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Does the word “sales” make you cringe? For a lot of us, the thought of selling feels dirty and uncomfortable. It often brings back memories of when you felt pressured in to buying something and immediately regretted it afterwards. But if you want to book more clients, becoming better at selling will help you to get there.
Learn To Love Selling In Your Photography Business
If you want to run a profitable photography business, you need to learn to love selling. Because if nobody is buying what you are selling, you don’t have a business. All you have is an expensive, time-consuming hobby. So how can you move from feeling icky when someone talks about selling to being a sales ninja?
Today I want to share three things I’ve learned on my business journey that have helped me to love sales and selling, and which have enabled me to move from a struggling business that was losing money to a profitable business that supports me and my lifestyle.
1. Change Your Mindset
When you think of selling, how often do you associate it with being pressured into buying something you didn’t want? You maybe think of cold telesales calls or being stopped in the street by someone who “just wants you to answer a few survey questions” only to bit hit with a sales pitch at the end.
We all have negative experiences with sales because there are so many sales techniques out there that aren’t in line with our values. But that doesn’t mean all selling is like this.
Have you ever stopped to think about the people out there who actually want what you are selling?
Not all selling involves you buying something you don’t want. Sometimes your clients want to be sold to. A prospective couple doesn’t fill in your contact form on your website just for fun. They do it because they are interested in what you can offer them. When they fill in your contact form, they are asking you to sell to them! Are they asking you to cold-call them or pressure them into making a decision on the spot? Probably not. But they are asking you to give them your sales pitch. They might be asking multiple photographers to give them their sales pitch – and the reality is, the person who can sell the best is the one who can get the client! The only difference is that you probably don’t call it a sales pitch. You probably call it your “investment guide” or “collections brochure” and it’s a part of your sales pitch along with every email and every conversation you have with them.
When you change your mindset and realise that what you are offering these potential clients is something they actually want, and you accept that they need what you are selling to make their wedding vision come to life, selling becomes so much easier because it doesn’t feel like selling anymore.
2. Ask For The Sale
This can be an uncomfortable one for a lot of people, not just photographers. But if you want to get better and getting a big “Hell Yes” from prospective clients, you first need to ask them. You probably wouldn’t propose to your other half with “I really like you and I think we’d be a great team. But I’ll let you think about it because it’s a big decision” and then walk out of the room and wait for them to call you with their response. I mean with a vague statement like that, maybe the don’t actually think you proposed, and they have no idea what to do next.
I digress. But what I’m trying to say is this:
You need to ask for what you want and tell them what you want them to do.
The next time you have a client consultation, finish the conversation by asking for the sale.
Ask them a question such as “Does that sound like what you are looking for?” or “Would you like to go ahead and get your date reserved?” Because the answer is usually going to be either a big YES or a “we need some time to think”, and if it’s the latter, keep reading point 3 below.
3. Understand Why People Buy – And Why They Don’t
In the book The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber, he explores the notion of the conscious and the unconscious mind, and the roles that they play in whether a potential client chooses to buy from you or not. And the general rule is that what motivates people to buy, or not to buy from us is an unconscious decision, that our conscious mind then tries to rationalise.
So when a potential client says that they need to “think about it”, they are usually thinking one of two things:
1 – They are scared to say no directly to your face or,
2 – You’ve failed to give the unconscious mind the reason it needed to be able to say yes.
What’s crazy about this second reason is that they are usually completely unaware of this. All they will be able to tell you is that something doesn’t feel right to them.
So how can you understand what their unconscious mind needs to hear in order to move them from a maybe to a yes? You need to know more about them than they know about themselves – your “ideal client profile (more on this in an upcoming blog post). When you know and understand how your clients think and behave, you can help them to paint a picture in their minds of what they need, and of course, you make what you sell the solution. Because if they can’t see why they would need something, they are very unlikely to buy it.
4. Own Your Pricing
What do I mean by this? The number of times I’ve asked someone how much they charge and I’ve been met with a look of surprise and confusion. Like I’ve just asked them the square root of 2652 or to share me their most embarrassing memory. Sometimes they fumble around to find their pricing guide to double-check what their rates are. Sometimes I’m met with “Ummm, for a half day it’s $3500?” as if they themselves aren’t actually convinced.
Even if you send pricing to clients before a call, you may often find yourself being asked how much your rates are when you’re on the call with them. So you need to know your numbers AND more importantly, speak them with confidence.
If clients aren’t convinced you know (or believe in) what you charge, it’s not going to fill them with confidence to book you. If there is any doubt in your mind that you’re not worth your pricing, you need to get over that, because people aren’t dumb. If they can pick up that you don’t believe you’re worth the prices you are charging, why on earth would they?
I’m British, and in my house this was just something you didn’t talk about, so talking about money wit clients always felt super uncomfortable. So I knew it was something I had to practice. And I did. If you also feel uncomfortable talking numbers, practice saying them out loud to yourself until it effortlessly rolls of your tongue.
It really is a case of fake it till you make it. The more you practice knowing your numbers and being confident at saying them aloud as soon as someone asks, the more confident in them you’ll become.
I hope that gives you something to think about when it comes to changing how you think about sales, but also converting more enquiries in to bookings.
If you’d like a 1:1 session to have a deeper dive into your own money mindset, I offer a limited number of coaching sessions each month. In these sessions we can explore challenges like why you aren’t raising your prices, why you always feel the need to discount or why you set income goals and never reach them.
Click here to find out more about working with me: Work with me 1:1