As small business owners, we’re always learning, growing and expanding our businesses. If you’re a photographer, you’ve likely thought about all of the ways to increase your income, including raising prices, working around the clock or changing niches. You’ve also probably heard about the topic of In-Person Sales (IPS). Right now, any photography business coach will tell you that the best way to increase your income exponentially is to offer printed photo products to your clients. Now, before you say, ” My clients simply aren’t interested in printing their photos. They just want the digital files,” let us remind you that companies like Shutterfly make millions of dollars printing YOUR photos every year. Ouch. Now that we’ve established your clients do, in fact, want their pictures printed, let’s discuss how you become their go-to for photography packages. Today, we will go over how to implement in-person sales for photographers successfully.
Picture this: you just got home from your dream photography photoshoot. The sun was shining, the kids were playing, and you captured some fantastic shots. In your pre-planning session, the mom talked about how she saw this family photo over the fireplace at her best friend’s house, and it inspired her to call you because she needed one too. So, you made sure to add some framable family photos to your shot list (and guess what, everyone looked AND smiled for them!) You know these photos will end up on her wall, and all of her guests will gush over her family. So, you eagerly dive into editing and excitedly mail out the gallery. A week later, you get a short but heartfelt, “The photos were amazing! Thank you!” email, and that’s the end of that.
Of course, you’re in this to provide a service to your clients. You don’t need the praise and the affirmation that your heart and soul will be up on someone’s wall to cherish forever. But, what happened to the photos? Did they ever make it back from the cloud? Are they collecting digital dust somewhere in space? Did that mom ever get that picture she wanted so badly that she spent time hiring a photographer and wrangling her family?
There is a better way! Find out what happens to your professional photography, provide a luxury experience AND earn more income with In-Person Sales.
IPS is a highly effective sales method where you get together with your clients to reveal their photos for the first time. Typically, one person (or the whole family) meets with you after you’ve completed editing the session to see their beautifully edited, magazine-quality, smile-inducing, tear-jerking photos on a large, high-definition screen. To add to the experience, they’ll also be surrounded with a variety of tangible custom printed photo gifts to help them see all of the ways those photos can come home with them. Combining the raw emotion of viewing their gorgeous images and the high-quality samples helps bring the world of possibilities to life. This system can get your clients everything they dreamed of, set you up as a luxury photography service, and generate hundreds and even thousands of dollars in additional revenue.
Positioning yourself as a luxury photographer is about creating an elevated client experience, starting with your photography branding through your photography session and including your sales process. If the idea of trying to sell your products to clients makes your stomach turn, try taking a step back and reframing your mindset. Ask yourself, why did your client invest in hiring a professional photographer in the first place? We are willing to bet it was not so they could stash their pictures away in a forgotten section of the cloud.
Your clients want to remember, hold onto and share a special occasion or particular milestone in their lives. Remember, you are the expert here. Your clients may know they want to display these memories in their homes, but they probably have no idea of the best way to do that. Or, maybe they don’t have the time or the vision to bring what they want to life. So, think of this meeting not as a pushy sales conversation. Instead, think of it as a chance for your clients to take advantage of your expertise and get your professional opinion. Your clients will know they’ll get high-quality, long-lasting photography to fill their homes without having to do any more work.
To that end, let’s look at some dos and definite don’ts that can make or break your success with photography in-person sales.
Create a pleasant viewing environment. Remember: You are a professional offering a luxury photography service. Pamper your clients, offer refreshments and maybe some coloring pencils or activities for the families with young kids. Get there early enough to set the temperature where it’s welcoming and comfortable. Your clients are much more likely to want to stay and think about products if they have a good time.
Try to sell them products that they don’t need or want. Not only is this a much harder sell, but you will also leave a bad taste in their mouth. Instead, listen to what your clients want. Are they looking to decorate their home? Are they hoping to share their pictures with a faraway grandparent? Give your professional opinion on which products you believe will best fit their needs and provide your reasoning. Maximize on this by being very intentional, starting with your initial consultation. Take the time to ask why they want to hire you before the session takes place. You get to build a lasting relationship with them because you get to know them. It also gives you information to prep your shot list and helps you deliver the products they need. In the end, they will be much more satisfied. You will have provided a complete experience that gave what they wanted from the start.
Have samples available for the available photo products. To successfully guide them to the right products, you need to have live proof of the options. For example, while you may be very acquainted with print sizes and how they will look on a wall. Your clients may not see the value in purchasing a 20×30 instead of an 8×10 unless they see a comparison in person. Also, remember Shutterfly? They do offer photo products at a price point that is likely significantly lower than yours. However, your clients won’t know the difference until they experience first-hand the higher-quality options available. If your lab creates hand-stitched covers for their photo albums made of top-quality archivable ink and paper, have one available to let them feel the difference and imagine their photos there.
Give up on IPS because you don’t have a studio. Do not believe the lie that you must own a studio, private salesroom, or showroom to be successful with IPS. While having an environment you can control allows you to craft the client experience exactly how you want it, other options are available if that dream is not in the budget yet. For example, you can still offer a luxury sales experience using a local community studio, co-working spaces, and even some free and low-cost workspaces provided through your local chamber of commerce or university. You can even offer a personalized experience by providing showings in your client’s home or via Zoom. No matter where you set up, have a game plan figured out ahead of time.
Who wouldn’t benefit from in-person sales for photographers? If you’re happy in your photography business, don’t want to grow and learn new things, or don’t have the time or desire to create long-lasting relationships with your clients, IPS may not be suitable for you. As a photography business coach, I’ve heard many photographers love In-Person Sales because it allows them extra time to get to know their clients and strengthen that relationship. They know that at the end of the day, their clients’ needs are fully satisfied. You can rest assured that photos won’t be stuck in digital limbo, never to be seen again.
We hope you found this overview of how to use in-person sales for photographers helpful. Our priority here at Avenlee is to be more than a photography website design company. We invest time and resources to serve you as an authentic photography business coach. We stay current with the latest trends and photography marketing techniques to propel our clients’ businesses forward. If you don’t want to miss all our tips, including industry best practices, SEO for photographers, and more, make sure you sign up for our newsletter!
“Implementing Your Sales System With In-Person Sales” from Shutter Magazine
“IPS: A Photographer’s Guide to In-Person and Virtual Sales Without a Studio” from Click Magazine
We firmly believe that you should never stop developing your business.
Get the latest tips, updates, and more to help inspire your business growth.