. When presented with fewer options, people are more likely to select some of them.