by Scott Bourne
I'm going to take some poetic license here so bear with me. On Marketing Monday I try to give everyone some concrete marketing tips here at SCU. Today I will talk about sales. Yes, sales is part of marketing. You need to learn this to get where you want to go.
So here goes. Believe this. . . People don't ever, ever, ever, buy photographs. They buy the solution to a problem. The problem might be they don't want to ever forget their daughter's first steps. The problem might be they don't want to ever forget their daughter's first tricycle ride. The problem might be they don't want to ever forget their daughter's first day of school. The problem might be they don't want to ever forget their daughter's first prom. The problem might be they don't want to ever forget their daughter's graduation from college. The problem might be they don't ever want to forget their daughter's wedding. The problem may be they don't ever want to forget the day their daughter had her first child.
You get the point? You're solving problems not taking photographs. Once you have that mindset, selling is much easier. When you are a problem solver, everybody wants to do business with you. When you're concerned only about your own wallet, then nobody wants to do business with you. Position yourself as a sincere problem solver. You'll have a great career.
Selling is something you do FOR somebody, not TO somebody. Many of you are uncomfortable with sales and salesmanship. You may be uncomfortable because you've had bad experiences with salespeople. You may be shy. You may be untrained. But you need to get past all that (or hire someone who can) or you will not succeed. I've been supporting myself with photography for decades, but I think of myself as a salesman first, and a photographer second.
My mentor in sales was none other than Zig Ziglar. He had a saying that I will never forget.
Nothing happens until somebody sells something."
Think about it. Everything you touch has been sold and resold over and over. Without honest, sincere, dedicated salespeople no business would survive. So get used to this fact. You will spend 80% of your time selling and 20% on the photography-related stuff.
If your business is suffering, get off the couch and go knock on doors. As Guy Kawasaki says,
"More sales fix every problem your business is having."
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.