We’ve talked about why we should get over our fears and do In Person Sales, and I’ve shared how I prepare my work for In Person Sales Sessions. Whether you show your clients 30 images or 130 images, fully edited or hardly adjusted at all, the next steps are both the easiest and the hardest part – the In Person Sales Session!
This part really is magical to me. After years of being afraid of it, I am still amazed at how much happier my clients are when I work with them to select the perfect images for their needs.
To be Clear, You’re Only Selling What they WANT to Buy
Your clients came to you to take photographs. Their ultimate goal is to have a great experience working with you, and to have those photographs when it is all said and done.
In the end, you’re not selling anything. You are helping them to purchase exactly what they want. They walked in the door wanting these photographs. Now we have to get you over the hurdle of letting them purchase them.
Educating Your Client
When I switched to In Person Sales, I expected people to push back on the idea. They don’t, and that really surprised. I convinced myself for years that no one wanted to take more time to go through their photos with me, and that they might even be uncomfortable because they are boudoir images. Silly, isn’t it? Since I’m the one that took the photos?
The reality is that they are working with you, the expert, for a complete experience. They value your opinion & advice when it comes to their photographs. It makes perfect sense that they want your help with them!
Most of my clients thank me afterwards for doing this with them in person, helping them out with their selections. They all express how much easier it is for them. I wish I could go back in time and do it for all of my clients!
Where Do the In Person Sales Sessions Take Place
I have a studio space, so my appointments almost always take place there. If you do not have a studio, you could meet at a coffee shop, a wine bar, or at the same hotel where your client did their session. Your home or theirs. Select a location that fits your brand and style. Choose a place where you won’t get distracted or interrupted. If you use a computer for your sessions, try to find somewhere where you can sit in a corner, avoiding any prying eyes.
Who Should Come to the In Person Sales Session
I’ve started suggesting to my clients that if this is a gift for their spouse, they may want to bring them to the viewing session to unveil the photographs. So far, no one has taken me up on that offer in the past year; almost all of my clients have done gift sessions. I still think it is a great idea – that way, she can choose her favorite photos, and he can select his favorite photos as well. Maybe even make two albums instead of one – one for each of them!
How Should You Present the Photographs
I display my photographs for my clients on my 13″ Apple MacBook Air Laptop. I use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 to go through the images with them. Another option would be to use 4×6 Proof Prints. Both work well as a way to sort them, organize them, select your favorites. The biggest thing is to have a system.
My In Person Sales Sessions
- I greet my client, offer her something to drink, and we catch up. We sit side-by-side on the couch in my studio space.
- I show her the Animoto slideshow I have made. It normally is about 3-4 minutes long, and I choose a peppy, upbeat song to go with it. I put 60-70 images in mine, so they aren’t displayed for long. Just enough to give her a taste. This seems to calm the nervous energy over seeing the photos for the first time.
- Now it is time to dive in! I explain the process first, so she will know what to expect. We are going to go through the final images one time, rating the images with one star if she likes it. Quick and easy, go with her gut instinct. If there is hesitation, I still keep it. Ready, set, go!
- We go through all images and give the ones she likes a 1 star rating. Quick, quick. Just a yes or no. If she shows interest in liking a particular image a lot, I give it 2 stars.
- Once we have narrowed them down, I sort by the star rating and let her know how many images she chose. It is at this point I hand her my pricelist again. We talk about what albums I offer, which style & size she likes the best. State a price for things, and then stop talking. This used to be my biggest weakness. If I sensed any pause from them, I wanted to start knocking the price down to make the sale. No, no, no! Just … stop. Here is the price. If your client is silent, they may just be thinking. “Hmm, if I don’t buy that purse I was thinking about getting, I can upgrade to the larger album that I like more.” This may look to you like she doesn’t want to buy it and you’ll start rambling and before you know it you took $200 off the price and now maybe she will buy it and this is so stressful because what if she hates all the photos UGH! See? Don’t go there. Here is the price. Stop talking. Unless she asks questions, then answer those.
- She has the pricelist, she has the sample albums, she knows how many photos from the session she likes — now it is time for me to ask her what she would like to do with her photos. An album or a book? Wall art? Gift prints? Digital files? Once I know this, we can move on to the next step.
- Now we need to narrow down the images. I use the Grid mode in Lightroom (the Library screen) to do this. We pull out obvious duplicates or photos that are similar to each other, looking at the images using Lightrooms Compare function.
- Once we get to the final images for the album selection, I then note which images she wants for prints, and if she wants to add the digital files.
- I do the math on the total and take her payment. Most pay for it in full there; some ask for payment plans, which I do offer. I do not order or deliver products until I have been paid in full.
That is My Process, What is Yours?
Everyone does this a little differently, and we can all learn from each other. This is the process that I go through. What is yours?
Coming up, I’ll be talking more about other apps you can use to help your sales process. For now, Lightroom and a computer? All that you need. This is easy. You can do it!
Photo Credit: linh.ngan via Creative Commons License
8 replies on “The Magic of In Person Sales Sessions”
This is almost EXACTLY how I do my sales sessions, including using Animoto and Lightroom! In-person is totally the way to go. =)
Hi Christine! Thanks for sharing this info! We met in vegas at the Team-X party and I really enjoy following your posts. I shoot weddings so there are some differences. I want to do in person sales, but more than 50% of my clients are from out of town : ( I also don’t have a studio so I always have put off in person sales. I think I will try your method with my in town clients and see how it goes. Thanks again!
This is my process:
I shoot all boudoir session in the morning. After the session I tell my client to take a 1 hour lunch break and come back for the purchasing session. I use the Lightroom slide show, then I have her say Yes or No to the images. I label a YES with 5 stars and a No with 1 star. If she is unsure I label that image with 3 stars and we come back to them. Select product, narrow down images, payment. I export the favorites out of Lightroom.
Great post! I do my in-person sales sessions very similarly! I use LR4 to show all the images in slideshow fashion then we go through the client’s final set (which I have flagged) using a Love it, Like it, or Leave it for Later system. Quickly we go through the set and if they Love it, the image receives 5 stars; if they Like it, the image receives 3 and if they want to Leave it for Later, it gets zero stars. Then we go through a second round of eliminating the Like it pile into one of the other two (hopefully most go into the Love it pile!) and then step into the pricing and ordering stage 🙂
[…] 1. Never post your client’s images online, ANYWHERE. Realistically, that is the only safe & secure method to use. I went that route a few years ago when we caught someone trying to hack (truly hack, not just guess at passwords) their way in to my online gallery software that I hosted on my own server. I don’t post my boudoir client’s images online. We meet in person to view the images. (I’ve talked before about my whole In Person Viewing process in these posts: overcoming your fear of in person sales sessions, boudoir photography workflow – preparing for in person sales and the magic of in person sales sessions.) […]
awesome tips so for the prints, do you write it down on a sheet you have? different code in LR? thanks
Hi Feuza! Most of my clients order albums only, so the final “picked” images I make a LR collection of and we design their album from those. If they have wall art or prints that they want, I write them down in my notebook as a list — I don’t have a sheet that I use for orders.
[…] what’s next (we only cull & color correct before their In Person Sales Session). At the In Person Sales meeting, if there is a blemish or something else my client is concerned about, I reassure them that we will […]