"Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust"
I posted the above Zig Ziglar quote yesterday, and I can't get it out of my mind. Think about each obstacle and then look at your business. What are you doing to help educate your potential customers?
No Need: This might be one of the more common complaints I hear from photographers who are on the verge of giving up. These photographers have forgotten the value of what we as an industry provide. Watch this video from Bryan Caporicci on why people need prints and a wedding album. Taking it a step further, when working a bridal show he hands out floppy disks and says to future brides, "Take this home and look at some of my images. I think you'll like my work." Well, they look at him as if he was from outer space and then ask him what they're supposed to view the images on. All he has to say is "Exactly" and that opens up a conversation on the importance of printed work.
No Money: It's up to each of you as business people to design packages that have value to your target audience. Often it's not that they don't have the money, but that they don't value what they're about to buy. If somebody wants something, money or not, they'll find a way to make the purchase.
No Hurry: Here's where your salesmanship comes into play. It's easiest to explain with portraiture. First remember that 98% of your clients and future clients are women. They're mothers, and they're watching their kids grow all the time. You need to plant a seed and get your clients to think about all those lost memories flying by every day. You need to remind them that every magical moment that passes with their kids will never come again.
No Desire: I lump desire in with "no hurry" and "no need". Again you have to create products with value. You need to be excited about what you're sharing with the potential client. Michele Celentano refers to herself as a full-service artist. She starts out in the client's home talking about where the images are going to be displayed. And, when the client's images are ready, she shows up with a hammer and picture hooks to make sure the photographs are displayed as originally discussed. She doesn't sell portraits, but creates art. Whether it's a large canvas or a series of smaller images all telling a story, she stays on top of consumer trends and what's hot...and what's not.
No Trust: This is a big one for so many of you. You're greatest marketing tool today is building relationships. Everything you do is built on trust. You have to build friendships with your clients. I'm not suggesting you're going to buy a boat together, but you do need to keep in touch. Follow-up during the year.
Engagement sessions are all about building trust. It's an opportunity for you to get to know your clients, but far more important is them getting to know you. Joe Buissink talks a lot about his relationship with his clients. When he arrives on the wedding day, it's like an old friend making an appearance. That's also a reason he gets so many natural expressions - the couple is relaxed and has complete trust in Joe.
If you're a wedding photographer, remember a couple's first anniversary. David Ziser used to do a free portrait on the first anniversary of his clients. Imagine the impact on a young bride who gets a call from her photographer remembering her anniversary! The younger the bride, the more friends she has and the faster word is going to spread about her photographer.
Here's my point this morning. Most of you are working hard to build your skill set and create stunning images, but you've never really taken the time to consider all the reasons why a consumer might not buy your work. Zig Ziglar just gave us a basic background of five "roadblocks/speed bumps" that slow down closing a sale. Remember, I'm not including a weak skill set in the list. I'm assuming you're selling a product that's meeting the client's mindset and capturing/creating great images.
The year is about to come to a close, and as 2016 kicks off, it's the perfect time to look at your business and create products with value, build trust with your clients and create marketing programs that address each of the basic obstacles.
Most important of all, as Tim Walden talked about in a podcast earlier in the year, you have to make working with you an experience. Stop selling photographs and think about capturing memories. What could be more magical than taking intangible moments and turning them into tangible products, each designed to share with future generations?
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Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.