Overcome Your Fear of In-Person Sales Sessions

Overcome Your Fear of In-Person Sales Sessions

Overcome Your Fear of In-Person Sales SessionsIn-Person Sales Sessions have changed my world!!! Yes, I am that excited about them! So excited, I want to shout it from the rooftops. I LOVE IT!!!

But it wasn’t always that way. Oh no, not at all. Matter of fact, for the first 3 years of my boudoir business, I completely resisted doing In-Person Sales Sessions. I fought it HARD. There was nothing more terrifying to me than the idea of sitting down with a client to go through their images and select them and help them chose the products they would like to buy.

That way of thinking started to crack when I met Me Ra Koh. She wisely pointed out that everyone – every single person – that hires you to take their photograph does so because they want to purchase photographs. (Whether that be prints, albums, digital files – whatever you offer. They want to buy it!)

I still held on and resisted. One day, my studiomate Adam Nyholt started questioning why I wasn’t doing In-Person Sales meetings. He does them for all of his clients, after their engagement sessions, bridal portraits, and even their wedding. We talked a lot about it, and I was especially curious when he mentioned how much more people buy. I wasn’t ready to give in yet though. I just didn’t think I could do it.

The Client That Made Me See That In-Person Sales Were Essential

One day I had a fantastic session with an incredible client. She asked if we could do nude photos, because she as she said, “I am sexiest when I am naked!” She LOVED her body. She loved herself, and she radiated that self-confidence. I want every client to feel that good about themselves after their session, but most don’t walk in feeling that confident. She did – she was the rare exception.

After her session, I put the gallery online, let her know that they were ready and that she could select the images for her album. (I used to offer collections that included the albums; I now offer everything a la carte.) She chose the photographs, we put the album together, and I met up with her so she could pick it up.

She told me when we met that viewing the images online was hard. She started to pick herself apart, to find flaws, to nitpick the little things. She actually had to close her browser window and leave her computer to go get dinner. All of that confidence, gone in that moment. (It came back later, and she loved her book, but for awhile – it was gone.)

OMG. If I made HER feel like that – and she was so confident going in to her session! – how did it make my other clients feel?

It was then that I realized that I work really hard to cheer my clients on through their sessions. I have a theory that when a woman hears another woman tell her that she is gorgeous, sexy, amazing and beautiful, it has a completely different impact than when a man says it. So why on earth was I so insistant to just leave them on their own when they viewed the images? Why did I not want to be there to cheer them on through that?

Are You Abandoning Your Clients Half Way Through the Experience?

I made it my mission from that point forward to get over it, to get over myself, and to start doing In-Person Sales Sessions. It is now the only option for every client. This way, I make sure I complete the circle of the client experience of working with me. They get me along with them, cheering them on. They aren’t alone. They don’t get to see the images long enough to critique themselves, to pick themselves apart, to find any flaws. If there is an image that they don’t like, whether it is their smile, their expression or something else – it is gone. We just won’t talk about it any more. We focus only on the positives.

I was worried that I would feel like a pushy-saleswoman, but Me Ra’s advice is true. People don’t just come to me to pay me for a session; they come to me to leave with products. I only sell items a la carte now, as I feel that leaves it up to them to purchase more if they would like. However, I have no minimum orders either, and while it has never happened – if someone was to come in and buy only one print, they are welcome to do that. Switching to In-Person Sales has absolutely increased my profits.

More important than profits for me? It allows me to give my clients a more complete experience, to take care of them, and if they need it? To cheer them on a bit more. They get more time with me. It completes the client experience.

I know it is scary when you first start to do them – but I left the first one I did so giddy about how much fun we had going through the photos together! We chat, we catch up, we laugh, we talk about our favorite images. It is as much fun as the session, continued. I’ve asked several clients for their feedback, and they all say that they can’t imagine selecting the images alone. I can’t either! I haven’t looked back since that first time. I’ll be writing more about how I do it. (I’ve already shared that I start every in-person sales session with an Animoto slideshow, and why I do that.) If you want to follow along, be sure to sign up for the newsletter!

Photo Credit: Big Dubya via Compfight cc

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Author, Coach, Blog Geek. Blogger of 15 years, I named WordPress. My Superpower: Helping entrepreneurs like you use the power of storytelling across blogging & social media to magnetize clients and dominate your market. It is time to stop believing the lies of the Perfection Culture. I live in Houston, Texas when I'm not traveling in my Mini Cooper.
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  • Rachel Aberle March 24, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    Good way of explaining, completing the circle. I think you’re spot on. Women need to hear from other women that they’re gorgeous. Heck, every client wants to hear good feedback!

  • Eva March 24, 2013 at 7:47 PM

    Love this!! So well written!

  • Jennifer Wilson March 24, 2013 at 7:58 PM

    OMG – in-person sales are SO important at my studio! Not just for boudoir, but for all my sessions. So many of my clients can’t decide on which photos or products to get on their own and really look to my input to help them decide. I have a couple of clients who literally want me to pick all of the images and just tell them what to order – seriously!

  • Naomi Johnson March 24, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    I’m not a boudoir photographer, but I think it’s safe to say that IPS works across all boards. :) So far, personally, I haven’t gotten them to work at all. It seems contacting them and discussing pictures via email, internet, phone, in person…no one wants to spend anything on pictures. Which I think is weird…why get pictures taken at all if $100 is the max to spend on stuff?? Would you say that IPS only works on an “ideal” client? I imagine you have been in business for longer than me (it’s been about 2 years of part time stuff for me) and I have yet to get an “ideal” client – ie – one that comes for pictures with the intent on purchasing something of some quantity. What are your thoughts?

  • Christine Author March 25, 2013 at 2:29 AM

    Naomi, interesting questions, but hard to answer without looking at the big picture. How much do they spend on their session fee? Are you telling them in advance how much most clients spend? I think those things help clarify expectations for most people and help them plan it out.

    I’ve never had clients not expect to spend something.

  • Naomi Johnson March 25, 2013 at 7:20 AM

    They do know and yet they still book. I honestly think I”m going to have to start turning people down. I would have a pretty good drop in business, but at least I wouldn’t be wasting my time. :) Another thought I had was to make my retainer fees insanely high for 2013…and I think it already weeded out someone last week. Woo hoo! :-)
    It’s always nice to hear that others have success at this – it keeps me motivated to keep trying. Thanks! :)

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